Mr. Thoma's response to our "guest editorial" was a very good example of the smoke that a small extreme group of people uses to confuse and misinform our population.
First of all, our letter-editorial-opinion was very appropriate. The poll taken (whether it was official or not) is one of many indications that unless some action is taken quickly and decidedly as a unified Juneau, we have a very good chance of seeing the legislative sessions move and the capital following behind.
Our letter was not aimed at environmentalists as Mr. Thoma inappropriately stereotyped from our comments. I have friends and neighbors that would consider themselves environmentalists and a blend of development with being environmentally aware is very good for our city. What our comments referred to was environmental extremism that completely shuts down and hinders growth by any measure. Extremists from both sides of the political spectrum should not be allowed to dictate the direction of our city's development.
Our statement regarding how the rest of Alaska views Juneau was not to hurt anyone's feelings or be a "hue and cry against all environmentalists." The comments were made from observing attitudes throughout Alaska and Southeast regarding our beautiful city, and they are not positive attitudes. I'm pleased to hear Mr. Thoma and his friends don't want the capital to move. However, the community as a whole needs to take some positive actions that convince the rest of the state that government should stay in Juneau. Our editorial listed four options for creating a more positive attitude toward economic development. I did not see any positive suggestions by your response, Mr. Thoma.
Finally, we decided to write Wednesday's letter because we are worried about the future of our city. We have successful businesses, we volunteer and contribute to this community, and genuinely care about making Juneau a better city. I was pleased to hear that the Assembly voted unanimously to set aside monies to fight the legislative move initiative. What is very disappointing and inappropriate is dividing our small community into environmentalist vs. "pro-development zealots" and comparing our population of 30,000 to downtown Seattle at rush hour.
Thanks to all the letters and phone calls of support of our letter. Please don't stop there, we all need to work together so our children can enjoy our same lifestyle here in Juneau.
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