SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Marie L. Monyak


November 07, 2006
Tuesday AM

It was almost 10 years ago on a wet, blustery night that I stepped off the airport ferry and fell in love with Ketchikan at first sight. I found it interesting and exciting to learn the local ways of my new chosen home. When in Rome, do as the Romans!

I was amazed and thrilled to find that in comparison to cities in the lower 48, Ketchikan people relied heavily on common sense in their every day behavior.

Driving down Tongass you see a long line of traffic in your rear view mirror so you stop to let a car pull out from the Island Pharmacy parking lot. You walk into the Post Office and hear someone behind you and you hold the door for them, man, woman or child, no difference.

While waiting for the AMH ferry you won't hear cold impersonal announcements over a speaker giving endless instructions in an attempt to herd people like cattle (much like the cruise ships). Instead you see a ferry pull up to the dock, read the name on the bow and if it matches your ticket you know it must be yours, so you proceed to use common sense and allow disembarking passengers to exit the tunnel before marching on.

When common sense reigns supreme, common courtesy automatically follows and it's what makes Ketchikan such a great place to live and why so many of us often call our home Paradise.

What happened this past week blew my common sense theory right out of the water. We all know that Ketchikan is primarily a blue collar town. There aren't a lot of college degrees walking around, just some very hard working people that continually survive the boom and bust cycle that is Alaska.

But even blue collar workers know the definition of absentee. Look it up in any dictionary and you will find that it means; one that is absent or not in residence.

I am not well versed in politics so I don't know why the consolidation vote is being conducted as an absentee ballot and I don't much care, like most people I just want to vote. What I do know is that the people of Ketchikan need and want to be heard and this absentee ballot is a sure fire way of preventing just that for many voters.

Like many of you I threw my ballot away and had it not been for a letter to the editor on Sitnews (Thank you to the Editors for providing such a valuable venue!) I would not have known until it was too late that it was my only opportunity to vote on the consolidation issue. Since then I have obtained another ballot but how many people will go through the effort to do so?

After every election we hear about low voter turnout; it's always the same, 28, 29, 31 percent. Can we now expect that number to drop dramatically on the consolidation vote because common sense says, If I m not absent I don't need an absentee ballot!

I do not know how or why the vote is being conducted this way but what I do know is that in this case, stupidity reigned supreme!

The people of Ketchikan have the right to be heard, on Schoenbar, on White Cliff, on the Port Bond, on the bridge, on consolidation and any other matters that may affect her residents. The voting process should be simple, clear and easy to understand for people of all education levels.

If the recent letter to the editor by Ken and Emo Bylund is correct even those who do send in their absentee ballot with just a 39 cent stamp may not have their vote counted if their ballot does not reach its destination due to a lack of postage.

This is a fiasco in the making and if something isn t done immediately this vote on consolidation will be a bigger debacle than Schoenbar School. It should also be a humiliation to those responsible for the manner in which the vote is being conducted and the lack of information to inform the public at large.

At this point, all that we the public can do, is spread the word. Tell your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to go to the Borough office for a replacement ballot if you ve already discarded yours and to use the correct postage.

Maybe after this election we can resume our common sense mentality. One can only hope!

Marie L. Monyak
Ketchikan, AK

Received November 04, 2006 - Published November 07, 2006

About: "Ketchikan resident that believes in the democratic process AND common sense."





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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska