Assembly District 1 candidates David Stone and Karen Lawfer both have shown a passion for local politics and a deep commitment to serve Juneau. However, we believe David Stone is the most prepared heading into what will be a difficult few years as the city repositions itself to handle budget deficits.
Stone, who has been on the Assembly for six years now, has served ably as the Assembly's finance chair, and helped build a $10 million "rainy day fund." With anticipated budget deficits ranging from $3 million to $5 million in 2010 and 2011, Stone will help to ensure a sound fiscal plan for the years ahead. Stone said his decision to run for re-election was to "stay involved during hard times."
Stone has served ably and thoughtfully. As such, he would continue to provide the community with a sense of continuity. Outreach and active participation with other Southeast communities is vital for Juneau's and the region's economic viability, and Stone serves actively in that area. He also shows a thorough understanding of Juneau's energy needs, as well as the challenges recycling, waste management and affordable housing present.
Stone's vision for solid waste disposal requires a Southeast-wide effort, and the relationships he's built outside of Juneau will be instrumental in this area. The Lemon Creek landfill's life expectancy can be expanded through recycling programs, but Juneau will eventually run out of room to store waste. Stone is committed to finding a solution now rather than later. His past actions prove such.
Stone supported having the Assembly take on a larger role with solid waste and recycling by hiring a solid waste coordinator. He also supports adopting an affordable recycling model, something Juneau residents have been asking for.
Karen Lawfer's meeting with the Empire editorial board primarily focused on revitalizing the downtown area. She had many good ideas, such as pushing for a property tax cap for businesses that stay open year-round and an ambassadors program where locals would work with tourists and visiting lawmakers, but her vision falls short of addressing the financial dilemma that lies ahead.
David Stone has served ably during his six years on the Assembly, has been at the forefront of developing a tangible solid waste management plan, and is the best candidate to ensure Juneau maintains a sound fiscal budget in the years ahead.