Candidates seek District 2 Assembly seat

Incumbent Anderson says goal is to work to diversify economy

Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008

With a doctorate degree in public policy making, and as a professor of public administration at the University of Alaska Southeast, Jonathan Anderson says his seat on the Assembly is an extension of his commitment to public service.

Elected in 2005 to the District 2 seat, Anderson is challenged this election by Karen Taug.

Anderson said his main goal in a second term would be to look at ways to diversify Juneau's economy.

The local economy is dependent on government and tourism jobs, and while Anderson supports opening the Kensington Mine, he said smaller businesses that will be here for decades are more important to achieve economic stability.

He named the Alaskan Brewing Co. as a good example of a small industry providing good jobs in Juneau and said similar-sized businesses like it are needed.

He wants to employ the Juneau Economic Development Council and Juneau Chamber of Commerce to research ideas about which industries might be attracted to the city, and supports development for that on Douglas Island.

"Restrictions on land is a problem for Juneau," he said. "I would push to open up land on the backside of North Douglas, which would coincide with a second crossing. We have an opportunity to develop and grow with environmental responsibility."

Another issue the candidate wants to address is recycling. Juneau's landfill has an estimated 30-year life span, but Anderson supports lengthening it with mandatory curbside recycling. Noting that the landfill is a private operation, he said, "The best the city can do is reduce the amount of solid waste material that goes into the dump."

A study commissioned by the city showed that an areawide curbside program could extend the landfill's life by 20 years. Costs are still unknown, but Anderson said he'd support up to a doubling of current garbage collection fees to institute a mandatory recycling program, but probably not more than that.

Anderson cast an important vote this past spring during the city's energy crisis. The Assembly was on the brink of supporting amortization for expected huge energy bills after avalanches destroyed part of a transmission line, and the electric company had to switch to costly diesel.

His vote against amortization stalled a decision and allowed citizens time to send an outpouring of opposition to the plan. The council ended up not voting for amortization and instead passed a different program to help residents pay bills.

Anderson also was one of three Assembly members who voted against giving a group of private citizens $500,000 from the sales tax reserve fund to help start the casting of a life-sized bronze whale. The Assembly's decision to give the group the money was met with wide public criticism, and the Assembly later reversed it.

To address rising fuel costs, Anderson thinks the city should look at its own energy consumption by reviewing city-owned facilities. He supports alternative fuels for public busses and geothermal energy for the city's new pool and airport renovation.



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