Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Paul Honeman Endorses Democrat Eric Croft In May 5th Anchorage Mayoral Runoff Race, Questioning Dan Sullivan's Commitment To Public Safety

The Anchorage Daily News' Alaska Politics blog reports that former Anchorage mayoral candidate Paul Honeman, who ran as an independent and who finished sixth in the April 7th municipal election with five percent of the vote, endorsed Democratic candidate Eric Croft on April 29th, 2009. He joins two other former candidates, Sheila Selkregg and Matt Claman, in urging their followers to vote for Croft during the May 5th runoff elections.

Honeman announced his decision during a press conference outside West High School. He stated that Croft better shares his own commitment to public safety, and claimed that Dan Sullivan sometimes failed to support necessary funding for public safety during his Assembly tenure. But Honeman failed to name specifics, and he also didn't address whether or not Ted Stevens' endorsement of Sullivan influenced his decision. A recent KTUU poll indicated that 70 percent of respondents would be less likely to support Dan Sullivan if he was endorsed by Stevens.

Perhaps one reason why Honeman questions Sullivan's commitment to public safety stems back to an exchange between Walt Monegan and Dan Sullivan during the April 5th KTUU debate between the "Big Six" mayoral candidates (occurs at the beginning of video #3). Monegan brought up a discussion about school resource officers that took place between him and Sullivan, when Monegan was still APD chief and Sullivan an Assembly Member. Sullivan explained that the school resource officer program was Federally-funded, and when Federal funds declined, that Monegan told him that school resource officers would no longer be the highest priority for APD resource allocation. In response, Monegan claimed he did not recall making such a statement. So perhaps this is where Honeman got the idea than Sullivan's commitment to public safety was weak.

A review of Dan Sullivan's record, as posted on his official campaign website, not only shows that public safety is the top priority of Dan Sullivan, but that budget-cutting decisions in the past were in support of former Mayor George Wuerch's desire to maintain a balanced budget. Here's what Sullivan himself says about public safety, in part:

The number one responsibility of your city government is to provide a safe community... As your mayor, I will focus our public safety efforts in high crime areas and we will have a no tolerance policy in these areas. The chief of police in Chicago, which has shown a reduction in crime over the last few years, said the solution was simple: put your cops where the crime is. Another key element in reducing crime is making sure that the state judicial system can provide timely prosecution and punishment of offenders.

No equivocation here. And while Eric Croft clearly shares Sullivan's concerns about the state judicial system and has experience in that area, it is Dan Sullivan who wants to address crime directly at the street level, concentrating the greatest resources upon the most problematic areas. And when he was on the Assembly, his efforts drove most of the hookers and small-time thugs out of Spenard, and, to Allan Tesche's chagrin, into the Downtown area.

Expected impact of Honeman's decision: If most of Honeman's supporters follow his lead, it will simply tighten up the race more. My previous projections showed Sullivan possible getting as much as 55 percent of the vote. At worst, Honeman's decision turns the race into a toss-up, and most serious political observers have believed that this would be a close race. But the extra infusion of cash into the Sullivan campaign resultant from Stevens' endorsement will provide Sullivan with the extra resources necessary to deliver the public relations blitz that will nose him to victory on May 5th.

The two candidates will square off in a KTUU Channel 2 debate on Saturday May 2nd from 6-7 P.M. Election information can be found HERE. Information on candidates at the following links:

-- Dan Sullivan:
---- Official campaign website HERE.
---- December 2007 press release outlining his vision HERE.
---- KTUU Channel 2 profile with video HERE.
---- Anchorage Press profile on Sullivan HERE.
---- KSKA Interview accessible HERE.
-- Eric Croft:
---- Official campaign website HERE.
---- Myspace website HERE.
---- KTUU Channel 2 profile with video HERE.
---- Anchorage Press profile on Croft HERE.
---- Alaska Dispatch profile on Croft HERE.
---- KSKA Interview accessible HERE.
---- List of individual contributors to Croft's campaign (3-7 thru 3-28) HERE.

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