No need to rattle the cages of the City and Borough of Juneau’s Assembly about the Fishermen’s Memorial. Not at this time, anyway.
As someone who has followed the Marine Park Panamax Floating Docks Proposal (i.e. “Dock Improvement 16 (b)”) from the very beginning, I have some problems with Ted Merrell Sr.’s recent My Turn (Juneau Empire, June 12 “Fishermen’s Memorial Blessing of the Fleet at risk”) about the Fishermen’s Memorial and his push to move it.
The Memorial Board had plenty of time for input to the city regarding concerns about the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. I attended many Assembly and Docks and Harbors meetings that addressed the issue. My son-in-law Marc Livingston has his name engraved on the Memorial and I attend the Blessing of the Fleet and the public free brunch at the Twisted Fish every May.
I care a lot about the ceremony and about city compliance with the Long Range Waterfront Plan. I contacted other friends who have known or lost fisherman family members to attend and testify at those meetings. Moving the Memorial was seen as the equivalent of moving a gravestone and too painful a prospect.
Mayor Bruce Botelho has been respectful of these expressed worries and supportive of maintaining the Memorial in the most desirable location. The negative comments by Merrell are undeserved.
Assembly members interested in “further consideration” were wanting to explore design modification of the docks to better accommodate the Blessing of the Fleet — not moving the memorial to “Under the Bridge Park.” Alaska’s commercial fishing history deserves to be celebrated and the Memorial and Blessing of the Fleet ceremony are a unique and meaningful part of Juneau, and should continue to be protected — at the present location. I thank Mayor Botelho and members of the Assembly for caring.
• Hood is a 37-year Juneau resident and a citizen activist.