My Turn: Tonnage tax is better than port project partnerships
Geldhof, the attorney, I thought, wrote a very explicit My Turn in Friday's Juneau Empire. His assumptions, predictions, named political alliances and other revealing assertions seemed right on the money. And it literally is lots of money we are talking about. Perhaps only peanuts to a wealthy cruise ship industry, but apparently a near life-and-death, poverty scenario for CBJ and the local tourism industry - since our mayor says we are "... not flush right now in this community."
Also, a long-awaited tourism plan is unveiled to reveal a recommended six-member tourism partnership. A control group that would put the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau in charge of creating a grandiose tourism marketing package. But wait - this recommendation seems like the defunct Tourism Advisory Committee, says Assemblyman Powell, and he has requested from the TPlan's author, a written explanation of how it is different? So then, where is all the refreshing innovation in this long-awaited plan? Remember folks, this is the very plan our politically split Assembly is rushing to finish, and hoping to wrap up by June 25 - a whole precious month into yet another cruise ship season!
Oh well, the attorney did a good job in what he said, but he didn't go far enough. He failed to mention what the most essential need is for our community's tourism plan (regardless of the final outcome of the ship tonnage fees, verses the project-based funds, or how the passenger head-tax revenue will be used): To apply an officially sanctioned cap on the number of tourists this tiny community can realistically invite to come here, during a given season. Without that ultimate control firmly in our hands, our quality of life here is forever changed. Well, it is now, actually, and can only get much worse, if nothing at all is done to freeze this endless number of travelers.
Alan R. Munro