Christenson files as write-in in mayoral race

Candidate advocates building cruise-ship destination south of town

Posted: Friday, October 03, 2003

A Juneau resident, whose proposals include a marijuana tax and special city currency, filed as a write-in candidate for mayor Thursday.

Michael Christenson, 42, is running for the seat under the Blue Moon Party. He is not familiar in political circles but is known in the court system. Christenson was charged with felony driving while intoxicated in September 1993 in Juneau after three prior DWIs in Minnesota, he said in an interview Thursday. Christenson was sentenced to two weeks at Gastineau Human Services and nine months to the Juneau Recovery Hospital, he said. He says he no longer drinks alcohol.

Christenson, an assistant administrator of systems at Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc., is running against Bruce Botelho and Dick Knapp in the Oct. 7 election. He is the only write-in candidate who has filed in this election. The deadline was Thursday.

"(Botelho and Knapp) are fine gentlemen and nice guys and each would bring a different set of skills to the position of mayor," Christenson said. "Perhaps what I would bring is a heightened involvement of those who are typically not involved in local politics, starting with myself."

That involvement could tie in with Christenson's two key proposals to improve or cutting services.

"Juneau World" would consist of building a tourist destination south of downtown near Dupont. Cruise ships would be relocated there to relieve the stress on South Franklin Street. The idea, he said, would generate temporary construction and permanent retail jobs. "Juneau Money" would involve the city printing its own money and using it in "Juneau World."

Tourists and non-tourists could use the money. The currency could be used at retail outlets outside of "Juneau World" if those merchants agreed, he said.

Christenson proposes a marijuana tax along with one for tobacco. He says marijuana should be taxed the same as tobacco on local, state and federal levels.

A marijuana tax could generate $800,000 to $1 million annually for the city, Christenson said. He calculated the revenue by looking up national marijuana use figures and multiplying that by the population of Juneau. Then he figured out the market cost for marijuana and multiplied that by how much people would use in a year. His calculation was based on each user smoking about 4 ounces of marijuana per year. He said users could pay the tax by buying a marijuana tax stamp from the city clerk's office.

Christenson has been campaigning through word of mouth, his Web site,, bumper stickers and T-shirts. He can be reached at, but does not want campaign contributions, he said.

Christenson plans to spend less than $100, and has already spent $89.

On other issues, Christenson says a second Gastineau Channel crossing should be built as a two-tiered bridge connecting downtown Douglas to the Thane Road rock dump. One level would be used for vehicles and the other for non-motorized traffic. He also proposes a kayak stand downtown so residents could commute via water.

"The city should be promoting alternative transportation to deal with downtown congestion," he said.

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