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Anchorage

Anchorage Assembly candidate Q&A: The future of Anchorage growth

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: March 8
  • Published March 8

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage Assembly to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. For more questions and to see all the candidates’ answers, click here. For School Board candidate surveys, click here.

Q: Describe your position on policies that affect the way Anchorage grows in the coming years.

DISTRICT 2, SEAT A: CHUGIAK-EAGLE RIVER

Crystal Kennedy

All policy development needs to be about doing the greatest amount of good for the most people and avoiding unintended consequences. Good policy development regarding growth takes into account the uniqueness of various areas of the entire Municipality and the comprehensive plans that have already been developed by community input. My focus will be on what’s best for Chugiak, Eagle River, Eklutna, and the JBER area. The key is good public processes that rely on public input and engagement.

Oliver Schiess

We will face serious obstacles over the upcoming years, particularly in mitigating shortfalls that will arise from budget cuts at the state level. One of my goals on the Assembly would be to manage dollars responsibly in order to ensure our police and fire have the resources to keep our communities safe, the Anchorage School District can provide a quality education for our students, we address the earthquake damages, and we can maintain an effective infrastructure and transportation system.

DISTRICT 4, SEAT F: MIDTOWN

Ron Alleva

Title 21 too complex, safety, poor use of funds. Homelessness continues due to long-term enabling. Not enough attention to mental health. Education underfunded.

Meg Zaletel

I believe we need to ensure that we are doing what’s best for Anchorage now as well as with a vision for the future. That means a thoughtful and strategic approach to long-range budgeting, infrastructure, public safety, and education. We need to empower local neighborhoods to develop community-drive solutions to problems that arise. We also need to streamline public processes to ensure that Anchorage can provide affordable, quality housing.

Christine Hill

While government can establish a vision about how Anchorage should grow to meet the needs of future residents, it can never do a better job at executing that vision than the private sector can.

DISTRICT 3, SEAT D: WEST ANCHORAGE

Liz Vazquez

We have a crime wave and an economic recession. Those need to be priorities.

Dustin Darden

Lots of coffee.

Kameron Perez-Verdia

Smart development that combats urban sprawl is a challenge for Anchorage: not only are we spread out as a city, which is an impediment to good and efficient public transportation, but we also do not have enough housing near downtown or midtown. I support policies that seek to increase housing density in Anchorage, especially affordable housing.

DISTRICT 5, SEAT H: EAST ANCHORAGE

Forrest Dunbar

I hope to see Anchorage continue to grow, though increasingly we will need to grow “up” rather than “out.” Infill development is challenging, and can be politically contentious, but as we have seen in other parts of the country, it is the key to a more livable, walkable city. It is also our only realistic option, given that we are tightly constrained by the ocean, mountains, and JBER. A good, sustainable place to live starts with safe neighborhoods, good schools, and affordable housing.

DISTRICT 6, SEAT J: SOUTH ANCHORAGE, GIRDWOOD, TURNAGAIN ARM

John Weddleton

It bothers me that 30,000 people a day commute to the Valley. Some number of those would rather live in Anchorage. We need to encourage and facilitate building homes those commuters want and can afford. We need to figure out how to make it cheaper and faster to build more units in developed areas that have the infrastructure. I support the broad outlines of our new Land Use Plan and the focus on town centers and preserving the variety of neighborhoods in Anchorage.

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