Last night at the West Anchorage Candidates Debate, I watched Ernie Hall get beat up for his performance as Chairman of the Anchorage Assembly.
I am not running against Ernie Hall. I am running against Cheryl Frasca and Phil Isley. Like many others I have been frustrated with Ernie over the last few weeks, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he's been frustrated with me. But though I don't agree with him on AO 37, I respect Ernie Hall. I respect him because I believe that Ernie honestly wants to make the right decision for his constituents.
When my time on the Assembly is up, I don't want to be remembered as a liberal or a conservative. I want to be remembered as a man who made good decisions for the people in his community.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the labor ordinance. I absolutely support the goal of establishing real budget discipline in Anchorage. But I believe that the way the current Assembly introduced this ordinance will have a destructive long term effect on the trust between Municipal leaders and on the faith that citizens have in our Municipal government.
Perhaps it's unrealistic to think that our Assembly will ever be completely non-partisan. But achieving an Assembly that prioritizes good policy over good politics is not an unworthy goal. And when effective, long term policy making is truly your goal, there are some things you just don't do.
You don't keep important policies a secret from the people affected by them. You don't treat your employees like political enemies. You don't substitute talk radio diatribes for real conversations and you don't make your attorneys the medium through which you communicate your values...
With regards to Title 21, you don't discount the good faith of community members by rewriting their efforts without consultation. You don't fix a struggling school system by alienating educators and distorting statistics.
The next Assembly will face a series of critical tasks. We need to stabilize our budget, strengthen public safety, clear our sidewalks and connect our roads. We need to inspire real change in our school system and establish a long term plan for sustained growth and development. But ultimately, I think the first priority of Assembly members will be to rebuild trust between fragmented components of our government and our community. Until we restore communication and respect to municipal government, we will not make real headway on the challenges we face.
Cheryl Frasca and I offer similar credentials. We share advanced degrees in management and substantial experience in finance and budgeting. Where we differ is not in our resumes but in our commitment to relationships. I've taken the time to visit every school in Anchorage and speak with parents, teachers, and administrators. I've been active in my community and built friendships with Assembly members on both sides of the spectrum. And I've knocked on over 1,000 doors in West Anchorage to talk to voters. What I believe, and what my opponent fails to understand, is that effective leadership begins and ends with people.
Tim Steele is running for Assembly Seat xx, representing West Anchorage.