The borough’s vision for Haines often runs against what many residents want. It is allowing—without question—an international mining company to despoil our land and salmon streams. The borough manager works tirelessly to turn our residential neighborhoods into heliports or large event venues—regardless of how many residents beseech her not to. We were told affordable housing was a priority. But the Borough’s huge increase in property assessments has made it more expensive for current and future homeowners to live here. We were made a gun sanctuary without our vote. It was suggested at a recent assembly meeting that a sidewalk between town and the cruise ship dock should be repaired to make it easier for passengers to walk. Yet, the elderly living at HAL and veteran’s housing must walk over a heaving, broken and plant-growing sidewalk to get to Main Street. Haines bills itself as the “Adventure Capital of Alaska,” but the manager says it is beyond her means to attempt to keep the Portage Cove campground open for those true adventurers who bike hundreds of miles to get here. Yet, she quickly rounded up $57,000 to denude trees to keep us safe from bears, even though bears come to town for food, not trees. A huge dock way beyond our needs is being built. We are told it’s not for ore shipments; but assemblyman Gabe Thomas is on tape enticing a mining company to use it for that. The indifference to public input is bone wearying.

Sharon Resnick