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November 22, 2014

Anchorage Muni Voter Guide

The editors of The Mudflats don’t always agree, but this time we’re unanimous. What we agree upon most of all is that everyone must get out to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, April 1. Local elections are the most important, and least well attended. This one is particularly critical, so no excuses.

Here’s your down and dirty voter guide.

Anchorage Assembly Races

East Side 

Adam Trombley vs. Pete Petersen vs. Mao Tosi

Trombley has rallied the troops at the Anchorage Tea Party “Day of Resistance,” spent most of his time trying to distance himself from an increasingly unpopular Mayor who hand-selected him for citizen boards that paved the way for his election, and has now been endorsed by the uber-right wing Christian anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-marriage equality Alaska Family Council and its head Jim Minnery. He is far more conservative than the community he represents.

Mao Tosi is popular, charming, and has proven his interest and ability to mentor kids and improve his community. He’s also an administrative and financial disaster. Dozens of APOC complaints/violations in his first weeks running, and a serious breach of tax handling (like not even filing for years) that the IRS is investigating, and telling untruths when the situation came to light make him someone who is not ready, and may not ever be ready, to handle a job whose primary responsibility has to do with managing the finances of a whole city.

Pete Petersen is a former Democratic legislator who lost the last time in a close race after Republican redistricting drew the lines to include more conservative areas in the House district. He’s proven he can handle the job, and handle it well. He represents his constituents well, and would be a welcome, capable addition to the Assembly. He’s a good guy, and  not an ideologue. We give him three thumbs up.

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Pete Petersen

West Side

Tim Steele vs. Phil Isley

Tim Steele is a long-time resident, new to the Anchorage Assembly. He was elected and re-elected to the Anchorage School Board back in the 90s. He’s focused on his neighborhood while maintaining a wider view of the Anchorage community. One of his strongest attributes is his unfailing support for public education, and labor. He deserves another term, and a victory in his race against perpetual candidate Phil Isley.

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Tim Steele

Midtown

Elvi Gray-Jackson vs. Elvi Gray-Jackson

It was a tough call, but we’re unanimously behind the fabulous and inimitable Elvi Gray-Jackson. She’s whip smart, hard-working, can crunch numbers til they scream for mercy, and is unstoppably diligent. She listens to constituents, calls out bad behavior in her fellow Assembly members, and is one of our very favorites. Despite having no opponent in this race, she’s been working hard to remind her constituents that she’s still in their corner every day, and doesn’t take her position for granted.

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Elvi Gray-Jackson

South Anchorage

Bill Evans vs. Bruce Dougherty vs. Pete Nolan

South Anchorage has been suffering under the “representation” of an ineffectual, pompous, mayoral rubber stamp for too many years. But Chris Birch is now going to gallop off into the sunset to continue playing golf in Palm Beach, or wherever he goes when he’s not at the Assembly meeting.

Bruce Dougherty is basically Birch’s opposite, and we really like that (especially the two of us who live in South Anchorage). He is affable, caring, and thoughtful. He’s a solution seeker who actually has ideas that extend beyond “WWMDD.” (What would “Mayor Dan” do?) We’d be proud to hand the seat over to someone whose idea of governing is listening to constituents.

Pete Nolan and Bill Evans are both on the conservative end of the spectrum. If you HAVE to choose one of them, go with Nolan who was the conservative choice of the mayor, but got thrown under the bus for the guy that hates gays more. Bill Evans, like Adam Trombley got the (not easy to earn) endorsement of the hard line Christian conservative Jim Minnery and the Alaska Family Council. That’s not what this district is about. Not only that, he’s earned the endorsement of the very mayor who is seeking to replace one rubber stamp with another. Don’t let it happen. Put Evans on the bottom of the list for this three-way race, and vote for Bruce Dougherty.

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Bruce Dougherty

Downtown

Patrick Flynn vs. Mark Martinson

We’re going with Patrick Flynn. He’s no Alan Tesche, but no one is Alan Tesche. Flynn has done a reasonable job although is annoyingly centrist as the only representative of the most progressive area of the city. He has an occasional moment of quotable brilliance, and deserves to be re-elected to the seat. His opponent has been conspicuously absent at candidate forums.

