Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2002

Good public process developed by public, not dictated to them

Of course I read the "Outdoor View" from the June 7 Peninsula Clarion. I might have called it "From the Horse's - - -" since it was mostly former fish board chairman Dan Coffey beating his chest.

Remember it was Dan Coffey who knowingly withheld information from the Alaska Public Offices Commission prior to his confirmation to the board seven years ago. A deal was made to keep this quiet. Coffey's first meeting as chairman was out of cycle for the purpose of allocating cohos at which no public testimony was allowed.

Since Sen. John Torgerson is not returning to Juneau, Coffey can now take the cheap shot he did not have the guts to before. In reality the board wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars taking up Cook Inlet out of cycle. Just last year Coffey and sportfish head Kelly Hepler "acquired" $50,000 from the Kenai River Wake Study to hold halibut meetings in Homer. Even after the 21-day mega-meeting in Anchorage last year, board members received large bonus checks. Too bad there aren't a few more John Torgersons around to hold these men accountable.

In February of 2002, at the Board of Fish meeting on Cook Inlet in Anchorage, Coffey removed six slides from a habitat report, cursed and threatened United Cook Inlet Drift Association board members and also intimidated state employees.

Finally, a public process is not something dictated to the participants, but developed by them. Coffey wrested the process from the local advisory committees and the public when he advanced and infused "his committee process." His agenda, his selection of participants, his road map, his chairmen, and no records kept, a beautiful waste of time and money.

Coffey is to the board process what Brett Huber is to the Kenai king salmon. In these two you have consensus, but not for everyman as they profess. If you need an interview, wait about a month and Huber and Coffey will be at the Kenai Classic. You can get a two-fer.

John McCombs


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