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From homicides to housing, and everything in between: 36 questions for Anchorage's mayoral candidates

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published March 20, 2015

With the April 7 Anchorage mayoral election drawing near, we sent identical questionnaires to all the candidates, giving them a chance to clarify their positions on a wide range of issues. Here are their unedited responses.


1. Why are you running for office?

Lance Ahern: I am running for Mayor because my experiences and skills are well matched to Anchorage's current needs. As a successful entrepreneur, I understand the small business community, which is critical to growing our economy. My work in Public Safety has spanned the system from end-to-end; success requires coordination with many partners. Finally, my years inside government have focused on reducing costs and improving efficiency. As Mayor, I can expand upon this important work

Paul Bauer Jr.: I made Anchorage my choice 25 years ago because I saw a city that has opportunity that no other city has. A chance to learn the mistakes from others communities, ability to create a unique cultural and small enough to do something and complete it. Greed, self-seeking and money politicians hold us back. I offer forty years of real leadership, worldly experience with practical innovative solutions who can work with all people. I put Anchorage First!

Ethan Berkowitz: I want Anchorage to be a safe, secure and strong community for all residents. I believe I can provide the stable, experienced, and principled leadership to navigate these uncertain times, as well helping us realize the vision needed so that Anchorage is positioned to compete and succeed in the 21st Century global economy. That means safe homes and neighborhoods, a secure fiscal footing, and strong education and modernized infrastructure, especially for broadband and energy.

Dan Coffey: I have lived all my life in Anchorage. Like my mom and dad before me, I have worked and raised my family here. Anchorage is a great City. My history shows that I believe in giving back to my community. Being Mayor is another opportunity to address the serious challenges Anchorage faces: fiscal, public safety, housing, homelessness and more. I am well versed in City matters and well prepared to address these issues.

Dustin Darden: I am running to win this thing baby! As mayor I will boost the morale of the citizens of Anchorage by promoting community involvement in every facet of what I do. To stand up for the public organized work force. To make a vocal and clear deceleration that Life regardless of how conception occurred is a gift from God. To encourage the full embrace of all of our constitutional liberties.

Amy Demboski: My campaign to be your next Mayor is motivated by a desire to bring conservative leadership that demonstrates true fiscal responsibility to the forefront and focus on the fundamentals: public safety, infrastructure, and education. I will proactively lead the fight to promote and protect the free market and private property rights with an unwavering commitment to ethical leadership and always mindful that I serve the people of Anchorage.

Andrew Halcro: I am running for mayor because Anchorage needs leadership in three areas: growing the economy in ways that promote economic opportunities and housing solutions, making the community safer and healthier, and managing the cost of government in uncertain times. As the former president of both large and small organizations, I know the importance of having a clear, positive vision of where you want to go and having the fiscal discipline to get there.

Timothy Huit: I am running for Mayor, because I believe my small business s experiences, my educational background, my social work experiences, my understanding of policing philosophies, and my life experiences put me in a unique position when considering the problems that Anchorage faces. I believe as a part of the cities over team I can be both effective and efficient when addressing the current and future issues regarding the City of Anchorage.

2. The biggest problem facing Anchorage that no one talks much about is:

Lance Ahern: High systemic costs of government

Paul Bauer Jr.: Addressing recidivism and employment

Ethan Berkowitz: The state's fiscal deficit.

Dan Coffey: If it were a big problem, people would be talking about it.

Dustin Darden: Genocide of our unborn neighbors

Amy Demboski: Public safety resources and deployment

Andrew Halcro: The growing diversity in Anchorage and the challenges faced by our emerging ethnic communities. As the former president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, I made diversity a key initiative. Anchorage is becoming more multi-cultural, and many ethnic communities share mutual challenges in education, affordable housing, and economic opportunities.

Timothy Huit: Wage, wealth, and income inequality.

3. What do you think of the job Mayor Dan Sullivan has done?

Lance Ahern: Mayor Sullivan has done a good job of controlling the cost of government. Unfortunately, he took office as the global financial meltdown was gathering steam, and he made a number of difficult decisions that put him at odds with the employees and the Assembly, which has limited his effectiveness as a leader of our most critical resource, the Muni employees. I will fully engage our employees in the goal of cost effectively improving city services.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Maintaining moderate budget growth B+; Innovative on new ideas D-; Self-interests for the next higher office A+; Plan, organize and work with the people on complex issues C-; Technically competent in city government A-; Stagnation in moving the city forward D-; Planning for the future F; combating crime with community relations F; live, work and played other than in Alaska and Hawaii, F; back-room, handshake deal with Dan Coffey to be next mayor A+

Ethan Berkowitz: The mayor should unite Anchorage, not divide it (as happened with AO 37 and the gay rights ordinance). The mayor should vigilantly guard our finances. We can't afford $30 million overruns like the SAP software fiasco, or the $350 million Port debacle, and we need to do more to protect ourselves from Juneau's fiscal meltdown. The mayor should lead in forging public-private partnerships, and support, not shrink, our police force.

