Hot air by any other name is still hot air

My turn

Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Shame on Jerry Reinwand for trying to bully the Empire into closing Word of Mouth. Mr. Reinwand is a paid lobbyist and a very good one. He makes big money from at least nine different clients, including the alcohol industry in Alaska and one of the unions.

He has called Word of Mouth offensive journalistic trash. He also used words like "puffery" and "hot air." In a way, lobbyists are really Word of Mouth-type folks themselves. They often work kind of undercover from the public to get concessions from our elected officials and the state as well as our city. They are working for consideration of some kind for their client and whatever they are after is a lot more secret than Word of Mouth. Among their favorite tools of the trade is a healthy amount of "puffery" and "hot air."

I wonder if Mr. Reinwand's attack on the writers of Word of Mouth isn't because some of the big dogs in town are feeling the heat, along with City Hall. Certainly we all need to know why the CBJ gave away our tide lands behind closed doors for only $25,000 per year to a sole-source bid. Any grade school kid can add up the docking fees that were already coming to Juneau from the very ships that were paying the city $2 million per year. Now all that plus more goes direct to the private dock and the city gets $25,000 lease payments. Did I mention that one of the city docks is now at least 50 percent vacant and this information finally got printed in Word of Mouth only a few days before Mr. Reinwand gave us his blast of "hot air."

It's time that a group of citizens form a committee and audit the city books. We are being taxed to death while the scam artists are benefiting from the drain on our wallet. Ask yourself, would San Francisco give away the Golden Gate Bridge? No, very few cities are so stupid to let that happen. It only happens where people's rights are taken away from them by corruption and coming down real hard on the few with nerves enough to speak out.

For speaking out, Word of Mouth writers are called cowards by Mr. Reinwand. What are the rats called that are filling their pockets at the taxpayers expense? Here in Juneau, they are called "Sir."

Chuck Keen is a cameraman who has lived in Juneau since 1958.

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