Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anchorage 2009 Mayoral Candidates Stake Out Positions On Bond Propositions At Anchorage Chamber Of Commerce Candidate Forum

The top six Anchorage mayoral candidates showed up at one of the 2009 municipal election campaign's "flagship" forums. On March 9th, 2009, candidates took questions and put forth their ideas at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce's "Make It Monday" forum, where many of the community's "movers and shakers" show up. And candidates, for the first time in a group setting, staked out public positions on the bond propositions on the April 7th ballot. Full stories published by the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2 (link now purged by KTUU); highlights presented below.

Additional campaign information at the following links:
-- Municipality of Anchorage Election Page
-- List of Anchorage 2009 Mayoral Candidates
-- List of Anchorage 2009 School Board Candidates
-- List of Anchorage 2009 Ballot Propositions
-- List of Anchorage 2009 Municipal Candidate Forums

Candidates Present: Dan Sullivan, Eric Croft, Walt Monegan, Paul Honeman, Sheila Selkregg, and Acting Mayor Matt Claman. The Chamber of Commerce chose to limit participation to the top six, based upon amount of money raised. This is a controversial decision, but there are 15 candidates in the mayoral race. Most of the other forums invite ALL candidates.

Proposition 1, Service High Bond: All six candidates support it.

Proposition 2, Omnibus School Maintenance Bond: Five candidates support it, Sheila Selkregg opposes it. Her opposition is based upon principle rather than expenditure; she does not believe in bonding for school maintenance issues. [Ed. Note: This is a position I also share; school bonds should be limited to new construction and phased renovation projects.]

Proposition 3, Transportation (Roads) Bond: All six candidates support it.

Proposition 4, Parks and Recreation Bond: Walt Monegan and Paul Honeman both oppose the bond.

Proposition 5, Library Improvements Bond: Dan Sullivan opposes this bond.

Proposition 6, Transportation (Support) Bond: All six candidates support it.

Proposition 7, Fire Protection Bond: All six candidates support it.

Proposition 8, Police Service Bond: All six candidates support it.

Proposition 9, Tax Cap Initiative: All candidates except Matt Claman support the tax cap initiative designed to ease property taxes.

Paul Honeman further outlined his proposed municipal taxation policy. He said he would try to lighten the excessive tax burden on property owners by encouraging adoption of a seasonal sales tax and perhaps a gross receipts tax. The 3 percent to 4 percent sales tax would be in effect from May until September and could be written so it would expire every three years unless renewed.

Candidates also responded to individual queries about a host of other issues, to include protected status for Cook Inlet beluga whales, the King Career Center, the proposed Knik Arm Bridge, gangs, crime, and energy.

Analysis: All six candidates seem to agree that public safety, transportation, and education are defined as "infrastructure". However, Dan Sullivan, Walt Monegan, and Paul Honeman demonstrated a greater willingness to discriminate between necessities and luxuries should reduced revenues warrant such a choice. This means that if you can't afford to pay for both cops and parks, you sacrifice parks to protect cops because public safety takes precedence over amenities. Consequently, if you want you property taxes to remain stable or even lowered, Sullivan, Monegan, and Honeman would be the better choices.

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