Assembly candidates share vision

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2002

Betty Glick, Borough Assembly District 2

As an elected assembly member, you are a public servant.

Following is an excerpt from the "Creed of the Public Servant:"

I am a public official....a position, held by a few hundred thousand among America's hundreds of millions.

Chosen to lead, I am empowered to act in the public interest.

Now and then judged wrongfully, sometimes toasted, sometimes roasted. Yet, having taken counsel and pondered, I shall move forward.

My compensation goes beyond a fair salary: It is to serve in a professional where professional training is not always required, but where Integrity, Character, Candor and Honesty are prerequisites.

I firmly believe this is how an elected assembly member should do their job. You are there to represent the public interest not your own or that of special interests. As public servants, we owe the public straight answers, based on fact, to questions; and, not treat them in a patronizing manner or with disdain.

I have been told by a number of people that it is a waste of time to come to assembly meetings and testify on legislation because "The assembly doesn't pay any attention to you because they have already made up their minds." You know, that old adage, "Don't confuse me with the facts, I've already made up my mind."

I had been approached to run for the assembly before my appointment in July to fill a vacant seat; subsequently, I have received a lot of encouragement to run again. The primary comment being made "I am so glad you are back on the assembly, at least you listen. Even if you disagree, you still listen."

The electorate should have a choice.

In addition to providing a choice, I am concerned that people forget that the Kenai Peninsula Borough is still a second-class borough government, and, as such, it does not have the same powers and authority as the city governments.

People need to realize that just because Title 29 states the assembly of a second-class borough may (which is optional) do it, it doesn't mean they should. I fully understand the assembly members are elected to make decisions, and, rightfully so. However, when a major power is under consideration, which could have an ongoing monetary impact on the borough, that is the time to place the issue before the electorate and let them decide if they want more government and are willing to pay for it.

I can say without hesitation, and people who know me will agree, that during my previous tenure on the assembly I never sold my vote or comprised my principles or integrity. I did my homework, listened to both sides (because you never know when you might hear something you hadn't considered before) and tried to make the best decision possible based on the facts and information at the time.

Other than being a little older, my philosophy and work ethics have not changed. I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday. However, the choice is yours, exercise it.

Tim Navarre, Borough Assembly District 2

Public servant John F. Kennedy said it best: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Those of us who serve in local elective office or sit on a board or commission, and sometimes all of the above, are not politicians, we are public servants doing a public service.

I have enjoyed my time in elective office and I have learned a lot -- from what a mill rate is to setting up a budget that is balanced and fair, while providing the basic services like adequate funding for education, solid waste and how best to provide other services the citizens request of their borough government. There are also rewards that come with this opportunity. One is getting to know people and helping with their questions and problems. Another is traveling from one end of the borough to the other, over water and through the air in some cases, just to get to some of the far corners of this great area we call home.

We will not always agree on the problem, or the solution, but if our past is any example, we will continue to work together to make the Kenai Peninsula Borough a great place to work, play and raise a family.

I look forward to continuing my public service to the state of Alaska, borough and city, whether I am in elective office or not.

Additionally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every other member of our community who gives their time and talents in any number of ways to help make this a better place.

Pete Sprague, Borough Assembly District 4

If you live or work in Soldotna and its environs, I have served as your elected assembly representative for the past four years. Due to redistricting, I am up for re-election to a two-year term for Soldotna assembly seat 4 this October. The newly drawn district includes the city of Soldotna as well as the unincorporated area out near the airport.

The district extends out along the Sterling Highway as far east as Forest Lane and Jim Dahler Road. It also includes the Mackey Lakes area as well as some of the Sports Lake and Strawberry Road areas. To some I may be a new face; to others I hope that I am considered an old friend. I have worked hard to address what I have heard from you are key issues for the district and the borough: fiscal restraint, responsible development and excellence in education. I will continue to work for you.

One area of immediate concern to me is Ballot Proposition No. 4 -- Sales Tax Initiative, which would exempt sales of all nonprepared food items from borough sales tax. I am opposed to this proposition.

First of all, according to borough code the net proceeds from the 2 percent sales tax collected by the borough shall be used exclusively for borough school purposes. The amount of money lost to our schools would be approximately $2 million. This shortfall would deal a severe blow to an already tight district budget.

Secondly, the cities within the borough would suffer as well. Soldotna and Kenai, for example, could each lose approximately $1 million in revenues. The impacts of these losses would be significant to all residents of the borough.

Quite simply, to make up for these lost revenues, either services would have to be cut, or increases to other sources of revenue would be necessary. Having been involved in both city and borough budget processes over the past few years, it is my experience that people want lean government, without cutting services. I believe that we have succeeded in creating that balance.

