My Turn: Bias suspected in media coverage of Chamber event

Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2007

Two colleagues of mine attended the Juneau Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at the Moose Lodge last Thursday, complaining, as per usual, about the Democratic candidates and their answers to the undoubtedly tough questions posed by members of the openly pro-development Juneau Chamber.

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I didn't pay much attention, being one of the more liberal-leaning members of my office (I am in fact a registered Green Party member), but I must admit that after reading the Juneau Empire's account of the exchange, it seemed as though both sides are not being fairly represented in the media.

I suspect the coverage of the exchange between Kendziorek and Dick Knapp to be somewhat biased. I notice that not much was said in the Empire regarding Kendziorek's thin-skinnedness, almost bordering on paranoia, with his accusation that the Chamber was a "hostile crowd" (according to people who were there), and that the Chamber was "setting him up." However, the Empire certainly made sure to point out that Knapp had "interrupted him" to ask for a straight yes-or-no response to what most people consider to be a fairly legitimate question about a fairly legitimate and highly debated issue in Juneau, the road.

How dare a member of the business community demand such a thing as a straight answer from someone running for local public office?

I also noticed that when the Empire came to Kendziorek's answer to the questions posed regarding the current population drain of young professionals and young families from Juneau and Southeast, Kendziorek's answer to this problem was to give existing state employees a raise. The Empire notably failed to mention the rather important fact that Kendziorek is, himself, employed full time with the state. It just seems pertinent to point things like that out in today's political climate of bribery, corruption and the pursuit of self-interest. To those who know how to think: Be wary of how and from whom your information is served to you. There are only so many media outlets in this neck of the woods.

Vote for incumbents Randy Wanamaker and Johan Dybdhal. They have proven themselves through years of dedicated and effective service on the Juneau Assembly and will work to stop the bleeding of an economically depressed Juneau by building mines and roads rather than arts centers and swimming pools. And for those of you who believe that reports of a tanking Juneau economy are "anecdotal", please take the time to read the August 2007 "Juneau Economic Overview" compiled by Juneau Economic Development Council and the McDowell Group, which can be seen at

• Ethan Simons is a resident of Douglas.

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