Soldotna official rebutts decision of Board of Fish

Posted: Monday, August 30, 2004

This letter was submitted to the Alaska Board of Fish members and local media.

There are two issues that I would address to each of you: One, the "safety and security" at the Soldotna Sports Center and the Soldotna community and, two, the issue of resident taxpayers having "open and direct" means of presenting their views to a publicly financed government constituted authority, such as your board.

The discussion regarding a Board of Fish meeting in Soldotna has taken an unfortunate spin which has greatly muddied the waters regarding our community and your perceived willingness to listen to members of the public under your jurisdiction. As King George III found out over 225 years ago, self-reliant, independent Americans do not respond well to the perception of "taxation without representation."

On behalf of the law enforcement employees in Soldotna, I would respectfully inform you that the Soldotna area contains safe and secure homes, schools, churches, businesses and citizens. We are not perfect, but we are not Iraq or Afghanistan where officials need to fear for their safety in a "green zone" or insurgents are "hiding in a mosque" in order to prevent discussion and resolution of honest differences.

There is the perception that the Board of Fish does not want to meet "down here" because they are not open to hearing dissenting opinions. As a group, their minds were made up when appointed and public hearings are only held because they are required by the constitutional rule of law under which they hold authority.

As all of us in public office should know, the spirit of the law is as important to the people as the letter of the law is to those holding offices of public trust. If people believe that the primary reason for meeting in Anchorage is to make it more difficult for concerned citizens of the Kenai Peninsula to participate, it is a violation of the spirit of the law. If a public official is not willing to take the time to hear the views and concerns of all the people involved in their jurisdiction, it is a violation of the public's expectation of representational democracy.

If individual members of the Board of Fish, or any other public body, do not have the time to openly listen to the ideas of those they represent and deliberate conscientiously without predetermined judgments, the process is open to charges of corruption and the individuals should resign.

Soldotna is an awesome place to live, play, retire, work and enjoy the quality of life which "Nature's God" has provided. Please do not make decisions which cast aside our right to full, open participation and treat our citizens as minnows in a school of sharks.

David R. Carey

Soldotna mayor

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