Collins sees need for making hard decisions

Posted: Sunday, September 15, 2002

Juneau Assembly candidate Chuck Collins is clear about his goals. He'd like to see a road out of town, more action by the Assembly to block a legislative session move and better relations with Juneau's neighbors.

Chuck Collins

• Age: 42

• Lived in Juneau: 12 years

• Family in town: Wife Donna; children Eric, Brooke and Mandee

• Occupation: Owns Copy Express, Copy Works and Sign Pro

Collins, owner of Copy Express, Copy Works and Sign Pro in Juneau, is running for the areawide Assembly seat. The current Assembly hasn't done a good job making tough decisions, he said.

"I think Juneau needs a little different leadership," he said. "I'd like to see some things come to fruition and not just be rehashed. How about a golf course? How about we come to some kind of a decision on access? How about we tell the rest of Alaska it's our capital? How about the Assembly actually works with the boards that it appoints instead of just ignoring them?"

Collins thinks the state needs to finish the Juneau Access study. He supports a road to Juneau along the east side of Lynn Canal.

"Needed and wanted are words we sometimes interchange with each other," he said. "Do we need a road to get to Juneau? No, we've proved for years that we can get here without a road. Do we want a road to get to Juneau? I think so, because otherwise we're going to rehash the capital-move thing for the rest of our lives."

Collins has plastered the windows of his downtown copy shop with anti-legislative session move signs and would have "raised Cain" at the first Assembly meeting after news of the issue was going on the ballot, he said. A better Capitol complex and more office space for staffers are needed, he added.

"It's got to be personal," he said. "The city of Juneau needs to make an investment in the Legislature, and the people of Juneau need to have an attitude that we want the Legislature here."

On the issue of the Juneau-Douglas High School renovation, however, Collins is less clear. He would have voted to renovate JDHS before pursuing a second high school, but also thinks the Assembly should have listened to the Juneau School Board. The School Board wanted the city to build second high school before renovating JDHS.

For more Juneau Empire coverage of the October 1 municipal elections, please visit the Juneau Empire Elections Guide.

"I would have supported working on the renovation first," he said. "I would not have argued with the School Board. That's why we have a School Board, so they can say, 'This is what we need to do.' That's a tough question, because we don't know everything that went on. But the arguing is baloney. It looks to me from what I know from the outside I would have definitely supported getting after that renovation and getting it done."

Collins likes the idea of a second high school but is concerned by the $60 million price tag. He would like more information about the district's enrollment projections, he said. The issue shouldn't go to another vote unless it's necessary, he added.

"I liked the two-high-school idea when we first went on the bond package, but the price is so high," he said. "I don't like the idea of it on Riverside Drive because I think traffic issues are going to be a problem there."

While Collins is all for common ground, he has a straightforward approach to decision-making, he said.

"It's time we get some decision-makers up there and go forward," he said. "Sometimes you make a decision and it's not the most popular one, but sometimes you just have to make a decision. If I ran my business like the city, I'd be in big trouble."

Collins would have voted for a citywide smoking ban that went into effect at the start of the year, but wouldn't have been the person on the Assembly who introduced the issue, he said. He plans to vote for a $15 million bond proposition for harbor, water and sewer improvements, which is on the October ballot.

Juneau's relationship with other Southeast communities is big concern for Collins. Juneau should support better ferry service for the rest of the region and partner with other communities on tourism opportunities, he said.

"The No. 1 thing is, as a city, we need to be real positive about Southeast things," he said. "We should have really taken a stand with the Forest Service on the roadless policy. To the rest of Southeast outside of Juneau, that was just like their capital move."

The Clinton administration's roadless policy called for reductions in logging and road-building in unroaded portions of national forests.

Collins unsuccessfully ran against Juneau Assembly incumbent Jim Powell last year. He's raised between $6,000 and $7,000 for this year's campaign and expects to spend about as much as he did last year - about $17,000, he said.

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