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

Quality of life keeps people in town


February 27, 2020 | View PDF

The Haines Borough Assembly is talking about contraction, user fees, and shuttering quality of life components. In 1730 when a young New England printer named Ben Franklin launched his Library Company of Philadelphia paid for by users: 40 shillings for initial membership and 10 shillings yearly. It allowed its subscribers to borrow one book at a time, after signing a promissory note. Lending Libraries, now publicly funded, continue fueling literacy, imagination and growth.

Today we take for granted public funding of libraries, schools, road-work, police, fire service and transportation—all deeply socialistic enterprises. Haines, sometimes inconvenient, and a dark and cold habitat, is made richer by these tax-funded institutions. Certainly the most remarkable of these socialistic constructions is forcing people like me, who have never procreated a child, to fund schools. Yet, I’ve never seen a serious CVN letter suggesting that only parents pay for school. We understand the critical nature of early education.

Our ultra-mobile, older-than-average community votes with more than ballots. They can vote with plane tickets. So be careful what you wish for. Shuttering local, “non-essentials” (aka-Library, Museum, Chilkat Center, Pool), can seem fiscally prudent, but would cause significant economic contraction. That’s bad for Main Street—Brenda. Our populace is both local and very mobile, many with passive incomes, and location-neutral employment. Many who liked the pool, liked the good library, recalled the Chilkat Center programming—won’t be hangin’ round, or shopping local for the long winter.

Burl Sheldon


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