Dixie Hood focuses on local interests, open government

Two candidates vie for District 2 Assembly seat

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The theme of Dixie Hood's campaign for the District 2 Assembly seat is focus on the public interest, not special interests.

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She wants the city to concentrate more on mass transit on existing roads rather than on a road that doesn't exist, and on in-state tourists rather than big-boat sightseers, she said.

"As a member of the public, I have followed several issues for several decades and it seems very often that the commercial interest has prevailed over other issues," Hood said. "I want to support open, ethical government, which I don't think we have entirely had."

Dixie Hood

• Age: 74

• Occupation: marriage and family therapist; mediator for Alaska Court System.

• Education: bachelor's degree in psychology, San Francisco State University; master's degree in psychology with an emphasis in college teaching, San Francisco State University; master's in psychology (clinical emphasis), Sonoma State University.

• Time in Juneau: 32 years.

• Boards and committees: member, League of Women Voters; member, Mendenhall Refuge Citizen Advisory Group; member, Alaska Board of Marital and Family Therapy and Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee; participant in public process of Waterfront Development Plan and Collaboration Juneau.

• Family: Three children, Kerry, Don, and Piper; seven grandchildren, and twogreat-grandchildren.

For more information about Hood's stance on Juneau's top issues or to ask her questions visit our interactive website: www.juneaublogger.com/election

Hood gave as an example a truck scale that was built and operated on Anka Street, 28 feet from Lemon Creek, without proper permits. She said she found it very odd that the Juneau Planning Commission only started working on an enforcement policy after she filed a public appeal on the scale.

Another example Hood gave of misguided priorities relates to affordable housing. Hood is concerned that too much city property, such as that in the 2006 Lena Point land sale, has been sold off for building mansions instead of low-cost housing.

Hood said some housing solutions are responsible zoning, taxing undeveloped land at a higher rate and city collaboration with local agencies that are also trying to develop housing.

She warned that even if Juneau resolved the affordable housing shortage, residents would still need to have the money to buy them.

"People need income to purchase a livable home," she said.

Hood is worried the city is too tourism-heavy. She said she sees opportunities in developing medical services, the university, arts and culture, and parks that would bring more diversity and strength to the economy.

Hood said she is in favor of the Kensington gold mine, north of Juneau, as long as mine operator Coeur Alaska follows legal and environmental guidelines.

In terms of tourism, Hood also said more attention should be focused on people who aren't coming off cruise ships.

"[Juneau] should focus more on individual travelers and visitors from inside Alaska, because they don't know about our city," she said.

By doing this, Hood said the city would create a better image of itself with Alaskans.

Hood is confident most people already like Alaska's capital and the majority of the state's people want it to stay here, judging from the most recent vote on a capital move.

"I think there is no interest in moving the capital, except from people in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, who would stand to benefit from it," she said.

Hood said a road out of Juneau would have no bearing on how people feel about the capital, and she does not want the project to happen because she fears it will bring an increase in drug crime and gang activity into the community.

"Our safety as a community has thrived as a result of being disconnected from the road system," she said.

Hood would like to see improvements made to the ferry system because it provides an immediate link to the capital, while the road would cost millions of dollars and is years away.

Another transportation issue Hood wants to tackle is the lack or difficulty of obtaining public transportation.

"I have clients that depend on the bus or caravan, and they have a really difficult time when the spots are booked or the time of day won't allow it at all," Hood said.

An overall expansion in the run time and capacity of Juneau's public transportation would help those without the means or ability to operate cars and would make the city more environmentally responsible, Hood said.

Hood had her own problems pop up from being behind the wheel. In November 2006, the Empire misreported in its court listings that she was convicted of driving while intoxicated. Hood was actually charged with a negligent driving and fined $300.

According to Hood, she underwent hip replacement surgery that summer and had not been on the road for more than two months. She was cleared by a doctor to drive and was not on medication, but her first time driving since the surgery was a shaky relearning. She crossed over the center line and was stopped by a police officer. She was given a breathalyzer test and was under the legal blood-alcohol level.

In other city issues, Hood said she sees a need to bring recycling to Juneau and said she would work with the city to get the proper regulations and hire waste management experts.

In terms of her biggest strengths, Hood points to her experience with the Juneau community. She said she attends two to three public meetings a week.

"I think I've probably attended more meetings than anybody who's run for the Assembly," Hood said.

Instead of draining her, Hood said the campaign has given her new energy.

One person who has seen Hood's motivation firsthand is Sybil Davis. Davis said Hood single-handedly organized a write-in campaign for her during the 2004 Assembly race.

Davis had already withdrawn from the race because she said she didn't have time to campaign.

The former director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council said it would be a boon for the city if another woman was elected to the Assembly. Hood could bring a different perspective and makes a good candidate, Davis said.

"She's really motivated from her heart," she said. "Dixie's been committed to this community and an active participant for many years."

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