Dan Coffey: When Sullivan was elected Mayor in 2009, the City's fiscal situation was dire. Fund balances had been depleted, costly five-year labor agreements had been passed by the prior administration and the 2009 "Great Recession" was upon us. Since Sullivan has been Mayor, the City has experienced several years of budget surpluses and has a Triple AAA bond rating. For his fiscal management alone, Mayor Sullivan deserves a favorable rating.

Dustin Darden: The main thing I disagree with mayor Sullivan is the AO 37 proposal that he continently [sic] attempted to pass through against the majority of the peoples [sic] voices. One thing I look forward to working with Sullivan in this transition period when I take office will be making a plan to build a world class zip line I have heard him talk about, generating tourism in Anchorage and keeping them hear [sic] for a wile [sic] could be a big boost.

Amy Demboski: Mayor Sullivan has done a good job with respect to overall financial management. There are areas where he has stumbled. Failure of leadership on the SAP project has led to multi-millions in cost overruns. Inadequate staffing and the deployment of public safety resources have led to high overtime costs, both at APD and AFD, and APD has virtually no, or limited, ability to respond to certain crimes (ie theft).

Andrew Halcro: I like to look ahead, and I see much unfinished business for the next mayor. Rebuilding the police force, managing an IT project that is $25 million over budget and a badly-managed port project that needs hundreds of millions of dollars to finish, easing housing gridlock, re-establishing ties with minority communities and addressing a chronic inebriate problem. It's a big to do list, so we need to elect a mayor with vision and leadership skills.

Timothy Huit: The Mayor has been less then effective when trying to address homelessness, crime, and creating higher paying jobs for workers in general. He has not been as concerned as he could of been about the rank and file citizens verses his friends, political cronies, and Chamber of Commerce associates. I believe he could of [sic] tried harder to improve youth employment, youth job skills, and community activities. With more effort from the Mayor, we could of [sic] reduced overall gang membership or the desire for gang membership.

Crime & Security

1. Is the Anchorage Police Department adequately staffed?

Lance Ahern: APD needs to both increase staff and improve the tools that make our officers effective. APD took a hit to their staffing levels last year due to an incentive that led to a high number of early retirements. This was a one time hit to the force, but it was well known in advance, and could have been managed better.

Paul Bauer Jr.: No. Some parts of Anchorage need community-oriented policing and to achieve that goal, APD will need more officers on the streets. The Department is not adequately staffed for specialized units to enforce street and property crime, assaults, traffic enforcement, gangs and trained personnel to enhance community relations and communications. Additional street officers should also reduce overtime.

Ethan Berkowitz: No, and consequently police are in a reactive rather than proactive mode. They're responding to crimes, rather than preventing them. Officer staffing is too thin and we're short on dispatchers, compromising both public and officer safety. Visibility is part of effective policing, and we're at the point where we need more cops in order to increase visibility.

Dan Coffey: The department is understaffed, in part, as a result of the costly labor agreements set by the prior administration. However, understaffing is changing with two new academies; one this year and one next year that will add 40 +/- officers to the force. Another 40 will be added by my administration to bring the force over 400. Then, we will implement Community Policing.

Dustin Darden: No we need more cops on the streets. One way as mayor I can make Anchorage a more desirable place for prospecting recruits to fill empty positions is to support and reward our public workers and APD and stay away from the "AO 37" mentality that would lower the standards and strip binding arbitration abilities.

Amy Demboski: No. Multiple police units (gang, traffic, theft) units have been absorbed into patrol. Thus, we are seeing fewer police attempting to serve a growing population. This leads to higher cost to the taxpayers in overtime expenses, high burnout rates, and higher attrition rates, all of which cost more and deliver less to the community they serve.

Andrew Halcro: No. In July 2010 the Anchorage Police Department had 380 sworn officers on the street, but in December 2014 that number had dropped to 323. While losing over 50 sworn officers in the last four years, we have tried to counter the loss by cannibalizing the gang unit and other specialized task forces that provided proactive policing.

Timothy Huit: We need more officers and more are coming online with our ongoing and continuing police academies. We also need more officers from diverse cultural backgrounds that represent the diverse cultural nature of our city. We have a witness to crime problem right now in our city. By having a more diverse police force we my increase communication with the police and citizens within this diverse cultural community.

2. Would you make specific changes in the police department?

Lance Ahern: First, in order to greatly reduce the cost of public safety for the next 30 years, as Mayor I would consolidate Police and Fire Dispatch. Expensive duplicate facilities and systems, with inconsistent staffing and procedures across our 911 system, is not in the public's best interest. This will prepare Anchorage for our next major public safety investment, Next Generation 911.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Follow through with funding to install cameras in every patrol car and issue body cams for every officer on the street. Prioritize the use of non-lethal weapons policy. With recommendations from the Chief, we would work toward a community-oriented department structure with specialized units. Cross-training assignments with plain-clothes and uniform makes for a better and experienced officer.

