Story last updated at 2:41 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2002

Candidates for 1-year seat weigh in
Compiled by Carey James
Staff Writer

The following is part of a four-part series presenting answers (100 words or less) to a series of questions posed to each candidate for Homer City Council. This week, candidates for the council's one two-year seat are profiled, as well as Rick Ladd, a one-year seat candidate, who was out of town and could not be included last week.

Homer City Council

They are listed alphabetically.

Patricia Cue
Age: No answer given
Occupation: Registered Dietitian
Area of Residence: Homer

What are the lessons learned from annexation?
We are just beginning to learn how annexation will affect this community. While the process itself was contested, I envision that the new residents will come to embrace our community as one. This vision includes planning for our future so that its growth enhances the quality of our lives.

Planning for our future should not begin or end with annexation. We all need to be continuously involved with how we will manage growth. The lesson I've learned is that our discussions should be candid and the decisions made may not please everyone all of the time.

Given the current tight state fiscal situation, what is your philosophy on taxes, spending and the current city budget?
If the Legislature fails to plan for our future, then decisions will be made that may be divisive to many citizens. Looking at resource development for funding state services is short-sighted because ultimately the resources will be depleted and then we will have lost the very things that make Alaska unique. Taxes are one way to obtain necessary funding.

The city's financial position is strong because the administration has been proactive in its planning process. If revenues from the state decline, the city will have to decide where to cut or how to raise revenues to meet its needs.

Given all the projects the city has on its plate, what would your top priorities be?

The city council prioritized a list of projects they want the administration to work on. The list includes the animal shelter, library, water and sewer master plan, town square, community college, planning issues such as steep slope development, architectural standards and large building structures. Successful completion of these projects are key to improving our quality of life and will be priorities for me if I am re-elected.

How can the Homer City Council make Homer a better place to live?

The council can make Homer a better place to live by looking to its citizens for the vision of how we want our community to move forward. The council must work together to guide city administration to act on this vision with planning and development strategies that work. Homer has a natural beauty which is a point of pride for our community and a draw to visitors from around the world. It provides abundant resources for supporting our families. Protecting the environment and planning for sustainable economies will ensure that Homer continues to be a great place to live.

Doug Stark
Age: 67
Occupation: Financial management
Area of Residence: Mid-hillside

What are the lessons learned from annexation?

The city's overreaching created a rift and animosity that will take years to heal, and I will try to help heal it by carefully analyzing each issue to promote one community. I favor small annexations that are voluntary -- people desiring to join the city to obtain city services. I will attempt to lower the tax differential between the city and borough so there is little tax penalty to join the city.

Given the current tight state fiscal situation, what is your philosophy on taxes, spending and the current city budget?

I want to hold taxes and spending down. I applaud the animal shelter and library supporters in their fund-raising efforts. At some point, we might need a bond election -- borrowing tax-free funds at 4 percent is a good deal. I will carefully review all aspects of the rest of the budget. Our administration appears top heavy. I'm against the current effort to reduce the role of volunteers in the fire department.

Given all the projects the city has on its plate, what would your top priorities be?

The animal shelter and library should proceed -- they are much needed. At the same time, we must proceed with planning and expanding our water and sewer system, as well as paving roads. We should start in the core area which has needed this infrastructure for years. Newly annexed areas are mostly on larger lots with on-site systems. We should not force sewer, water and paving on areas that both don't need it and for which the installation is uneconomical. Homer will grow when the city has something to offer the citizens.

How can the Homer City Council make Homer a better place to live?

The council can make Homer a better place to live by getting out of the way of its citizens. By the council governing less, the citizens can enjoy their lives more. By the council being business-friendly and facilitating growth and environmentally clean development, our families -- particularly our young people -- can stay in Homer. We need job-friendly policies.

Candidate Conley Croom did not respond to the Homer News questionnaire.

Rick Ladd (Incumbent candidate for a one-year seat. He is opposed by Hank Boelter, Doris Cabana, Alex Clark and Ray Kranich)
Age: 57
Occupation: Retired school principal
Area of Residence: 570 Elderberry Drive (Behind Homer High School)

What are the lessons learned from annexation?

Whether one is for or against annexation, the more important issue is the process in which annexation was conducted. Although decisions such as Homer's annexation can be controlled based upon organizational status and justified by the letter of the law, a democratic, well-educated community requires meaningful involvement from start to finish. Only then will the community-at-large claim ownership in the outcome. Homer clearly needs to survey and compile citizen attitudes and interests, as I have proposed in a recent city resolution, before embarking on such an important issue as this again.

Given the current tight state fiscal situation, what is your philosophy on taxes, spending and current city budgets?

The city has numerous capital projects such as the library, animal shelter, Deep Water Dock Expansion and more. Funding such projects through increased taxes, seasonal or property, should seriously be questioned. I will only consent to placing greater tax burden on residents if they consent through referendum. In regard to city budgets, I did not vote for the present city budget passed last December. In order to meet expenses, $20,000 was used from fund reserves. Deficit spending is not acceptable.

Given all the projects the city has on its plate, what would your top priorities be?

The City of Homer has numerous responsibilities, including roads, water, sewer, recreational trails, library, police, fire and more. At a time when we are seeing an economic slowdown and increased deficit spending, it is important that the city concentrate spending on necessary services that first address health, safety and maintenance. In regard to capital project funding, the following stand out: 1- Deep Water Dock Corrosion Control, 2- Skyline Fire Station, 3- Library, 4- Bridge Creek Watershed Land Acquisition, 5- Deep Water Dock Fende-ing, and 6- Spit Waterline Replacement Phase IV. The animal shelter is close to the required funds necessary.

How can the Homer City Council make Homer a better place to live?

Council members can make the city a better place to live by listening to citizens and recognizing that government has the ability to either foster planned community development or stifle growth through over-regulation and becoming out of touch with community attitudes and interests. The new skateboard area has been developed through a positive partnership from various grants, private contributions, and city assistance. I encourage small business development and educational organizations such as the Pratt Museum. We need to support the Kachemak (Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula) College, and capitalize on our Deep Water Dock facilities as a viable port serving the Kenai and Anchorage.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homernews.com

CONTACT US

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS