Greetings, and thanks for reading! Please feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, questions, perspectives, and ideas at: Gregory@gregoryvickrey.com
Or let's talk shop at 617.1843. You and I both realize this Borough has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it applies, but together we can make a measurable difference over the next three years.
I am Gregory Vickrey and I am very blessed to live, work, and play in sunny Ketchikan, Alaska. I have the honor of working for one of the greatest organizations on the planet, the Tongass Conservation Society, and spend my off time hiking with my dogs, chasing soccer balls on gravel fields, and playing with mathematics. I also like to volunteer, and serve as the secretary for Ketchikan Youth Initiatives, sit on the Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee, am a board member of Alaska Conservation Voters, participate on the Revilla Transportation Coalition, and like to spend time with Southeast Alaska Independent Living's ORCA program as well as Patchwork's TALK project.
So what can we do to make Ketchikan better?
Address the Status Quo
Staffing Crisis - Why have a number of good staffers left? What combination of bad management and micromanagement has essentially left some departments without directors? Thankfully, workers throughout those departments have really stepped up during this time of need, but it should have never gotten this bad in the first place.
We can do better.
No Leadership - The staffing crunch is only one sign of the lack of leadership on the Borough Assembly. Inconsistent funding for our kids is another. Will it go up, or will it go down, or does it depend on the political winds? And another: for three years we have missed the boat, literally and figuratively, on the Southern Gateway Shuttle to the expanding port at Prince Rupert.
With leadership, we should be headed in some sort of positive direction as a community, and we should recognize, as a community, what that direction is. Do we?
We should do better.
No Vision - No leadership invariably means that the Borough has no vision or no plan for our community. Where are we headed 5, 10, 20, and 50 years down the road? What are our collective goals? We certainly have recognizable community values, but no leadership to shape them into a vision, a plan, a goal.
We deserve better.
Pursue Challenges and Opportunities
End the Perception of Collusion and Corruption - This is a challenge of major proportions, but our community deserves better. We do not need people on the Assembly who make several thousands of dollars a year via your tax dollars from the Borough. We do not need Borough staff with financial ties to developers that are in default twice to the Borough. We do not need Assemblypersons trying to illegally challenge a citizens' initiative on the eve of an election.
A wonderful person once said, "Power must be insecure to be responsive". We have an opportunity to do just that by tackling this challenge this election.
Plan For and Organize Around a 21st Century Economy - In just over a year we will have fiber optic capabilities, and that will open up our Borough to a wealth of new business opportunities; we need to be marketing ourselves now to companies in the Pacific Northwest, and the Borough can have a hand in self-advertising. We need to immediately kick start opportunities by opening a small business development center, with Borough and City backing for the first 3-5 years for the sake of stability. These centers work: I started one myself a few years ago and have worked with others. With the intertie potential, we need to work with the City, Saxman, Metlakatla, and others like Cape Fox to focus on real -time projects like Lake Mahoney, cruise ship plugins, and the like. And we need to rededicate ourselves to the real and measurable economic potential associated with the expanding port at Prince Rupert and push very hard for dedicated shuttle service between here and there.
Let's stabilize and diversify with the opportunities coming online.
Consistently Fund Education - We need to end the political shenanigans being played with the future of our children and fund our schools consistently and fully. It is our wisest investment, and we must be dedicated to the process throughout the year. With consistent funding will come a stabilization of programs and a more consistent delivery of them, all to the benefit of our children.
So many of you have written already, and I thank you for your thoughts and ideas and questions. To list a few: Yes, the Borough should assist Saxman with the Community Hall. Yes, I support consolidation in theory, but voted no last year, and believe we should let it lie for quite a long time before bringing it up again (the plan was badly flawed). Yes, we need a bear law, similar to Juneau's. Yes, we should fight to keep the remaining bridge moneys here for transportation projects. Yes, the Borough should have a process to buy local wood from local manufacturers.
Keep 'em coming!
Vote for a Change.