Ethan Berkowitz: Yes, I will add police officers. As a former prosecutor, I know that public safety improves when we have a comprehensive strategy linking prevention, policing and prosecution. Consequently, I will implement APD's Strategic Plan, including training academies, and focusing on community policing and proven tactics that increase protection for life, property and the benefits of law and order.

Dan Coffey: As part of Community Policing, I will restore the special units to address specific issues that we face.

Dustin Darden: We have a world class top notch police force that work under the motto taken from the Bible "to live a life above reproach." The direction APD is going taking community policing to a whole new level with social media and Nexil phone messenger programs are ones that we continue to build on.

Amy Demboski: There is a need to augment staffing, to reestablish some of the specialty units, and the need for a retention plan for current officers. When millions are spent on overtime, it is often a symptom of a fundamental imbalance in staffing. By adequately staffing APD, it reduces overtime costs, limits burnout, and delivers a better service to the citizens of Anchorage.

Andrew Halcro: We need to rebuild the police force to the budgeted 372 officers along with returning to staffing specialized units. These units allow officers to be more focused and proactive which has been proven to keep the community safer and save tax dollars.

Timothy Huit: I would change to a proactive and community policing philosophy at APD. Currently, we use a reactive professional policing philosophy within the Anchorage Police Department. We need to engage our diverse cultural community by having the police partnership with the community to reduce overall crime rates. If we follow this course of action we should be able to reduce the police force to a more affordable and efficient staff over the next 10 yrs.

3. What do you think has caused the upturn in homicides?

Lance Ahern: Although the recent spike in violent crime seems to be tied to drug activity, it is not clear that drug use in Anchorage is significantly different than in recent years.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Environmental and time of year. Some new transients relocate here for the purposes of illegal drug distribution and gang association. A lack of police presence and neighborhood participation in solving crimes.

Ethan Berkowitz: There are many factors but the glaring one we can fix is too few officers, which led to dismantling the robbery, gang and drug units, and reductions to community policing.

Dan Coffey: Drugs and gangs (according to APD).

Dustin Darden: Sin, James 1:15 it says "Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."

Amy Demboski: Most incidents have been drug related. Additionally, many APD specialty units that have been eliminated which may have played a part in the uptick in violence in our community.

Andrew Halcro: Drugs, changing community dynamics, under staffed police force, socio-economic challenges, and an over burdened corrections systems.

Timothy Huit: I believe the heroin epidemic in our community is a leading cause of the increase in murders along with other drug and alcohol abuse, and a lack of respect for authority in general.

4. What would you do to make Anchorage a safer place to live?

Lance Ahern: Crime disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable neighbors. Anchorage has withdrawn in recent years from serving "vulnerable populations." We can greatly improve some of these services at minimal cost to taxpayers.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Community involvement is number one. Police must be part of educating the public through innovative programs. Build on strong relationships with a pro-active community-relations task force.

Ethan Berkowitz: Hire more cops, restore community policing, and increase domestic violence programs. Partner with state and federal enforcement, and private and non-profit groups. Implement proven strategies for inebriates and bar break.

Dan Coffey: No answer.

Dustin Darden: I will seek God and pray with my whole heart. A famous president once said, "It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible" — George Washington.

Amy Demboski: Anchorage is a great place to live, but we must adequately staff and deploy APD resources as a fundamental starting place.

Andrew Halcro: Full strength police force, increase community/neighborhood awareness by collaborating with non-profits, address the chronic inebriate problem, and prevent the liquor industry from writing the rules.

Timothy Huit: We need to continue to build bridges among and between our diverse cultural community and work to be united as one people with a common vision for our city.


1. Describe, with specific examples, how you would expand and diversify the city’s economy.

Lance Ahern: For one example, Anchorage has had great people working on economic development, such as Jon Bittner at AEDC ( As CIO I have supported the growth of local technology companies. I can do much more as Mayor to convince Outside companies that our wealth of talent can drive their success, and they need to be on the ground in Anchorage.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Create three-five year tax-free zones in critical areas for new job and housing redevelopment (Fairview and Downtown); establish private-public partnerships to support the improvement of public places in Anchorage that enhances Anchorage's business, cultural and tourist industry. Cultivate sustainable small business development into neighborhoods such as small food and beverage establishments with proper land zoning.

Ethan Berkowitz: Our economy prospers with cutting edge communication (faster broadband), stable energy costs (developing local resources like gas, wind, geothermal and tidal), robust transportation (modernizing the port and facilitating air cargo), and a skilled workforce (adding value to Alaska's resources, benefiting from the opening of the Arctic, and competing in the global knowledge economy, through both vocational and technical and university learning). It also means minimizing taxes and reducing the uncertainty born of Juneau's fiscal gap.

Dan Coffey: It is not the City's job to "expand and diversify" the city's economy. The City's job is to provide services in an efficient and effective manner that allow our economy to "expand and diversify". I will address and amend the ordinances, the regulations and the processes that impede responsible development to address homelessness and the cost of housing. I will maintain our "Quality of Life" amenities (parks, trails, and facilities, both sport and entertainment).

