Kenai candidates run mud-free race

Posted: Friday, October 01, 2004

Candidates for the Kenai City Council got one more chance to try to convince voters why they're the best choice to represent the city Wednesday at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce's weekly luncheon.

Mike Boyle, Cliff Massie and Joe Moore participated in a candidate forum that was notable more for its cordial tone than for any significant differences the candidates outlined between themselves and their opponents.

Boyle and Moore told the chamber their main reason for wanting to run is a desire to serve the community they love.

"The city of Kenai, to me, is a great place to live and raise a family," Moore, the incumbent, said during opening statements.

Like Moore, Boyle said he's running purely out of a desire to serve the community.

"I feel that it's important to give back to the community in which one lives," he said.

For his part, Massie said he's running both out of a desire to serve and because he believes the council has failed to listen to the general public as much as it should.

"I would really like to see an open, friendly city council," Massie said. "I think we need much more input from the general public."

Massie's involvement in the city's controversial decision to turn over operations of the Kenai Recreation Center to the Boys and Girls Club was perhaps the biggest issue that came up during Wednesday's forum.

Massie said he opposed the contract awarded by the city not because he's against the club, but because he wants to see more public involvement in city decisions.

"I'm not knocking the Boys and Girls Club," he said.

However, Massie did say he would be open to looking at different ways of operating the facility when the current contract expires.

"I think it's something we need to look at to make sure the best use is being made of the rec center," he said.

Moore, who voted to approve the contract, said he still believes the right decision was made on the issue.

"I think that is a win-win situation for both sides," he said. "I've had nothing but positive feedback since."

Boyle said he would prefer to have a little more information on the issue than was given to the public. He said he's not opposed to looking at new ideas for the facility but would like to hear more of what the public has to say on the issue.

One question posed by an audience member asked the candidates whether they would favor changing the city's name from Kenai to Kenai City in an effort to differentiate the town from the peninsula.

"We are a city, we don't need to put that in the name," Massie said.

"I do like the sign that says city of Kenai," Boyle said, although he would not support a name change.

"I'm not gonna mess with the name," Moore said.

Although all three candidates said they would not support such a change, all did note later that the city could do more to market itself to visitors.

The municipal election will be held Tuesday. The top two vote-getters out of the three candidates will be elected to the council to fill two seats, including the one currently held by Moore and one being vacated by Jim Bookey, who is running for mayor.

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