K-Beach residents not getting equal treatment

K-Beach residents and developers exhibited poor judgment and should be faulted, no, punished, for building near or in former wetlands where water tables had fallen 10 to 15 feet over the past 60 years, where forests of white spruce had colonized former treeless heath, where Borough, state, and federal agencies gave the green light for development by granting subdivisions, changing land classifications (from wetland to upland), accepting roads, and permitting and certifying standard septic systems. These residents and developers should’ve been clairvoyant and surely realized in the future those former wetlands would inevitably become inundated again. Any Monday morning quarterback knew all those formerly sound and dry properties were going to revert back to pre-1950 conditions in as little as two years. What were those K-Beach knuckleheads thinking anyway?!

Logic follows that if residents and developers were at fault for not foreseeing a future flood, then comparably, are not residents or developers who built near or in flammable forestlands also guilty of poor judgment? Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on forest fire suppression to protect poorly situated homes. By doing such are we not subsidizing poor choices?

Does anyone remember the King County Creek and Fox Creek fires of 2005, the Caribou Hills fire of 2007, the Shanta Creek fire of 2009, and the Funny River fire of 2014? All threatened homes within the past 10 years and cost tens of millions to suppress. Nearly $15 million was spent on the Funny River fire suppression effort alone. Granted, tens of millions were spent on fire suppression before 2005 and tens of millions more will be spent into perpetuity. One could make the case that if people hadn’t built near or in flammable forestlands taxpayer money would not now be wasted on suppression and prevention efforts. Interestingly enough, I’ve never heard that case made here on the forested western Kenai Peninsula. Of course not! Everyone knows it’s a God-given right to have public funds expended to protect private property from forest fires, economics or common sense be damned!

Don’t forget if local residents and politicians have their way, in the near future tens of millions of taxpayer dollars will be spent on coastal bluff stabilization. Wouldn’t that be subsidizing the residents and developers who lacked foresight and built on or near erodible coastal bluffs?

So, if your home or community is threatened by forest fire (climatological forces), or coastal bluff erosion (geological forces), mountains will be moved with substantial public resources being brought to bear to eliminate or mitigate the threat. But if it’s threatened by groundwater flooding (hydrological forces), sorry, you folks are on your own. K-Beach residents are inconceivably audacious when they dare expect a modicum of flood relief in requesting the Borough, at a minimum, adhere to its own standards and ordinances — providing roadside ditches that actually drain and don’t flood neighboring homes and properties! In reply the Borough says it can’t do that because that might result in a lowered water table?! Are you kidding me?

Does anyone see the logical inconsistency here? Don’t worry if you don’t. The majority of Borough taxpayers don’t and our current Borough administration doesn’t either. But if you do see an inconsistency, hypocrisy dare I say, please let it inform the choices you make on Tuesday.