The biggest difference between Assembly candidates Dale Anderson and Daniel Peterson is age and experience. They hold similar positions on the local economy, city deficit, a new capitol building, a road connecting Juneau to other areas, tourism and funding Eaglecrest Ski Area. They both even moved to Juneau as young children.
Anderson seeks to hold his District 2 seat in the Oct. 7 election. Peterson wants a job in city politics after his school board term ends Oct. 21. The $6,000-a-year position takes effect Oct. 27 and is a three-year term.
Improving the local economy is the main theme for both candidates.
"I don't think it's enough to simply tighten our belts in these tough times," Anderson said in an interview Thursday. "No one has ever saved their way to prosperity."
The city needs to reduce the cost of living in Juneau by encouraging the development of more light manufacturing and open-ing city-held land to affordable housing that would be put on the property tax rolls, Peterson said in a separate interview Thursday.
Specifically, Peterson would target city-held land on Lena Point and Douglas, he said.
Anderson, of 11595 Mendenhall Loop Road, is a 54-year-old father of four and has been married to his wife, Honey Bee, for 34 years. He arrived in Juneau in 1953 at age 4. He is the owner of Anderson Gallery, served as commissioner of the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and was a legislative assistant on the state House Finance Committee. He lost a run for the District 3 state House seat in 1992.
Peterson is a 21-year old student at the University of Alaska Southeast, where he majors in social sciences. He is single and lives in student housing. He is completing a three-year term on the Juneau School Board, on which he chaired the school district policy committee since 2001. Born in Waterloo, Iowa., he moved to Juneau at age 5. He has plans to get a master's degree in public administration at the university and promises to fill out the three-year Assembly term. He also runs Daniel Peterson Consulting and is on hiatus as a weekend newscaster for KINY.
As Juneau faces a deficit in 2004, Peterson suggests starting a dialogue with union and state officials. He would not "rule out" a tax increase, but does not see an "immediate need" for one, he said. He would first look for efficiencies and redundancies in the budget. Peterson has been poring over the budget at home.
"Work smarter, not harder," he said.
Anderson said he would also look at efficiencies in the budget, adding he does not favor across-the-board cuts. He will use the city's new Missions and Measures program to evaluate the effectiveness of each city department.
Both candidates favor a new capitol building, but question the timing of a large financial investment as the city faces a deficit.
Peterson and Anderson, a financial consultant with SmithBarney, both said the city is near its general obligation bonding ceiling.
"We have to pay very close attention to any expansion in the next fiscal years," Anderson said.
Peterson, who worked in the capitol building this past spring as an aide to state Rep. Mary Kapsner, District 37, admitted the building is old with an inadequate heating/air conditioning system.
"If we can afford it, it could be a good move to send a message to the state that the capitol will remain in Juneau," Peterson said.
They also favor the completion of access and environmental impact studies for a road connecting Juneau to other Southeast communities. Anderson said he has supported the building of a road since the 1960s.
"We have to make sure this is a welcoming place," Anderson said. "... Placing a road offers a real, reasonable alternative for people to travel."
Independent travelers spend twice that of cruise ship passengers so a road could benefit Juneau economically, said Anderson, who owns Auke Lake Bed & Breakfast. Moreover, a highway can handle about 10 times more vehicles per year than ferries, Anderson said.
Both candidates favor a seawalk downtown. Peterson said new cruise ship docks "may be a possibility." He is concerned about the current number of cruise ship passengers who visit the city but said an "optimal" number can be reached. The city should not necessarily propose a large reduction in tourists, but manage their whereabouts better.
Anderson, who owns and operates Admiralty Tours, said he favors the seawalk and two new cruise ship docks near the Rock Dump and Gold Creek.
They both plan to review city sales tax exemptions in light of a tight city budget. But Peterson said he would push to eliminate exemptions for lobbyists and retain those for senior citizens. Both also plan to vote "yes" on the tobacco tax and school bonding propositions on the Oct. 7 ballot. They also agree that the tobacco tax revenue should go toward social programs and not to the general revenue fund to help offset an impending deficit for 2004.
On the Eaglecrest Ski Area, both candidates say ski officials must make an effort to stay financially solvent before the city allocates funding. Eaglecrest asked the city for $240,000 after suffering from a slow winter season last year. The city declined the funding because Eaglecrest officials failed to show a business plan. The city made Eaglecrest partner with the Juneau Economic Development Council to develop a plan.
Tara Sidor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.