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Patrick Flynn

Eagle River

Bill Starr vs. Sharon Gibbons

Sharon Gibbons is a long time worker in justice system. And she’s not Bill Starr.

Starr has proven who he is by constantly wanting to slash the school budget. Starr is a self-proclaimed fiscal expert, who has distinguished himself in that regard by continually seeking to slash the school budget. While trying to distance himself from an increasingly unpopular mayor, Starr was on the wrong side of AO37 which sought to slash the ability of labor unions to collectively bargain. He was also wrong on Prop 5, which would have made it wrong to discriminate against the LGBT community in matters of employment, education, housing, and the use of public facilities.

Gibbons is pro-public education. And when the final sign off on the school budget rests with the Assembly, this is critical. She’s not going to be throwing the budget back to school board and demanding more cuts.

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Sharon Gibbons

School Board Positions

These races should be enough to get you to the polls even if you’d thought of staying home.

School Board Seat C – Patrick Higgins vs. Liz Ross vs. Dean Williams

Patrick Higgins

Patrick Higgins

School Board Seat D – Kameron Perez-Verdia vs. Don Smith

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Kameron Perez-Verdia

Both candidates are the only ones in their races who do NOT support rewriting the state’s constitution to use public money to fund religious and private schools.

And then there’s the matter of Don Smith saying repeatedly that the “problem” with the Anchorage School Districts is all those brown children messing everything up for the rest of us. For more, see our previous article and School Board endorsements, and the endorsement of Perez-Verdia by the Anchorage Daily News.

Ballot Propositions – Yes to 1-7

Say “Yes” to Public Safety & Quality of Life

Before the Tea Party pulled the GOP into extreme territory in recent years, it wasn’t that controversial even among Republicans to consider basic infrastructure and public safety as well within the purview of what government should do.

 One certainly cannot lay claim to being “pro-business” by voting for crumbling schools and a Third World infrastructure.

Resources deployed at the local level are also those felt most directly by residents, and from which we get the most bang for our buck. We can make a plausible argument about a funding difference for a federal cabinet agency not being something many local residents feel 3,000 miles away. But the first responders who serve our community, the roads and bridges on which we drive, and the schools our children attend, and the parks and trails that help make Anchorage a great place to live aren’t distant abstractions. They’re very real, practical parts of our daily lives.

Each of tomorrow’s local propositions on the Anchorage ballot—numbered 1 through 7—deserves our support, and a yes vote.

 

Proposition 1 

Educational Capital Improvements, Planning and Design Projects and Districtwide Building Life Extension Project Bonds

We think Airport Heights Elementary School needs some improvements (including electrical and mechanical systems) after 50 years!

Proposition 2 

Areawide Safety and Public Transportation Capital Improvement Bonds

New ambulances, improved bus stops, school zone safety improvements, and bridge and dam rehabilitation, with $2,292,000 in federal grants for public transit projects to match the local Anchorage contribution of $573,000? Yes, please!

Proposition 3 

Areawide Facilities Capital Improvement Project Bonds

Expanding Chester Creek Sports Complex parking lot and relocate Mulcahy Stadium, City Hall safety improvements, Loussac Library renovation, improvements to Anchorage Golf Course, and related capital improvements.

Proposition 4   

Anchorage Parks and Recreation Service Area Capital Improvement Bonds

Improvements for parks and trails, including Valley of the Moon Park, including an enclosed dog park area and parking lot expansion, repair and resurface greenbelt trails and safety upgrades, resurfacing the bike trail system, replacement of various park upgrades, make safety upgrades at recreation centers including Kincaid Park facilities.

Proposition 5 

Anchorage Roads and Drainage Service Area Road and Storm Drainage Bonds

Road and storm drainage capital acquisition, construction, renovation, upgrades and related capital improvements.

Proposition 6  

Anchorage Fire Service Area Fire Protection Bonds

A replacement ladder truck and a replacement water tender.

