Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Runoff Election: Just What Do You Mean By "Change?" (with a correction)

The Runoff  Election is Tuesday, October 25th.

As we're coming down to the wire, if you are a rational individual, please ask yourself this - What IS "change" in this election?

Over the last few weeks, I have heard people who are considering (or plan on) voting for Fred Sturman for Borough Mayor proclaiming they want "CHANGE."

I have some news for those people. Fred Sturman isn't "change." 
He's more of what we've had for three years... except worse.

For the last three years, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor has been Dave Carey.

Let me preface the following remarks (which could easily be misconstrued as mean-spirited) with this:

Dave Carey not an evil man. He is well-intended, and was sincere in his attempt to be a good mayor.

But Dave Carey was NOT a good mayor, and his poor performance can mostly be attributed to one thing:

A lack of experience.

Dave Carey's prior MAYORAL experience in public elected office?
He was Mayor of the City of Soldotna. 
On the face it it, that sounds good, right?  
Well, not really.
To put it bluntly, the Mayor of Soldotna is little more than a glorified City Council member.
At Council meetings, the Mayor doesn't even vote, except in the rare case of a tie.
The City mayor's official responsibilities pretty much consist of: wielding the gold-painted shears at a ribbon-cutting photo op; presenting some visiting muckety-muck with the "Key to the City;" and waving in parades and kissing babies.

In contrast, being the Mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough is comparable to being the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company.

NONE of Mr. Carey's experience as Soldotna City Mayor prepared him for the enormous task to which he was elected. It's no surprise that he wasn't very good at it.

Now comes Fred Sturman.
Fred has never held ANY elected office, and his governmental experience consists of attending Borough Assembly meetings and bitching at the Assembly.

Yet, Fred and his followers somehow believe that his background as a professional malcontent is enough to give him the expertise and understanding to be the chief executive officer of an entity with an annual budget in excess of $100 million.

Mike Navarre has been Borough Mayor, and at the end of his term left our Borough in good financial shape. Prior to that, Navarre was a member of the Alaska Legislature, serving a stint as Co-Chair of the House Finance Committee. 
Navarre has hands-on experience dealing with complex billion dollar budgets.
For the last 12 years, Navarre has been the CEO of his family's multimillion dollar business, which consist of 9 Arby's Restaurants and 9 Radio Shack stores plus a number of other real-estate holdings throughout Alaska.  

This is a guy who has proven that he's highly capable.

Back to the original question:  
What is "change?"

"Change" would be a return to qualified, competent management.

Vote for Mike Navarre on Tuesday, October 25th.

Correction:  Mr. Carey did hold prior elected office other than Soldotna Mayor. He served 3 terms on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly between the years 1982-1989.

I was focusing on mayoral experience, and somehow had completely forgotten about it.  I was around then, so my omission is pretty embarrassing.  I apologize to readers and to Mr. Carey for the inaccuracy of my previous statement.

Thanks to a reader for pointing it out.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

(Potential) Nightmare On Binkley Street

It’s been a long time since I last posted anything. 
There are a variety of reasons for that, and most of them not worthy of discussion.

Suffice it to say that I’ve decided that finally, something has come along that has compelled me to once again spout off: 

Background: Kenai Peninsula Borough code requires any candidate for Borough Mayor must win "the majority of the votes cast," or 50% plus 1 vote. 

The regular election held on October 4th had six contenders, so it was highly unlikely that anyone would meet that magic number.  So, after the dust settled, we wound up with two candidates in the October 25th Runoff election : 

Mike Navarre: 

55 year-old local business person (the Navarre's family-owned business, Zan, Inc. is based in Kenai, and owns and operates nine Arby's restaurants and nine Radio Shack stores throughout Alaska), former Borough Mayor (1996-1999), and former member of the Alaska State House of Representatives (1985-1996). Board member, Boys & Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula (15 years) member of Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce, member Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, Co-Chair of Arctic Power, and member of the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research Advisory Board.


Fred Sturman:

73-year old former business owner, past president of the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers (ACT); member of the Soldotna Elks, and professional malcontent.

I'd add Fred's other past elected and appointed offices, governmental experience, and his record of other community involvement here... 
but there just aren't any.

Fred's "experience" for managing the Kenai Peninsula Borough apparently consists entirely of attending Borough Assembly meetings and bitching, or going to the Borough Mayor's office and bitching. That's it.

For a rational voter, this runoff election should be a no-brainer. Electing a seasoned, smart, fiscally conservative person who is experienced and is respected across Alaska to lead the Kenai Peninsula Borough makes sense. But this election won't be confined to good sense.

Mike's family homestead in Nikiski when Alaska was still a territory. He's lived here all his life.

Besides being the CEO of his family's businesses, Navarre served with distinction in the Alaska Legislature (including chairing the House Finance Committee), and during his term as Borough Mayor, proved to be a smart, fair, and fiscally prudent manager. He left the Borough in great financial shape.

Mike's served on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula for 15 years. When a community charitable event needs financial or in-kind help - be it the Boys & Girls Club Annual Fundraiser or the Cancer Survivor's dinner, the Navarre family has always been front and center, making sure that the event is a success... giving back to their community.

