Today's profiles of Juneau Assembly District 1 and 2 candidates are part of a week-long look at people on the ballot in the Oct. 3 city election.
Thursday and Friday's Empire will feature Juneau School Board candidates Chuck Cohen, Alan Schorr, Daniel Peterson and John Greeley.
Boario favors ferry; focuses on effects of budget cuts
How long in Juneau: 7 years.
Family in Juneau: Husband, Sean Tracey; sister, Sara Boario.
Education: Bachelor of arts, political science, Lewis and Clark, Portland, Ore.
Occupation: Documents office worker, state Legislature; seasonal retail sales.
Public offices held: None.
Hobbies, other interests: Music, outdoor recreation, sports, travel.
This is the first try at public office for Maridon Boario, the write-in candidate for the Juneau Assembly District 1 seat.
The city is, generally, in good shape, she said, though with cuts in state revenue sharing, "we're going to have to come up with creative solutions to fund services."
Recent cuts in the city's Health and Social Services Department have caused "quiet a negative reaction in the community," she said.
"People are feeling disconnected from city government and feel they're not being listened to," she said.
City leaders need to look for new ways to reach out to residents, beyond newspapers and radio, she said, such as digital suggestion boxes and more communication with the community through nonprofit groups and neighborhood associations.
"It would help in getting the word out about meetings and for soliciting information," she said.
Boario will vote for both the 3 percent and 1 percent sales tax renewals, as well as the school bond. She will vote against convening a city charter commission and the initiative limiting tourist-flight noise. And enhanced ferry service will be her choice on the ferry/road advisory vote.
The 3 percent sales tax renewal Proposition 1 gets her approval. "It's important to maintain current levels of service," Boario said. "It's also important to our schools."
She supports Proposition 2 the 1 percent renewal "for basically the same reasons," she said: providing school support and recreational opportunities.
The city predicts the tax will take in about $26 million in the next five years and will parcel out those funds to Bartlett Regional Hospital's expansion plan - $20 million; school repair and renovation $4 million; and construction of an ice rink in Douglas $1.1 million.
"Bartlett is an important hub for Southeast," Boario said. "And we need to fill that position by upgrading the system."
She will vote yes on Proposition 3, the $7.7 million school bond, she said. "It's really important to provide the best possible learning environment. Part of that is the proper upkeep of our schools."
Boario is against Proposition 4, the measure convening a city charter commission. "I don't think we need it at this time," she said. "The assembly can handle any problems that come up."
She will vote no on Proposition 5 as well the initiative limiting tour-flight noise because "the city needs to develop a comprehensive tourism plan for Juneau, instead of approaching problems piecemeal," she said.
The noise initiative is a direct result of the community's frustration with the lack of leadership in city government, Boario said.
She said she is optimistic solutions to tourism-impact problems can be found. "But I don't think people are saying 'no more'; just that we've reached a point where something needs to be done.
Voluntary compliance measures are a step in the right direction, she said, but the city needs to go further. "Maybe it's time to ask whether there's a (tourism) carrying capacity for our community."
Proposition 6 asks voters to choose between enhanced ferry service and a road out of Juneau. Boario is opting for the road. "I think it's really important to look not only at Juneau, but to our Southeast neighbors when we consider our transportation options," she said.
Most Alaskans would fly to Juneau or take a ferry whether a road existed or not, she said. "As for those who argue that the road would improve recreational opportunities, I think most Alaskans can avail themselves of recreational opportunities without building roads. We've never really had a Yellowstone mentality."
Koelsch supports road; says he has worked for education
How long in Juneau: 32 years.
Family in Juneau: Wife Marian; son, Karter; daughter, Amber.
Education: Bachelor of arts, history and English, Michigan State; master of arts in teaching, University of Alaska Fairbanks; master's degree in school administration, University of Alaska Southeast.
Occupation: Juneau port director, U.S. Customs Service; retired teacher.
Public offices held: Member, Juneau Assembly 1997-present.
Hobbies, other interests: Reading, travel.
Ken Koelsch is looking for a second term as representative for the Juneau Assembly's District 1.
The city, fiscally, is "in fair to good shape," he said, as evinced by its reserve account of $6.8 million, balanced budget and fully funded Juneau School District.
He was a teacher in the district and still focuses on education, he said. "For me, education is the great equalizer. I'm really focused on what I can do with propositions 1, 2 and 3."
Those propositions the 3 percent sales tax renewal, 1 percent sales tax renewal, and school bonding respectively will get Koelsch's yes vote. The charter commission measure will not, and neither will the tourist-flight noise initiative. And Koelsch will choose the road out of town over enhanced ferry service on the ferry/road advisory vote.
The 3 percent sales tax renewal will get Koelsch's vote because it funds the city's general operations. "In addition, a little-known aspect of that funding is that a lot of it goes to youth activities $200,000 to the school district and $250,000 to citywide youth activities."
Proposition 2 the 1 percent sales tax renewal gets his support "because we need some improvements to the city-owned hospital," he said. "And we need it for our share of the 30 percent state matching funds for Proposition 3."
The city predicts it will collect about $26 million over the five-year run of the 1 percent tax. The assembly has stated its intention to spend the money on three projects: $20 million for Bartlett Regional Hospital expansion, $1.1 million for an ice rink in Douglas, and about $4 million for school repairs and to pay off school bonds if Proposition 3 passes.
"The enclosed ice rink will provide recreational opportunities for both kids and adults," Koelsch said.
