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As I write this letter, representatives from Alaska Ship and Drydock and the Alaska Marine Highway System are meeting in Juneau to resolve claims relating to renovation work on the M/V Columbia. Alaska Ship and Drydock is a vital part of Ketchikan's economic future. If Alaska Ship and Drydock fails, Ketchikan's economy will continue its decline. If Alaska Ship and Drydock succeeds, Ketchikan's economy will begin to stabilize and grow again. Alaska Ship and Drydock will succeed or fail depending on whether the claims being negotiated in Juneau are resolved fairly and expeditiously.
I have reviewed the claims and evidence Alaska Ship and Drydock has presented in its 136-page response to the claims made by the Alaska Marine Highway System and find the material compelling. Instead of demanding to be paid for late delivery, the Alaska Marine Highway System should be paying Alaska Ship and Drydock for its extra work and causing the delays in the first place.
In recent years, Ketchikan has courted Juneau's friendship by opposing efforts to move the Capitol. In return, Ketchikan has reasonably expected that Juneau would support its neighbor to the South. Juneau is home to the governor and a lieutenant governor who would be the governor. Each of these officials has the power and the responsibility to step in and command the representatives of the Alaska Marine Highway System to abandon the frivolous claims it is now making against Alaska Ship and Drydock in Juneau. Juneau also has a Chamber of Commerce that should be lending its support to Ketchikan on this issue.
If Juneau does not help Ketchikan now, it should no longer take for granted Ketchikan's support to keep the Capitol in Juneau. Friendships do not last without mutual support. Hopefully, the matter will be resolved by the time this letter is printed so we can remain good friends.