Talking trash and capital creep

Assembly and School Board candidates differ on array of issues

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007

Candidates for the Juneau Assembly divided on strategy for growing the economy, fighting capital-move attempts and taking care of our trash, at a Thursday election forum.

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Candidates for the Juneau School Board divided on the usefulness of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, at the League of Women Voters-sponsored event.

The differences may help some residents decide between Assembly candidates, but won't help with the school board race in which there are now two candidates running for two positions, after the withdrawal of a third candidate earlier this week.

City candidate Dixie Hood, seeking the District 2 seat, said Juneau needed to start its search for waste-management solutions by hiring an executive director of waste management, preferably one from out of town, to see what can be done.

"There is no one locally who can do that," she said.

District 2 incumbent Randy Wanamaker said the Assembly is already studying the issue with a consultant, but raised concerns about the data on which a decision might be based.

Online Voters' Guide

For more about the Oct. 2 municipal election, go to the Juneau Empire's online Voters' Guide 2007 at juneauempire.com/elections/.

• Online interactive features this year:

• Candidate profiles.

• Candidate video clips.

• A chance to comment on candidates' stands.

• A chance to answer candidates' questions to the community.

The city should "wait for the final report from the consultants," he said. But he added that the numbers in it need "solid examination."

Area-wide candidate Iskandar Alexandar suggested an incinerator as the best way of dealing with toxic waste, and chastised the current Assembly for failing to obtain regulatory authority over trash.

Johan Dybdahl, the incumbent area-wide candidate, said he'd work with the current trash company on solutions, and suggested a regional landfill.

The third candidate in the race for the area-wide seat, Marshal Kendziorek, said the city should seek trash authority from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

Incumbent Jeff Bush, running unopposed for District 1, said he'd like to see curbside recycling to extend the estimated 30-year life of the dump.

Capital issues crept into answers to many questions, including questions about the Lynn Canal access road.

Wanamaker said fighting capital creep was one of his reasons for supporting the Lynn Canal road.

"It will help keep the capital here," he said.

Dixie Hood said Juneau should keep the capital by getting rid of politicians who try to move it.

"Maybe the governor and the Legislature need to be changed," she said.

Alexandar said he didn't care one way or another about the road. It won't help, he said, but if the state will pay to build it, that's OK.

Kendziorek called the road controversy "specious" and the road unlikely.

He declined to give a position on it.

"Since it's not going to happen, we need to focus on other things," he said.

Dybdahl said the road was needed, and would "generate commerce" for Juneau.

School Board candidates JoAnne Bell-Graves and Destiny Sargeant, both running for the first time and uncontested, struggled to explain how they'd respond if Juneau ran into difficulty splitting its high school into two separate buildings.

Both said creativity would be important.

Sargeant said Juneau needed to be more creative in getting its rightful share of resources from the state; Bell-Graves, appearing by phone, said more creative ideas were needed.

The two divided, to an extent, on No Child Left Behind.

Sargeant said she supported the intent of the act, which was to keep any child from failing.

"All of our children need a chance to succeed," she said.

Bell-Graves said she liked the act's options for choice, but said it wasn't working well for Alaska-unique situations, such as small rural schools.

The forum in the Assembly Chambers was lightly attended on a rainy night, but was aired live on KTOO radio and videotaped for broadcast.

• Contact Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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