Reporter missed the mark

Posted: Monday, October 06, 2003

Your reporter pointed out in one article in Sunday's paper that I am supporting Dale Anderson for Assembly. This is true. In another article by the same reporter, however, the reporter missed the mark.

Mr. Anderson has a deep respect for seniors and their challenges.

The reporter in the article about candidate Dan Peterson and his APOC woes went on to liberally quote Tom Dahl, president of Senior Citizen Support Services, Inc., who blamed one Assembly person for stopping a 2002 "bail-out" for Fireweed Place. In fact, it was a clear majority of the Assembly that followed the advice of both state and local audits. The audits demonstrated - and AHFC now admits - that Fireweed Place could never be financially solvent the way it was set up.

The city and state have pumped tax dollars into the project through cash and tax relief infusions, always hoping the request would be the last. When Mr. Dahl and others came before the Assembly in April 2002 to once again ask for a "bailout" (as the Juneau Empire headlined it) the Assembly directed the board to find more creative solutions than simply asking for more public money.

The result of that directive was a solution that Mr. Dahl himself described as positive (Empire 12/19/2002). AHFC forgave $2.1 million in debt to put this new loan together. AHFC board chairwoman Jewel Jones said, "this is good for seniors; it's something they have desired in Juneau."

This was an example of win-win resolution that only happened because tough questions were asked. Fireweed Place is now on a solid financial foundation. That's what responsible Assembly members do - look out for the taxpayer and CBJ citizens. Mr. Anderson was part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Ken Koelsch


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