Proposition 7

Anchorage Metropolitan Police Service Area Facilities Bonds

For the purpose of providing for the upgrade of HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) controls and making other safety and code upgrades to the Anchorage Police Department headquarters in the Anchorage Metropolitan Police Service.

 

Proposition 8 – YES

Amendment to the Anchorage Municipal Charter to Remove and Replace Gender-Specific Terms with Gender-Neutral Terms. This is a change to the Charter that should be a no-brainer. We’re all in support of the 20th and 21st century, so let’s get the Charter in line, please.

The changes will include:

1. “assemblyman” shall be changed to “assembly member”;
2. “assemblymen” shall be changed to “assembly members”;
3. “chairman”shallbechangedto“chair”
4. “he”shallbechangedto“theperson”or“theassemblymember”orothernounasappropriateandindicatedbythecontext;
5. “he/she” shall be changed to “the person” or “the candidate” or other noun as appropriate and indicated by the context; 6. “his” shall be changed to “the person’s” or “the candidate’s” or other noun as appropriate and indicated by the context.

Proposition 9 – NO

This might be the most controversial proposition on the ballot. Back in the day, the Anchorage Municipality decided to outsource writing parking tickets to a private company. They were a bit “overzealous” to put it mildly. In response, two sisters who became known as “the parking fairies” dressed in pink tutus, and went around downtown Anchorage plugging meters for those who were in danger of getting a ticket. Soon, the parking fairies were outlawed and the public outcry at the privatizing of tickets, and the ousting of the parking fairies resulted in a rule that only commissioned police officers could write tickets.

Now, we have a new problem. We don’t have enough officers anymore, so we either have to take officers away from other duties to write tickets, or let the revenue stream of violation money dry up. Many want to go for the easy money now and open the door again to privatizing services, thinking this time it’ll be different. We say if we’re short on officers and it’s hurting the city, then fix the problem and get more officers. Don’t go for the short-sighted fix when it’s failed in the past.

To see a sample ballot for your district, click HERE.

 

Comments

comments

Comments
13 Responses to “Anchorage Muni Voter Guide”
  1. akbatgirly says:

    So, so disappointed that Evans has apparently won South Anchorage. After all those years of Birch, we deserved a change of venue! It was the perfect storm………….two teabaggers splitting the vote, then Pete Nolan had to ruin it all by sending out 27 robocalls to every man, woman, and dog living on the Hillside (on a daily basis). He apparently pissed off enough conservatives that they flocked to Evans. Sigh.

    Hopefully, Pete Petersen can hang on to his lead though. Five Conservatives vs. 4 Moderates and a Liberal (I only count Elvi as a True Liberal) will put Dick Traini back in the catbird seat again. I don’t count Traini as a Conservative, Liberal, or Moderate. What exactly is he, does anybody know?

  2. Michael Stallings says:

    Thanks for the info, We each took it into the booth with us and voted a straight MudFlats ticket.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    http://madvilletimes.com/2014/04/bosworth-petition-challenged-40-invalid-signatures-281-shy-of-required-1955/

    This is the way democracy is supposed to work. Best part is this Bozo named Bosworth is a grifter queen and pal of the ex- half gov of Alaska. She and her hubby have held raffles and refuse to award prizes or return monies,she doesn’t pay her employees.

  4. Dean Williams says:

    First let’s get the record straight on me regarding the constitution change regarding the use of public money for private schools. My position has been against a constitution change until a clear framework has been established. In other words, I believe a clear plan would need to be set up ahead of time before contemplating a constitution change.

    By supporting Mr. Higgins I assume this means that you are okay with any elected official, left, center, or right side of the spectrum, moving out of the Country (not just the State) for a year. This is acceptable? Confusing as I think you would jump all over a hard right conservative for pulling the same stunt. I have been undeclared for almost 30 years and very much a middle of the road individual with extensive youth/education background. I have appointed to several national positions regarding my work on school engagement. I have extensive background regarding fiscal leadership.

    I appreciate any blog or news article that attempts to illuminate the issues or individuals. Would have appreciated a closer look at the record and some facts. Best regards no less.

