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3 Assembly, 2 school board seats up for grabs

Five measures also on ballot

Posted: October 3, 2011 - 11:01pm
Mary Borthwick takes advantage of early voting in the Juneau City Assembly Chambers on Monday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Mary Borthwick takes advantage of early voting in the Juneau City Assembly Chambers on Monday.

Polls open today at 7 a.m. for the municipal election and close at 8 p.m. There are three open seats on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, as well as two school board seats for the Juneau School District. There are also five ballot measures.

Candidates for Assembly are:
District 1

Brad Fluetsch and Jesse Kiehl.

Fluetsch is a registered investment advisor and ran for mayor in 2006. Issues he would like to work on if elected are increasing energy capabilities, increasing and retaining legislative representation, efficient and expanded transportation and increasing and maintaining jobs.

Fluetsch is the grand treasurer for Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp, a past president of ANB Camp 70 and has served in other capacities. He served on the Mayor’s Fiscal Taskforce in 2000 and Mayor’s Economic Diversification Workforce in 2006. Fluetsch is a past board member for Juneau Economic Development Council and was on the Alaska Real Estate Commission for four years.

Kiehl has been a legislative aide for 10 years, currently working for Sen. Dennis Egan. He has lived in Juneau for 13 years, having grown up in Anchorage. If elected, Kiehl said he wants to work on the garbage issue, the city sewer system — finding a solution for sludge, affordable housing and making more transportation and access improvements to keep Juneau as the capital.

He has served on the Juneau Human Rights Commission and Board of Equalization.

District 2

Randy Wanamaker is running unopposed in District 2. He served on the Assembly for three terms up until this year, when he termed out. This is the first opportunity Wanamaker has to run again. Wanamaker also has served on the school board, Alaska Water Resources board and with other groups. He also served in the Alaska National Guard, is a past president of the Tlingit and Haida Community Council and is a Goldbelt, Inc., chairman.

Wanamaker, if elected, intends to work to maintain property values, stabilize the city’s economy, maintain and grow jobs.

Areawide

Loren Jones, Geny Del Rosario and Carlton Smith are running for one Areawide seat.

Jones served two times on the Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors, is retired from working with the state as a legislative aide and internal auditor and director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. He also served on the Hospice and Home Care Board and Catholic Community Services board. He has lived in Juneau for 35 years.

If elected he said he wants to work on the problems with the city landfill and look at improving recycling. Jones also wants to work on increasing and maintaining jobs and decreasing the cost of living.

Del Rosario has lived in Juneau for six years and is a small business owner. She also is a licensed child care provider.

She serves on the Juneau Human Rights Commission and is a member of the League of Women Voters. She also serves as the Juneau Filipino Community public relations officer and volunteers at AWARE, the Alaska State Museum and many other organizations.

Del Rosario wants to focus on alternative energy sources for the city to address rising costs. She also wants to help programs that focus on public safety, education, a stable and welcome business environment and affordable housing.

Smith is a commercial real estate broker and has lived in Juneau for 22 years. He has served on a number of boards including the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, chairing the Salvation Army Alaska Division in Anchorage, and was a founding officer of Sealaska Institute and is a trustee of the SEARHC Foundation. He has served as staff to the Local Boundary Commission and officer and board member of Sealaska.

Smith wants to focus on preserving stability in jobs and promoting growth. He also wants to maintain Juneau as the capital and create a stable economy.

School board

Incumbent Sally Saddler and past board member Sean O’Brien are running for two open seats.

Saddler is also involved with the Downtown Juneau Rotary and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She wants to continuing working to get all “students to take responsibility for their education and build success after high school.”

Saddler said the district needs to create and sustain the best faculty as a means of supporting the needs of students.

O’Brien is a write-in candidate. He intended to run for school board next year, but no others filed along with Saddler before the deadline, so he’s running to fill an empty seat.

O’Brien served on the school board from 2005-2008, has three children who graduated from the district and two more going through it. O’Brien wants to improve academic and vocational success of students, invest in programs that lower the dropout rate and implement the district’s strategic plan.

Ballot Measures

• Voters are being asked to approve a measure that will allow the city to opt-out of state law regarding public official financial disclosures, administered by the Alaska Public Offices Commission. If approved, the city would enact its own ordinance requiring elected officials, and others who must file, to abide by APOC’s pre-2007 rules. The older rules, with few exceptions, are less invasive to the filers, but provide less information to voters as well.

• Extension of the temporary 3 percent sales tax is up. If approved, it would give the city funds for core government functions. It is split into single percentages, which accounts for about $8 million per percentage point. One percent is spent on emergency services and libraries and snow removal. One percent is spent on roads, drainage, stairs and other related capital improvement projects. One percent is allocated by the Assembly annually, on various capital improvement projects, youth activities and emergency budget reserve.

• The Juneau School District is asking for voters to approve $1.4 million in bonds for Auke Bay Elementary School to upgrade the planned heating system. Voters recently approved bond funds to renovate the school, and now the district wants to change to a more expensive heating system. The system is ground-source heat pumps, and costs more up-front, but is estimated to cost significantly less annually in heating and maintenance costs than traditional systems. This project is eligible for state reimbursement of 70 percent, with the citizens paying 30 percent. In return, the district will use revenues from past bonded projects to pay down debts.

• JSD also is asking voters to approve $1.2 million to replace the turf on the field at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The turf is past its useful life and can no longer be spot repaired. This project also qualifies for the 70/30 state reimbursement. The district also intends to use interest revenues from past school bonds to pay down debts.

• A citizen initiative also will appear on the ballot, asking voters to approve a 15-cent tax on non-reusable plastic bags provided by some retailers. The ordinance would impose a tax on customers at the point-of-sale per plastic bag used, but only at retailers that earn $15 million gross revenue or more per year. Seniors with a tax-exempt card would be exempt. Funds raised through the tax would go to the city general fund. This initiative was brought forth by the Turning the Tides group.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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