Friday, October 07, 2011

Anchorage Mayoral Candidate Paul Honeman And APD Chief Mark Mew Respond To Forbes Report On Anchorage Crime

The recent Forbes report which named Anchorage, Alaska the fifth most dangerous metro area of 200,000 or more people in the United States has attracted attention and criticism from two local public officials.

Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew questioned the accuracy of the report because not all cities classify crimes the same way. Anchorage prosecutes some crimes as felonies instead of misdemeanors to combat high local rates of sexual assault and domestic violence. He insists that if other cities used Anchorage's classification standards, Anchorage wouldn't have even made the list. Good response by Chief Mew.

East Anchorage Assemblyman Paul Honeman, who's just launched his third campaign to become elected mayor, chose to turn it into a campaign moment. A critic of Mayor Dan Sullivan's decision to delay a police academy class in 2010, Honeman linked the city’s inclusion in the report to a 2010 budget amendment he offered authorizing funds for a police academy to train more APD officers, which passed the Assembly but was vetoed by Mayor Sullivan. Sullivan vetoed the amendment in an effort to reduce a budget deficit; most city departments were required to share somewhat in the sacrifice.

Paul Honeman officially filed for election on October 5th, 2011, charging at a press conference that Mayor Sullivan hasn't run an open administration or managed the city's taxes well, and questioning how the city ended up with a surplus. Among Honeman's four priorities is a more vigorous fight against crime, to include zero tolerance for gang violence in particular, stiffer penalties for violent and property crimes, and to hire and deploy more cops. Anchorage is still somewhat underpoliced for a city of its size and extent.

Honeman previously ran for mayor in 1987 and then, after a 22-year career with APD, ran again in 2009, finishing sixth in a field of 15 candidates with 4.53 percent of the vote. Honeman then ran successfully for his East Anchorage Assembly seat in 2010, earning 51 percent of the vote. Previous posts from February 24th, 2009 and March 10th, 2009 and April 4th, 2009 and April 5th, 2009 provide some additional background on his 2009 mayoral campaign; there's also an ADN story from March 31st, 2009 which includes a link to a Q & A.

The only other declared candidates to date are Mayor Sullivan himself, and Jacob Seth Kern. The election takes place on April 3rd, 2012.

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