Ketchikan is proposing a $38.5 million port revenue bond issue to pay for a combination of downtown dock renovations, ground transportation improvements, realignment of the Casey Moran Float and a new waterfront promenade from downtown to the Newtown area. This is a lot of money the residents cannot afford with the rising cost of living. Explain ground transportation improvements? Why does the Casey Moran Float need realignment?
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I read Lew Williams III's article with great interest, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall promoting the dock expansion initiative. In my opinion, Lew III sent a threatening message. If this bond issue doesn't pass, the City Council would consider cutting 16 community agencies such as the Ketchikan Committee for the Homeless, Rendezvous Senior Day Service, Patchworks and Catholic Community Service. They would lose funding of their share of $280,000. Lew said, "I just want everybody to understand what's going to happen if we don't address this dock issue." It is a scare tactic used by politicians to raise property taxes or increase sales taxes and hold the hard-working, blue-collar citizens as hostages. I think that is wrong and a good reason to vote no on the dock expansion bond.
Lew III should be talking about the Haloacetic acids problem that causes cancer in your drinking water. I would vote yes to a safe drinking water bond before I vote for dock expansion. You cannot drink a dock, and how are you going to pay for something if you're dying of cancer?
The tourism industry is going to survive. Tourists will come to Ketchikan to see totem poles, Native culture and Native history. Ketchikan is the first port city. I have a theory: "Don't spend money you don't have," or "save your money and purchase what you can afford." It applies to the dock expansion.
Just like the $315 million-plus boondoggle bridge to Gravina Island via Pennock Island, the citizens of Ketchikan cannot afford the maintenance costs with new roads, water, sewer, police and fire protection. Guess who is supporting the dock expansion bond? The same few people that want you to build this bridge to nowhere. These few opulent people will and are putting you in debt if you vote yes to $38.5 million in debt bond. Vote no on dock expansion and the renovation bond on April 11.
Don Hoff Jr.
Past city councilman and vice mayor of Ketchikan