B minus. I applaud the mayor trying to find efficiencies in areas such as IT. I am happy to work with the administration to find additional efficiencies such as my proposal to get more use out of the existing bus barn which is only one quarter full, such as filling it with school buses or other municipal equipment.
What are your thoughts on the 2008 union contracts approved by the Assembly? Is there a link to those contracts and the city's current fiscal situation?
The administration negotiates the contracts and the Assembly gets them as a package and can only vote them up or down. They were negotiated in good faith and met the parameters set by the Assembly in 2007. I would try to find efficiencies before making any more cuts, since there is a surplus in the 2010 budget rather than a deficit. Public safety, roads, schools and libraries are all important.
What are your thoughts on the budget reductions proposed by Mayor Sullivan over the past two years? Are they too much? Not deep enough? A right amount?
Probably too much since there is a surplus of over $15 million from 2010.
What city services would you like to see reinstated, and how would you suggest they are paid for?
Fill critical positions in our understaffed police and fire departments so our homes and neighborhoods are safe. Make sure services such as snow removal, spring sand and gravel cleanup and pothole repair get done. Restore bus routes to make sure people can get to work. Possibly return the surplus to the taxpayers as a rebate or save it for tighter fiscal times.
Are property taxes too high? What consideration should be given to alternative taxes like the tobacco tax, or a sales tax?
I do not believe a single user group should be targeted with a tax like the tobacco tax, which I did not support. Any new revenue sources should be fair across all sectors of the public, should replace property taxes dollar for dollar, and be part of a comprehensive fiscal plan that doesn’t single out one specific revenue source.
What is the most important issue affecting the city as a whole?
The uncertainty about the Port of Anchorage expansion project is really of concern.
What is the most important issue facing your district more than other districts?
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport expansion.
Incumbents -- What three pieces of legislation you authored during your current assembly term are you are most proud of? Why?
There are too many laws on the books. I brought forward a number of resolutions, including increasing the owner-occupied property tax exemption from $20,000 to $50,000. I'm interested in making sure that taxpayers' money is spent carefully.
Should the municipality require mandatory photo identification for all customers purchasing alcohol at package liquor stores? Why or why not?
Responsible liquor retailers are already requiring ID check. This is a good business practice that should be encouraged.
Should an agency other than the Anchorage Police Department be allowed to issue parking tickets to vehicles parked downtown? Why or why not?
Yes. Using highly paid police officers to issue parking tickets is a waste of resources. Parking tickets will be strictly limited to the downtown business district, and will focus on parking violations only.
Should the city extend the disabled veteran property tax exemption to widows and widowers? Why or why not?
Of course I support this. The fiscal impact is minuscule and this honors our disabled vets by taking care of their families after they are gone.
The last municipal election had the lowest voter turnout in at least 20 years. Why should people head to the polls and vote on April 5th?
A great city reflects the values of its residents. The people who take the time to vote have the largest impact on our values as a community. In order to attract new business to Anchorage, we need to maintain our infrastructure and make sure Anchorage remains a vibrant community. Good roads, schools, safe neighborhoods, parks and trails all help attract investment and jobs.