  5. Zyxomma says:

    Good luck with your election, Anchorage. Let us hope that it doesn’t turn out to be a bad April Fool joke.

  6. Alaska Pi says:

    Best wishes today ANC! Vote!

  7. Renee says:

    I have intimate knowledge of Prop 9 and I hope I can clear up any confusion there may be. To begin with, a yes vote leaves things operating the very same way they have been for the last 30 years. Community Service Officers (CSOs) officially came to be in April 1984. It’s a position filled by non-sworn Anchorage Police Department employees who issue parking citations (parking ONLY, not equipment violations or moving violations), pick up found property, conduct traffic control, help move large quantities of property for search warrants, and tow vehicles in violation of Municipal parking rules (almost always AFTER giving a warning first. The only exception is if the vehicle is creating a hazard such as impeding traffic or blocking access for a school bus).

    This is the way the CSO position operated until 2003 when Anchorage voters, who were upset by the antics of the Anchorage Parking Authority, voted that only sworn APD officers could write tickets. As a result of that vote, CSOs went through the police academy so they could be sworn and continue to do their job. They did NOT take on any additional sworn duties such as arresting people, or carrying guns or handcuffs.

    In late 2013, the Alaska Police Standards Council decided they would no longer certify CSOs. As a result of that decision, Prop 9 was put on the ballot. A yes vote will allow CSOs to continue to perform the duties they have performed for the last three decades without being sworn. If the people vote no, CSOs go away. APD patrol will then be responsible for all parking and found property calls, which they simply don’t have time for. For example, as it is now, if a citizen calls APD because someone is blocking their mailbox or driveway, they will get a very quick response by a CSO. If Prop 9 fails, the call will go in stack for a patrol officer. As you can imagine, parking is pretty low priority when compared to the other types of calls officers are responsible for handling. But if you’re the person who can’t get their mail delivered or can’t back out of their own driveway, it doesn’t feel like something that should be “low priority.”

    Please vote yes on Prop 9 so the CSO program may continue, citizens may continue to be served, and police officers are able to concentrate on higher-priority calls.

  8. John says:

    If the assembly wants us to change the charter, they should explain why. Prop 8 is obvious and I voted yes. Prop 9 is confusing. I like to think I am reasonably smart, but I couldn’t say why this was on the ballot. So I voted no.

    Next time, maybe explain the reason.

  9. slipstream says:

    I dunno. In the Gray-Jackson v. Gray-Jackson election, I think I would pick Gray-Jackson, not Gray-Jackson.

    But maybe that’s just me.

  10. Dale says:

    The wording of the changes proposed by Prop 9 is a bit confusing to me.

    The way I read it, it doesn’t sound like it’s letting private companies enforce parking in downtown, but non-officer employees of APD (AKA, community service officers) enforce parking in downtown. (That’s how chief Mews describes it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYoRGDp1oYQ )

    What am I missing?

    • Susan Pacillo says:

      This is the same wording that allowed slEasy Park to take over downtown. Smoke and mirrors. Vote No on 9

    • Ryan says:

      You’re not missing anything. The Alaska Police Standards Counsel recently made administrative changes regarding who they would certify as law enforcement officers. Specifically they would no longer certify APD’s Community Service Officers as the statutory equivalent of a sworn police officer. Since the municipal charter currently limits parking and towing enforcement to sworn police employees, the CSO’s can now no longer perform this function. Therefore any parking issues, abandoned or nuisance vehicles can only be dealt with by a sworn police officer. Near critical staffing shortages will most certainly mean that your parking complaint (lowest priority call) will not only be addressed after every other call for service has been answered, but be handled by a more costly-per-hour patrol officer. There is nothing in Prop 9 that allows the outsourcing of these services to private vendors. There are a limited number of PCN’s (employment positions) given to APD by City Hall, and with such a shortage of officers, no administration in their right mind would sacrifice these positions to anything other than those which are most needed. APD is not going to “deputize” some private contractor by making them “police employees” just to enforce parking rules. The CSO’s already served that function very effectively. Prop 9 simply allows them to continue providing this valuable service at a reduced cost to the taxpayer.

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