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City Council candidates hit the campaign trail

Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010

Candidates continue to campaign as the Soldotna City Council elections approach.

Kyle Fisher, 28, a Linden Transport manager, has spent $300 on his campaign so far. Fisher, who faces Lonnie White for Seat E, plans to spend $1,000 on his campaign before the election. He plans to advertise, but won't say with whom as of yet. Fisher set up a Facebook page for his campaign, which 77 people have "liked" as of last week.

White, 54, has relied on word of mouth and photocopies of a letter summarizing his platform, which cost him less than $100. He has handed out the sheets out as people walk by.

The candidate doesn't plan on running ads, and will rely on family, friends and word of mouth to campaign.

"I'll be amazed if I spend $500," he said.

The former Craig, Alaska, resident is making a campaign issue of police department staffing, He believes the Soldotna Police Department holds on to too many upper staff. He claimed that high ranking officers come to Soldotna, become set and work into the city with no intention of advancing. This leads to a lack of drive, White hypothesized, and lesser police work. He questioned whether the officers were still physically capable of performing their jobs.

"There are a lot of senior officers rockin' chairing it out," he said.

The department is composed of three sergeants, who make a minimum of $58,117.60 a year, and nine officers, earning $46,737.60 at the least.

Fisher said that residents had expressed concerns about the city police force to him, but felt that the department did a more than adequate job.

"I don't think they is overspending or excessive spending in any department, including the police department," he said.

He supports the library bond proposition currently on the ballot. Libraries play an important role in small Alaskan communities, he said, because the institutions provide healthy sources of entertainment for the youth. Fisher believes that libraries cut down on drug use and "boredom crimes" among teenagers.

"It's a cost effective means of entertainment and education," he said.

White agrees with his opponent, but requested that the city publish a run-down of what the money is being spent on.

The city has no outstanding general issue bonds, or those pending release. Soldotna' government plans to issue $2.5 million in bonds to finance a $5.9 million expansion of the Joyce Carver Memorial Library. City Manager Larry Semmens said that the city will fund the bond program through the city's general fund, which is comprised of property tax, sales tax and other sources of government revenue.

Fisher believes that the city must consider annexation if it's going to sustain itself. However, the candidate said that he would only support annexation plans if the residents supported it.

White thinks the same way. He compared annexing land without consent to the policies of Nazi Germany. The former police officer considers the measures un-American, and questioned the legitimacy of current annexation laws.

"I'm not for making it a bigger more powerful city if that's not what people want," he said.

Regina Daniels, who is running un-opposed for Seat D, doesn't plan on holding any formal campaign because she has no opponents. She supports annexation plans in theory, but thinks that the city should pick the areas carefully.

Tony Cella can be reached at tony.cella@peninsulaclarion.com.



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