Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:11 PM on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ban not discrimination

I attended the Kachemak Bay State Park Advisory Board meeting Sept. 14, at which members of the Personal Watercraft Club of Alaska made a presentation about why personal watercraft (jet-skis) should be permitted in Kachemak Bay. Their argument came down to insisting that they're discriminated against that PWCs are the same as any other boats and should be allowed the same "rights."

After the presentation, the advisory board allowed representatives of other organizations to speak. Please, people do you not know the difference between speaking for oneself and representing an organization? A person representing an organization has the explicit authority of that organization's membership or board of directors to represent it on a position taken by the organization and states that right at the start. Being a member of an organization does not give you any right to speak for it. I understand that people were frustrated that there wasn't an opportunity for public testimony, but it was very confusing to those in attendance and a disservice, at least, to the organizations being "represented."

One person on the pro-PWC side, who may or may not have been representing more than herself, attempted to argue that PWCs are good for safety reasons, that they can help with rescues "because they're faster than other boats and can get into areas other boats can't reach." That's exactly the primary reason, along with their ability to change course quickly and move in erratic patterns, that PWCs don't belong in Kachemak Bay, which is overlaid with multiple critical habitat designations for good reason. The murrelets, otters, and other wildlife including the belugas we hope to see return here cannot be expected to coexist with PWCs.

It's not a matter of discrimination; it's a matter of priorities and recognizing that all activities cannot be accommodated in all places.

Nancy Lord