Jamie Parsons, former mayor of Juneau, said today he will run for the post again, regardless of what incumbent Mayor Dennis Egan does.
As of this morning, writer and photographer Mark Farmer was the only certified candidate for mayor in the Oct. 3 city election. Egan, who has been on the Juneau Assembly since 1989 and mayor since 1995, has not filed to run again. He also has not returned several calls from the Empire asking about his plans for the election.
"The mayor needs to let the community know what you're doing well in advance," Parsons said today. "I think there's a message in Dennis's hesitation, whatever it might be."
Marketing consultant Patty Zimmerman, who previously said in an interview she was running for assembly, has filed a nominating petition only for the mayor's job.
City Clerk Laurie Sica said Zimmerman's petition hasn't been certified because it doesn't have enough valid signatures. Zimmerman could not be reached for comment this morning, but her latest advertisements showed her running for mayor.
Also, Juneau School Board member Chuck Cohen, a fisherman and property manager, was certified Friday to be on the ballot, Sica said. As of this morning, he and incumbent Alan Schorr, a book publisher, were the only certified candidates for three open seats on the school board. Both announced their plans to run earlier this year.
Parsons, 59, was mayor from 1991 to 1994, when he stepped down to chair the Alaska Committee, a local group that worked to keep the state capital in Juneau. Parsons chaired the Mayor's Fiscal Task Force this year.
"I'm concerned about our community," Parsons said today, "and the fact that we're embroiled in controversy all the time ... and the fact that we're not looking down the road to have a good economy in years to come. And the assembly needs to take a lead on that."
Parsons supports a road out of Juneau, primarily, he said, to satisfy the access concerns of those who want to move the capital to a location on the road system.
Parsons also said he is concerned about what he called misperceptions of Juneau's stance toward tourism. As recently as Sunday, The New York Times ran an article in its travel section about concerns Juneau and other Alaska towns have about large-scale tourism.
Parsons opposes the flightseeing initiative on this year's ballot. It would ban tourism flights at some times and make it more difficult for the city to issue permits for new heliports.
Parsons acknowledges that some residents are unhappy with tourism.
The assembly needs to look at whether the city's processes for reacting to community concerns are doing the job, he said.
"There obviously is a lot of unhappiness out there," he said. "Is there a way to lessen that?"
Parsons came to Juneau in 1972 as the city's first Parks and Recreation Department director. He is co-owner of the Juneau Racquet Club.
This election also will fill three assembly seats. So far, there isn't much competition for them.
As of this morning, incumbent Ken Koelsch, a federal customs official, is the only certified candidate for the District 1 seat. Small businessman Dale Anderson is the only certified candidate for the District 2 seat being vacated by outgoing assembly member Dwight Perkins, a state official.
Real estate consultant PeggyAnn McConnochie is the only certified candidate for the areawide seat. The winner of that seat will fill out the remaining two years of Tom Garrett's term. Garrett resigned to take a job out of state.
The mayor's job pays $2,500 a month, and the assembly $500 a month. School board members are paid $300 a month.
The last day for candidates to file nominating petitions for city offices is 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the city clerk's office. Candidates must have signatures of 25 registered voters.
Sica suggests candidates get at least 35 signatures in case some signers aren't valid voters. And candidates should consider turning in petitions before Thursday because it will be too late after that to resubmit a petition with more signatures.
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