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EDITOR, Daily News:
I'm writing to both the assembly person I met in Walmart yesterday and to the citizens of Ketchikan.
To that assembly person I met, if I offended you or spoke in any way less than respectful to you, I apologize. I don't apologize for having an opinion, but if I acted in any way less friendly than I could have or should have, I ask your forgiveness. You acted out of character, which indicated to me that I acted wrong. There’s no excuse for wrong behavior or disrespect on my part.
To the folks on our island, please allow me to respectfully give some advice. We need to get back to an atmosphere of civility in our community. I attended the governor's lunch and was amazed at the bravado folks put forward when they spoke to him. I did feel in a couple of cases there was a lack of courtesy displayed that made the discourse unfriendly. It seems we feel we need to raise our voice to get our point across, and that usually produces a raised voice on the other side. We need to be able to communicate without working ourselves up and getting angry. That produces nothing. We don't need to argue. We need to attack problems instead of attacking people.
To the politicians in our community, I would also, respectively, give some advice. Some of us will disagree with some of you. You knew this when you signed up. The trend is becoming a walk away, and "we're done here" attitude, or a lot of you are quitting. The only way you are going to be able to represent us is by knowing what we feel. Friendliness works both ways, and we should be able to have a conversation even when we disagree. I realize some tough decisions need to be made, but please remember that there are usually two sides to every issue. Each opinion has some value. Thank you for your service. We often tend to forget that you are willing to give up your time and knowledge to try and make this a better place to be.
One of the best quotes I ever heard from an Alaska politician was during an interview with House Speaker Mike Cheneault from Nikiski, who at the time was running for governor. He’d been speaker for some time and was asked the question about what was the best thing he learned from his time in Juneau. He said he had to learn that you can't win every battle. If we are going to have the reputation of a friendly place to live, we all need to recognize that. Ketchikan is a great community, and I don't want to live any place else. We need to make it a friendly community that works through the tough things and comes out on the other side friends.