Homer Alaska - Elections

Story last updated at 5:05 PM on Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Burgess: He brings self-starter perspective to council table



I'm a young small business owner, dedicated to keeping Homer a beautiful, healthy, safe and welcoming place. As a Homer City Councilmember I have done my best, to take thoughtful and clear positions on issues, and be always willing to listen. While our Federal Government continues to wallow in dysfunction, local government must, more than ever, provide inclusive and effective leadership. We live in an age of massive change and uncertainty. Let's work to keep city government a clear and balanced expression of the people's will, while investing in the long term health and economic resilience of this place.

The perspective I bring to local government is that of a self-starter. Unlike most councilmembers, my background is not one of public service or employment. While I may lack the insider's view of government that comes from a career in the public sector, my livelihood is tied to understanding the value of creating a dollar. This is an important perspective for any organization whose budget rests on the shoulders of property and sales tax revenues. I know the cost in both time and money that government regulation has on businesses and individuals. I'm not so dogmatic as to think that all regulation is bad. Government has an important role to play. But, government should use its authority sparingly to address important issues that businesses and citizens are unwilling or unable to address on their own. In my time on the City Council I have opposed an unnecessary ban on sandwich boards, an overly restrictive sign code, and the outlawing of alcohol in public parks.

Local government has a clear role to play in expanding and maintaining public services and infrastructure. Police and particularly firefighters need modern equipment and adequate facilities in order to respond quickly to the safety of people and property. I'm a strong voice for expanding the capabilities of our volunteer fire department, this helps to lower insurance rates for everyone. Our port and harbor are vital economic engines, bringing marine commerce and creating many local jobs. I will work to see that our harbor is well maintained and that profitable services are expanded.

The City can play with water and sewer rates until the cows come home, but the only long-term solution to lowering costs is to get more people connected. The City needs to take the lead here, both by infilling where water and sewer are already present and by significantly expanding these utilities to serve all of Homer. Until this happens all taxpayers will continue to subsidize services that only benefit a few, and those few will continue to pay steep rates. Don't misunderstand me, I still enjoy the rustic appeal of living without running water, and the January walks to my outhouse are bearable, if only barely. But, if the only economic privilege of living in Homer is to pay property tax, then what's the point of living in the City? If elected, I promise to work hard to make sure roads, water and sewer are built to equitably serve all taxpayers. I have a proven track record of expanding access to infrastructure. The first resolution I sponsored after being appointed to city council, began the LID process of bringing natural gas to every home and business in Homer.

By voting for me on October 2nd, you'll be supporting a strong and thoughtful voice for the long term quality of life in this community. I can't promise that we'll always agree, but you'll always know where I stand and I will always listen to you. Please call or e-mail me any time.