Point-Counterpoint: Challenger Andy Clary makes his pitch for Assembly

I am running for the Anchorage Assembly because I want to see Anchorage grow and thrive as a community for generations to come. Anchorage is home for me, I grew up here, and I care about our city. Our children and grandchildren deserve the same opportunities we enjoy today. Serving on the Assembly is one of the best ways I can give back to our community.

One of the ways we can make sure that Anchorage thrives in the long-term is to make sure our expenditures stay in balance with our revenues. Contrary to what you may have heard in the media, the recent change to our labor law actually goes a long way to building Anchorage's sustainability. It aligns benefit plans to a sensible list of options, sets clear boundaries for how much wages can increase and limits the length of labor contracts to three years, the same limit used by the State of Alaska. These changes will protect our future while at the same time keep Anchorage a great place to live and work.

Title 21 was recently passed by the Assembly and is now law. It was a good start, but it will need to be continually tweaked as people start applying it to real projects. The transitional period that allows developers to choose to build under the old or new rules up until the end of 2014 was a nice addition that provides flexibility.

Affordable housing is an issue that must be addressed. My company hires graduates right out of college and, even with decent starting pay, most are unable to afford a place of their own. The cost of housing has priced many would-be homeowners out of the market. One of the positive changes in Title 21 is an allowance that makes it easier to have in-law apartments. This was a much needed addition to provide more affordable housing for Anchorage.

My background in information technology sets me apart from any current Assembly member or candidate and is something unique I bring to the table. I am aware of many areas where city services could be streamlined with improved technology. Police cruisers currently have the equivalent of a dial up modem for downloading information. Increased bandwidth in public safety vehicles would give them access to apps and information similar to what most of us enjoy on our smart phones. The public would also be better served by moving more municipal services online, such as submission and review of building plans. The list of technology improvements is long, and I look forward to working through it.

My opponent has claimed I will be a rubber stamp for the mayor. This is simply not true. There are issues with which I agree with the mayor, and others with which I disagree. One clear disagreement is the way the labor ordinance was handled; this should have been brought forward months ago and included all stakeholders before being introduced. I will approach each decision on the Assembly with great care, taking time to weigh the arguments on all sides. I am a very approachable person and will sit down and discuss any issue with any interested party.

In a recent forum, when asked what he hopes to accomplish with another 3 years on the assembly that he was not able to accomplish in the last 14, my opponent's only answer was to, "Agitate, agitate, agitate." Agitation is not the way to get things done on an elected body. I will listen to all sides and create solutions that move Anchorage forward on a sustainable basis.

Voters in Midtown have a clear choice this election. You can vote for more of the same, or you can vote for Andy Clary. I bring new energy, new ideas and a fresh perspective to the table. I have real world business experience, and have proven that I can work with people of diverse opinions. I urge you to vote for Andy Clary for Midtown Assembly.

Andy Clary is a candidate for Assembly Seat 4-F, representing Midtown.