Candidate for Ketchikan City Council
I would like to continue my service on the City Council because there are several major issues facing the community and I would like to help deal with them. I grew up on a fishing boat and one I thing I learned was not to jump of the boat in the middle of Clarence Strait. With your help, I hope to steer us safely to the other side.
The two most important issues facing the city council are the management of the port and the operation of the Ketchikan General Hospital.
I have been involved in the planning and the negotiations involving both these issues and with both likely to be resolved in the next few months, I humbly ask you to let me continue both these issues to completion.
As a life-long resident I understand the concerns many people have over the growth of the visitor industry and the changes that growth has brought our town. But as a downtown business owner, I also understand that the $160+ million boost it gives to the local economy is also crucial to our community's well being. Because of COVID 19, we have seen this summer just how the complete elimination of this industry can and does adversely affect our town.
Moving forward we need to balance the likely incremental return of the cruise ship industry in the next few years with the needs of our year-round residents and businesses. We also need to assess if the way we are currently managing our port is the correct way. We are in the middle of the process to determine if there might be a better option and given what has gone on before, I believe I will be able to assess that process and make what I believe to be the proper decision based on the long term needs of Ketchikan.
The management hospital is the other long-term decision that the council must wrestle with in the next few months. For more than 100 years, the city has basically handed off the operation of the hospital to an outside entity and let that organization do what it wants. To be honest, for the most part, the Sisters of St. Joseph/PeaceHealth has done a good job of providing Ketchikan with a medical center that far exceeds what a similar sized community would receive elsewhere. Literally hundreds of our friends and neighbors have worked at the medical center over the years, providing first class care to all Ketchikan residents. But in recent years, as PeaceHealth has become more "corporate" and less sensitive to local needs and concerns, it has become clear that either the city needs to look elsewhere for hospital management or - for the first time in the history of the relationship - sit down with PeaceHealth and see if we can work out a more specific management plan with the company, particularly in the areas of staffing, billing and financial accountability. The latter is what the Council has been doing for the past few months and, once again, why I think it is important for me to return to the council. I know the history and I know the current situation. I will not need to be "brought up to speed." I have also personally experienced some of the problems created by the "corporatization" of local health care, so I know what the city needs to negotiate going forward.
The third big area of concern is the potential for a new water filtration system for the city. While a filtration system is not necessarily a bad idea, it is an expensive one, in the neighborhood of $70 million, that the city simply does not have . The city is currently negotiating with both state and federal officials to come up with alternatives to full blown filtration. Once again, it helps to know the history and - in the case of a water system - where all the pipes (and everything else) are buried.
Of course, there are a lot of other issues (speaking of water, our water mains are woefully obsolete and beginning to rust out), but I can say that over the past six years I have shied away from very few issues, no matter how challenging they may be. My sole goal has always been to do whatever I can to improve the community in which my family has lived for more than 125 years.
I would appreciate your vote on October 6 and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve you!
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