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Candidates' Forum
Responses to Readers' Questions

Bob Norton
Ketchikan City Council Candidate
3 year term (two seats vacant)
About the Candidate


Published: Tuesday
September 23, 2003
Last updated: Friday - 10/03/03 - 12:20 pm

Bob Norton

Bob Norton
P.O. Box 5724
Ketchikan, AK

Questions For City Council Candidates

Reader's Question #1 - What role, if any, should the City Council play in getting better, more reliable internet service from KPU? (09/15/03)

check Response to question #1 - Published 09/23/03

The City Council has already taken steps to improve KPU's internet reliability at its last several meetings by approving the purchase of redundant equipment and software. It also appears that problems with vital hardware in Prince Rupert have been resolved. Internet operations should be in much better shape from now on for KPU customers.


Reader's question #2. Last spring the Borough Manager eliminated three department directors positions to save money and keep rank and file workers on the job. Could the City do the same thing to save money? Could the Library Director and Museum Director positions be eliminated and their responsibilities transfered to the Assistant City Manager? (09/23/03 8:05 pm)

check Response to question #2 - Published 09/24/03 - 10:40 pm

The Borough's decision to eliminate certain department head's positions was one of necessity based upon their economic woes. The City on the other hand is in excellent financial shape and has no reason to cut positions of importance such as the jobs of Library and Museum Directors Judith Anglin and Michael Naab, respectively. They both deserve credit for running excellent departments even though they have had to share limited space in the Centennial Building for all of these years. Currently, the library and museum are moving ahead with plans to eventually have separate locations. The library will build elsewhere and the museum is looking at remodeling its current space. With these circumstances at hand, the two Directors will have more than enough to keep them occupied for many years to come. It has never entered my mind to eliminate vital positions such as these. And as an aside, I believe that the Assistant City Manager has more than enough on his plate to ever think that he could adequately step in for Ms. Anglin and Mr. Naab. It will never happen because there is absolutely no need to do so.


Reader's question #3. (09/30/03 12:55 pm)

How do you make your hardest decisions?

How do you feel about our economy and how are you going to improve it?

What is your position on animal rights?

What do you think about the jewelry stores in Ketchikan that bring their own workers here, then leave? How is it helping Ketchikan?


check Response to question #3 - Published (10/03/02 - 12:20 pm)

I make my most difficult decisions by studying the issue at hand, listening to my constituents' point of view on the subject, and finally, discussing the matter at the council table. When it's time to vote on a tough issue I go with what my gut feeling is after processing all of the information.

Our economy is a big concern at this time and definitely needs to become more diversified in order to improve the future potential of Ketchikan. As a council member I will do whatever is possible to improve our economy. For the longer term, the completion of the Swan-Tyee Intertie will give us the power supply to draw more businesses here, increasing the port capacity will draw more visitors here and adding a second shiplift at the shipyard will increase their business and necessitate more jobs. But for the shorter term we will need to keep a tight rein on our budgeting and make sure that we survive until matters improve.

I'm not sure what your question to council candidates concerning animal rights has to do with city government. Personally, however, I have owned many dogs and cats over the years and believe that they have deserved the best care possible.

As for the jewelry stores in Ketchikan, it is definitely a sign of how the dynamics have changed in the downtown core. It is unfortunate that they are not year-round businesses and it is their choice to bring their own employees. The way that these stores help Ketchikan is by paying sales tax and in many cases property taxes because they have bought the property where they're located. I would like to see the downtown area become more diverse in the future but for now it appears that this is where our economy has led us.



Questions For All Candidates

Reader's Question #1. Do you think it responsible of the Borough to increase our taxes to provide more convenient working (new government building) conditions, when the old mill offices are available to them while kids in this town fight for space to recreate. (09/22/03)

check Response to question #1 - Published 09/23/03

This is not the time for the Borough to be looking for any new headquarter's location, period.


Reader's Question #3. If the city of Ketchikan has all this extra money in the bank, should city taxes be reduced to give taxpayers a break? Why is the city looking for so many ways to spend our money on lavish and expensive projects such as new library and museum construction? (09/25/03 - 1:00 pm)

check Response to question #3 - Published 09/25/03 - 1:50 pm

While it is true that the City of Ketchikan has a very healthy reserve account, it must be put into perpective to understand the circumstances. First, it must be noted that there are projects such as the Swan-Tyee Intertie that many millions of dollars in the reserve account are tied to. It is not as rosy a picture as you would think so please don't get the impression that there are tax breaks ahead; especially when the State has discontinued revenue sharing and the City still has to subsidize the Borough in certain matters.

I also respectfully disagree that the City is "looking for so many ways to spend our money on lavish and expensive projects such as the new library and museum." On the contrary, those projects are still in their infancy and ultimately would have to most likely be approved by the voters for bonds to pay for them. (It will not come out of reserves.) So far the City Council has only approved seed money so that initial plans could be developed to see if these projects were feasible or not and to have some sort of future plan. I don't look at this situation as lavish when the community has put up with an inadequate library and museum for all of these years. Hopefully, one of these projects, or both, will be completed during the next ten years. I believe that the citizens of Ketchikan should at least have that opportunity.



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