Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Leaders respond to Facebook page


February 16, 2017

A private Facebook page came under fire at Tuesday’s Haines Borough Assembly meeting.

Two assembly members were critical of “Haines Rant and Rave,” a members-only page launched a month ago by Ryan Cook. Cook is a fisherman who ran unsuccessfully in October’s assembly election.

Assembly member Heather Lende said she was “really treated rather badly” by comments posted on the page. Lende said she hadn’t seen the page, but was told by a family member that she was called profane names on the site. There were also threats about a boycott of her family-run lumberyard.

“There aren’t going to be people willing to sit (on the assembly) or borough committees if they’re subject to this kind of slander and vicious attacks in public. It’s really very hard,” Lende said.

Assembly member Margaret Friedenauer said she was forwarded insulting posts from the site.

“I don’t go looking for this stuff. You can’t keep a secret in this town between two people you see at IGA. I don’t know why 290 people on a Facebook page are going to think anything they say is going to be secret.”

She said freedom of speech comes with repercussions, explaining that there are days she doesn’t go to the grocery store “because I don’t want to see people.”

Cook said this week that the month-old page serves a purpose. “It’s got everybody talking. It’s a good place to have a discussion. I post all kinds of stuff, from the (Juneau) Empire, what the legislature’s doing.”

Cook said comments targeting Lende were responses to characterizations she made on her own Internet blog about a crowd that turned up Feb.7 to testify against a proposed map they feared would prohibit motorized use of public lands.

“Heather flipped the whole thing around on the people that were there. People didn’t appreciate that,” Cook said.

Cook says he can control what’s posted on the site but he can’t control comments people make on what is posted. (Facebook allows a page administrator to delete comments from a page after they’re made.)

Cook said he couldn’t find any insults about Friedenauer, but said many comments are made and it’s difficult to keep up with them all.

“Your emotions take over at some point. It’s a rant and rave page,” Cook said.

Cook said he posted a notice on the page Feb. 8 saying, “We shouldn’t be cursing or acting like little kids. We are and need to be a respectable group that has a big voice.”

Cook acknowledged that he had “said things too” but has since changed the way he expresses himself on the page. “Let’s act/talk like the people we want to be running this town!” he wrote.

Cook said the post about politeness got 45 “likes.” The media is prohibited from the site, he said.


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