I have known John MacKinnon for 40 years. I am proud to be able to call him a friend and colleague. The recent front-page article in this newspaper questioning his integrity, ethics and suggesting he stood to personally get rich off his minority interest in Hyak Mining should the Juneau access phase one be constructed to the Kensington Mine development is best characterized as a shoddy piece of journalistic hogwash.
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Even a most cursory examination of the facts and history surrounding development of the Kensington Mine clearly shows that mine development and profitability is in no way whatsoever predicated on connecting the mine to the Juneau road system. Mine development started prior to the recent events with Juneau access. Successful mine development is based on risk reduction. The mine was not nor is today based on the uncertain development of Juneau access that would connect the mine to the Juneau road system.
MacKinnon is a lifelong Alaskan and Juneauite. He has had an exemplary career as a successful businessman, a long-serving member of the Juneau Planning Commission and Assembly as the Juneau city manager, and most recently, has served as the deputy commissioner for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
MacKinnon's hometown newspaper should be congratulating him for being chosen to be interim commissioner by Gov. Sarah Palin and be further impressed that he is under consideration to be appointed commissioner.
I am sure that Palin will study the issues carefully and thoughtfully and will ultimately appoint an outstanding candidate to lead the Department of Transportation in her administration. All of Juneau should be proud that a highly qualified local is under consideration for the post.
Why the Juneau Empire chooses to pollute the waters with a school of red herring on this issue is beyond understanding. Shame on you.