Supports fast ferry

Posted: Sunday, March 05, 2000

It's very sad to see a small group from Juneau, posing as business and community leaders, try to kill the fast ferry proposal between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. It smacks more of political revenge than any honest approach to a logical transportation policy.

Led by a former Juneau mayor, Jamie Parsons, this self-appointed group also doubles as the Alaska Committee, who claim that their political savvy and activities are the only way to `cement' the capital here. The members of this group also sit as the local advisory board of Holland America Cruise Lines. The cruise line withdrew its financial support of Juneau's nonprofits in a fit of head-tax rage a few months ago. As a group, they are involved in large-scale tourism, promoting more ships, more visitors and unlimited helicopter and fixed-wing tours that pay no local taxes and which drive us all crazy with five months of noise.

This disgruntled group vocally opposed the recent cruise ship passenger fee, while they fervently supported the capital-building fiasco on Telephone Hill a few years ago. But 70 to 30 percent of losing votes meant nothing to these folks; they just said it was a poor turnout. Now they are furious that their incessant hammering for a toll road to Skagway was not chosen. Yet they have taken their spitefulness too far this time; parading in the legislative halls claiming ``road or nothing'' and probably ensuring that Ketchikan won't get a fast ferry.

This is a classic case of sore losers taking their political revenge and mean-spiritedness out on the whole region.

Chip Thoma



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