Proposition 3 which also gets Koelsch's nod asks voters to support the sale of $7.7 million in bonds for school repair and renovation. The state reimburses municipalities 70 percent of school bonding costs.
The school funding will provide immediate improvements to the commons and entrance areas of Juneau-Douglas High School, as well as improvements to some science and vocational education classrooms, Koelsch said.
Proposition 4 asks voters whether they want to convene a commission to review the city charter, with a view to recommending changes. That gets a no from Koelsch. "Our charter is really well-written and it's working," he said. "If it isn't broken, don't fix it."
Koelsch will vote no as well on the tourist-flight noise measure Proposition 5.
"We already have a noise-study plan going and are working on a mediation plan," he said. "And the Planning and Policy Committee has started the design phase of a long-range tourism plan."
Koelsch, a member of the assembly's Planning and Policy Committee, objected to proposed restrictions of the noise initiative, he said. "An example is that any visitors to Juneau on a Saturday might find themselves in a situation where it's a sunny day and they wouldn't be able to go flightseeing."
In addition to restricting Saturday flightseeing, the measure would also restrict additional study and development of helicopter landing sites.
Proposition 6 an advisory vote asks Juneau residents to choose between enhanced ferry service in northern Lynn Canal and a road out of Juneau. Koelsch gives the road the nod.
"I've talked to a lot of young people who don't own boats and planes and who therefore don't have the same access as others," he said. "On the other hand, most of us have cars."
As to when a road could be completed, Koelsch said he didn't know. "The next step is to get EIS (the Alaska Department of Transportation environmental impact statement) done," he said. "If you don't dream your dreams, you won't accomplish them."
Anderson unopposed for seat being vacated by Perkins
How long in Juneau: 47 years.
Family: Wife of 31 years, Honey Bee; daughters TamBee, KimBee and DarBee; son, Erik
Education: Bachelor of science in business administration, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Okla.; Certificate of Judicial Development, Administrative Law, National Judicial College, University of Nevada at Reno
Occupation: Owner, Admiralty Tours and Auke Lake Bed and Breakfast; since January 2000, legislative assistant to state Rep. Eldon Mulder, legislative staff on House Finance Committee and Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.
Public offices held: Gov. Hickel appointee to Limited Entry Commission, 1992-97
Hobbies, other interests: Fishing, hunting, skiing, SCUBA diving, licensed pilot.
Juneau businessman Dale Anderson is the only candidate for the Juneau Assembly District 2 seat, which includes the Mendenhall Valley. The seat is being vacated by two- term member Dwight Perkins.
Anderson has at various times in Juneau owned and operated photo and camera shops, an art gallery, a custom frame shop, a fishing lodge and a snow-removal business. He is also a licensed real estate salesman with Powell Realty, a family-owned business.
He plans to continue serving as a legislative assistant to Anchorage Republican Rep. Eldon Mulder during his tenure on the assembly. "I'm used to that sort of thing," he said. "I've always got three or four projects going on at the same time."
Experience with fisheries negotiations on the state Limited Entry Commission will serve him with the city's ongoing tourism impact mediation efforts, Anderson said. He has adopted as a campaign motto: "You don't raise four generations in one town without understanding what it means to find common ground."
"I'd like to keep the wild in Alaska," he said. "We can operate within this environment and exploit it to the degree that is not damaging to the environment which does not mean we have to lock it up and lose it."
Anderson will vote yes on propositions 1, 2 and 3 the 3 percent and 1 percent sales tax renewals, and the school bond. He will vote no on propositions 4 and 5 the city charter commission measure and tourist-flight noise initiative, respectively. And he will check off "road" on the ferry/road advisory vote.
Proposition 1 renews the 3 percent sales tax, the proceeds of which the assembly has earmarked for roads, drainage, water and sewer systems, fire and police protection, and other basic services. The measure gets the nod from Anderson "because it provides one of the key components of the city's revenues," he said.
Proposition 2, a five-year renewal of the 1 percent sales tax that is expected to bring the city about $26 million, will also get a yes from Anderson. The assembly has earmarked $20 million of the proceeds from the tax for Bartlett Regional Hospital, about $4 million for school repairs, and $1.1 million for an ice rink.
Proposition 3 authorizes the sale of $7.7 million in bonds for school repairs. Anderson is for it, he said, because it will complete "necessary repairs to six different projects at five area schools."
Anderson will vote no on Proposition 4, the measure authorizing the convening of a commission on the city charter. "I take the position that if it's not broke, don't try and fix it," he said. "If there are minor changes that need to be looked at, the assembly has the ability to address those issues."
Anderson will also turn thumbs down on Proposition 5, the tour-flight noise initiative. "This contentious issue has digressed into a shouting match," he said. "...The discussion has become shrill and, unfortunately, has resulted in an initiative that goes too far."
Reaching a resolution that includes voluntary compliance is his goal, he said. "Hopefully, government intervention and the regulatory process that follows will prove to be unnecessary."
Anderson supports construction of a road out of Juneau and has since the 1960s, he said. Correspondingly, he will vote for the road on the enhanced-ferry-service/road advisory vote, Proposition 6. "No matter what they do to enhance the ferry system, it cannot handle the transportation needs in the Lynn Canal corridor," he said.
The most important aspect of Proposition 6 "is to ensure the completion of the final phase of the EIS (the state Department of Transportation's environmental impact statement)," he said. "Having all the facts, clearly stated, provides the best foundation for prudent decision making."
Further, the road will encourage more independent travelers to come to Juneau, Anderson said. "(Independent travelers) bring commerce, jobs and opportunity to our community."