Areawide Assembly candidate: Alexandar bills himself a change candidate; says capital creep top issue

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2007

As a clinician at Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc., Alexandar has dealt with problems posed by substance abusers and the mentally ill. He says he also sees problems with Juneau and is running for the areawide Assembly seat in an attempt to fix those problems.

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Billing himself as a candidate for change, Alexandar said the top issue that needs an about-face is capital creep and, in his words, the "bribery" that goes along with it, namely what he calls the Scottish Rite Temple giveaway.

Alexandar said the sale of the temple to the state for $1 was paramount to bribery and a ploy that will not work to woo the Legislature to stay in town.

"Obviously the city of Juneau giving a substantial gift is legal," Alexandar said. "I don't think it's ethical or moral when you are giving gifts for quid pro quo."

Iskandar Alexandar

Age: 51.

Occupation: Clinician, Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc.

Education: Bachelor's degree in general studies from Kent State University; master's degree in social work from Monmouth University, N.J.

Time in Juneau: two years.

Family: wife, Sheri Alexandar.

Groups: member, Society for Creative Anachronism.

Iskandar Alexandar makes a living by the social worker's mantra: Be a change agent.

For more information about Alexander go to www.juneauempire.com/elections

A better solution to the capital creep problem is to simply boot the offending politicians out of office, Alexandar said.

His answer is to form political action committees and fund the opponents of legislators who want to move the capital.

"If these politicians don't want to come here and serve, let them resign," Alexandar said.

This "hemorrhaging" of the city budget with giveaways is having an effect on the quality of life in Juneau as well, according to Alexandar.

Another of his quick-fix goals is the Juneau landfill issue. The thousands of dollars that could have been made by selling the Scottish Rite Temple should have gone toward a federally approved incinerator and more recycling initiatives, Alexandar said.

He said within the next 14 months, Juneau could have curbside recycling pickups and a proper incinerator for low-level waste, but the current administration is not focused on taking action.

"I brought up issues of housing and the dump [at a recent Assembly forum] and no one wanted to touch them. They kept dancing around the issues," he said.

In terms of housing, Alexandar is convinced there is enough developable land in Juneau to start work on 1,200 multi-family units. He proposes the city kick-start the process by selling the land to developers for rock-bottom prices but partitioning a part of each acre for lower-priced housing.

Alexandar sees the housing issue as the main reason why younger Juneau residents leave town.

"Someone who starts in their 20s, you can't afford to live here," he said.

If the youth of Juneau continue to leave town, they won't be leaving by road, if Alexandar had his way.

While he says a road out of town is probably inevitable, he said the island that is Juneau would suffer for it.

"I see Juneau as a utopian city. People here are really trying to make each other and the city better," and the road would change the values of the town, Alexandar said.

A resident for a little more than two years, Alexandar admits his odds of winning the areawide Assembly seat are "on par with winning the Salmon Derby," but the act of running is what matters to him.

One of his co-workers, Mike Christenson, executive administrative assistant at JAMHI, said that Alexandar's strength comes from the experience he's had working at the mental health clinic.

"I think he is familiar with many constituencies. He works with a lot of people," Christenson said. "I think he would do very good work. He's very detailed-oriented."

Regardless of the odds, Alexandar said he's running for a cause.

"Win or lose, I am forcing a debate on the real issues," he said.



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