Sept 10, 2006

Scraped together all the money and credit I could, then flew down to Washington to see if I would buy the boat I had been investigating for a week or two after seeing it in Pacific Fishing Magazine. I did my preliminary homework of having a mechanic look at the outboard (compression test came in fine), and a marine survey. With those both looking good, I flew to Seattle on airmiles (it was $720 for a paid ticket!) at 1:15 am, took the 6 am bus to Mt. Vernon, WA, where I met my Peace Corps friend Andrea, who lives there with her husband. She gave me her car, and I headed over to the boat owner’s house nearby. We drove to LaConner to test run the boat. My first impression was that it was much larger than I thought it would be. At just 26 feet long, it’s a lot of boat. We took it for a test run, which went fine. I was down there trying to find something to stop me from buying a boat right now, but realized the boat was exactly what I was looking for. We met later at the owners house with the broker, traded checks and titles and bill of sale, and I was a boat owner again. I didn’t even have buyers remorse the next morning when the owner and I towed the boat up to Bellingham to put on the Alaska ferry, and that was that. I flew back and am here now waiting for the vessel to arrive on Monday. Unfortunately, my buddies will have to pull the boat from the ferry as I was invited to a meeting for Alaska Seagrant in Anchorage to talk about my fishing operation.

Had a great time with Andrea and Alan. They served in the Peace Corps in Liberia, and I trained with Andrea at the Univ. of Oklahoma for 10 weeks prior to our leaving for our assignments in Africa. Peace Corps friends are like people you grow up with – you may not see them for years, but when you get together, it’s like you haven’t seen them for a week or two, and you’re immediately at ease in their company.

I returned home to more rain. It was about 70 and dry in Washington, but not here of course. I opened my mail to find that I was not endorsed by the Juneau Central Labor Council, who I met with last week. They said they would not endorse my candidacy (which I never asked them to do in the first place) but “encouraged me to accumulate additional experience and greater familiarity with the many issues and concerns of working people and their families so I might sometime serve with understanding and effectiveness.”

Huh. I don’t know issues and concerns and am not familiar with “working people”. Apparently, starting your own business and running it on a shoestring with no paid leave, insurance, paid cigarette smoking breaks or holidays is not “work”. Offloading a boat by hand and pushing 500 lb totes full of salmon up a gangway at low tide because there are no mechanical means of doing so at our sorry harbor is not “work”. Taking all of the business risk and paying everyone (including their union worker’s wages) and hope like hell you have a dime left at then end of the month is not “work”. Maybe it only counts as “work” if you work for a union. I’ll need to look that up in the dictionary. Neat……….. I’ll tuck this letter in my assembly folder and hope to find out what “work” is when I attend the candidate forums. Should be fun!

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801
for Juneau Assembly, Oct. 2006
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