KRSA claims hurt community, walk fine line with regulations

Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2004

My fellow Kenai Peninsula residents, as your state representative for District 33, I've stood on the issues of representing my constituents here on the Kenai. Now I find myself again standing up to special interest once more, in a recent flurry of e-mails and letters to Alaska Department of Fish and Game board support section, Kenai River Sport Fish Association executive director and their founder have made accusations toward my community, as to the public's safety to holding the Board of Fish meetings here in Soldotna this coming January.

In an Aug. 11 e-mail addressed to Ms. Diana Cote of the Fish and Game board support section, the executive director of KRSA addresses threats of physical violence made on members of the Board of Fish in 2000 when the board met here in Soldotna to discuss Upper Cook Inlet proposals. For an individual of the community to make such a brazen statement might be over looked, but for an executive director of a charitable organization that publicly states to represent the community and the world's greatest fishing river is quite another. This action leads to public distrust and ill will among my community, and I will not stand for it.

The Kenai River Sport Fish director makes reference to the recent public display on subsistence on our local beach, where protesters peacefully gathered to protest for their subsistence rights. This group never consider bringing harm to our U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Could it be KRSA was making reference that Sen. Murkowski was one of the individuals that our Alaska Board of Fish should be afraid of? After all, she is endorsed by the NRA and is an Alaska resident who has the legal right to carry a concealed weapon.

These comments about my community by this organization have brought to light another issue that I will be addressing through the appropriate channels. To think how national security could be affected by the Kenai River Classic event: After all, one of the most powerful government officials in the country comes to the Kenai to spend a few days annually, bringing with him high ranking congressional members of our U.S. government to sit on a river lined with woods and brush that could provide cover for an unruly Kenai Peninsula discontent. Just who will pay for this security? We the taxpayers or Kenai Peninsula Sport Fishing Association?

My family and I have been the recipients of six threats of physical violence and disdainful treatment, some by this very same executive director and founder of KRSA, who now says my community is unsafe for public officials. As a public official, I remain unafraid of this little organization antics and its spew of untruths. Soldotna seems to be a perfectly safe place for the thousands of tourists who visited this summer and went unharmed. I wonder just how each of our U.S. officials will respond next year when they are asked to visit the world famous Kenai River in the most dangerous place in America: "Soldotna."

These actions tread on the fine lines of violating several Internal Revenue Service regulations pertaining to charitable organizations, one of which is the development of public distrust and ill will among the communities in which it resides. Second is their involvement of the political process, endorsement and support for political officials.

In closing, I find it appalling for this organization with all its political clout to display this type of disdain toward my community where they hold their primary fund raiser. While as state representative for District 33, one of my first concerns is with Homeland Security, I can't help but wonder about the national security risk we are putting our high ranking government officials in for the sake of KRSA's opportunity to sell their face time with corporate leaders just so they may continue to build "their" war chest of nearly $2 million.

Unless these allegations are just more rhetoric and disdain that often is displayed by Kenai River Sport Fish Association and its member towards my community? A community in which I'm proud to reside in safely and represent.

Rep. Kelly Wolf

District 33

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