Report the substance, not the anecdotes

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2002

Was I at the same North Douglas Neighborhood Association meeting on Feb. 19? I didn't think so after reading reporter Melanie Plenda's article, "Douglas residents question golf course's effect on fish."

She mentioned none of the earlier report when Peter Metcalfe, Totem Creek Inc. board member, explained the long public process they had gone through with the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) and state agencies to propose a modern golf course that minimized pollution and human and wildlife hazards. CBJ Planning Director Oscar Graham and Fish and Game representative Bill Hanson testified on the process to address the issues, with Mr. Graham stating progress had been made, which was reflected in the new base map of the golf course.

Several in the audience asked questions and seemed satisfied with the information provided. The meeting chair stated it was a good exchange of information and asked if the presenters were willing to participate in more informational meetings. They stated a willingness but clarified this was the end of a long process. The next Planning Commission meeting would be to act on the conditional use permit and not be a meeting for those new to the process to come and ask questions answered earlier.

Instead, the article focused on Metcalfe's more colorful statements and used them to inflame the verbiage from "newcomers" to the neighborhood (and Juneau) who were obviously against the golf course. They asked, "Why couldn't we vote as a community on whether or not we want a golf course here?" When Mr. Metcalfe stated his opinion that a vote would be in support of a golf course, this prompted protests from them.

I considered reporting I had gathered hundreds of signatures in favor of the N. Douglas golf course at the Mining and Logging show and in the Nugget Mall last year. Only a handful of those I spoke to were opposed. However, I was sitting between a few against the course and thought it was pointless, considering body language and disgusted snorts whenever they disagreed with something.

Given the long public history of the project and the efforts Totem Creek folks have taken to address concerns raised during the process, I hope your reporters will focus on the substance of these meetings and not anecdotes that make good copy but grossly distort the facts.

Maxine Richert

North Douglas

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