too busy, too long…

Sometimes there’s too much to do for too long,

and for so long I can’t remember why I’m doing any of it

The last few months have been that way.

There’s still no end in sight but I find I must sit  and catch up a bit with things which matter to me .


This essay made a lot of sense when I read it last fall and has continued to through many readings.

The Royal “We”

by Paul Waldman at The American Prospect

“The truth, though, is that “the American people” don’t have opinions or beliefs or judgments. Each one of us does, and subsets of us share some things in common, but the idea of a collective national will is a fantasy.”

We do spend a lot of time talking about the -American-people, Americans-think, blah, blah, blah.

The tendency to generalize is human and it seems tidy but so very often we generalize from shaky ground. Or for shaky reasons.

I’m reasonably good at spotting shaky foundations in what others say but have a bit more trouble spotting my own

( At least until it rains and I  end up all of a heap on the ground because my soapbox turned out to be cardboard instead of something sturdy 🙂 )

Lately,  I spend a fair amount of time at The Fallacy Files  when I’m puzzling through  an essay or speech , by politicians in particular, which “feels funny”.

There are many, many examples and discussions available there  to help flesh out  what-is-haywire-with-this type questions I have.

I think  the Fallacy Watch section , Familiar Contextomies and How to Read a Poll,   is particularly interesting.

Reminds me of my dad’s exhortation to be wary even of those you agree with when it comes to devices of style in rhetoric.


My mind is much on fish though I don’t really have time right now to talk much about issues.

However, I found it interesting that Tyler Rhodes thought it important to correct the article
Wards Cove sale a new day for Native corporation ” as regards the Native Corporation mention but skims, as most folks do, over the fact that Siu Alaska and Coastal Villages Pollock are for-profit  subsidiaries of non -profit Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation and Coastal Villages Regional Fund respectively.

Native Corporations are those formed under the Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act ,  ANSCA, and definitely have nothing to do with Community Development Quota corporations which were formed under the  Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act .


The  relationship between the parent CDQ non-profits and their  for-profit subsidiaries has not been discussed out in the open much.

Or when they are, there is not enough attention paid.

This one,
 CDQ group suffers as tightly-closed fraternity
still makes the hair on my head stand straight up a year and a half later. I think allowing for Mr Taufen’s bias (which is very like my own ) or bypassing it, enough remains here to question a number of things about the feeder corporations in relation to the so-called parent corps.

Wesley Loy regularly reports on CDQ news at Deckboss.

The comments here run the gamut of concerns by stakeholders and interested parties.

While one might dismiss many comments as sour grapes, ignorant, whatever , there seems to me to be common themes the CDQs ( they are all different ) do not address publicly with their stakeholders.

 Or skim over. Or gloss over.

For those who don’t live near the coast , federal fisheries management turns on notions of property now, in the form of quota for the right to fish. The set aside quota for CDQs has indeed made money. The movement and expansion to fishing their own quota has indeed generated money.

But whether stakeholder communities really benefit as originally envisioned is a whole other ballgame. A real way of measuring benefit has yet to be developed. There are lots of reports about employment, dollars all over the place, and so on, but most that I’ve read fall back on some rendition of “actual measure of economic development in stakeholder communities is hard to quantify”.

I think it’s time to pay attention to the  too much ignored talk from member communities who feel cut off from the CDQs which were formed to serve them, left out of  the loop, and at the mercy of decisions by corporate officers who seem very out of touch with on-the-ground realities in these communities. This has been exacerbated by the further distance folks have from the subsidiaries.

There is still too much talk from stakeholders that the CDQs have become a real part of the very thing which seems to threaten subsistence salmon fisheries a great deal, trawling, and as such have become a double edged sword.

Like ANSCA corporations CDQs are peculiar, in the sense of unusual and unique , experiments in social management of resources for the benefit of a particular group of people.

I have grave doubts as to the efficacy of corporate structure to do what is called for in either case.

Actually, the corporatization of communities under ANSCA torches my shorts but that is another conversation for another day.


Agh. I sometimes think we have become the Land of Corporations,

forget that Midnight Sun thingy…

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm  Comments (21)  

21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yay! Gone too long, but not forgotten! I am completely in agreement in your statement that it’s time to tackle CDQs. Great program, weird implementation with little oversight.

    • “tackle CDQs” is like music to my ears!

  2. Thanks for bringing up CDQs pi! I agree that it needs to be tackled and redirected back to the people of the Western Alaska Coastal villages.

