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Letter: Serving on Sealaska board shouldn't be a lifetime appointment

Posted: June 25, 2014 - 11:00pm

I applaud the Juneau Empire for taking a stand on the upcoming Sealaska election. I wrote a letter in 1999 about my frustration with ANCSA corporate activity in response to your “Between Worlds” series, and also commented on the failure of ANCSA in an Empire column I wrote (Southeast Tides) about nine years ago. There have been numerous other letters and commentaries by me and a host of “dissidents” over the years, all to no avail. The discretionary vote combined with the money Sealaska and other ANCSA corporate royalty spends each year continues to carry the day.

This year, though, may be the beginning of the end for the old guard, the board members who have maintained their positions in the name of “stability” and “commitment to our vision.” I sense a change coming. One by one, or two by two, the incumbents, many of whom have been on the board for decades, will lose their seats, even in the face of discretionary voting.

I applaud and support the Sealaska 4 and all the other independent candidates to the Sealaska Board of Directors. Fresh blood has been needed for many, many years. Though I consider many of the incumbent Sealaska board members friends and have respect for their intelligence and dedication, I do not believe they should have stayed on the board as though those seats were lifetime appointments. Different views and experiences are what corporations need to remain competitive. Sealaska has been a failure for too long and so it is hard to conclude anything other than radical change is needed.

Please support the Sealaska 4 and/or other independent candidates to the Sealaska board. Maybe history is written by the winners, but the final chapters have yet to be drafted.

Ted A. Wright

Sealaska shareholder

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Tom Rutecki
Tom Rutecki 06/26/14 - 10:32 am
Nom de Plume is OK now?

So the JE is allowing commenting via pseudonym?


Joe  Davis
Joe Davis 06/26/14 - 07:19 pm
Discretionary is a choice

Aside from the fact that this piece is nothing more than Yellow Journalism, it is riddled with false and misleading information. It's sad the leadership of the Empire has no integrity.
These attacks by the Empire are so irregular and unprecedented. What really confuses me is why they choose Sealaska to weigh in on. Why aren't they openly attacking policy makers who have been in the legislature for decades? Are they going to publish letters about the tax referendum? Are they going to discuss the governors race and who we should vote for? Are they going to publish a letter telling us who are congressional delegates should be? Are they going to go after Congressman Don Young for his ethics violations? Are they going to write articles endorsing which legislators to elect and what bills constituents should call their legislators to support\not support? Of course those are all rhetorical questions to beg the question: why is the Juneau Empire only making the effort to publicly criticize the regional Native company, but ignore public policy issues that impact every Alaskan resident? Seems pretty strange to me.

Let's just for a moment pretend the editorial had a shred of integrity. The Empire has no place to be commenting on the situation of a privately owned company, no more than Sealaska should use it's website newsletter to write about the sloppy reporting and terrible misuse of public media to circulate biased disinformation.

Another thing to consider is the piece isn't even offering anything new--it's copy paste presto manifesto from a small fringe group of shareholders that are in no way representative of the more than 21,000 shareholders of Sealaska. The dissident page has roughly 1,700 Shareholders, of which about 20-30 post personal attacks, play the blame and shame game while offering no solutions or rational logic in their criticisms and character assassination efforts. Using bitter, toxic rants with alleged, third hand stories are not the ingredients to changing Sealaska for the better.

Change needs to happen no doubt about it. Change is happening with a new COO and soon to be new CEO who has a proven track record of making profits for Sealaska.

I'm sorry but the Empire embarrasses themselves with their weak financial analysis and criticisms of Sealaska's strategic plan.

The reality is the Empire is desperate. They are losing money because Print media is dying- everyone knows this. Their core reporting group are inexperienced people who have no ability to author fair, balanced, unbiased media. Recently one of their few remaining reporters who actually has talent with reporting left the Empire because the editor wanted to spin her story with misinformation and be biased. She pushed back and now she's gone.

They need to sell newspapers and are
willing to lie to do it. End of story.

Brad Fluetsch
Brad Fluetsch 06/27/14 - 06:05 am
Joe, can you read?

The letter was from Dr. Wright, a shareholder not the Empire.

Sealaska does not have a strategic plan, they have a wish list. They wish Congress would settle land claims. They wish they could buy a highly profitable company in next year, something they have failed miserably at for decades.

The only one looking foolish, the only one lacking integrity is you Joe.

Joe  Davis
Joe Davis 06/27/14 - 06:16 am
Don B

You're math is off bro. The 2013 losses are 35 million. The rest are paper losses of goodwill and investments. That's not the point anyway. My point is the bizarre behavior of the Empire to take sides on such a particular issue. Of all the things for them to publicly take sides on -which is so unusual- they go after the voting practices of a private company?

Incidentally since if they are so concerned about the financial prosperity and job growth of Sealaska and the region, I suppose they support Sealaska's lands bill? I mean they publicly take sides on policies now so it's all good.

Hey Empire- your publisher and Editor and Mathew Woolbright gonna write articles to take a public stance on this critical policy to the future well being of Sealaska's financial stability? It will really put your concerns for the more than 22,000 shareholders to rest. Woolbright- you have your own editorial column now- please write articles about the need for congress to pass Sealaska's lands bill. I can't wait to see the publisher and editor endorse Sealaska's lands bill.

Brad Fluetsch
Brad Fluetsch 06/27/14 - 07:03 am
Poor Joe,

First, Ed Thomas has never been right about anything! 30 years of failed administration at CCTHITA and 20 years of massive losses at Sealaska.... Ed calling a Shareholder a coward speaks more about Ed Thomas, than the Shareholder. He is unfit for any position in any Native organization.

Second, Sealaska listens to me... Directors and officers. In fact, I would like to congratulate them on working towards developing agricultural initiatives (organic foods and other farm products).

btw, nothing wrong with Don's math, apparently Joe you do not know how to read a financial statement. Paper losses? Sorry Joe you are wrong again, at one time that was real money Sealaska spent and lost, they just finally recognized those losses in 2013.

Sorry Joe, who are you anyway? Never seen or heard of you at Alaska Native Brotherhood, never seen or heard of you at Tribal activities, don't see you in other Native venues or leadership. Maybe you should get involved, learn some basic financial analysis skills before you speak again, otherwise you are the punchline of the joke.

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