Dustin Darden: One way we can expand our economy is to make Anchorage the city of Life. The more people that are born the larger our economy and more divers our economy will become. I would propose we set aside one month every year and call it baby appreciation month. Within that month lots of subjects could be covered such as purity before marriage, the life that's formed at conception, and just how Amazing babies are.

Amy Demboski: It is job of the Mayor to ensure we have a safe community, with adequate infrastructure, and we are giving kids the opportunity to have a quality education. The private sector will grow our economy if there is a stable tax structure, available land, adequate infrastructure, and a well trained workforce. We must limit overregulation and instead of the government being an inhibitor to the private sector I will be an ally.

Andrew Halcro: First, the next mayor has to create the environment for investment to flourish including strengthening public safety, taking a long term view on the chronic inebriate problem and working on development plans to identify tax strategies for east downtown, Fairview and Mt. View. Second, the city needs to leverage the experience of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. to qualify what tax incentives might look like along with the possibility of attracting niche industries.

Timothy Huit: I would like to add a manufacturing component to our economy to diversify it. Furthermore, I would promote small business manufacturing possibilities and ideas, increase tax breaks for news businesses, continue successful programs & business concepts, promote alternative & sustainable energy methods, promote local farmers markets & year round indoor gardens. I would also continue support for expanded Cook Inlet natural gas resources.

2. Should the city encourage development in low-income areas like Mountain View and Fairview? What tools should it use, such as tax exemptions or tax holidays?

Lance Ahern: The city should encourage economic development citywide. Where our federal or other partners can improve a project, we should leverage those opportunities. The reality of the State's financial condition, and the decline of state capital budgets, suggest that a number of previously targeted projects are simply not going to be feasible for the next few years.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Encourage redevelopment in any area using timed tax-free zones and low-income housing tax credits. Use a tax policy to help develop affordable rental housing. Influence private capital and investor equity to support new development of new and rehabilitated affordable rental housing. Credits are competitively priced. The private sector carries all development and marketing risk that enforces strong oversight and accountability.

Ethan Berkowitz: Yes. A vibrant Anchorage depends on vital neighborhoods. The Mountain View renaissance has begun because innovators who believe in the neighborhood are bringing businesses and housing solutions to the area. Fairview's pilot tax abatement policy could be scaled citywide. We will also streamline permitting to make it faster and more predictable so developers can build denser, more affordable housing.

Dan Coffey: The City has two "tools" available to address housing and development issues. First is the tax deferral and abatement tool which allows for redevelopment of existing land and buildings while retaining the revenue stream from property taxes. This is a revenue neutral tool. Second is using the best bond rating possible to selectively finance infrastructure.

Dustin Darden: Yes I would encourage development in all areas in the municipality of Anchorage. I have a vision of using available land for growing heathy food with creative community involvement. My main focus is to get the the average citizen involved letting the ideas inside there hearts shine. I think if taxes are needed in any situation the flatter the better.

Amy Demboski: As an Assembly member, I supported the plan which gave incentives to redevelopment in the Fairview area. Without such a plan, current Municipal Code made many of these projects cost prohibitive. In this case, policy can spur economic development; therefore, I think it is wise to encourage it. Ultimately, it will lessen the burden on every other taxpayer in Anchorage.

Andrew Halcro: East downtown, Fairview and Mt. View all represent underutilized areas that are ripe for tax incentives and redevelopment. Before any tax incentives are granted, the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. should conduct a third party review of what tax incentives will cost local taxpayers up front, and what they can expect to gain in return.

Timothy Huit: We should slow this development at this time and reassess our development goals in these areas of town. We first need to deal with the homeless, crime, and chronic inebriate problems in these areas of town and focus our resources on this social problem before moving forward with future development.

3. What is your vision for a post-petroleum Anchorage?

Lance Ahern: Looking at one economic perspective, it is important to understand 'post-petroleum' is not 'zero petroleum.' If Alaska can transition both our industrial and revenue bases from petroleum to a balance of competing energy sources, Anchorage will continue to thrive. Stable revenue streams are critical to maintaining the high quality infrastructure and schools that attract companies and families to Anchorage.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Capitalize on tourism, leisure and vacation industry both in summer and winter. This is the only major industry we can control. Increase the marketing of Anchorage and build on our public lands an internal landscaping plan that includes zoning opportunities for new small business development.

Ethan Berkowitz: Diversifying our economy today will sustain us tomorrow. Diversification includes energy development, both hydrocarbon and renewables. It provides hospitality to visitors, and food and culture to residents, as well as adding value to Alaska's resources (like fish and minerals). It embraces our position as the "Gateway to the Arctic" and as "Air Crossroads of the World". It acknowledges the possibilities of the knowledge economy. It relies on the core strength that Native Corporations provide.

