Juneau's reaction to AMHS move is fear

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, March 21, 2004

I am absolutely flabbergasted at how most of Juneau perceives this Marine Highway administrative move. First off, I agree that there should have been more of a "heads-up," as far as the announcement was concerned. I'm sure that this is where most of the bad feelings come from. A lot of Juneauites believe that voters should have a direct say in every policy their "elected" officials make, but, they are elected so that each civic decision doesn't have to end up on a ballot, which would be a terribly inefficient and dangerous system.

Secondly, a lot of Juneauites firmly believe that state jobs are an "entitlement" to those who live here and to those who hold them already. This is the underlying reason we have no "industry" to speak of in Juneau. It is also a big reason our economy has been relatively flat over the last ten years. This general attitude has led Juneau to become, in part, a welfare town, one in which a majority percentage of the people are able earn money by not actually producing anything of value at all, nor turning any kind of profit. I think everyone understands the fiscal irresponsibility of any government office.

Third, this move will help Ketchikan much more than it will hurt Juneau, by a factor of about 4-to-1. It will make running the Ferry System much more efficient and lower operating costs exponentially over the years, not to mention being closer to the actual shipyards they are overseeing.

I am sorry that 40 people will have to relocate to another beautiful Alaska port city in order to continue in their current jobs, but there were no guarantees that those would be in Juneau forever.

The reactions I've seen so far, are that of fear. People extrapolate that if you move one office, the whole capital is moving, all those administration jobs will leave and then what? Juneau might have to actually support itself? What then? No one seems to want any kind of industry here, only bars, summer tourism, coffee shops and bookstores, so we might end up just like, you guessed it, Ketchikan.

Jono Collard


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