Our third and final election forum on Raven Radio this month shifted away from the people on the ballot – mayoral candidates, assembly candidates, and school board candidates – to policies on the ballot.
There are two questions on Sitka’s municipal ballot October 2nd. Both were put there through a citizen-led petition. KCAW’s Emily Kwong hosted a 90-minute call in show for listeners, supporters, and critics of the ballot questions to air their views.
PROPOSITION 1: Should the Assembly’s decision to replace the senior sales tax exemption with a low-income rebate program be reversed?
If Proposition No. 1 passes, the senior sales tax exemption will go back on the books. The rebate program for low-income seniors, which begins in 2019, will be canceled.
If Proposition No. 1 does not pass, those over the age of 65 would continue to pay sales tax on their purchases.
During our forum, Shirley Robards and John Stein joined us to share their views on voting “Yes” and “No” to Proposition 1, respectively. Read more about the Assembly’s decision here. Following in Sitka’s footsteps, a similar question will also appear on the ballot in Petersburg.
Listen to the full 41-minute Prop 1 (Senior Sales Tax) Forum
PROPOSITION 2: Should Sitka be exempt from Alaska’s statewide ban, which takes effect October 1st?
If Proposition No. 2 passes, Sitka would be exempt from a statewide smoking ban in certain public places. Smoking would continue inside the Pioneer Bar, American Legion Post 13, and Ernie’s Old Time Saloon. The Moose Lodge recently banned smoking within their establishment.
If Proposition 2 does not pass, smoking will be banned in those establishments per the new state law (AS 18.35.301-18.35.350). Smokers must take their cigarettes outside at a distance of 10 feet.
During our forum, Margaret Carlson and Doug Osborne joined us to share their views on voting “Yes” and “No” to Proposition 2, respectively. We were also joined by Emily Nenon, Alaska’s Government Relations Director with the American Cancer Society, and Joe Darnell, chief investigator for the state’s tobacco program, to answer technical questions about the new state law. Read more about the debate here. Sitka is the only community in Alaska to put a smoking opt-out question on the local ballot.
Listen to the full 39-minute Prop 2 (Smoking Ban) Forum
Election Day is Tuesday, October 2nd. Precincts 1 and 2 voters will cast ballots at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Polls will be open on Tuesday, October 2nd from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Advanced (in-person) voting is available now weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall until October 1st. If you have questions about the election, call Municipal Clerk Sara Peterson at 747-1811.