    • Good to see you here!
      I’m stretched too thin right now to really jump on some of the things I’m watching but want to be sure to keep half abreast of things 🙂

      I think the National Research Council’s findings in 1999 are still very pertinent and valid today especially in light of the 2006 amendments to the program:
      “One of the greatest weaknesses of the program is lack of open, consistent communication between the CDQ groups and the communities they represent. A mechanism for providing input from the communities to the CDQ groups needs to be added to the governance structure. Lack of outreach by the State of Alaska to the communities to help ensure that communities and their residents are aware of the program and how to participate was identified as a problem. According to the committee, to be effective the CDQ groups need a well-established mechanism that fosters exchange of information between the groups’ decision makers, the communities, and the state and federal agencies involved in oversight of the program”
      Chapter 4,

      • Thanks pi for reminding the people of this very important responsibility of the rights of the American citizen – that which is to participate in issues that influence their lives without fear of personal repercussion.

        • I heard that a speaker to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council this past week in Nome, told the council that many people ‘fear’ speaking out against the CDQ program – fear of personal repercussions. NPFMC gave the Norton Sound residents an opportunity to be heard; it also gave the council members an opportunity to observe how the regions CDQ management and board members pretty much stuck together like lumps on a log with nothing to say about the demise of their poor peoples important subsistence resource – the lack of chum salmon in the region.

  3. I know History because it’s very important to the survival of all people in general. I commend you for bringing up these old links to remind the people that a group of responsible citizens have a queasy feeling of those millions and millions of dollars belonging to ‘the people’ that which is being abused by the CDQ managers.

  4. “My mind is much on fish….” and I’d like to point out that so are thousands of other Alaskans right now as we head toward summer – the season where traditionally the Salmon came back to feed the people.

    A pie in the sky
    Wish for a good life
    Wish for posperity
    for yourself and your
    A pie in the sky

    For you pi with thanks.

    Sincerely, The Man

    • “do fish come out of the sky” was a search term which brought someone here this week
      I laughed and thought of what a wonderful pie in the sky that would make 🙂
      Take best of care neighbor and thank you

  5. Speaking of Tyler Rhodes of NSEDC, I know there will not ever be a piece written by him on the History of NSEDC. He’d have to write about how the current management got to where they are now and it’s not a very pretty picture. I am personally eager to see how the newly elected representative from the village of Shaktoolik will do in the upcoming Board of Directors meetings. He was the President and CEO for NSEDC for years. His downfall was to trust a couple of his interns. They hurled him out the door on his behind. So much for loyalty.

    That’s what is lacking in the CDQ structure. Loyalty to the stakeholders. NSEDC for one is not loyal to the hundreds and hundreds of poor people they supposedly represent in the Norton Sound region. The poor are slowly waking up to this fallacy. If I were Eugene from Shaktoolik right now, I’d clean house. I’d give the power back to the Board of Directors and put Management in their place. I’d start working with the poor from the neglected northern section – Diomede, Wales, Brevig Mission, Teller, to name a few. I’d help them get a foot in the door for the possible opening of the future fishing grounds in their neck of the woods – northern Bering Sea and the Bering Strait region. That’s what the CDQ is suppose to be about – creating “fisheries related economic development”. Lets not forgot about that promise.

    • I guess I had a false sense of HOPE for Eugene from Shaktoolik to stand up for RIGHT. He didn’t.

  6. Norton Sound’s CDQ program, NSEDC, recently had their quarterly meeting in Unalakleet – out of sight, out of mind. Hopefully Mr. Rhodes will write a reality piece of the hateful behavior directed toward anyONE who doesn’t ‘go with the flow’ and allowing the continuation of a handful of greedy men having unlimited access to millions and millions of dollars of Public Money.

    To heck with Public Input! To heck with an ethical man holding himself responsible to the poor people who’ve elected him with the hope that they can get a ‘hand-up’ from some of those dollars intended on their behalf. To heck with all of that – package HOPE, can it tight and throw it all away.

    NSEDC likes meeting in Unalakleet because the Public doesn’t attend their meetings to witness the ‘dog and pony show’. Perhaps they know what happens when the Bully Boys turn on their force. Out of sight – out of mind.

    Distasteful, repugnant, obnoxious, repellent, abhorrent, detestable, offensive, loathsome, repulsive, revolting…….., here you go Mr. Rhodes, you are welcome to use some of these adjectives to describe the board bullying behavior that I’m sure you witnessed at one time or another this past week.

    • Mr. Rhodes as a journalist probably knows about PLAGIARISM – its “taking ideas, passages etc. from an author and presenting them, unacknowledged, as one’s own” (definition from Webster’s Dictionary). If I was in charge of NSEDC, I’d have Mr. Rhodes present a workshop on PLAGIARISM for all of the employees from the top down. It’s bad enough to be dragged through defamation and misinformation on one’s character. To have your ideas and passages copied without due credit lets one know that the information holders are without morals and human integrity, either that or an extreme lack of knowledge (to be dumb or stupid) or worst ever, a lack of a conscience.

