How many years have you lived in Sitka and in Alaska? Aug 1992
Occupation: Retail store owner
Family: I am married with one child, and a world famous corgi.
Sitka Fire Dept, GPIP board, Solid waste advisory committee, Downtown Revitalization Committee
Previous government or other relevant experience:
Yes, I have been on the assembly for the last 8 years.
Why are you running for a seat on the Sitka Assembly this year?
I am running to maintain the stability of the assembly and city hall that we have worked diligently to create. Prosperous times are ahead for Sitka, and momentum started on projects such as asset management must continue. Efficiencies that are being created now will save all of us money in the long run. I’m excited to begin to fix some of the infrastructure that has been neglected. This next budget cycle will include more money for roads than in many of the previous years. We as an Assembly need to support our city staff to accomplish the goals of the citizens and the Assembly.
What are your top two priorities if elected?
Continue to support John Leach with his asset management and general efficiency goals, Reinvest our sales tax dollars in to Sitka, its citizens and our quality of life.
Ballot Prop 1:
Do you support Ballot Prop 1, which would establish a consumer sales tax on cannabis and cannabis products, and would direct that money to the Sitka School District’s Student Activities Fund? Why or why not?
If the cannabis measure does not pass, are there next steps the assembly should take to bolster funding for student activities?
The Mayor, Assembly, City manager, government affairs director and the school board need to build, maintain and grow relationships with our state officials, and work with them to increase the base student allocation along with guaranteeing a stable finding source.
Ballot Prop 2:
Do you support Ballot Prop 2, which would withdraw up to $8.1 million in proceeds from the sale of the Sitka Community Hospital building from Sitka’s Permanent Fund, to pay for a marine haulout? Why or why not?
If the measure to fund the haulout is not approved by the voters, what steps– if any– should the assembly take to get a haulout built in Sitka?
If this is not approved, there will be a very important question the assembly must ask. Did the measure fail due to the funding source, or due to a lack of desire to build the haul out. This will be very hard to discern, but vitally important to the next steps.
STRs and Housing:
Earlier this year, the Sitka Assembly rejected a measure that would have put a moratorium on new short-term rental permits for one year. Do you support that decision? Why or why not?
What should the assembly do to address housing shortages and affordability in Sitka?
I have long held the belief that short term rentals needed to be looked in to, and determined if there are negative effects that are outweighing the positives. A blanket moratorium, without the facts to back it up, I do not believe is in the best interest of Sitka. Lets solidly identify individual problems with short term rentals, and fix code to solve those issues.
Housing has always been an issue in Sitka, and now nation wide. Alleviating this problem will not come cheap or easy. That’s why after so many years its still an issue to tackle.
Energy and Infrastructure:
Sitka is carrying roughly $118 million in debt for the Blue Lake Dam expansion. But at the current rate of growth, including the expansion of Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center on Japonski Island, its estimated that the city could reach the limit of its hydroelectric capacity in 10 years.
What steps should the assembly take to make sure Sitka has sufficient energy infrastructure, while managing the city’s debt?
This year brought an unprecedented number of cruise passengers to Sitka. In anticipation of the record-breaking year, the assembly directed the planning commission to draft a short-term tourism plan months before the first ships docked this summer. Some of the most visible responses from the city include the closure of Lincoln Street on high traffic days, and installation of temporary bathrooms (View the full plan here).
What steps should the assembly take next to address the influx of tourism into the future?
The assembly will need to support a full tourism plan. We are not alone in this effort, other communities have done this before. No need to start from scratch. If done correctly, we can mitigate the negatives of tourism, while providing for our citizens with the tax revenues received. We must finish our cost allocation study, and distribute head tax money in a way that insures citizens don’t pay extra for services visitors use. I’m excited to start a redesign of Lincoln st, that will make the downtown more accessible to all year round. (my business is located on Lincoln st)
Is there an issue or proposal you want to bring to the table that the assembly hasn’t yet considered?
I’m sure there will be. Times change, opinions change, and needs change. We need to be flexible, adaptive, and work as quickly as government can while never forgetting the public process.