SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Slanted picture of Alaska painted
By Carl Thompson


November 24, 2005

Bob Ciminel's article in Wednesday's SitNews hit the mark for entertainment.  He is still a very talented writer in my book and I respect him tremendously.  But........
Although his facts are probably right on - it paints a slanted picture.  It reminds me of big media.  They paint a portion of the picture and hope for a reaction.  You don't really get to see the whole picture, but the part they allow you to see can be sensational depending on what part it was.
Two basic questions for you to think about and research if you don't know the answer:

Who owns most of the state of Alaska?
How large is Alaska compared to the rest of the US?

If the state is too large to build roads and bridges to all the cities and towns, then is it our fault for living in such a huge state?  Should we not be entitled to any more funding per capita than any other state - like say,  Georgia?  Kind of like people who live in hurricane prone areas - except of course if you live in a hurricane area, who pays for rebuilding your city and roads everytime a hurricane comes along?   Hmmmmm. 

Alaska would have the resources to pay for all we need except, someone took away most of the state and gave it to the Federal Goverment a few years back.  We cannot access our resources freely and so when we finally get money to develop a bridge or two, some un-informed people scream "Pork!!"   But, I am sure they mean well, they are just not aware of the whole story.  And big media is partly to blame for that too.  Sensationalism sells better than the whole truth.
If Alaska is one-fifth the size of the U.S., then should we not get one fifth of the road money?   No, that would not do.  We don't have that many roads up here.  A good thing I guess, because then people could drive to Alaska on more than one road, and then once here, they could drive around the state - then there would be lots of people up here. 
But that brings us back to who owns the forest.   Tongass National Forest is owned by the Federal Government.  And luckily, the USFS is there to make sure we don't build roads. And the roads that have been built by logging companies are blocked off so people cannot drive on them.  But it's for our own good I am sure.   The forest is there for "everyone" to enjoy, you just can't get to it. 
I must clarify, the people who work for the USFS are some of the nicest people anywhere and our community is lucky to have them.  They contribute greatly in many areas.  They are our valued and trusted friends.  When I am speaking of the USFS, I do NOT mean the women and men who do the jobs expected of them the same way I would do the job if given that responsibility.
If you are going to compare Alaska to other states, you need to remember to compare it against ten states to be fair. 
There, now I have painted "part of a picture". 

Carl Thompson
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Related Column:

Bob Cinimel: And the Winner is: Alaska! - A month or so ago, I wrote a letter-to-the-editor taking a tongue-in-cheek poke at Alaska Airlines' "Flying Salmon" Boeing 737. I was rightly admonished for not having my facts straight, so I really can't disagree with those who challenged my position.

With that in mind, and with the recent cancellation of the "Bridge to Nowhere" project, which consumed the letters-to-the-editor page for several months, I embarked on a little research to see just how many Federal projects are funded for Alaska in a typical year. - More...
Wednesday - November 23, 2005



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Ketchikan, Alaska