Dan Coffey: Alaska's is a resource rich land. Alaska must responsibly develop its resources. Anchorage is the financial, professional and legal services City for most resource development companies. To attract and keep this service support sector viable, we must offer quality housing that is affordable; provide a quality education system; maintain our parks and our recreational facilities; and reduce crime and homelessness.

Dustin Darden: Improvise adapt and overcome. We need to learn to take care of our selfs [sic] with out expected state funding. It's a time of preparation digging deep and finding out what we are made of and what we can produce. I will personally go to my the Middle East [sic] and see if we can work something out to stabilize our oil prices.

Amy Demboski: Alaska is a resource rich state; I think it is premature to count out the petroleum market, the gas market, or the mining industry. There is no question we are heavily dependent on petroleum, and I do not think that is going to change in my term if elected Mayor. We still need to allow opportunities for growth in healthcare, tourism, and resource development. Therefore, I will support initiatives to encourage businesses to prosper.

Andrew Halcro: With 82,000 millennials between 18 to 34 living in Anchorage, the post-petroleum community needs to be one that reflects the changing demographics and demands of a new generation. This will be a community that retains the best and brightest with innovative housing solutions and a safe, healthy community that embraces talent, tolerance and technology. I do believe, however, that our resource industries will be vital to our economy for a very long time.

Timothy Huit: My vision for a future Anchorage is a sustainable city built around renewable alternative energy sources. Once we get our city fully fueled by tidal, wind, geophysical, trash recovered gases, and other alternative energies. We can fuel our, mass transit, home energy needs, year round gardens, manufacturing and infrastructure needs, and other energy needs. Affordable and renewable energy equals freedom for the future and is the direction we need to head for a sustainable and vibrant future for our city.

Municipal Revenue

1. Taxation in Anchorage is too high/about right/too low. Choose one, then explain:

Lance Ahern: Too high. Local property taxes are too high for our level of Municipal services. A huge backlog of projects are not worked because government is so inefficient. As Mayor I will focus on investing in our valuable employees, and improving service delivery. We need a stronger foundation to support our future economy.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Municipal property taxes are about right. School district taxes are too high. Single source revenue for the school district from the pocketbooks of property owners needs to be addressed. I support sustainable budgets living within our means. Discussion and planning with the community for an additional revenue source is necessary.

Ethan Berkowitz: City revenues depend too much on on property taxes. Imminent reductions to the state budget make it imperative for us to reduce Anchorage's vulnerability to Juneau's appropriations. We do that by expanding our tax base, rationalizing municipal assets, and reducing expenses by basing budget decisions on results rather than costs.

Dan Coffey: I will not change the current tax code. The current operating budget tax base is comprised of four major taxes: property taxes (60.7%=$263m); the hotel bed tax (5.92%=$25m); the tobacco tax (5.35%=$23m) and MUSA/MESA (4.84%=$20m). State revenue sharing provides another 3.21%=$13m). These sources of revenue pay 80% of the operating budget.

Dustin Darden: About right. The amount of revenue generated by taxes now is what keeps this ship sailing. I will be straight up with you if I could get rid of any and all taxes in this city I would but the deal is like this we are a community and to keep it going taxes are the way we do it so on that note I will not tolerate tax increases because no on likes them to begin with.

Amy Demboski: Taxation reliant on property taxes so heavily is too high.

Andrew Halcro: Taxation is about right, but it is not levied fairly. While the local economy has grown more diverse in the last three decades, the way we fund local government has not. With .60 out of every dollar coming from property taxpayers, the burden is hampering economic growth.

Timothy Huit: Taxation in Anchorage is too high in the minds of most of the city's citizens. We should work to reduce all budgets to some degree if population rates are steady. Taxes should go up and down according to the population fluctuations. Effectiveness and efficiency of services should be focused on when spending and budgeting the people's money.

2. Would you support alternative means of city revenue?

Lance Ahern: To be very specific, the near term revenue opportunity is taxation of marijuana. As cannabis becomes commercialized, I will make sure the Municipality implements an effective program of taxation. In general, I will be open to discussing alternative revenue streams that minimize economic harm and competition with private enterprise.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Yes. I would support a city effort to discuss with public input alternative revenue resources.

Ethan Berkowitz: Before looking at new revenue we will find cost savings in our current budget, such as more energy efficient road lighting that could save $6 million a year. Treating marijuana like alcohol means that marijuana businesses will generate tax revenue.

Dan Coffey: If you mean sales tax, the answer is NO.

Dustin Darden: Getting rid of property taxes switching over to a sales tax system dollar for dollar. Party on no more property taxes and yes that will help you as well renters because the property owners are passing that tax on to you in your rent.

Amy Demboski: I would support alternate mean of city revenue if that revenue was kept under the tax cap and offset property taxes dollar for dollar.

Andrew Halcro: While it is premature today, I believe with state government facing structural budget deficits, Anchorage is going to need to start having those discussions within a few years, especially if we see state government cutting funding that impacts local taxpayers.

Timothy Huit: We may be able to create a effective sales tax method of city taxation verses the current property tax method. Most citizens would rather pay either if possible

3. Is there a scenario in which you would support a city sales tax?

Lance Ahern: Anchorage voters have become sales tax experts; the issue has created rifts in our community. Should large or unexpected declines in city revenues result in the crafting of a sales tax proposal that is capable of gaining popular support, based on what I know today I would support that tax.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Yes, if necessary and if the city is financially desperate but only with the support of the people. A sales tax that would support major infrastructure projects and investments that would produce revenue; but only if the people support it by vote. Currently I believe no tax is needed.

Ethan Berkowitz: Only if overwhelmingly approved by Anchorage voters, and only as part of a comprehensive fiscal plan. Until we know what the state government intends to do, we cannot craft a fiscal strategy for the city.

Dan Coffey: Every sales tax that has been proposed has been rejected by the voters. I do not intend to bring this issue before the voters again.

Dustin Darden: Yes, if and only if we stop collecting property taxes. I also believe that if we switched to a sales tax it would promote local food growth more of a small town feel think about that. We would also get lots of tax money from tourists.

Amy Demboski: Like many Alaskans, I am leery of a sales tax unless it is passed by 60% of the voters, the revenue is kept under the tax cap, and the money raised dollar for dollar offsets property taxes.

Andrew Halcro: Of course, any proposal would require voter approval. I would have to be assured that the amount of any sales tax was capped and that a certain percentage was clearly allocated for property tax relief.

Timothy Huit: I am in favor of a seasonal sales tax excluding food and certain other Items. I would support such a tax if very hard economic times fall upon our great city or as a savings account for future budgetary shortfalls. For citizens who feel they pay too much property taxes, I suggest only buying taxed products during the non taxed season if possible.

4. Should laws be changed to do away with property tax exemptions for nonprofits and church property? (Yes or No)

Lance Ahern: The subject is far too complex for a yes or no response.

Paul Bauer Jr.: I cannot answer just yes or no, this needs more explanation.

Ethan Berkowitz: These laws definitely should be reviewed for fairness. Churches and non-profits deserve a reasonable tax exemption but these provisions have been stretched and abused.

Dan Coffey: The Budget Advisory Commission looked at this issue and reported on all exemptions. I have read the report. It is a valuable tool for analyzing what is exempt from taxation. I do not support taxing churches and 501 (c) (3) charities. However, I will study the BAC report as to other exemptions.

Dustin Darden: No

Amy Demboski: I believe churches and some nonprofits should receive tax exemptions, but the questions should be whether all nonprofits are eligible or if they should be exempt from public safety and utilities charges as well.

Andrew Halcro: Some exemptions demand a closer look.

Timothy Huit: Yes

5. How do you plan to confront what may be a dramatic downturn in state revenue sharing, given the state’s fiscal climate?

Lance Ahern: On Day 1 of my administration we will begin to scrub spending and improve Municipal revenues. This is something the city should do on an ongoing basis, not just when crises hit Juneau every few years. As the State continues to reduce services (Girdwood Troopers), this will become more difficult.

Paul Bauer Jr.: First conduct an extensive budget analysis and trim spending. Prioritize and delay capital projects if necessary. Review the extent and duration of the state's fiscal crisis; conduct an analysis of the federal government's foreign policy agenda that impacts the global oil market.

Ethan Berkowitz: Protect Anchorage as the state restructures, expand public-private partnerships, remove administrative and regulatory barriers impeding investment, explore bonding options while interest rates are historically low. I will not retreat from advancing Anchorage's goals simply because the state dug itself a hole.

Dan Coffey: The 2015-16 City Operating Budget plans on revenue sharing from the state of Alaska of $13.9m. Revenue sharing will be reduced or eliminated by the legislature. In either event, the City will survive but some less essential services may have to be curtailed.

Dustin Darden: Stay calm. Ride out the storm. We will come out on top. Honestly we need to take a look at how we can stop burning up all our money in stuff like fireworks don't get me wrong I like fireworks but that's money. Think more long term solutions like planting apple trees think outside the box. That's what I do.

Amy Demboski: I think the impact to Anchorage will be manageable. This year we will likely see a surplus of between $4 - $8 million on a local level (not counting any ASD surplus); thus, potential loss of revenue sharing between $6 - $10 million would be able to be mitigated internally within departments.

Andrew Halcro: I will take a multi-faceted approach by growing those industries and initiatives that broaden the tax base while watching costs. This includes growing tourism that generates millions in tax relief, redeveloping undervalued areas of Anchorage, and managing the cost of government to mitigate cost shifts to local taxpayers.

Timothy Huit: I as Mayor would be the first to cut my salary and lead the way to a balanced budget. Furthermore, I will be looking for fair cuts across all departments except public safety sectors such as police and fire services. The need for new taxes would be the last option in my budgetary play book.

Social Issues & Civil Rights

1. How would you address Anchorage’s housing shortage?

Lance Ahern: Anchorage's economic health has contributed to our housing shortage. Looking at higher end housing and commercial real estate, there is no shortage of investment funding; money simply flows to projects with higher returns. Existing housing is consumed by projects like UMED. The city can create incentives to reduce the shortage.

