Kenai candidates love their city

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Dustin Aaronson, Kenai City Council candidate

I would like to thank everyone who encouraged me to run for city council.

Those who know me as the owner of Copy Cats, Old Town Music and Kenai Office Systems know that I am always vocal about local issues. Everything that affects our quality of life and the success of our citizens is important to me.

I am a 25-year resident of Kenai, a graduate of Kenai Central High School, Alaska Pacific University, and have also earned a master's degree from Washington State University. I am a private music teacher, and also teach at Kenai Peninsula College and the Boys and Girls Club. As a father and dedicated teacher, I am always interested in ways to improve and promote a quality Alaska lifestyle for our children.

Operating a small business in Kenai has never been easy. My entire family works here, and my mother, Jan Cowan, owned businesses in Kenai for many years. I would like to see the citizens of Kenai prosper. Our city has a near zero growth rate over the last 20 years, and our streets are lined with vacant commercial space. Providing tax relief while focusing on city services that encourage tourism and commerce is the answer.

As a founding member of Alaska Voters Organization and Peninsula Citizens Against the Grocery Tax, I believe in our citizens' ability to get Kenai growing. I will work hard to promote private development, which creates wealth that is real and sustainable.

Our property tax is already double what it should be, and our current city council is planning another increase in 2004! They recently passed an ordinance to continue taxing groceries regardless of how citizens vote Oct. 1. With this new ordinance in place, our city will not lose a dime once Proposition 4 passes. The result of this is that our city will be the only place on the Kenai Peninsula to tax the food we put on our tables. Our purpose of this ballot initiative was to provide tax relief to all residents equally while stimulating our flat economy. Please help your city grow by voting yes on Proposition 4.

Our city code contains a provision for citizens to exercise the ballot initiative process so that we may propose initiatives or correct ordinances. Ours is written poorly, may be unconstitutional, and in either case renders it useless to you and I. The borough's is written well and should be adopted by Kenai.

I would like to say thanks to several city departments who do a great job with modest budgets. Our municipal airport, fire department, parks and recreation departments, animal control and community library are all very

good at serving Kenai responsibly and professionally.

If elected, I will work hard to provide boat launch sites on the lower river, a trail system that allows safe year round travel and recreation, and city policies that promote commerce and a true Alaska lifestyle. I would appreciate your vote on Oct. 1. Together we can improve our community and get Kenai growing!

Duane Bannock, Kenai City Council incumbent

Kenai ... Changing the World

I have lived in Alaska nearly all my life, 36 years with most of that in Kenai. Many people I meet say to me "Do you fish a lot? Or go hunting and camping? Do you like to ski or go snowmachining?"

No, no and no.

"Then why would you live there?" they usually follow.

Quite simply, I love it here. This has been a great place to grow up, raise a family and be able to feel that I've helped in some small way to change our part of the world. I'm running for Kenai City Council because I love this town and not many things make me more satisfied than being involved with public policy and goal setting for the city of Kenai.

During my previous nine years as your council member we have experienced together some very good times and, sadly, a few low moments. It's those highs that I'd like to focus on.

Being a part of a group that worked very hard to bring the Challenger Learning Center to Kenai was certainly one of those highs. Soon after the plans were launched (pardon the pun) Challenger became its own organization, with no financial support from the city. And it has changed the world for countless kids who have been through its doors.

New partnerships have been formed with individuals, groups and nonprofits. Locals and "outsiders" alike, private sector and other governments have all found ways in the last decade to form relationships with the city of Kenai, successfully changing the world as we know it today.

A new park in Kenai was created with the financial support of a family in the memory of their son. The Erik Hansen Scout Park on the bluff is a wonderful tribute to this partnership effort that included the Hansen family, local Boy Scout Troop 357 members, as well as our city Parks and Recreation Commission.

Spend any amount of time here, enjoy the scenery and, believe me, your view of the rest of the world will be changed.

Barry Eldridge, Kenai City Council candidate

Kenai is a beautiful place to live!

"Kenai is a well-kept secret." Often our bed-and-breakfast guests and other visitors to the area are amazed at the cleanliness of the city and the friendliness of its people. They have said they almost didn't get off the Sterling Highway to go to that little town by the river. So what makes Kenai beautiful?

