Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:09 PM on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meet the Candidates

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Next month — on Oct. 2 — Kenai Peninsula Borough voters will have a lot of ballots to wade through. With elections on the lower peninsula for assembly, school board and service area board members, what voters won't have is a lot of choices.

Only the assembly and school board seats have contested candidates. Elections will be held for these offices:

• District 9 assembly member;

• District 8 school board member;

• Four seats, South Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board;

• Three seats, Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Service Area Board;

• Two seats, Kachemak Emergency Service Area Board; and

• Five seats, Seldovia Recreational Service Area Board.

This week, the Homer News talks with the candidates for District 9 assembly seat and District 8 school board seat.

As with the Alaska Legislature, the borough assembly saw some changes in districts brought about by the 2010 Census and reapportionment, though not as dramatic as the legislative districts.

Seeking to even out district populations to about 6,200 people, voters can expect some minor changes in the boundaries between District 8, now represented by assembly member Bill Smith, and District 9, now represented by assembly member Mako Haggerty. Haggerty is running for re-election against challenger Jesse Clutts.

Before reapportionment, District 8, which included all of the city of Homer and Kachemak City, had 5,350 people. To bring it up to about 5,860 people, within 10 percent of the desired number of 6,200 people, the assembly shifted the borders to take in 510 more people by expanding District 8 to include Diamond Ridge south of Diamond Ridge Road and Skyline Drive up to Crossman Ridge Road.

That shift in boundaries will split voting precincts into several districts, said borough clerk Johni Blankenship.

"More of our precincts are split than ever before," she said. "Assembly districts split and service areas split."

Voters will need to allow a little extra time when voting to help poll workers give them the right ballots. Maps will be placed at precincts and voters asked to show their residential addresses on the map. The borough tried to use distinct boundaries like roads, Blankenship said.

"Knowing if I live north or south of Diamond Ridge Road — that's going to help people," she said.

Because District 2, the Kenai seat held by assembly member Hal Smalley, changed more than 10 percent — that is, more than a tenth of the people are new to the area — that seat is for a 2-year term. All other assembly seats are on a regular, 3-year term cycle.

A borough voter pamphlet goes out this week with candidate information, ballots and new district maps. The information also is on the borough website at www.borough.kenai.ak.us/assembly-clerk/elections/election-information.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.