Point-Counterpoint: Assembly chair Ernie Hall states his case

By ERNIE HALLMarch 30, 2013 

Let me start by saying how honored I am to have served you these past three years. After decades of serving the community in many ways, this was my first term as an elected official. I have loved every minute of it. Well, most minutes of it.

I ran for office promising responsible and responsive government. I have acted on that promise without wavering. I will continue to work for local government that serves and benefits all citizens - not narrow agendas that benefit just one segment of the population. Where my opponent is a professional political organizer for the one-sided, sometimes-costly agenda of the Alaska Center for the Environment, I have and will continue to advocate for improvements to Anchorage that benefit all of us. My successful effort to create the 60-acre Campbell Creek Estuary - at no cost to the public - is an example of a win-win victory for all of Anchorage: for nature lovers, for taxpayers and for visitors.

Another example is the successful resolution of Title 21, the city's contentious collection of land use laws. For ten years vested interests fought and argued over their favored positions. I resolved to bring all the players together to work out a compromise. We came together and together we built that compromise. Was everyone completely happy with the result? Of course not. But in politics, as in life, most of us know we must give a little if we are to move forward. We now have rules that preserve neighborhoods, protect nature and firmly guide the building of our city's future.

Recently the Assembly passed a new labor ordinance. What passed was a much-amended, much-improved replacement to the mayor's ordinance. I voted for it for two reasons: First: Three years ago you elected me to fix labor contract terms Anchorage simply could not afford. The new labor law is a necessary change to keep Anchorage out of stormy fiscal waters ahead. Second: I want to prevent large-scale layoffs and service reductions that budget-busting contracts cause.

I deeply appreciate the commitment of all our city employees to a well-run and safe Anchorage. Here are my goals for future labor contracts: Prevent layoffs. No cuts in pay. Provide pay increases within a sustainable limit of CPI plus 1 percent. I will continue to support our workforce with contracts that are fair to them and fair to taxpayers.

Looking back, I am most proud of the repair of our city election process. The week after last year's election debacle, I became chair of the Assembly. It was my duty to repair the election process and rebuild the public's confidence in it. How will you know our elections are working better? Simple: Vote Tuesday. If it is not working, you should not vote for me.

Looking ahead, I will work to fund and finish Spenard Road's rejuvenation. I look forward to attending all five West Anchorage community council meetings every month and listening to your concerns - just as I have enjoyed doing these past three years.

Some say I am hard to pigeonhole as either liberal or conservative. This is because I see myself as a consensus builder. My job is to bring different points of view together and find what works best for all. Turning partisan lemons into non-partisan lemonade is something I have done all my life. In today's political world it is hard to do this and survive. I am grateful you gave me three years to work toward the political center. Working together we make Anchorage better.

I love our city. It is home to my kids and grandkids. There is no finer place on earth to live, work or play. With your continued support I will keep working to make Anchorage the best city ever - one all of us proudly call home.

Please vote Tuesday.

Ernie Hall is a candidate for Assembly Seat x-x, West Anchorage.

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