SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Michael Painter

Incumbent Borough Assembly Candidate 2007
Three-Year Term

September 09, 2007

Mike Painter

Personal Background:

  • I am 54 years old, a 39 year resident, moved here, at the age of 16, with my family in 1968, arriving on the State Ferry "Wickersham".
  • Kayhi graduate (class of 1971).
  • Married, wife Cheryl (life long resident).
  • 3 Children- Jamie, Jennifer, and Julie...all Kayhi graduates.
  • Occupation: Diesel mechanic, self employed (owner of Southeast Diesel & Electric).
  • Private pilot (owner of N27339)

Employment History:

  • Self employed, owner of Southeast Diesel & Electric
  • Coastal Machinery/Construction Machinery
  • Self employed, owner of Southeast Diesel & Electric
  • Seley Incorporated
  • Foss Alaska Line
  • Seley Construction
  • Foss Alaska Line
  • Ketchikan Pulp Co.
  • South Coast Forest Products
  • E & H Chevrolet
  • Dave's Chevron
  • Bucey Motors
  • R. H. Valentine Logging

Political Experience:

  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly 2004-present
  • Charter Commission Member
  • Shoreline Service Area Board Member


I consider myself a rather simple person, I'm not one to bedazzle you with big words. I say what I think, which sometimes gets me into trouble. Why am I running for a second term on the Borough Assembly? Well...I have raised a fine family in an fine community, and I would like this community to remain a good place to raise a family. I have the time to devote. I feel that I represent the local tax payer and business owner. I am not retired, never been employed by the government, and I am not a member of any special interest group, or non-profit organization. I am pro development. I am an employer. I am a tax payer.

I feel that I helped make the right decisions on the Assembly in the last 3 years. When I was first elected, the Borough had some rather large issues to over come, just to mention a few: Fawn Mountain Elementary School (to replace White Cliff School), the excruciatingly painful Schoenbar Middle School remodel, the Fawn Mountain Track.

Where I stand on some of the current local issues:

What is your view on development in regards to future planning?
A: I believe planning is one of the most important functions of the Borough, I voted in favor of the recent resolution to direct staff to have the Planning become involved with the downtown and Newtown development as well as the $80,000 supplemental budget appropriation. I think this is an area of most importance for the Borough. Why should one restaurant owner have to provide off street parking, while another is able to use public parking?

Q: How do you intent to show the Borough "open" for business?
A: To start with we need to repeal the current business license fee structure, and set the fee straight across the board at say $50, or $100.

Q: What is your position on the jewelry store initiative?
A: Simply stated...this is the United States of America, land of opportunity. The frequency of jewelry stores, grocery stores, gas stations, churches, bars, and even those "pesky Subaru's", should be dictated by the law of price and demand...this is America, not Euphoria!

Q: What about the fast ferry to British Columbia?
A: It sounds like a nice idea. The current Alaska State fast ferries Chenega and Fairweather burn about 400 gallons of fuel per hour, at today's fuel prices that's about $5,000 per round trip. The fast ferries must slow to displacement speed in 10 foot seas and seek shelter when seas reach 12 feet. How often are the seas in Dixon Entrance less than 10 feet? If you read the local police and Troopers reports, nearly half the local population are not allowed entry into Canada because of DUI and other offenses according to Canadian Law.

Q: Share your thoughts on the simplification of the permitting process?
A: Currently the process to obtain a building permit, re-zone, special or conditional use permit leaves a lot to be desired. One of the main functions of the planning department and the "building official" should be to assist and help the public through the process. Most who have been through the ordeal would rather have a
root canal.

Q: What is your stand on The Gravina Bridge?
A: Well if there was a bridge, I would proudly stand on it. First I would like to thank our representatives in Washington D.C. (Don Young and Ted Stevens) for the years of effort in obtaining the funding for the bridge, as well as others like Ralph Bartholomew for their years of effort to obtain what was promised to us when the decision was made to build the airport on Gravina Island nearly 40 years ago. I am tremendously disappointed with DOT. As it stands now I will continue to fight for improved access to Gravina.

Q: Do you support harvest timber (to what degree), mining, building and roads?
A: Absolutely, I support all of the above. We live in a state that is dependent on natural resources. RKG is trying to get the veneer mill up & running. Steve Seley and Kirk Dahlstrom are trying to keep their sawmills running. Timber is a renewable resource, there are several areas where second growth has been harvested.

The prospect of a mine at Niblack is exciting. The highways on Prince of Wales originated as logging look at the recreation opportunities. We can't all work in the tourist industry.

Q. How do you feel about control of private property through excessive Borough planning regulations?
A: I believe the current process is flawed. Currently a property owner can have their property re-zoned, conditional use permits, special use permits, ect. revoked or applied, against their will by a process initiated by 51% of the neighboring property owners or the government. I tried (unsuccessfully) to change that with an amendment to title 60 of Borough code.

Q: If there is not a private buyer for the beach do you support purchasing the land?
A: Yes, but only in the form of a negotiated land exchange, along with any funding KBA is able to come up with.South Point Higgins and Coast Guard Beaches should remain "Public Use". The Borough does not have the funds to cash out TLO for these properties. If we successfully negotiate a land exchange, I would assume TLO would subdivide and sell the property exchanged and it would be put on the tax rolls.

Q: What are your plans for management and staff.
A: Although I'm not a member of the Ad Hoc manager selection committee, I have been attending their meetings and providing input. I believe currently manager Eckert is having a hard time filling the positions of assistant manager, public works director, and planning director because of the uncertainty of the managers replacement. We need to pick the absolute best manager from the list of applicants (and there are a few stand out stars). Once the replacement manager is in place the rest will follow suit. I believe the Assembly's primary role is to set policy and direction, Borough managements role is to administer and manage.

Q: What is your position on school funding?
A: Although I'm somewhat disappointed with the school districts spending in the past year, I believe that we should fund education all that we can afford. The annual funding process is flawed. The State needs to forward fund their contribution annually instead of local government trying to guess at the numbers.

Q. What are your thoughts regarding White Cliff?
A: With it's historic value I'd hate to see it torn down...but we cannot afford to renovate. If the City of Ketchikan were to share in the cost of demolition, this would be an excellent location for the new library, after all the Borough contributes 41% of the cost of the library.

Q: What are your thoughts regarding RKG/Veneer Plant?
A: I hope RKG gets the plant up & running, but...he needs to get current on the interest payments, and come the first part of November the certificate of deposit is to be paid the Borough.

Q: What are your thoughts about Schoenbar Litigation?
A: First of all I'm upset that DOT awarded the contract for the new Airport Maintenance Building to McGraw Construction. As far as the Schoenbar litigation... in addition to Scott Brandt-Erichsen, we have hired one of the best legal firms in the Northwest dealing with contractual law. I'm not an attorney, I must rely on the advice of our legal staff to make the decisions I make.

In closing:

Be informed, get to know the candidates, ask the questions, and above all get out there and vote! Good luck to the candidates in all of the races!

Mike Painter

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska