July 23, 2014

July 23, 2014

Think About It……….                                                                    July 23, 2014

Part 1:

Part 2:

It’s time for a little perspective.

A man once bought a block of land. On it, he built nice house, but nothing special. He invested in that house and built a family around it and gradually rebuilt the walls and windows, replaced the carpets, made general upgrades. He made those upgrades for the sake of his family and to hopefully one day get a return for the time and money he invested.

Then he got neighbors. They were nice neighbors, good people, who were kind and friendly and helpful. But they liked the sunny clearing in his front yard, so they started camping out there in their lawn chairs. At first it was just one or two, so the man smiled and waved from his window as he continued to work on new bathroom plumbing. Then it was ten, then twenty. Suddenly, the City Police came down and started organizing the encampment, so that everyone could get equal time in the sun.

Around this time, the man emerged from his basement where he’d just finished converting the concrete walls and floor into a family room. What happened to his yard? There were traffic cones and people had worn little pathways across to the best spots to catch the sun. “The sunlight belongs to us all,” they argued, and in his confusion he had to agree. ‘Sunshine is common property,’ he mused, and went back inside to escape the noise of crying children and men arguing over who was next in line.

In the quiet recesses of his kitchen, the man looked at his family and wondered how this had happened. They moved quietly in and out of their rooms for a few days, going about their business, wondering if they’d ever get their home back.

Then they started to hear chanting out front. The timid family  moved closer to the window to see what was going on.

The campers had united and a leader stepped out in front. “It’s time for more sunshine for all of us!” he declared proudly. “This family doesn’t own the sun! We deserve our share. Let’s tear down the house!”

Because this was a polite democracy, they even decided to hold a vote. The family crawled out to the quietest corner of the yard and cast their ballots.

“And the results are in!” shouted the charismatic leader, “857 in favor, 4 against. I hereby declare this house rightfully rubble!”

And so the kind, happy, friendly people pitched in, helping each other kindly pull the house apart, plank by plank, window by window. The family tried to stop them, running to and fro, but in the end all they could do was gather their things and stand back.

“You don’t own the sun,” the people told them pointedly. “It’s not fair that you have so much of it and we have so little,” they warned.

At the end of the day, as the last rays receding and the moon pulled higher into the sky, the kind happy people went home and the family sat in what once was their living room.

How had this happened? They had never wanted to steal all the sunshine, all they wanted was to build a home, invest in something which could be passed along to their children, and live a quiet life in their own little piece of paradise. They had a deed with their name on it, a legal agreement that they could build something on this land, but it seemed that counted for little in this kind, friendly democracy.

Heck, it’s not like they were commercial fishermen trying to make a living… or is it?

Think About It!      7-23-14

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  1. Ritsie 23 July, 2014, 09:58

    Very well said. No mention of compensation for their loss, either.

  2. JP 24 July, 2014, 12:09

    I don’t know, this was probably a little deep for the crowd we’re dealing with. “What do you mean? There is plenty of sun for everyone during fishing season….”

  3. diane 24 July, 2014, 13:01

    Years ago before tourism and the Anchorage vultures…the kenai was a peaceful place. The commercial fisherman were a large part of building this community. They loved the land and the place they called home. They worked hard to make an honest living. This analogy is perfect! I fell like my families home and lifestyle of 70 years is being torn down and stolen from me.

  4. Chrise 24 July, 2014, 16:13

    What a great analogy. It saddens me that wealthy people are trying to take away my living, are they willing to take money out of their pockects to compensate everyone. This initiative will affect more than commercial setnetters. Everyone in this community will be affected.

  5. cheech 25 July, 2014, 16:17

    Think about this – there is great income inequality in the east side set net permit earnings that rarely gets mentioned.

    2011 was a bumper year – so every permit holder made money on a record return and high prices – right?

    Well on a record type earnings year in 2011, 20 permit holders earned on average $250,000, and the next 46 highest earners averaged over $100,000.

    Yet the vast majority, close to 400 permits, more than 70 percent, of the set net permit holders earned less than $13,000 in 2011.

    There is a wage discrepancy on the wage earning potential on east side set nets that is not seen in any other commercial fishery in Alaska – about 20 to 1 between the “highliners” and the lowliners.

    For Cook Inlet drifters in 2011, the earnings ratio between the highliners and lowliners was 4 to 1, much closer to the statewide average for other commercial fisheries.

    The vast majority of “commercial” fishermen on the Kenai Peninsula, about 80 percent, earn their income fishing in other areas of Alaska, not in Cook Inlet.

    In Cook Inlet, many of the “commercial” fishermen earn secondary income as a set netter – a larger percent of income comes from their primary jobs as doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, managers, teachers, who can afford to take time off from their year-round job to earn additional income.

    For some, a small minority of the beach highliners, can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in a very short window of time. For others who make up the majority of Cook Inlet set net permit holders, they earn just enough to pay the fixed yearly costs.

    For the majority of east side set netters, fishing is not a primary source of income and never has been.

  6. Bluff Bunny 29 July, 2014, 12:42

    When I read this, I thought it was about ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!
    Go back and read it with THAT viewpoint….and ask yourself what conclusion you make?

    What RIGHT do people coming here illegally – breaking our laws – have?

    Do THEIR wants override ours?

  7. mike 1 August, 2014, 00:11

    Your xenophobia is made much worse by your bigotry.

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