Candidates push down to the wire

One hopeful finds citizens aren't all that excited about the election

Posted: Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On the last day before the city election, Juneau Assembly candidates took advantage of every minute to familiarize themselves with voters.

At-large candidate David Summers, outgoing president of Juneau Chamber of Commerce, visited business owners. Mara Early, another at-large candidate, focused on Douglas Island.

At-large candidate Bob Doll said he knocked on doors and dispelled veiled accusations that he suggested Early should withdraw from the race.

Some city leaders have asked Early to drop out of the race because her platform and political affiliation are similar to Doll's and she could take votes from him. Some letters to the editor have hinted at a connection to Doll, he said.

"I have never asked Mara Early to withdraw from the race. Nor have I asked anyone else to make that request," said Doll, former state ferry director.

After visiting neighborhoods near Juneau International Airport for a few hours in the morning, District 1 incumbent Merrill Sanford said the voters he talked to seemed lukewarm about the election.

"The election hasn't picked up a lot of steam," said Sanford, a retired firefighter.

Sanford is challenged by Joan Cahill, chairwoman of Juneau Clean Air.

Cahill, communications specialist for Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., said she spent the last day driving around distributing her campaign doorknob signs.

District 2 candidate Andrew Green spent his morning waving campaign signs to cars passing on Egan Drive. In the afternoon, he visited homes at Twin Lakes and downtown areas.

"I will stop when I run out of brochures," said Green, port manager of Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska.

Green's opponent, Jonathan Anderson, spent the last day before the election visiting his hospice client and knocking on more doors with his Great Dane. Anderson is a volunteer with Hospice and Home Care of Juneau. He works as director of the University of Alaska Southeast's public administration master's program.

Regardless of where they live, people can vote in all three of the races.

Three people - Mike Ford, Sean O'Brien and Margo Waring - compete for two School Board seats.

Ford, 56, worked on education issues as a legal counsel to the Alaska Legislature for 20 years. O'Brien, who has five children ages from 6 to 19, calls himself a big "customer" of the Juneau School District. Waring has volunteered at Juneau schools and was a member of a task force that tackled the district's high dropout rate.

In addition to Assembly and School Board candidates, voters will decide on four propositions in the election.

Proposition 1 asks voters to renew an optional 1 percent sales tax. Voters can pick from any or all of the three categories of projects for the use of the 1 percent sales tax. The projects include the expansion of the Juneau International Airport, the building of the Dimond Park aquatic center and the extension of city sewer lines.

If voters approve all the projects, the 1 percent sales tax would be extended for nine years.

Proposition 2 would give the city the power to let certain public improvement projects be purchased through negotiations with existing contractors instead of going through a competitive bidding process.

Proposition 3 would allow the Assembly to determine whether to place an issue on the ballot of a special election or add it to the next regularly scheduled election.

If Proposition 4 passes, the city would issue almost $6 million in general obligation bond debt to renovate Glacier Valley Elementary School. The project qualifies for 70 percent state reimbursement.

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