The Empire's flightseeing editorial was offensive and infantile. It is no wonder that so many uninformed individuals aren't able to speak (or write) on controversial topics without a ``throw the baby out with the bath water'' attitude. Here's the Empire writing with an illogical and extremely disruptive misinterpretation of reality, that can only escalate this community's antagonism over a controversial subject.
Did anyone involved with the new initiative say that they wanted tourism to go away? Did anyone say that tourism has not been good for Juneau? Those answers are no. Why is an often-expressed desire on the part of many Juneau citizens for reducing the impact of cruise ship tourism automatically heard as anti-tourism sentiment? These are two very separate ideas; one does not equate to the other. Why would reduced hours for flightseeing tours (or, for that matter, my preference, a day without cruise ships altogether) cause Juneau to revert to the ``bad old days?'' Why is the Empire editor, and Chris Garrison, suggesting that we will experience a reversion to 1970 or earlier? Why not to 1985, or even 1996?
If I recall correctly Juneau citizens clearly stated in the McDowell Tourism Survey that while things to that point had generally been fine, they did not wish cruise ship tourism to grow past 1996 levels. The ships will not stop coming if we say we require one day per week without them. Our community is a beautiful and valuable commodity. Why are some of you so dead set on selling it out quickly and cheaply? Ever hear of OPEC? Ever collect sports cards or Beanie Babies? Reduced availability often adds value, especially if you think of the long-term good of the community instead of the short term good of cruise ship companies.
And yes, I was here during the ``bad old days,'' but I don't remember them as all bad. You know what I remember? I remember being excited when the first ship of the season came in. Lots of us locals turned out for each ship, without being bribed by the JCVB to ``volunteer.'' I remember summers during the four- and five ships-per-week seasons when it was fun and lively to be downtown with all the folks. I remember a mere five years ago, when tourism flourished and shops were busy. When money was being made, but I didn't encounter groups of tourists on my favorite trails and there wasn't incessant noise during the five months of the year that we residents can actually have our windows open.
Empire, you should be the advocate of compromise, not the harbinger of idiotic doomsday scenarios. Or at the very least, save your embrangling rhetoric for a little closer to election day.
Kathleen (KJ) Bailey North Douglas
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