(Juneau Empire file photo)

(Juneau Empire file photo)

Letter: Disappointed by JAHC director’s opposition to Ship-Free Saturdays

As a member of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, I was confused by Executive Director Phil Huebschen’s strident position in his My Turn in the Wednesday, June 5, Juneau Empire, imploring voters not to sign the Ship-Free Saturdays (and Fourth of July) petitions. Despite 1.7 million or more cruise ship passengers predicted for this season and continued growth in the coming years, somehow one day out of seven free of large cruise ships will crush our town’s arts and culture scene, Huebschen writes.

Interestingly, both Phil Huebschen’s My Turn and Kate Troll’s My Turn (Wednesday, May 29) speak of “balance.” While Troll seeks a better balance to allow working families to experience why we love to live in Juneau — to visit the glacier, to watch whales without 77 boats speeding about in all different directions, to enjoy a meal at a downtown restaurant, Huebschen fears that tweaking the “balance” will result in artists and business owners leaving town, and in turn cause irreparable harm to the very artistic and cultural fabric of our city. I don’t buy into the end-of-life-as-we-know-it scenario that Huebschen laments so dramatically. I am fully confident that the artists in our community will continue to thrive and contribute to the Juneau community and will meaningfully engage the independent visitors, even with one day a week free of these immense and polluting cruise ships. And with that I will not renew my membership this year.

Pat White