Wanamaker didn't let other side speak

Posted: Monday, October 30, 2006

When Randy Wanamaker decided to run for higher office, and I read that he attributed some of his contributions to his support of development, I felt it was time to expose his behavior as a public official. Voters should know of his unfair treatment of concerned citizens.

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A year ago, the lands committee for the Assembly held a meeting on proposed rezoning of Montana Creek lands. Chairman Wanamaker invited only two people to testify - both developers. He stated that there was not enough time for others to testify, and that the committee wanted to hear only the needs of the developers and their concerns. Thus, our neighborhood was denied public access to the committee. Many of us were not able to convey the traffic, school, and other concerns that a major increase in housing would bring and the effect this development would likely have on Montana Creek. Mr. Wanamaker was strongly suggesting that the lands committee recommend that all four rezoning requests be changed from D1 to D5 and the city should not prevent the developer from constructing in the Montana Creek flood plain - Class A wetlands. Mr. Wanamaker's statements went directly against the unanimous vote by the planning commission and the city of Juneau's staff recommendation to rezone the area D3 and no development in the Class A wetlands.

In response to our complaint of unfair treatment, the full Assembly gave ample time for several speakers in the audience to share facts and opinions. The Assembly voted on a compromise of increased housing density and no development on Class A wetlands and flood plains. Assembly action to mitigate the most severe effects of a higher housing density and to take moderate steps to protect Montana Creek is laudable. We all have an interest in this rich community treasure.

I recognize committees for the Assembly have limited time, however, it was not right for Mr. Wanamaker to allow only the developers to speak. All sides of an issue should briefly be addressed for committee members to make informed decisions.

Mr. Wanamaker denied citizens' their right to speak on issues affecting them and attempted to push through an extreme plan on behalf of developers. He did not prevail and should not prevail in the upcoming election.

Andrea Doll supports balancing development with sound environmental practices. She gets my vote.

Patricia J. O'Brien


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