2011-02-12 / Letters

Council Decision Will Cause Financial Hardship to Boat Lines

To the Editor:

I am writing about the deal with the ferries and Mackinac Island. I would like to start off by saying, if I was a resident on the Island, I would be voting to have each and every one of [city aldermen] off of the council. No business should be able to run a monopoly. This would not be a good thing for the three communities where the ferries moor. That is just basic economics. You should be trying to prevent a monopoly from coming into the area.

First, the board wanted to just have one franchise. I think people had their say, and the council and the mayor decided to give two year franchises to all three ferries. Next, the council and the mayor needed to find another way to eliminate competition (meaning Shepler’s, because Star Line may merge its operation with Arnold Line). They ordered the boats to run from when ice season ends to ice season begins. Normally, Shepler’s and Star Line run their businesses from around April to October. This is owing partly because of the ice and the lack of people in the area. Does it make sense for all three boat lines to run in November, December, and possibly some of January? It is dangerous to run, especially the smaller boats like Shepler’s and Star Line, through some of the ice that Arnold Line can, before it becomes difficult for even them. Does the Island council and mayor want deaths on their hands? People say the Arnold Line would never sink, as they continue to push the boat season this year. They said the Titanic wouldn’t either, and we all know what happened there.

I feel the council believes they will get their monopoly by forcing the boat line’s hand. It is going to cause financial hardship to all three boats if they have to run the longer season. There are not many people around here during that time of year. Why should the Island council and the mayor feel they should have so much control over businesses they don’t even own? Look at all the jobs that will be lost. Mackinac County is the highest in the state for unemployment. Do you all want to add to the financial situation all over the counties?

One of these days, Mackinac Island City Council and Margaret Doud, the people are going to stand up and tell you, “We want people on our council that will stand up for what the people need, not just their personal agenda or vendetta against someone.” The people have spoken, why don’t you all listen?

Lana Lennington

St. Ignace

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