Local News

Dinley takes heat, apologizes for comment at tax forum

Two Sitka residents took to the microphone at Tuesday night’s Assembly meeting to protest some comments made by Municipal Administrator Jim Dinley earlier this month.

During a Feb. 3 forum on taxes at the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce, moderator Keith Perkins read a question from the audience. It sounded like a loaded question to Dinley.

PERKINS: “… Why doesn’t the city encourage infrastructure to attract more tourists? Sitka has a terrible attitude against change and development. While they try and figure that out…”
DINLEY: “I think your question is ‘Do you still beat your wife?’ You’re working from the assumption we’re not business friendly…”

Dinley uttered a phrase often used to point out a loaded question. It brought laughs from the audience at the luncheon. But Sitka resident Ginny Blackson did not find the comments funny, and she said so on Tuesday.

“In the six years I have lived in Sitka, I know a half dozen women who have been brutally sexually assaulted and received no justice,” Blackson said. “So you’ll excuse me if I don’t think these comments were funny, and that I am offended by both the comment that where I’m from would never have been made in polite company, and certainly would not have been made by someone being paid to represent the people of Sitka.”

She was followed by Brian Sparks, a domestic violence prevention specialist for Sitkans Against Family Violence, who echoed her sentiments and pointed out that domestic violence is a serious problem in Alaska.

Dinley offered a response later during the meeting.

“I’m very uncomfortable sitting here on my comments. If I offended anybody, I apologize,” he said. “I was asked an impossible question. My wife was sitting in the audience. I totally respect my wife and my children. If that offended you or the people that laughed, I’ll give you my apology. But that’s not who I am.”

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Art is big business in Southeast Alaska

The Sitka Summer Music Festival is part of Southeast Alaska's arts economy, which generated about $60 million in spending in 2013. Here, Artistic Director Zuill Bailey explains some musical backstories at 2014's final concert. (KCAW photo/Greta Mart)
What are the arts worth to Southeast Alaska? A new economic study says at least $60 million a year in business. more

Conley, Fulton offer united front in school board forum

Candidates Tom Conley (l.) and Tim Fulton are familiar company. They served three years together previously on the school board. Funding pressures have kept the board focused -- and united -- in recent years. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)
Beginning next month, Sitka will have a school board solidly aligned in its opposition to vouchers, its opposition to amending the state constitution to allow public funding for private and parochial schools, and in its support of teachers. Two long-time board members participated in a candidate forum at the Sitka Chamber of Commerce. more