The contractor for the 3.2 miles of roadwork at $25.7 million on Gravina is Kiewit Pacific. The contact was awarded to Kiewit Pacific by former U.S. Senator (R-AK) and at the time Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski. It was awarded after he lost his governorship in the primary of 2006. The 3.2 miles of gravel road is the only part of the Gravina Access Project that could benefit Frank Murkowski directly. The road would come to within half a mile of connecting the Murkowski family's 33 acres on Gravina Island to the Ketchikan Airport.
In the process of contracting to Kiewit Pacific, the Murkowski administration compelled the Ketchikan Gateway Borough to donate Borough land for the project. Steve Corporon, Assistant Borough Manager received email from Robert B. Murphy, Alaska Department of Transportation, with a copy to Malcolm Menzies, on October 4, 2006 with the subject line "Gravina Crossing. The email provided Corporon with the exact wording for the donation of Borough land: "The donation of a highway easement is made voluntarily and with full knowledge of the Borough's entitlement to receive just compensation. We also release DOT&PF from the obligation of preparing an appraisal of this donated easement."
Lame-Duck Governor Murkowski then wrote a letter to Ketchikan Gateway Borough Manager, Roy Eckert, on October 9, 2006 confirming that he would include a $195 million budget recommendation for the Gravina Access Project in the FY 2008 Capital Budget. The next part of the letter has more interesting wording: "In the meantime, we are committing the work that can be accomplished with the available $133 million. This includes an award of the design contract, appraisals and right-of-way acquisition and construction of up to six miles of road and the road underpass to accommodate the runway safety area." The same day, October 9, 2006 Borough Attorney, Scott Brandt-Erichsen began the process of giving away Borough land. The Borough Assembly passed the resolution making your donation possible on October 16, 2006. On October 17, 2006 Corporon listened in by phone to a pre-RFP meeting where CD copies of the draft RFP were handed out. The RFP was coming out on November 6, 2006, proposals due to be submitted by November 17, technical review done by November 24 and a contract award date of approximately December 1, 2006. No paving, utilities not included. Now that's what you call fast tracking! Does it appear someone was waiting in the shadows to grab this construction contract?
Richard Geary is on the Board of Directors of Kiewit Pacific. Since 1993 Geary and his wife Janet have donated more than $700,000 to Republican candidates and the RNC and its committees; especially the Republican National State Elections Committee which received $155,000 from the Gearys in 2000. Geary has also given individual donations to Ted Stevens and Don Young. Kiewit Pacific is listed as having an Alaska address in Wasilla, where our current governor, Sarah Palin was mayor. When asked why she does not cancel the $25.7 million contract with Kiewit Pacific she claims her hands are tied.
By April 2007 Malcolm Menzies was in Ketchikan to tell us all that we better forget about building the bridge crossing the Tongass Narrows that Kiewit Pacific was putting in a road to access. Get it? Road to Murkowski family property built by big donor Kiewit Pacific with federal transportation dollars on land donated by the Borough. No bridge.
The lack of any action on the part of the current Borough Assembly to put a stop to this misuse of our transportation dollars or to even discuss the situation in an open and honest way has prompted me to place my name on the October 2nd ballot. There are many transportation projects on Revilla Island that are not being attended to. At this time the Borough Assembly is allowing DOT in Juneau to write motions addressing the Gravina Access Project which allow our local transportation dollars to continue to be spent on studies of bridges that have already been determined to be unworkable. All this work will be done outside of this community and Ketchikan will get nothing for it. In the meantime we cannot safely walk down the roadside on most of North and South Tongass Highway. I heard Mr. Menzies tell the Borough at an Assembly meeting earlier this summer that the money would be better spent bringing North and South Tongass Highway up to modern standards. But none of the current Assembly members said, "Let's do that."
One of the main culprits in all of this is the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. Over the years the Chamber has inserted itself as a defacto arm of the Borough government as if they represented you. They do not. "All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole." This is a quote from the Alaska Constitution. The current Chamber president is a car dealer who is a resent transplant from Juneau. One of his employees, Derek Flom, is running for Borough Assembly. These gentlemen do not understand that Ketchikan is a maritime community. They have no interest in supporting better ferry service or getting work for our shipyard.
If you want to see the Borough Assembly start getting back into the hands of local people who have the courage to speak on your behalf vote for Carol Cairnes on October 2nd.
I would be more than happy to speak with you about any subject of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me.
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