Homer Alaska - Elections

Story last updated at 5:50 PM on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gary Superman

What do the candidates think?

The assignment: Candidates for Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor and the District 8 seat for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly were invited to submit a 500-word guest column. Candidates were given free rein to write about what they thought was most important.

Candidate for Mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough


Gary Superman

About this time last year as I was finishing up my last term on the Assembly, I had some prominent local democrats pushing me to get in this race. Their motivation may well have been ulterior but it was repeatedly acknowledged that I had a reputation for truly listening to and communicating with all perspectives. When I took stands absolutely contrary to their ideology on a given budget point or issue, I thoroughly vetted and then explained my position so that respect and understanding remained intact. I deliberated their proposition for months.

And I said no, for a variety of reasons. Not only was I not part of their camp, but in the back of my mind a voice was saying that sooner or later their main man would jump in and they would jump ship. This is certainly a disaster for any campaign. Was the man with extraordinary management and leadership skills going to file? Not till, and only when the first D type from Seward was pronounced as having too little horsepower to win the race did Candidate N come out. Virtually assured of making the runoff because of arithmetic, the other four candidates (of which I am one) are scrapping it out for the second berth.

I have been taken to task for even suggesting the word "machine" in certain media. I've been involved in Borough government and community politics for twenty five years, but always in the trenches. Perhaps, too often I've taken stands outside the political norm. Cutting the historic funding to the cap for the district, opposing forced participation and assessments in local utility improvement districts, arguing against the nanny state in the cities with their smoking ban ordinances, etc. are not activities that endear an elected official to the establishment. I have found myself in too many situations raging against the machine to think it doesn't exist.

I will not be garnishing the support or endorsements from NEA (teachers), KBEA (borough employees) which made an endorsement without sending a questionnaire or holding interviews, Conservation alliances, Teamsters or any other union, former governors, party stalwarts or Dave Carey. I don't lament any of this as I believe principles, honesty and integrity should be prime ingredients to the making of a good mayor. This will be my last election. Win or lose, I will come away with those traits.

I have asked the public since June when I started campaigning to scrutinize the mechanics of the election process. I know many of you are angry and who will probably vote for. I know many of you are still complacent and probably won't vote at all. I know many of you are party types and are drawn to certain candidates like iron shavings to a magnet. But I know many, many of you are ready for a different type of leadership than you've had in the past. With your support, we can address the challenges that lie for the borough.