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Vote nears

Mayoral candidates ready for the homestretch

Posted: September 26, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: September 26, 2011 - 9:18am

For some Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor candidates, this summer has been several months of hard fought campaigning, while others’ experience is a bit shorter and lighter.

Some candidates have spent and raised more than three times what others have, while some have stuck to a word of mouth campaign.

But on Oct. 4, candidates will all find themselves on the same playing field — the ballot.

Kasilof resident and former assembly member Debbie Brown said she was pleased with how her bid for the seat has gone and remains optimistic about the results of the race.

“I am running to win outright,” she said. “That’s just the way I proceed.”
Brown said voters should “not look to the past for leadership.”

“My focus is Kenai Peninsula residents first,” she said. “We have life and safety issues involved here with regards to our need for energy and our economy is foundationally pinned upon small business and having a stable population and work force here on the Kenai Peninsula. … I am going to put Kenai Peninsula interests absolutely first and I will do that with a passion that none of the other candidates are able to articulate.”
Soldotna resident and former borough mayor Dale Bagley said the campaign season has been a long one. But, he is encouraged by what he hears from residents.

“I’ve been at all these different forums and events and booths and I’m feeling very optimistic about things,” he said. “I’ve got a wide range of support and we’ll see what happens on Oct. 4. I don’t know if can win it outright, so it will probably go to a runoff, but it is going great.”
He said this election feels similar to the 1999 election.

“There were five people running, four were fairly conservative and then Mike Navarre, and this time there are five that are conservative and then Mike Navarre,” he said. “It is very similar, and I think the results will end up the same way.”

Bagley had a message for the voters.

“I listen to the people, I work really hard and I make good decisions,” he said.

Former state representative and borough mayor Mike Navarre was also pleased with the course of the campaign season.

“I have gotten a great reception wherever I have gone so I feel pretty good about how the campaign has gone — I feel very comfortable and obviously it is up to the voters but I am cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Navarre wasn’t too much concerned about being one of the last candidates to announce his bid.

“I think that because I have been a former mayor and been in politics before, announcing a little later, well I have been able to get the message out and travel around,” he said. “I think it will have very little impact.”

Navarre emphasized that he would “listen and make responsible decisions,” he said.

Soldotna resident Fred Sturman said he has tried to spend his campaign funds as wisely as possible to mount a successful bid in the event a runoff election is needed.

“I think we have done real well with the money that we have got compared to everybody else,” he said. “I see that everyone is outspending me two-to-one or three-to-one. I think we have done well because we’re conservative.”

He said he is confident that his campaign efforts will translate well at the voting booth. But, he said he wanted voters to remember a few things in particular.

“The economy is slowing up and we are going to have to do more with less and we can,” he said. “… We can work together in this borough and then we can do a lot more in this borough with a lot less.”

Former assembly member and Nikiski resident Gary Superman thinks the race might be a toss-up between himself and the two former mayors in the race.

But he said he is hoping comments of encouragement and involvement at the various forums and functions spell success.

“I have got a sense out there that I have got quite a bit of closet support,” he said.

He said voters should look at a candidate’s character and “will to make the tough decisions.”

“I don’t know how not to be honest with people, in fact, it’s to a degree that it hurts me,” he said. “I mean I have alienated people by being bluntly honest. I don’t like to beat around the bush and I don’t think these are times that you need to beat around the bush.”

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cheapersmokes 09/26/11 - 11:39 am
Mayoral candidates!

My congratulations for all of your willingness to toss your hat in the ring to run for public office! Now I must tell you all that I am leery of those running again for public office....couldn't they siphon off enough the first time and need another chance at the trough of public dollars? :-) (That is not an accusation by any means against anyone in this race!)

However I would have to vote for Fred Shurman and see what he could do for the Borough.

witchwitch 09/26/11 - 12:14 pm
Honest representation is the issue

It's what the candidates don't say and what the press doesn't ask that is the most disturbing. When we elect a candidate who takes action that is against the general welfare of the people from their district, that damages the faith in people for the representative process. There are lies of omission involved with most elections and this one is no different.

One of the biggest half-truths (lie of omission) is that sales tax revenue is dedicated to education, with regard to the Borough's attempt to rescind the 2008 initiative that created the seasonal grocery tax exemption. The truth is Alaska Statute 14.17.410 clearly sets the require minimum and maximum contributions required by the Borough for public education and that contribution is based on the value of property within the Borough, not sales tax revenue.

The fact that the Borough is attempting to create a pot of money through Proposition Two for economic development from sales tax revenue should make this fact evident. The Borough states that "sales taxes are dedicated to education" but conveniently fails to provide all the facts, intentionally misleading the public.

The candidates who support Proposition One are ignoring the voters and are hoping that by reversing the question and confusing the public that the Borough revenue will increase, just as it has done through their increase in sales tax rates and through increases in property tax assessments.

When Dale Bagley and Mike Navarre support ending the grocery tax exemption, who do they represent?

When Gary Superman not only supports getting rid of the exemption, but passed an ordinance that authorized the general law cities to tax groceries anyway, when Title 29 required that they follow Borough code, unless such an exemption was passed by the Assembly. Do you think the Nikiski residents want to pay city tax for groceries? Superman's action as an Assemblyman allowed Soldotna to retain the tax, thus sustaining the lock that Kenai and Soldotna have to continue to collect sales tax for their city.

This is an ugly truth that no one is talking about during this campaign. There is litigation in the Superior Court regarding this issue and the right of local citizens do an initiative (actually a referendum) to overturn Superman's Assembly ordinance.

The big issue for me is which candidate will actually serve the people by doing their will. When a candidate doesn't respect an initiative that was passed by 60% of the voters and claims the voters don't understand the impact of the tax relief, I question who they represent. No one even speaks about the fact that sales taxes were already increased by 50% in 2008.

Hard facts are missing in these debates and in the news media, and for the most part they don't go into the depth that would give the voters REAL FACTS.

Who's interests will a candidate support once elected? The answer to that question provided through irrefutable evidence of their actions guides me to decide who to support with my vote.

santini 09/28/11 - 02:00 pm
Borough Mayor Election

The above comments are well thought out and raise cogent points. Two candidates tout their previous experience as Borough Mayor. One candidate points to lengthy service on the Borough Assembly as as a formidible strength. However, in regard to the experience of the former mayors, it comes from an era when Borough finances were not nearly as challenged as today. State funding and pass through grants are drying up and cannot be relied on for business as usual. The sordid mess of the national economy will impact the Borough negatively.

The remaining candidates offer a 'fresh look'. A noted business management analyst, Peter Drucker, once said: 'A good manager does things right, whereas a good leader does the right things'. I don't doubt that those candidates with previous Borough experience will do things right. But I want more from the next mayor than 'correct process'. I want a fiscal conservative whose policy is guided by 'doing the right things' not by what has always been done in the past.

Deb Brown has stated she is a constitutional conservative (U.S. and State of Alaska). She has based her campaign on this point. I believe she will ask the question as to whether a policy is the rightful business of the Borough. In other words, I believe Deb Brown promises to be a leader who will focus her public policy on 'doing the right things'.

This is the reason I will vote for Deb Brown for Borough Mayor.

In these in increasingly austere times, we need to to be focused th

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