Candidates offer experience, youth, zeal: Bob Doll

Doll brings government experience to the table

Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2005

At-large Juneau Assembly candidate Bob Doll says he is someone who can bring government experience to the Juneau Assembly.

Doll spent 30 years in the Navy. For two years, he was a commander of a destroyer squadron with 1,000 people and six ships.

"It taught me to accept responsibility and exercise authority," said Doll, 69. "It taught me one of my principal jobs was to look after my people and my ships."

Between 1997 and 2000, Doll was the general manager for the Alaska Marine Highway System. He retired in 2003 as director of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' Southeast Region.

Doll said he learned to balance budgets, respond to the Legislature and local communities, and analyze different proposals while he worked at DOT/PF.

"The Alaska Marine Highway System is much concerned with operation costs and revenues," Doll said. "Some of its largest customers are not individual travelers but cities, communities and towns. You have to be responsive to their needs. You also have to be responsive to the governor and the legislators. You spend a large portion of your time dealing with forces outside the marine highway system itself."

Doll said he will apply his military and administrative experience to his job as an Assembly member.

"Under our charter, we have a strong city manager and a weak mayor," Doll said. "The Assembly's job is to oversee the city manager and review a variety of proposals brought to the Assembly. My experience gives me good judgment to do those things."

This is not the first time Doll has run for public office. Last year, he ran for the Alaska House District 4 seat as a Democrat. He lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch.

Doll said he doesn't think it a step down to run for the Assembly.

"It's a position that requires more intimate contact with citizens," he said. "The Assembly deals with issues that are immediately concerned with citizens."

Lynn Melin, who worked as port captain for the ferry system, said Doll was a conscientious leader when he was the general manager at the Alaska Marine Highway System.

"He wanted to do what was best for the state and the traveling public with the resources he was given," Melin said. "It wasn't easy because we had a budget cut. He had to look for the future and keep the system running."

Doll said building a second bridge across Gastineau Channel is more urgent than building a road to the north.

"The development of north Douglas Island will become possible in terms of housing, recreational facilities, ports, harbors and even a new airport," Doll said. "I don't think the project has gotten enough attention."

Doll said that while the city has a lot of discussions about how to retain its young people, Juneau should encourage its youth to go out and explore the world.

"They need to know there is more than one way of doing anything," Doll said. "But we also need to give them the possibility to come back and raise a family."

Doll said creating affordable housing is important to draw Juneau's young people back.

"Housing is in fact a cooperative effort between government and private business," said Doll, who held a real estate license in the state of Washington for five years. "Juneau needs to do everything it can to reduce the cost of construction and stimulate private businesses to build housing for people who cannot afford to buy now."

Among the three candidates for the at-large seat currently held by Deputy Mayor Marc Wheeler, Doll has Wheeler's blessing.

"Stepping away from a possible re-election campaign was a tough choice, but it's a lot easier to do with another candidate in the race that I believe in," Wheeler said. "He's a hard worker, has a strong character, and will do his level best to fight for Juneau's future."

Like Wheeler, Doll says voters should support building the Dimond Park Community Center aquatic facility with the optional 1 percent sales tax revenues.

"The pool created through the collaboration with The Alaska Club (wouldn't) meet the community's needs," Doll said. "The size of the pool is not adequate. The temperature of the pool is not conducive to competitive swimming."

Doll said voters should approve all of the other projects on the 1 percent sales tax ballot, including airport renovation and sewer extention.

"They either improve our infrastructure or they will benefit the young people of Juneau," Doll said.

Ron Clarke, who was special assistant to former Gov. Tony Knowles when he knew Doll, said he was impressed by Doll's ability to handle controversial issues.

"The ferry system has always generated a lot of controversy, no matter who is running it," Clarke said. "In his first public hearing on the ferry system, Bob was able to deal with some fairly hostile comments from a number of legislators. No matter how snotty they were, he was always calm and polite."

Clarke also credits Doll with reconfiguring the ferry system. Doll was instrumental in buying two fast ferries to complement the conventional ferries.

"In the past, our whole schedule was driven by the moon," Clarke said. "The fast ferry frees up the schedule and makes the ferry system more reliable and convenient."

Weyhrauch said he admires anyone who runs for public office, but he doesn't think Doll's policy ideas are good for Juneau.

Weyhrauch, who supports Doll's opponent, David Summers, said Doll's objection to a road out of Juneau is his major worry.

"Transportation to the north is very important in terms of making Juneau a hospitable city for legislators and retaining the seat of government," Weyhrauch said.

Doll said he doesn't think Weyhrauch knows his policies well. He said expanding the Juneau International Airport will make Juneau a more hospitable capital for legislators.

•I-Chun Che can be reached at

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