Urban Bear Committee Chairman Mark Farmer said Friday that he won't run for a seat on the Juneau Assembly this fall so he can focus attention on the community's bear issues.
Farmer said earlier he would run against incumbent Jim Powell, in part to draw attention to the city's ongoing bear problem. But after Mayor Sally Smith announced plans last week to pull together the bear committee, Farmer said he was rethinking whether to file for office.
"I think what's the best for me, best for Juneau and best for the bears is me not running at this time and focusing efforts on the bear committee," he said.
The mayor disbanded the bear committee earlier this summer after the Assembly approved a new garbage ordinance designed to protect the animals.
"I'm the kind of guy that once I start something, I finish it. We're nowhere close to the end of the bear problem here," Farmer said.
Farmer, a military journalist, also said he would be working out of town for nearly two weeks next month, so he wouldn't be able to attend public forums and other campaign events.
Farmer, who has run for and pulled out of races for the Assembly and mayor in the past, said he won't issue an endorsement in this fall's election. He added that he isn't ruling out a bid for office in the future.
Three seats are open on the Assembly this fall. Powell is running for re-election to the Assembly's areawide seat. Former teacher Tony Reiger and Jeannie Johnson, a real estate business owner and pilot, have filed for the District 1 seat. Environmental assessor and Goldbelt Inc. chairman Randy Wanamaker has filed for the District 2 seat. Incumbent Cathy Mu-oz is not seeking re-election and incumbent John MacKinnon cannot run because of term limits.
Two seats are open on the Juneau School Board. School Board President Mary Becker and Stan Ridgeway have filed for re-election.
The deadline to file a nominating petition for local office is Aug. 23. The election is Oct. 2.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.