Direct Democracy

    Direct Democracy
    submitted by Karla Hart

    What could Juneau become if we focus our tourism on creating and supporting opportunities that are sustainable, regenerative, and better aligned with our community, and measured success with more than just numbers?

    How do we balance quality of life, a resilient local economy, and overall community well-being and happiness against an industry that generates widespread noise, congestion, and pollution?

    For years Juneau has talked of limits to cruise ship tourism; however, our local leaders have failed to seriously consider any and the cruise industry has continued as they wish. Juneau’s tourism economy is out of balance, with an overwhelming reliance on, and concentration of power with, massive cruise ship tourism and the businesses that are over-reliant upon them.

    Juneau voters have the right to practice direct democracy. We can petition to put city charter amendments before the voters, and the voters have the right to vote yes or no. One voter, one private vote. Three questions, each can stand alone or together.

    McHugh Pierre, in a recent opinion piece, claims that, if passed, the initiatives would devastate the community of Juneau. He urges residents to not even sign the petitions.

    Is the cruise industry so fragile that providing some balance and restraint to their unregulated growth would cause devastation? If Juneau enjoyed evenings or Saturdays off from large cruise ships, how would that devastate us? And, what public process is sounder than direct democracy? One person, one vote.

    The eleven initiative sponsors, all residents long enough to remember when ship-free Saturdays in Juneau were common,  and our allies look forward to gathering signatures and engaging in respectful discussions. If you would like to get in touch, you may email We expect to begin collecting signatures on May 3.


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