Petition needs thoughtful consideration

Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2000

I'm sorry, but I take offense at Betsy Fischer's assertions in her recent My Turn. Ms. Fischer makes a connection between two groups of people from our town. The first is a group of citizens now engaged in a signature drive that is part of an attempt to reach a consensus on the noise issues associated with flightseeing. She connects them to another group, one that apparently used to sleep and defecate on the front steps of her business and other businesses in Juneau's pre-tourism dark days of yesteryear.

Clearly both of these groups have been difficult for Ms. Fischer to tolerate. I submit to her that the people currently involved in the initiative process are offended at the attempt to smear their work. The initiative hopes to provide for a reasonable amount of peace and quiet for Juneau's neighborhoods and to be livable in the summer months. There are many in Juneau (perhaps Ms. Fischer being one) frightened, and, who perhaps feel their livelihoods threatened by a group of citizens who have finally done what has been asked of our assembly for far too long with little substantive results.

An assertion has been made that those who carry, and further those who sign the petition, are against tourism. Ms. Fischer further would have us believe that the supporters may indeed be against all downtown businesses in general, save those of the colorful ``Wino Alley'' days that she experienced and referred to as a sort of golden age that the anti-noise, anti-growth element must surely pine for. The assertions were made in an effort to derail the head tax issue and it stunk up the place then and it still does.

There were 16,000 plus landings of helicopters in 1999 out of a permitted 19,000 plus. Growth projections have landings in the 40,000 range by 2005. I won't even address the fixed-wing flightseeing. We need to find out from voters when enough is enough, if indeed we have not already reached it. I would hope that the ``them against us'' tactics that permeated Ms. Fischer's letter can be avoided and that we, as citizens, can stay focused on what this initiative speaks to.

I support tourism, I support downtown and I think the initiative deserves, at a minimum, a thorough reading by every voter.

Jeff Gable


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