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Loren Jones

Posted: September 21, 2012 - 10:53am
Loren Jones  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Loren Jones

Resident of Juneau from December 1975 to present. Born in Pennsylvania on March 25, 1946.

Education: BA in Sociology, 1973, Washington State University. MA in Sociology, 1975, Washington State University.

Occupation(s): Retired.

1976 – 2003 State of Alaska. Work included Legislative Aide, Internal Auditor, Director Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (1990-1999 & 2002-2003)

Family: Married to LaRae Jones for 42 years. We raised two sons (Todd and Chad) in Juneau. Both are married and live out of state. We also have two grandchildren.

Community Service: Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors: 1990-1994 & 2005-2010.

Hospice and Home Care of Juneau Board of Directors: 2001-2003.

Catholic Community Services Board of Directors: 2003-Present.

Juneau World Affairs Council: 2009-Present.

Other Experience:

Staff support for Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse 14 years.

Served on the Council of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault as the Department of Health and Social Services representative for 2.5 years.

1. What is your highest priority for the CBJ to accomplish during your term in office? Explain why this is a priority and how you would facilitate this change.

Fixing our landfill problem is a high priority. It is crucial that we protect the community by maintaining a safe and environmentally sound operation. To meet this goal, the CBJ must establish a long-term waste management plan with benchmarks and timelines to decrease the volume that goes into the landfill. We also must determine the site for a new landfill. We need to continue the work on curbside recycling. The CBJ should establish a source of funds that are set aside so that once long-term plans are in place, funds are available for implementation. New thinking and some imagination are needed to reach innovative solutions.

2. What would you suggest to maintain or increase the year-around vitality of the downtown area, given the decreasing number of stores supplying basic needs?

We need to support the effort of the JEDC’s Downtown Revitalization Project. This work needs to become part of the overall plan for downtown, Centennial Hall and the JAHC as noted in the CBJ Willoughby District planning process. No project will succeed unless developed and planned by those most affected. The Assembly supports groups that are working on solutions. However, the CBJ needs to do its part by keeping downtown a safe, clean and inviting place when the tourists are gone. Focusing on the concept of “sustainable communities” and may bring us closer to finding good answers for downtown.

3. What responsibility does the CBJ have in coordinating public health efforts for such issues as homelessness, the burden of drug and alcohol abuse, and other factors that affect public health?

The CBJ has the responsibility to coordinate Juneau’s public health services via the leadership of the Hospital Board and support of the Social Services Advisory Board. Juneau is blessed with a first class hospital, a great medical community of doctors and other health professionals, a quality tribal health system, and many excellent non-profits that address multiple public health issues. The CBJ should encourage the Hospital Board to use their resources and talents to bring together these many groups and find ways to coordinate efforts at minimizing public health concerns. The Hospital Board needs to be encouraged and supported in reaching beyond the walls of the hospital to work with the community to reduce health care costs and facilitate health promotion and prevention.

4. What is your position on the proposed five-year extension of the 1 percent special sales tax and the $25 million infrastructure bond issue, both of which are set to appear before the voters in October?

I support both ballot issues. I attended most of the meetings that led to these ballot measures. I would like to see a better process resulting in a clear priority between required maintenance, needs and wants. As a candidate I am encouraging the citizens of Juneau to support both ballot measures.

5. What is your position on reopening the AJ mine? Please briefly explain why you do or do not support this project.

I support reopening the AJ mine. However, there are many issues that need to be resolved before this project will be feasible. These issues include: CBJ water supply, whether this project can be engineered as currently conceived, downtown traffic flow, addressing the concerns of those living on Thane Road, and whether we can resolve the conflicts between tourism and mining in the same area. Each of these are not easily dealt with but must be resolved. One additional question that is crucial is whether plans to address question #2 regarding downtown vitality can be compatible with a full scale mine in the same area.

6. What steps can the Assembly take to ensure that the capital remains in Juneau?

How we address the downtown vitality and mining issues raised in question #2 and question #5 above will be critical to how we are viewed as a quality capital city. With a sustainable downtown where people can work and live and be safe, we are more likely to be viewed in a positive manner by others outside our community. The Assembly should continue its support of the Alaska Committee. Our financial support for Gavel to Gavel is one of the best investments. And we can improve our position by being a good partner to other southeast communities with support for common legislation, good transportation patterns and ferry system and the work of the Southeast Conference.

7. What can the Assembly and CBJ do to increase voter registration, voter turnout, and participation in issues of government?

This is a struggle in all communities. The Assembly and CBJ should look to other community efforts for ideas to improve participation in both elections and government, including reducing any barriers voters face in the election process and improving access to government information. Candidates are important to this effort and I will use my public role to encourage people to vote. I will continue supporting organizations like the League of Women Voters that encourage voting and participation in local government affairs.

8. What measures should the CBJ take to increase the municipal’s water supply sources?

There is a draft plan to enhance and protect the water supply that was scheduled before the Assembly months ago but pulled from the agenda. That plan needs to be brought back to the Assembly for public hearings. This draft plan discusses the current source of water, their continued viability and what might be done to protect and enhance these sources of water. Part of the plan is for a filtration process for water from the Salmon Creek Dam. This draft plan looks at existing wells in the Gold Creek area and the need to replace some of these wells. The draft plan needs to be examined by the Assembly, changes made if necessary and then implemented.

9. What steps can the CBJ take to strengthen local economic diversity and stabilize the local population, given the recent Census population figures?

The 2010 Census shows that Juneau’s population is decreasing and aging, yet recent numbers indicate a slight increase. To strengthen our economic diversity and stabilize our population, we must attract young working families to live and work in Juneau. We have a sound job base for working families, but lack affordable housing. The CBJ can make land available or provide incentives to local builders to build moderate-income apartments, or townhouses or condominiums where working families can afford to live and establish themselves in the community. We need to maintain a community infrastructure that attracts and keeps young families that want to live in Juneau and raise a family — quality schools, child care options, bus transit, and stable and quality health care options.

10. What do you think the CBJ should do, if anything, to address housing issues in the Juneau area?

The current 1 percent vacancy rate in Juneau makes housing a critical issue for Juneau. The CBJ can make land available; look at zoning or comprehensive planning issues to address the lack of affordable housing; and turn to other groups in Juneau for innovative ideas. Building moderate-income apartments, or townhouses or condominiums where working families can afford to live and establish themselves in the community is needed. This housing should help foster a sense of community, such as a “downtown feel” or family friendly walking neighborhoods. We need mixed residential and commercial zones that are not separated from each other by major roads and intersections.

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