Balance needed in city decisions

Posted: Wednesday, March 08, 2000

First, a compliment. The city crews do a wonderful job of sanding the streets during the winter. Even my little side street is usually clean within a short time after it snows. And I was quite impressed with the quick removal of a mudslide at the foot of the street a few months ago.

But there is a problem. A few years ago I asked several longtime or lifetime residents what they felt was the core of the city, what they valued and cherished. A town in a beautiful setting isolated by geography, but appreciative of a wonderful outdoor lifestyle enhanced by plays, paintings, and music of top quality.

As a relative newcomer I can say all of this is true, but it's changing rapidly. The assembly is engaging in selective poverty.

There is not enough money to keep the public libraries open full-time, but an environmental consultant to check remote sites for heliports is airily suggested.

The city museum is so starved for money it can be open only once a week during the winter, but the police just gave away most of the old furniture and fixtures from the old station. We couldn't have old things in a $9 million facility, now could we?

Mental health services must go, but somehow we must find ways to let the tourism industry spend as little as possible. Including allowing some expensive shops to cheat on the state tax by encouraging customers to get the out-of-town exemption rather than requiring, say, proof of Alaska residency before issuing the certificate.

Did I talk to the wrong people?

Dee Longenbaugh

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