SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Hard Times Ahead
By Robert McRoberts


December 05, 2008

I worked so hard all summer, I missed summer. How we forget. I did force myself to take some R&R. My daughter and I went south to get some parts rebuilt. But it was worth it -- the vacation part. This has been the year of change for all of us. As we change, we are being lead by the old timers who grew up thinking the old stubborn way. Now my generation is moving in and making change. Look around at the age of people running their own businesses. Sure a few are hand-me-downers. My generation is ready to take charge and break a few old rules to get things working better.

I remember our old class motto, "We're the light at the break of dawn, Class of 80 turn it on". That has stuck with me all through these years. Many of my school mates have their own business in town I work with or around many of them. I would like to name them but I might forget a few. We grew up here and understand how good it is to be some where that we call home. We have seen the problems that this community faces up close much better than all the high paid educated imports that don't always see what is not on paper, including the dollar. I feel that is where we are steering this community the wrong way. This is not 'nowhere', it's Ketchikan and what happens down south is different when it hits here.

We have a lot of people still bummed out about the bridge, sure we need a good link to our airport. but you were not willing to give up any thing to get it. You wanted the most expensive bridge we could build. That I feel would have blown over and had more deaths from accidents than any place we drove. Shear wind force would blow people into the other lanes as well as ice and all the rain running off the bridge. I grew up here having to take the ferry to the airport, and that is a whole lot better than flying in the old PBY with boxes of mail on my lap. Yes, I was there too, landing in the water bobbing up to the dock. We're all get in a big hurry. I find myself taking the words from a old Disney book. Goofy keep's saying slow and steady is the way to go.

Previously, I wrote an opinion about how the city better start fixing Water and Miller St., but they wanted to spend their money on tourist. Now those people that live on those streets can't get home the same way they did. Our infrastructure is falling apart. But let's build a new library. As before move the museum to Dawson property and hang the old Grumman goose in there so we can remember how life was when we commuted to our airport in them.

It's time to start putting the utility underground and expanding our sidewalks. bus shelters for school and borough busses -- and come on guys, build a bus shelter at Totem Bight. By the time a bus gets to that point, the person waiting for the bus is wet , tired ready to go home. Let's run the bus all the way to Point Higgins school. That way you're picking people up in the populated areas. Have the high school build some temporary shelters, like the ones the Lions Club builds. I can not figure out why people that live all the way out north would want to work in town at a low wage job if it cost 20 dollars a day in gas to drive in.

I got my heating oil last week and the taxes were twenty bucks. That was 1 dollar for every 10 gallons delivered. The government doesn't care how much it costs they make more money on less product. That's what are leaders learn in business school.

I have to laugh at my comment on old timers being stubborn. I guess I am old enough now that I don't even realize how stubborn I am. My father was set in his ways and I did what and how he wanted. Me too. When I went out on my own, I said I would never be like that. But yet I am getting that way. But with different ideas.

With our country going into some hard times we have to be stupid to not prepare for some hard times. Mr. Dial wrote a couple of good letters that were right on. It's all falling apart. Factories can not keep pouring out the junk. Unions and insurance companies have gotten so powerful we can not afford to hire help. Every time we give raises and added job titles ,we just increase inflation. Too bad it's so hard to see who's carrying who. This place has the most over valued, rotten homes in the world. Is that not what caused the banking crash or was it not that we get attacked by every credit card company in America and have spent so much that we can not keep up with the bills. Heck we have to trade up are phones, computers and all that electronic stuff every few years just to be hip.

We better start tightening up on our spending. We need to concentrate on how to get the most out of tighter budgets. What's the hurry on building the new fire hall? Looks to me that they're blasting out the rock on Steadman St. Do it right. Too bad we don't have a better way to the bypass. The corner by the KPU where houses needs to be fixed. A road around the ball field would help alleviate the traffic for larger vehicles and busses. What happens when some thing happens to the main road. Fix the dips by the rec center. Third Ave and Jefferson. Think ahead about the big culvert by Schonebar, it needs to be fixed. Wouldn't it be nice not to have traffic all messed up? I think we would have a lot easier time getting these jobs funded because they make sense and they will help the whole community. The city engineers are always worried about the big quake doing damage to buildings and things but baby when Water St falls onto Tongass they will forget the little troubles with your house.

I am really sorry but I see big troubles if we don't start looking ahead with an open mind about how to improve our economy.The whole state needs to look at how we can get the most out of our resources. Stop round log exports, and do it before we make any more land swamps. Where did all the salmon go that were caught last record season? They didn't go through Ward Cove Cannery. Our oil goes south unrefined. How many more years of oil do we have in the ground? The only way to make the ferry system operate efficiently is to have a Bellingham to Ketchikan run and a road to Petersburg and a ferry to Juneau and Sitka.

Robert McRoberts
Ketchikan, AK

Received November 29, 2008 - Published December 05, 2008



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Ketchikan, Alaska