Kenai has well kept parks, roadsides that are mowed and planted, property owners who take care of their property and just a sense of cleanliness and order about it. I have traveled all over the United States and Alaska as a career Coastguardsman and a cargo vessel captain, and I have not found a more beautiful nor more desirable place to live.

Part of the attraction of Kenai is the people who live and work here. The administration and the council continue to work to improve the city, it's appearance and facilities.

My primary purposes in seeking the city council seat are to put my efforts into balancing the budget and seeing the Kenai Coastal Trail become a reality. Completion of the Kenai Coastal Trail will enhance the city by allowing residents and visitors the opportunity to actually get down to the river. By stabilizing the bluff, the Kenai Senior Center will no longer be threatened by bank erosion and all the land along the bluff will become more valuable. Perhaps we can once again have a waterfront restaurant and maybe even a hotel with riverview. The city land by the senior center could be used for these projects, and I would strongly support that type of development in Kenai.

I also am interested in aggressively seeking environment-friendly businesses to located within the city to provide employment opportunities and tax revenues.

One of the more rewarding programs that I have been involved with for the past couple years is Rotary's Business Ethics program, which is presented to Kenai Central High School and Nikiski High School seniors. This program brings business leaders to the classroom to discuss ethical questions about the workplace. I will support programs that provide for the youth in our community such as the new skateboard park and multipurpose center.

My experience as a Coast Guard officer, oil spill co-op manager and ship's captain have developed my decision-making skills and management abilities. I have a master's degree in management to further equip me to serve the citizens of Kenai as a councilman.

I have been active on the Kenai Harbor Commission for 15 years serving as past chair and presently as vice chair. I serve on the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council as a public member of the PROPS Committee as the vice Chair. I am past president of the Kenai Rotary Club and have served as director on several local nonprofit organizations, including founding director of Central Peninsula Habitat for Humanity.

All that I am involved with has the goal of making Kenai and the peninsula an even better place to live.

Vote for Barry Eldridge on Oct. 1 to serve as your councilman. My vision for Kenai includes a well-run city government, the Kenai Coastal Trail, responsible business development, expanded hiking and biking trails and more facilities and opportunities for our youth.

God bless America.

'Ozzie' Osborne, Kenai City Council candidate

My name is John "Ozzie" Osborne. I have lived in Alaska for 34 years and in Kenai for almost 25 years.

I am married to Marilyn Wheeless and we will have been married six years in December. I am currently a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. I previously served on the Planning and Zoning Commission from 1982-1988.

I love living in Kenai, and I will continue to live here for a long time. I have raised a family here and most of my children still live here.

I have been a Scoutmaster for Troop 659 in Nikiski.

I am president of the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 33 in Kenai and also a member Elks Lodge No. 2425 in Kenai.

The main thing now is the oil industry. The industry employs many people with a good year-round living wage. There is some discussion about the possibility of shutting in a couple of platforms.

If we expect our children to continue living here we need to get with the program and encourage business development in this area.

The fishing industry is not like it was and it is only here for a short time in the summer.

I will be happy talk with anyone any time. I can be reached at home at 283-5722 or by e-mail at I encourage everyone to get out and vote Oct. 1.

Linda Swarner, Kenai City Council incumbent

I appreciate your support and encouragement as I have served on the Kenai City Council not as a politician but as a public servant.

I am always ready to hear your comments on how we can improve customer service to our residents. I follow through with your suggestions and ideas.

I appreciate the many hours you, the residents, volunteer, whether as a commission member, participating in comprehensive planning sessions or other areas to help our city be the best place to live in Alaska.

I was fortunate to spend Sunday afternoon with others as we cleaned out flower beds within the downtown core area. Last May together we planted many of those young plants.

I wish more city residents showed an active interest in city government especially during the budget process. Often budget work session attendees are council members, department heads and a handful of citizens.

Council meetings are open to the public, and we meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 210 Fidalgo.

Please go to our Web site at for more information or contact me.

Thank you for your past support, and I ask you to vote for me on Oct. 1.

Polling places will be Kenai Precinct No. 1 at the Old Carrs Mall, Kenai Precinct No. 2 at the Old State Court Building (145 Main Street Loop), and the Kenai Precinct No. 3 at Kenai Senior Center (361 Senior Court).

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