      I found this quote that addresses this discussion well – “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This quote is credited to Edmund Burke, an Irish political philosopher, 1729-1797.

      Yes, we are watching “evil..triumph” because “good men” are afraid to lose what little they have therefore they are doing “nothing” even though they know the truth.

  7. Going back to your article, “….CDQs have become….. a double edged sword.” is so right on the money. Public Money. Money to help the poor with a “hand-up” instead of the economical reality of waiting for a “hand-out” in the monthy form of a welfare check or food stamp coupons and the WICK program for the mothers and the babies.

    Norton Sounds CDQ program, NSEDC, is pouring the regions Public Money right back into the trawler fishery. YUP, that very same TRAWLER FISHERY that is destroying a hundreds and hundreds year old cultural and traditional activity of subsisting on the salmon. In fact NSEDC took this clause right out of their mission statement about 5 years ago – “….. while protecting subsistence resources.” The rest of the mission statement goes “NSEDC will participate in and encourage the clean harvest of all Bering Sea fisheries to promote and provide economic development…………”. Yah, it sure looks good on paper alright.

    The CDQs are not in the business for the people, the poor people of the Western Alaska Coastal Villages. Through their involvement in the trawler fisheries, they are destroying the Eskimo Culture. Destroying the Eskimo Culture through the fisheries big, big blunder – Salmon Bycatch. To destroy a sustainable livelihood and resource is a crime against humanity, a crime against hundreds and hundreds of ignorant and illiterate poor people who are kept in the dark by a handful of bullies. I don’t know how much more simple I can make it.

    This whole picture is very disjointed. The King Salmon is one of the symbols of the State of Alaska. Yet the species is fastly becoming endangered and on the brink of extinction in several small rivers and streams from Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska to Port Clarence along the northwestern shore of the Bering Sea. Alaskans destroying a part of Alaska. It can’t get any more ironic then that. Man oh Man oh Man, Alaskans need to stand up against this destruction like pretty quick.

  8. These words are too good to ignore, “The relationship between the parent CDQ non-profits and their for-profit subsidiaries has not been discussed out in the open much.”

    Yup, that relationship is kept in the grey area alright. It’s about control, a tight control over the Poor People’s self-determination monies. A handful of men determined to make themselves millionaires over the backs of their ignorant and illiterate stakeholders is about what this lack of discussion boils down to. Keep it secret for the sake of business. Yeah, right.

    In the meantime throw a few pennies out to the public to make it look like we’re doing something useful while the for-profit looses millions and millions of dollars in their business ventures. It’s a crime against the hundreds and hundreds of poor people of the Norton Sound Region – a handful of men playing ‘big shot’ with Public Money while the poor wait for the salmon that use to provide substance for hundreds and hundreds of years.

    The salmon runs have been declining for as long as the CDQs are old! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this. What misleading information is told to the Board of Directors to have them blindly support the destructive Pollock Fishery??? I wish I was a fly on the wall in those secret ‘handful of men’ meetings that is guiding the course of the millions and millions of CDQs dollars back into the SEA.

  9. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council will be in Nome next week. They will address the Chum Salmon Bycatch of the trawl fisheries. Important issue for the people of the region. Word is slowly getting out but it isn’t coming from the regions CDQ group – NSEDC. Nope. They are going to protect their investments in the pollock trawl fishery by saying NOTHING but a bunch of gobbledygook if anything at all.

    Maybe they’ll COPY what the Coastal Villages Region Fund did at the last NPFMC hearing on King Salmon Bycatch in Anchorage a couple years back – wear bright tshirts with the catching saying “POLLOCK PROVIDES”. NSEDC and CVRF became partners recently in the Wards Cove buy off. Yeah, pollock provides a handful of men over inflated salaries alright. In the meantime, their business investments are destroying an important part of the Eskimo Culture – the traditional and cultural use of salmon as a food resource.

    We cannot ignore that any longer especially the Nome Eskimos because they have the only Tier II subsistence salmon system for Chum Salmon in the whole state. That’s big time restrictions on the subsistence salmon fishers. Tier II has been in place for going on 20 years. Yup, Nome was the staging ground for this restrictive management maneuver by the State. Why? The leadership in Nome is very disjointed, all those little segments of power and no great leader to bring them all together. No vision, no fortitude, no gumption = no future for the poor.

    • My prediction about our region’s CDQ program, NSEDC, not saying a peep about the Chum Salmon ByCatch of their pollock fishery business ventures in the Bering Sea at this week’s NPFMC meeting in Nome was ABSOULUTELY RIGHT! Nada, nothing, zero. Keeping their cards close to their chest.