The "other sources" of revenue would be property taxes. I believe that property owners would be upset if property taxes were raised while visitors from out of the borough and out of the state (who spend quite a few dollars in our local grocery stores) pay nothing at all in taxes when they visit. I would also think that those who enjoy the exemptions to property taxes that the borough provides (and that I have supported) would be concerned if these exemptions were lessened or lost because residents and non-residents alike didn't pay two cents on the dollar for groceries.

Our borough is in sound financial shape because we have a fair and balanced system of taxation. The combination of low sales and property taxes ensures that no one group shoulders the burden unfairly. In addition, those who visit and spend money here greatly ease our burdens when they pay sales tax on groceries. Please think about our future; I urge you to vote "no" on Ballot Proposition No. 4 -- Sales Tax Initiative!

Marty Anderson, Borough Assembly District 5

I came to Alaska August 26, 1981, for a two-week visit. I traveled to the Kenai Peninsula by car from Ottawa, Ill., with my parents, sister and cousin. My parents and sister planned on staying on the Kenai, but I had a future back in Illinois.

After a few days, I knew the Kenai Peninsula was a unique place. I found a wonderful church, school and community. My plans changed, and I became a resident of the Kenai Peninsula.

I completed my senior year and graduated from Soldotna High School. I started working in the oil and gas industry shortly thereafter. I was fortunate there was a strong industry at the time, and I had close friends who helped me while I attained the skills I needed to be a productive employee.

I lived 17 years in Soldotna and the past five years in Sterling. During my first few months in Alaska I drove down Robinson Loop and admired the open fields and many animals. I told my sister that one day I would build a home on the Loop. It took 17 years but I have been blessed with a home there and blessed even greater to have a family to share it with.

I believe as an assemblyman I can help my community. As a representative, I can give something back for all the community has done for me. As a husband, father, son, homeowner and current member of the work force, I face the same challenges that most of my community faces. I can appreciate their concerns and needs.

It is not an accident I have two ears and one mouth. If the district puts their faith in me, I realize that I must listen a lot and speak only when it is beneficial to those who I represent. I am not confused that my job is meeting their needs and being their voice.

Grace Merkes, Borough Assembly District 5

I want you to know me better before you go to the polls on Tuesday. The following are some of the projects and task forces I have been involved in.

Like most of you, I did not support the concept of a private prison being financed with borough bonding. After much input from the public, I campaigned against the Kenai Peninsula Borough's involvement in this project. I believe, that through my campaigning and your support, we were able to put a stop to the construction of the prison.

The Headstart program in the Sterling-Soldotna area is another project I initiated. Over the course of two years I spent time researching and fine-tuning the program, until I was comfortable that it was the best program for our preschool kids. I believe with a good Headstart before our children enter school, it presents a better opportunity for them to excel throughout life. The results are already showing in the kindergarten class at Sterling Elementary.

Sterling Community Club and I were looking for answers on how residents would like their community developed so we mailed the "Sterling Survey" to over 1,200 boxholders. Over 600 people replied. The results revealed that the majority of people support things done by the people rather than by the government. They support a Scout Lake park, community property improvements, as well as road improvements. They also support senior citizen housing and a swimming pool. They overwhelmingly did not support any new service areas with tax increases or any areawide zoning. As your representative, I will use this survey as an excellent guide to follow and support.

I was nominated to be on the Brown Bear Task Force as a representative of the borough. The task force was working on recommendations regarding how "brown bears" could be incorporated into the Chugach National Forest Plan. My acceptance of the nomination was based on my hope to craft a "reasonable" plan that all user groups could live with. I feel we need to be able to incorporate "reasonable," environmentally safe regulations into any of our permitting documents in order to have safe, economically feasible development.

Some of the other projects I have worked on and support are as follows: funding for Funny River, Feuding Lane and Scout Loop Road paving; capital improvements money for computers and wiring for all schools; fish branding project and the industrial park survey; senior housing projects; full funding for school operations; additional funds for road maintenance and many, many other projects.

In closing I want to say thank you for the honor and privilege of representing you on the borough assembly. With your support and your vote Tuesday, I will continue to represent you by listening, acting, educating and helping you with your requests to support a rural lifestyle. My philosophy about government has always been "less government is better government." I believe that because of this philosophy and my investment in our community, I have helped make our borough a fine place to live. The Kenai Peninsula has lowered its unemployment rate, has well-maintained schools, is in excellent financial shape and we have a quality of life everyone is envious of.

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