Steering our ship

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2002

Hindsight is always 20-20. As a property owner who the Juneau Assembly has asked to fund harbor and utility projects because the $15 million general obligation bond package was approved by the voters in October, I have some observations that my recently earned 20-20 hindsight is prompting me to share:

The Juneau Assembly is doing the best job they know how in steering the ship of Juneau into the 21st century. They are making decisions (some controversial ones), learning from their mistakes and really trying to be responsive to the citizenry. When we see the ship veering off course and voice our displeasure with the course of action the Assembly is taking, they are quick to respond and bring the ship back on course.

I suggest that if in the future the burden of paying for improvements, such as the harbor and utility bond package, is going to be born solely by the "property owners," then only the "property owners" should be allowed to vote whether to approve or disapprove the funding for these projects.

By allowing all voters to cast a ballot, the October vote was skewed from the very beginning against the property owners. If I, as a boat owner, were asked to vote for or against harbor improvements that wouldn't cost me a thin dime, I'd be a fool not to vote yes! Every person who was not a property owner had nothing to lose and everything to gain by voting yes!

The Assembly's 20-20 hindsight has also improved from the results of this bond issue. I believe that the next time they make a bonding proposal they will make every effort to share the financial responsibility for making these city improvements with the entire citizenry of Juneau, with the tourists who enjoy visiting our city and with the businesses that choose to do business in our city, receive a direct benefit from our investments in her and choose to reside elsewhere (like the cruise ship companies).

I applaud the Assembly for their ongoing efforts on our behalf. Steering the ship through rough waters can be difficult. However, judging by the Assembly's positive response to outcry caused by the results of the October ballot, I know the ship is in good hands and whenever a tempest arises the Assembly will do their best to get us into calmer waters.

Ray Vidic


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