      The most important role NSEDC played during this past week was what they are really good at, playing HOSTESS with the people’s money. I saw a schedule of events; fancy, smancy reception last Wednesday the 8th; a little hotdog picnic on the beach combined with a gold panning demo and a dunk in the Bering Sea know to the locals as “The Polar Bear Plunge” (copied of course from a long-time Nome resident’s repertoire of unique celebration events)!

      I haven’t heard about last night’s event yet, the Barbecue down the coast from Nome at the Safety Roadhouse, best known as the Iditarod Race’s ‘last checkpoint before Nome’. I’d have to guess on the cost of these self promoting events NSEDC sponsored for the attendees of the NPFMC meeting because as a stakeholder, I’m not privileged to know. My guess is a range from the minimum of $30,000 to a maximum of $50,000!

      All I could say is that NSEDC’s focus is not where it should be. Buying favors from people who won’t challenge their farce is what they do best. The culture and tradition of their poor stakeholders is going down the drain with the chum salmon declines in Western Alaska and they are feeding guests shrimp and crab cocktails, hot dogs, hamburgers and “Some-mores”. And, since Nome is well known for it’s alcohol watering holes, there was plenty of that stuff flowing too. That’s why my maximum range is at $50,000 – don’t know if they were paying the tab on drinks. I heard at the reception they did – locals got tickets for 2 ‘free drinks’ max but some of the guests were getting tipsy. Word is there were no ‘brown paper bags’ in the crowd. Wine and dine.

  10. The CDQ group Coastal Villages Region Fund didn’t send anyone from their corporation to testify the pro’s and con’s of Chum Salmon Bycatch in the Bering Sea. Historically that area of the Western Alaska coast has never had a commercial salmon fishery nor is salmon their primary subsistence food source. There was one guy from that area who gave testimony in favor of their CDQ program because it provides money for the people to continue their subsistence activities.

    Interesting to note is that the testifier said that the Coastal Villages area has a population of about 9,000 and of those people about 460-500 receive some direct economic substance from the CDQ program. Half of that total number are seasonal workers at the CDQ processing plant in Platinum, about 180 are permit holders in the Kuskokwim River salmon fishery, and that leaves about 50 who actually have ‘real jobs’ stemming from the CDQ dollars. That still leaves about 8,500 poor people out in the dark and cold. The man said he “feels” for the salmon users who are drastically effected by the chum salmon bycatch of the pollock fishery.

    We don’t want other Native peoples sympathy, we want Sustainable Salmon Stocks so we can continue to survive out here in Rural Alaska.

  11. More news from the recent North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meeting in Nome this past week – at least 5 Norton Sound area entities recommended a 30,000 cap on the BS/AI pollock fishery Chum Salmon ByCatch. That recommended number was also supported by the representatives from Greenpeace and The World Wildlife Fund.

    Interesting to note that a major player in subsistence issues in the Norton Sound, Kawerak, Inc., carefully avoided saying anything about a “CAP” – dancing for CDQ dollars is my reasonable guess as to why they were riding the fence. They made lots of noise against Area M intercept fisheries back in the 90’s.

    The recommended number of 30,000 cap on the Chum Salmon ByCatch of the pollock fishery came out of the Federal Subsistence Advisory Board this past winter. It’s too bad that Kawerak wouldn’t publicly support this recommendation stemming from the people they supposedly serve.

    • I saw Kawerak’s comment letter to the NPFMC. They recommended a 30K chum cap. I don’t know if they made this point during public testimony at the NPFMC meeting in June. Just wanted to clarify that fact. I understand the CDQ’s position, since I suspected this would happen since they started this ill-fated program in 1992. If they recommend a conservative cap, then they will piss off their fishing company partners. If they recommend a less conservative cap, then they piss off the public that they are “supposed” to represent. The best move for them is the one they chose – no position at all. I knew that the CDQs would end up as part of the problem…it was inevitable…. My only hope back then was the very limited oversight provided by the state. Now that this oversight is gone, the CDQs can realize their true potential as pollock industry cronies. Good luck to the 10,000 people “represented” by NSEDC! They get few jobs and even less subsistence salmon. Wards Cove isn’t here in our region, that giant money-pit called the Alaska Ocean isn’t here in our region, and most of their investments are also not in this region. Hmmm…good luck to all of us and the children who will likely be eating Whoppers instead of proper food!

  12. Whoops! Sorry Kawerak – oral testimony is the Native tradition and we as people in a changing culture are between a rock and a hard place because many of us do not see that written stuff. Oral testimony can be heard and therefore ‘witnessed’ by those who cannot read. Sorry Kawerak.

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