Rick Shattuck made several questionable statements in his "My Turn" editorial on Sunday. I would like to correct one of the most egregious ones here. Readers should be aware that the group that opposes the proposition to have the City build a causeway from Sunny Point to Douglas Island is not an "always say no crowd."
The "Vote NO on Prop. 2" advertisement on page A3 of Sunday's paper lists some of the amazingly diverse group of people who are leading the opposition to the causeway plan. Many of the long list of opponents have little in common with each other. But they are united in opposition to Proposition 2 because it is a bad idea.
In fact, the proposition is a collection of bad ideas. It will bisect the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, it will open a huge area of the refuge to increased impacts from people and dogs, it may impact flight paths, it likely will preclude some larger vessel traffic, it will result in hunting restrictions near the causeway, it will negatively affect homes on Sunny Point, it may require condemnation of homes on Douglas Island, it will likely have a major impact on traffic on the North Douglas Highway - and on and on.
But the one underlying concern that virtually all of the opposition leaders agree on is this: If Proposition 2 passes, it will tie up the City and Borough of Juneau's temporary one percent sales tax for 10 years. Recent projects supported by this tax have included the police station, school repair and rehabilitation, improvements at Bartlett Regional Hospital, construction of the ice rink, the midmountain chair lift at Eaglecrest, the Statter Harbor expansion, the downtown parking garage, areawide sewer infrastructure expansion, the consolidated public works shop, airport renovations and deferred maintenance projects.
If Proposition 2 passes, projects like these will struggle for funding and may not get done at all unless taxes are raised to pay for them. Proposition 2 is a bad idea in a bad place at a bad time. If you vote yes on Proposition 2 you won't just be saying that you like the idea of a second crossing. You will be voting to fundamentally change the refuge and lock up funds that otherwise would support much more critical capital projects in Juneau. Please vote no.
Editor's note: Zimmerman is a signatory to the advertisement he refers to in his letter.