Candidates maneuver for city seats

Mendenhall Valley hopeful files; two others register declarations of intent

Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Only one person declared his candidacy on the first day of filing for the Oct. 4 city election.

Others said they are planning or considering runs, though some incumbents' plans remain uncertain. Three Juneau Assembly and two School Board seats are open.

Jonathan Anderson, 53, filed his nominating petition with the city clerk's office Monday morning. Incumbent Assembly member Merrill Sanford and political newcomer Mara Kyung Early have declared their intent to run with letters to the state, but have not filed with the city.

"When I want to do something, I go out and do it," said Anderson, director of the University of Alaska Southeast's public administration master's program.

Anderson, who will run for a District 2 Mendenhall Valley seat, said he believes strongly in the democratic process.

"I want to make sure people feel their representatives act in their best interest and listen to them," said Anderson, who is running for public office for the first time.

Deputy Mayor Marc Wheeler and Assembly members Sanford and Stan Ridgeway will complete their first three-year terms this fall.

Sanford, who holds a seat from District 1 in the downtown area, said he will run for re-election and has filed his letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. He hasn't submitted his nominating petition to the city clerk.

Sanford said he wants to serve another three years because there are many things left to be done. One of them is the revision of Title 49, the city's land-use code.

"The code we are going by is very old and leaves a lot of questions in the air," Sanford, 58, said. "We need to update the regulations because they are the guidelines for our planners and developers."

Early, chairwoman of the Juneau Coalition for Youth, is another candidate who has filed her letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. She said she's running for the areawide seat, held by Wheeler.

Early, who also is an advisor for the Juneau-Douglas High School student government, said her focus will be on youth.

Wheeler said he is still considering whether to run again. On Monday Ridgeway was unavailable for comment about whether he plans to defend his District 2 seat.

Juneau School Board seats held by Rhonda Befort and Robert Van Slyke will be open.

Van Slyke, 75, said he won't run for re-election.

"I'd like to stick around to see the concrete floor of the high school but at this point of my life, there are other things I want to do," Van Slyke said.

Befort said she hasn't decided whether to run in the October election.

People who are interested in running for the Assembly and the School Board have 10 more days to file with the city clerk's office.

To be eligible to run for the Assembly, a person must be a qualified Juneau voter and a city resident for at least a year before the election. Candidates must live in the district where they are running. Assembly members may not work for the city during their terms.

A School Board candidate must be a qualified Juneau voter.

State law requires all candidates to file a financial disclosure statement before Aug. 25.

• I-Chun Che can be reached at

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