Cast your votes for Juneau's future

Stopping at a red light isn’t optional, and running through an intersection can cause a calamity.

Stopping at the polls on Election Day is optional, but it should be a top priority. Not participating in your electoral process is an invitation to disaster. This Oct. 1, Juneau voters are faced with a choice: Participate or allow others to choose who will govern for you.

But it’s only a city election, some might say. Most seats are uncontested, and no one is trying to grab my tax money this time around with a ballot measure. Still, there is a choice to be made this election, and you need to make it.

Juneau’s future is a moving target, and those guiding it at the local level have the most profound impacts on our city and borough’s development and fiscal health.

There is only one contested race this year, and the candidates probably couldn’t be more different. Whether Bill Peters or Kate Troll emerges as the victor for the Areawide Assembly seat, you should have a say in deciding whose vision will help to guide our city.

We’re sure both candidates have the best of intentions. You don’t run for an unglamorous office for the glory, as a rule, because there is none. People run for office because they want to make a difference, to have their vision of how a community should develop trump, or work alongside, the visions of others.

Juneau faces serious issues. Will we reopen the AJ Mine? Is our water supply safe if we do reopen the mine? Where shall we allocate our precious civic resources? Will we continue to grow the housing supply and attract new jobs? Will we continue to be Alaska’s state capital?

Fortunately for all of us, Juneau’s League of Women Voters, a non-partisan group, compiled a survey that put all the candidates on record. We urge you to go to juneauempire.com and click on “Election 2013” to read all about them, especially the candidates for the contested race. The comment boards are still lighting-up on our recent article “Areawide Assembly race heats up,” so we know there’s interest in who wins this contest.

Voting is a privilege and a hard-won right. Don’t take it for granted.

There’s another benefit to voting: A healthy turnout tells politicians that the public is paying attention.

Learn about the candidates, cast your ballots and let them know you’re watching.

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Outside Editorial: A more presidential Donald Trump is unlikely, but necessary

The following editorial first appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

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Letter: The Homeless Ordinance

As I understand it, on Monday the assembly will be voting on an ordinance to permit the police to evict people camping in the downtown and make them move to a camping area in the Thane avalanche zone. I think that’s mistaken public policy. I’ve just hand delivered a 5 page letter to the CBJ in opposition. But what’s really needed isn’t my opinion. It’s a newspaper’s reporting of the facts. That said, if someone’s camped out in a doorway, it couldn’t be a more clear cry for help. And underneath that gruff scary homeless person is so often someone suffering the terrible diseases of mental illness and addiction.

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Win Gruening: Homeless Not Helpless

When Mayor Ken Koelsch recently proposed a city ordinance prohibiting camping in downtown Juneau to help resolve on-going issues with our homeless population, there was significant public reaction.

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My Turn: A Good Time for Kindness

Some time ago, the snow was mounded everywhere, deep and wet. As I gazed from my window, contemplating shoveling, I saw a neighbor plowing out the nextdoor driveway and mailbox — and then chug over to our mailbox, and plow it out as well. Such a welcome and unrequested act of thoughtfulness, of kindness: it lifted my spirits!

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