A new course for the borough
By Michael Spence
October 01, 2007
It has been a decade since the pulp mill closed. In those ten
years several HUNDREDS of millions of dollars have flowed through
the community in the form of economic relief, cleanup, and infrastructure
development (DOT) funds.
What is there to be seen for this massive investment? Are the
schools and the roads being maintained properly? Is it safer
to walk or drive on Ketchikan's streets? Are there any more
private investors interested in funding new enterprise?
Very little, and probably not.
Over the course of this same decade, politician after politician
have issued their rhetoric about "job creation , and about
economic and resource development". The borough assembly,
for its part, has held court, supervising the disbursement of
funds to entrepreneurs of all sorts.
The money has been disbursed.
Meanwhile Ketchikan is still shrinking. Its economy is less diverse.
The line of repeat customers for free money is longer. The
businesses that have received the money are weaker, not stronger,
as a result of a subsidy-based system.
Meanwhile, there has been little or no public money to fund things
like the schools, the roads, the library, and other things that
public funds are normally used for. Those public funds have
instead gone to help private enterprises like the veneer plant
and the sawmill.
Wake up, people.
Ketchikan is a small town, with small resources. To attract
the contributors and enterprise-growers of the future we have
to offer them a high quality of life. The schools, the roads,
and the infrastructure are the foundation for a high quality
of life, not a few short-term construction jobs.
About: " a ketchikan voter"
Received September 29, 2007
- Published October 01, 2007
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