There is just over one month to go before the Kenai Peninsula Borough elections and all three assembly races will focus on government encroachment on property rights and one on Nikiski’s environmental concerns.
At the top of the borough races are three borough assembly seats and three school board seats — two of which are uncontested. Also on the ballot are four propositions.
Borough Assembly President Linda Murphy is running for a second term to serve Soldotna in the District 4 seat and is facing off against Soldotna City Council Member Dale Bagley.
Bagley previously served a term on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly from 1995 to 1998 and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor from 1999 to 2005.
Murphy is finishing her first term and said that if elected again, regardless of the outcome of Kenai Peninsula Borough Proposition 3A and or 3B, which seek to overturn voter imposed term limits or extend limits from two terms to three terms, the next term would be her last.
Murphy has no real agenda to push in a second term and said she would seek a central stance, not too left or too right on the issues that come before the body.
“I think the borough is in good shape,” Murphy said.
Bagley on the other hand said he would like to see the borough become more conservative. Should he win the seat, Bagley would work to overturn the anadromous streams ordinance, which passed this summer by a strong majority and was considered by many to be the most contentious political issue in the history of the borough.
“Private property owners take good care of their property,” Bagley said.
Candidate statements from Murphy, Bagley and other borough condidates can be found on the borough’s elections page (www.borough.kenai.ak.us/assembly-clerk/elections/candidate-election-information).
Running for the District 3 seat to represent Nikiski is former U.S. Coast Guard Captain and former public works director for the City of Kenai Wayne Ogle who will face Steven Chamberlain, the owner of Charlie’s Pizza in Nikiski.
Ogle said he is running expressly to overturn the anadromous streams ordinance.
“The best government is often the least government,” he wrote in his candidate statement. Along with Bagley, Ogle said he supports the two-term limit created by citizen initiative and would like to add a conservative voice to the assembly.
Chamberlain included no information in his candidate statement other than to say that he has been a resident of Alaska for 17 years, has a high school education and is owner of Charlie’s Pizza.
His primary platform under his drive for assembly office is to expose a contaminated septage site and try and stop the AIMM monofill site, both within shouting distance of his pizzeria.
Chamberlain says he is the “Public Health and Safety Investigator for Nikiski Alaska.” Answering an email seeking the basis for his inspector title, Chamberlain wrote, “As for my credentials. I am a tax paying resident and a class B public water system operator in Nikiski Alaska. I feel that my most important credentials come from God.”
The race for the Central Peninsula’s District 7 Assembly seat will see incumbent Brent Johnson face off against Kasilof’s Damon Yerly and Travis Swanson.
Swanson’s paperwork lists him as self employed and a Skyview High School graduate.
Yerly, a licensed truck driver for Alaska Waste, wrote that he wants to bring the “Alaskan lifestyle” back to the area, which has seen “changes in our rights to our properties.” His platform is to insure that the government has “less power over the citizens” represented.
“Whether it is land rights, taxes or freedom of choice, I believe the more (power) that stays in the people’s hand the better.”
Johnson saw his way through 15 years on the Kenai Borough Planning Commission before seeking an assembly seat. He is finishing his first term with this election. The fisherman and heavy equipment operator cited the philosophy of former borough mayor Don Gilman in his candidate statement. He listed no plans and no platform.
Four propositions are on the ballot. Proposition 1 seeks to increase the residential property tax exemption to $50,000 from $20,000, which, as estimated, would cost the borough $1.3 million annually.
Proposition 2 seeks to permit the borough to borrow up to $22.9 million in general obligation bonds for school repairs, renovations and a new sport turf field in Homer. The debt would be paid from property taxes, but as much as 70 percent is expected to be state reimbursed.
Proposition 3A hopes to overturn a voter initiative setting a limit on assembly members to two consecutive terms of office.
Proposition 3B would seek to alter existing term limits from two consecutive full terms to three and would only be considered relevant if 3A fails to overturn the current limits.
Reach Greg Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org.