Letters to the Editor: Friday, March 23, 2018

City needs professional council members

Despite the voter apathy these days, the coming City election is an important one. In that connection, I would like to make a request of my fellow Avalon citizens. I believe that we all need to think about using our vote to produce a City Council, and a City Government which is more effective.

By that, I mean more professional and better able to set aside narrow, personal issues and work for the common good of our very unique community. If we could achieve this, then our City Council meetings would demonstrate more leadership, and produce more in the way of results, rather than delays, bickering with other local agencies, uncertainty, and passing the buck back to “staff” to rework it some more. The “leadership” needs to be at the Council level, instead of the permanent bureaucracy. Their role is not to lead, but to carry out the wishes of the Avalon citizenry, as articulated by their elected representatives.

Why has this not been happening? In my opinion, it is because of the domination of many discussions by personal agenda, rough and ready decorum, and the stressing of narrow, parochial issues, instead of an open and humble search for the least worst solutions to complex, many-sided issues, involving a variety of local agencies.

In this same connection, we need professional City Council members who have at least these three qualities: a true, broad interest in the good of the City, an ability to work respectfully with the other local agencies—our partners here—and the willingness to study the issues and seek input BEFORE the meetings occur.

This is what every school child already knows: do your homework! Voters also: please do your homework!

Glen Gustafson

Full-time Avalon resident since 2005; Repeat Island camper in the 1940s

 

Hospital tax needs research, due diligence

I would like to say I’m all for having the best hospital the people of Avalon can afford. I have used the hospital in an emergency and the clinic as necessary. I don’t believe anyone expects specialist services at the hospital but more general care and an emergency option until you can get to a specialist on the mainland. I do not believe we can afford a facility that can offer all encompassing specialist services.

When the petition to put this special tax on the ballot was first circulated, my wife and I were told that the cruise ships would not come unless we have a hospital.

I spoke via phone with Carlos Torres, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Port Development at Carnival Cruise lines on Monday, March 12th and he said this is completely false.

Mr. Torres told me Carnival Cruise Lines will continue to come to Avalon as long as the destination is profitable and offers a great cruise passenger experience. He also told me that when the ports in Alaska raised their wharfage fees substantially many cruise ships left even though that was a primary location they visited.

He did also mention that he was disappointed that Carnival Cruise Lines was never contacted or asked for their opinion before this additional tax was put on the ballot, even though they deliver around 25 percentof the visitors to Avalon and are substantially affected by this tax. He also stated that Carnival Cruise Lines will evaluate the impact of the new tax and that no decision has been made to date.

I feel that the research and due diligence has not been completed to have already moved forward with putting the tax on the ballot to pay for a new hospital.

We do not know:

1.) An accurate cost of what the design and construction of a new hospital will be?

2.) Where the hospital will be built or how much that land will cost?

3.) Why the special tax does not end when the hospital construction is paid off?

4.) What is the plan to cover the $600,000 current shortfall in tax revenue in the plan?

5.) What happens if the cruise ships stop coming and fewer cross channel visitors come to the island ? How would the tax shortfall be made up?

We do not have the information we need to make a good decision on this special tax. This tax may ultimately be the answer, but until we have all the unknowns we cannot make an educated yes or no decision. The risk of making the wrong decision and potentially jeopardizing a 25 percentloss or more in visitors because of the additional tax is just too big a risk to take.

Sincerely,

Jerry Dunn

Avalon

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