Osborne: P & Z tenure will help council post

Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

John "Ozzie" Osborne calls himself the original "Ozzie" Osborne, being a few years older than the famed British rocker of the same name.

Kenai's "Ozzie" is running for election to the Kenai City Council, a seat he's sought a few times in recent years.

"I've lived in Kenai for 23 or so years now, and I want to be more of a part of what's going on in the city," he said.

Osborne lives on the Kenai Spur Highway near the north edge of town and is one of the few groups of residents without city water and sewer service.

Osborne is a machinist for GLM Machine Shop in Kenai.

Name: John Ozzie Osborne

Office sought: Kenai City Council

Age: 59

Occupation: Machinist

Family: Spouse Marilyn E. Wheeless; children Jenny Miller, Julie Meiswinkle, Joyce Rawson, John Osborne Jr., Jason Osborne and Jamie Osborne

Residency in Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula: 32 years

Education: High school and some college

Political and government experience: Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission, 1982-1988

Service organization memberships: Elks Club member, Pioneers of Alaska, Boy Scouts of America

Best way for voters to reach me: E-mail wizards@gci.net; phone 283-5722

"I'm a lathe operator mostly," he said. "The biggest things we do in a job-shop setting is repair work, repairing pump parts and drivelines."

A machinist for 40 years, Osborne moved to Alaska 32 years ago and lived on the beach in the Cohoe area.

"That was back in the day when that was just so far away," he said.

His six children all graduated from Kenai Central High School and now his 13 grandchildren are in the local school system.

"The grandkids go to the same school my kids did and have some of the same teachers," he said. "I could never move away."

He said all his descendants that live here think it's great that he's seeking elected office.

Osborne served six years on Kenai's Planning and Zoning Commission between 1982 and 1988 before stepping down.

He said he feels his time on the commission will help him if he is elected to the council.

"It gives me an overall view of how things should work," he said

He said he would like to spur economic development in town.

"I'd like businesses to come back to Kenai, and I'd like to see the council pursue businesses," he said. "I don't know why some left, but we have to somehow interest them in coming back in."

He said he'd like to see tenants found for the "tremendous" amount of vacant buildings in the city.

Osborne spent many years as a scout master for Cub and Boy Scouts, and has been an umpire for a girls fast-pitch softball league for the last five years.

He is also a member of Pioneers of Alaska, an organization of people who have been here more than 30 years, who work to preserve the history of the state.

The organization's annual meeting is this week in Sitka, but Osborne is promoting Kenai as the convention's host in 2002. He said it would bring 450 to 500 people into town.

Osborne said he's run for city council "four or five" times over the years.

"It's hard to beat an incumbent, and they're all really good people," he said. "I have no complaint against any of them."

Osborne faces incumbents Pat Porter and Bill Frazer in the municipal election. The highest two vote-getters among the three will fill the two open seats.

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