Paul Bauer Jr.: The shortage is due to a bad national economy, higher cost of materials and labor that increase the price of homes. Not enough good paying jobs to afford expensive housing. Introduce tax incentives for the builders to build. Reduce the building and permitting process to the developers.

Ethan Berkowitz: First, address chronically homeless through successful "housing first" programs. Second, work with state and federal agencies to expand housing vouchers for veterans and families, so they aren't constantly moving from shelter to shelter. Third, spearhead streamlined permitting and tax incentives to jumpstart new, denser housing developments.

Dan Coffey: Homeless must be addressed. I propose three ways to do this. 1) Increase availability of land from city, state and federal sources; 2) eliminate ordinances, regulations and processes that add to the cost of housing or impede increased density in the City's downtown; 3) build infrastructure using low cost bonds.

Dustin Darden: Getting rid of property taxes would lower the cost for home owners builders and renter. Promoting more affordable housing.

Amy Demboski: We need to address issues within Title 21, which either unreasonably elevate the costs, or make construction cost prohibitive. Additionally, we need to leverage technology and efficiencies to get builders through the plan review and permitting process. Lastly, we need to get more government held land into the private sector.

Andrew Halcro: AEDC will soon release a highly anticipated housing report that offers solutions to the economic, regulatory and land use challenges faced by developers. We need to adopt workable suggestions in the report, and engage an independent study on possible mixed use housing models and tax incentives that will spur development.

Timothy Huit: Create affordable housing zones, increase tax breaks for private A/H projects, increase Habitat for Humanity participation, tap The Heritage Land Bank resources, and promote Housing First concepts.

2. Many of the people who end up homeless on the Anchorage streets are from villages. What would you do as mayor to help them?Answer (50 words or less):

Lance Ahern: As Mayor, I will actively lead, coordinate, advocate for and focus attention on our homeless neighbors. We cannot criminalize poverty. Many experts from throughout our community are working on this critical issue. I will refocus existing city resources on solutions that directly impact the homeless, especially families and children.

Paul Bauer Jr.: My first priority is to protect the taxpayers, families and children. However, encourage and seek help from Native Corporations in Anchorage to ask for their assistance with this issue. Communities that displace their residents because of chronically ill behaviors must be accountable to pay for services that Anchorage taxpayers supply.

Ethan Berkowitz: Anchorage is Alaska's largest village and should be a more welcoming place. I will appoint a Native/rural affairs coordinator and work with Alaska Native corporations, nonprofits and tribes to help ensure that village Alaskans in Anchorage have the resources they need.

Dan Coffey: With less revenue going to rural Alaska, there will be a substantial increase in rural folks coming to Anchorage. This will worsen the housing/homeless situation. We must work with our social service organizations to provide housing, education and training so these people can live and work productively in Anchorage.

Dustin Darden: Teach them to work hand in hand with volunteer organizations. I think going back to the roots of Anchorage's history and see how people lived off the land would be good for some, that's what I would do if I was homeless live off the land. I'd hold teaching sessions on how to make hand made tools that will help them survive, sounds kind of fun, right.

Amy Demboski: Many who are homeless are also suffering from mental illness. Those individuals need to be identified and given the opportunity to have treatment.

Andrew Halcro: We must create a larger collaborative effort with social service providers, Native corporations and government agencies.

Timothy Huit: I believe that the needed funding and solutions for the Native homeless population needs to come from the Native corporations and Native social service providers. This approach would be the most effective way to address the problem.

3. Describe your approach to homelessness and chronic inebriates. How would it be different from previous mayors?

Lance Ahern: I recently attended an AFACT meeting and learned that lack of local funding has spanned multiple administrations and Assemblies. I will work closely with the current Assembly to identify existing funds that can be re-allocated, rather than increase the budget. We will commit to multi-year funding to address this problem.

Paul Bauer Jr.: I would appoint a competent and experienced Displaced Persons Coordinator working with all agencies to maintain continuity and progress in reaching objectives. Enforce current law of giving money to street panhandlers; support non-profits in implementing mental health and detox programs in critical areas with the states assistance.

Ethan Berkowitz: Chronic inebriates use $2 million a year of public and emergency services. Compassion, common sense, and repeated studies all support the "Housing First" model, which is why I support Karluk Manor and other similar projects. We also need more detox and rehabilitation facilities to break this expensive, debilitating cycle.

Dan Coffey: The issue of the chronic inebriates is also a mental health issue. Neither issue has been addressed. In order for treatment and recovery to be possible and in order to lessen public costs, housing must be provided. City land in suitable locations must be provided for this housing in order to keep the costs down. Treatment and training must be available.

