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.