Fred's community involvement, other than ACT, appears to be pretty much non-existent, nor has anything he's done in his 76 years on this planet demonstrated that he has an ability to manage or lead.

Again:  For any rational person, who to vote for in the October 25th runoff election should be a no-brainer.

However: Fred is the ACT group's boy, and they're counting on YOU staying home on election day.

Municipal elections usually have lousy voter turnout, and off-year municipal elections are even worse. 
The October 4th election was no exception. Though Navarre was the top vote-getter, the total voter turnout was a measly 26%.  Runoff elections have always had an even more dismal turnout. 

Fred Sturman's followers are not unlike Jim Jones' followers. Like Tea Party ignoramuses, they are zealots. Facts be damned, they are on a mission.  ACT knows that. 
They know Fred's followers will vote on October 25th... and they're betting YOU won't.

So make sure you vote in the upcoming Runoff election

Beginning Monday, October 17, you can vote absentee in person at the following locations:

KPB George A. Navarre Administration Building (Soldotna)
Monday - Friday               8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 22       10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 23          12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

KPB Annex Office (Homer)    
Monday-Friday                  8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kenai City Clerk’s Office       
Monday-Friday                   8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Seward City Clerk’s Office  (Closed on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 in observance of Alaska Day)
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Seldovia City Clerk’s Office      

Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

Or, you can vote at your normal polling place on Tuesday, October 25th.

Either way - to all you rational people, please vote. 

The future of the Borough depends on it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Alaska (and America) Needs You To Vote Your Values Today.

My posts have been rather sporadic of late, but in the last few weeks, if anyone has been reading, one thing should've been made be clear to you:

This is a very important election for Alaska, and the nation.

Every pundit out there has been echoing the same thing, over and over:  A GOP sweep of the House and possibly the Senate as well.  

It's just a matter of how big a sweep.

We are facing the prospect of Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

Facing a Congress controlled by those that represent the ideology of the Party of No... or even worse.  

A Congress dead set against anything this president will try to accomplish.
A Congress controlled by their corporate sponsors.

During the last two years, in spite of the continual blocking efforts of these two men and their "No!" agenda, Democrats still managed to get a hell of a lot done.

Take a few minutes to watch this video.  MSNBC's Rachel Maddow sums it up far better than I ever could:

With that clip in mind, go to the polls today, and think about the differences between the two parties.

Think about which party has been willing to very possibly lose their power in the next election in order to accomplish some good long-term policy changes for America.

Then go to the polls and vote your values.

If you don't, someone else will make your decision for you... and for the rest of us as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Violence: The GOP/Tea Party Tactic Du Jour For The Mid-terms.

By now, unless you've been living in a cave (or "Dancing With the Stars" is your only television fare) you are no doubt aware of the numerous incidents recently where GOP/Tea Party candidates have had engaged in the use of unwarranted physical force and violence against those they perceive to be "the enemy."

On October 17, Alaska Dispatch editor and reporter Tony Hopfinger was "arrested" and handcuffed by private security guards goons employed by Alaska U.S. Senate GOP/Tea Party Express candidate Joe Miller:
Just what bad thing did Hopfinger do?  
He had the audacity to act like a journalist.  Following a public campaign event at an Anchorage, Alaska school hosted by Miller, Hopfinger tried to ask the candidate questions about ethics violations committed by Miller when he was a part-time assistant attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  
As it turns out, the revelation of Miller records with the N. Star Borough showed that Joe Miller is just another unethical liar.

As outrageous as the Hopfinger incident was, it was mild in comparison to some other events around the nation.

On October 25, at a public Lexington, Kentucky Senatorial debate, Tim Profitt, a (now former) Bourbon County coordinator for GOP/Tea Party Express Senate candidate Rand Paul's campaign, literally stomped on volunteer Lauren Valle:
What offense did Ms. Valle commit to receive such brutal treatment?
She protested against Rand Paul. She wore a Rand Paul-style blonde wig and held a sign identifying him as a the "RepubliCorp" candidate.  
Tim Profitt doesn't allow THAT kind of crap in Bourbon County!  Yeehaw.
Not only is this "macho man" proud of himself for being one of  the five Rand Paul goons who assaulted a petite young woman, this asshat actually thinks SHE owes HIM an apology!   

Shortly after the Rand Paul - Tim Profitt outrage, another incident has hit the news:
At another public event held on October 25 in Louisa, Virginia for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Doucheville), Mr. Jon Taylor of Louisa County, Virginia was wrestled to the ground and arrested for "trespassing."  

This time, the manhandling was performed by three brave Virginia law enforcement officers (it looks like they hire them by the pound in VA), who implemented a lot more force than seemed necessary, in my opinion.
The courageous trio of cops had Taylor in a double arm-lock, making it impossible for him to "put his arms behind his back" as they ordered, so they fed him the sidewalk and charged him with "resisting" as well:

What was Jon Taylor's real "crime?"
He's a Democrat, and he had the audacity to attend an Eric Cantor's "Victory Tour"... a public event which he'd actually RSVP'd the day before.

It's less than a week until the general election.  I expect to see more of these incidents before then... and if the GOP/Tea Party succeeds in winning majorities in the House and Senate, most likely even more later.

I guess it's their version of "The Real America."