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Election Postcard: Ballard Oil

Marcie Sillman
09/30/2008

With the election just weeks away, KUOW wondered what people are thinking about as they consider candidates and issues. This fall we'll drop in on different neighborhoods to find out. KUOW'S Marcie Sillman visited Ballard Oil, one of the main fuel suppliers for the Seattle–based North Pacific fishing fleet.

BUSINESS IS BRISK AT BALLARD OIL. OUT ON THE DOCKS BOATS FUEL UP. INSIDE THE OFFICE, CUSTOMERS SETTLE THEIR TABS:

THE BIG FISHING BOATS CAN TAKE ON AS MUCH AS 40 THOUSAND GALLONS OF FUEL… AT MORE THAN 3 BUCKS A GALLON. BUT THE PRICE IS ALWAYS CHANGING. BALLARD OIL OWNER WARREN AAKERVIK SAYS HIS BUSINESS IS DRIVEN BY THE OIL MARKETS:

AAKERVIK: "I used to come in, open up tanks, start up trucks and do all that. Now the first thing I do, I go turn my computer on and see what NYMEX is doing so I can set the schedule for my employees for that day, protecting the consumers that we have to deliver."

BALLARD OIL IS A FAMILY BUSINESS. WARREN AAKERVIK TOOK OVER FROM HIS FATHER. HIS DAUGHTER HAS A HAND IN EVERYTHING FROM SALES TO WALKIE TALKIE TROUBLE SHOOTING:

BALLARD OIL IS A BUSINESS, BUT IT'S ALSO A HANGOUT. WARREN AAKERVIK SEEMS TO KNOW EVERYONE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. 81 YEAR OLD ANDY WARRENER STOPS IN FOR A CUP OF COFFEE. THIS ELECTION SEASON THE ECONOMY WEIGHS ON HIS MIND.

WARRENER: "We're on the down now, that's for sure. No telling how far it'll go."

AAKERVIK: "It's not necessarily about money. It's about what the future of your community will be. I'm worried about my grandchildren, my great grandchildren and my great great grandchildren, that they're actually able to work and live in this city."

WARRENER: "Well, really I'm too old to worry about how the city's gonna turn out. When they start pumping forty fifty sixty billion dollars into Iraq, it's just stupid. And they're gonna do that for years. Bush made a mistake, and he's gonna pay for it. Not him personally won't pay for it, but the rest of the country'll pay for it."

AAKERVIK: "I think the problem with every senator, representative, every person we have is being in touch with the public. And being in touch with the public is not sitting in an office, and it really is getting out or going back and asking people you've caught up with over your years of time, what they think about it. You can't just isolate yourself away."

AAKERVIK: "If you really want to find out the pulse of the city, walk out on the street. Don't go to a town meeting, don't go to everybody that wants to have their own personal ax to grind, just walk out to somebody out on the street. So many politicians, they're only worried about one thing, and that's being re elected the next time."

WARRENER: "It's a tough situation who you're gonna vote for. But I'll make up my mind and vote."

AAKERVIK: "If you're gonna go choose those positions, at least think about it before you do it. Don't just go blacken in a square because you know the name from before. Take the time to figure it out. Talk to people from your community."

BALLARD OIL'S WARREN AAKERVIK, AND RETIREE ANDY WARRENER, THINKING ABOUT MONEY AND OUR ECONOMY THIS ELECTION SEASON. I'M MARCIE SILLMAN, KUOW NEWS.

℗ Copyright 2008, KUOW News

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