Dustin Darden: First thing first homeless and inebriated individuals are to [sic] different situations first for the homeless I would look in to Anchorages 5000 year history and learn from what they did back in the day a substance life style for some homeless could be a effective method. And for people that are high and drunk all the time In public places within the municipality what can I say we need help from God to give us a heart for these people. I used to get high and drunk as well it was not till I found Jesus and the infilling of the Holy Sprit [sic] that I did not want to get drunk and high. God is better than drugs :)

Amy Demboski: Though a significant portion of the homeless population is Alaska Native, previous administrations have ignored asking tribes for help. Tribes have access to federal programs to help with mental illness and job training, yet they have not been engaged to help solve the issue. It is time to work together.

Andrew Halcro: I will bring a sense of urgency. If we do not begin to make progress on the chronic inebriate problem, proposed redevelopment in key areas will not happen. We can't afford to nibble around the edges anymore, as it is has grown from a downtown problem to a citywide problem.

Timothy Huit: We need a coalition of partners to begin to solve the chronic inebriate homeless problem. The partners being, State and local government agencies, CHARR, package stores, Native corporations, faith groups, and social service providers. As a group, they need to build a large detoxification/treatment complex for this chronic group. The current revolving door of the Sleep Off Center, Beans Cafe, Brother Francis, and tent camps is not the answer to this hard core homeless group.

4. Do you support “Housing First” approaches for chronic inebriates such as Karluk Manor? (Yes or No)

Lance Ahern: Yes. In general, I support anything that actually works.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Yes!

Ethan Berkowitz: Yes.

Dan Coffey: See # 3 above.

Dustin Darden: No

Amy Demboski: Provided the funding is not from local tax dollars.

Andrew Halcro: Yes

Timothy Huit: Yes

5. Did you support the sexual identity anti-discrimination measure in Anchorage? (Yes or No)

Lance Ahern: The subject is far too complex for a yes or no response.

Paul Bauer Jr.: No!

Ethan Berkowitz: Yes.

Dan Coffey: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like unto it; love your neighbor as yourself.

Dustin Darden: No

Amy Demboski: No

Andrew Halcro: Yes

Timothy Huit: No

6. Do you believe same-sex marriage should be legal?

Lance Ahern: Yes.

Paul Bauer Jr.: No!

Ethan Berkowitz: Yes.

Dan Coffey: The Courts are deciding this question. My opinion is meaningless.

Dustin Darden: No

Amy Demboski: No

Andrew Halcro: Yes

Timothy Huit: I believe in civil unions and that every couple gay or straight should have the same legal status under the law.


1. Should the Knik Arm bridge be built? If so, how should it be financed?

Lance Ahern: No. There may come a time when this project makes sense, but that time is in the future.

Paul Bauer Jr.: No. Too expensive. Anchorage taxpayers would encounter the additional expense of secondary road construction and traffic to access the bridge.

Ethan Berkowitz: No. There is no demonstrated way to pay for construction, or for operation and maintenance. There are more cost effective ways to improve transportation between Anchorage and Mat-Su.

Dan Coffey: We cannot afford the Knik Arm bridge.

Dustin Darden: It's a great picture but if we don't have the money I'm not going to act like we do. It's a great idea for the future Some day. Right now we have a lot of bridges right In our back yards.

Amy Demboski: I believe the government's responsibility is to build and maintain infrastructure. Thus, I think the State should build the bridge similar to any other bridge project.

Andrew Halcro: With the state facing fiscal challenges, the bridge is unaffordable. Anchorage should instead focus on redevelopment in key areas like east downtown, Fairview and Mt. View.

Timothy Huit: Yes it should be built with private funding if possible. Furthermore, a MOU should be secured with the Mat/Su borough stating that any property tax that is create within a defined boundary on the Mat/Su side should be shared to offset the cost to Anchorage taxpayers.

2. What is your plan for the Port of Anchorage modernization project? If moved forward, how should the project be financed?

Lance Ahern: The Port is one of our most critical public resources. The Muni is now developing a scaled back plan that is capable of being successful, if the State and other financial partners participate.

Paul Bauer Jr.: No political appointees to this position as was done. Moving forward, we need aggressive oversight from local government focusing on rehabilitating the current structure. The Port is an essential facility for all of Alaska and the military. Continue lobbying to acquire State and Federal financial support is necessary.

Ethan Berkowitz: The port is critical infrastructure for Anchorage and all Alaska. I'm optimistic that state and federal funds, partnerships with shippers and other stakeholders, and various bonding opportunities will provide significant financing. Additionally, prognosis is good for successful resolution of claims in the port's favor, which will recapture some past expended money.

Dan Coffey: We do not have the $485 million estimated by CH2MHill to be the cost of a new facility. Therefore, we must continue with the process of "shoring up" the existing facility (current cost $2-3m annually), until we can determine a way forward with state bonds, city revenue bonds and federal funds. The lawsuit with the federal government should be pursued.

Dustin Darden: We need a solid port that can take the hammering of strong waves over 80 percent of our goods come through that port. To come up with the estimated $355,000,000 in additional funding which very well may be short of what we need, What can I say we need a miracle.

Amy Demboski: The Port project has to move forward, but there is no need for expansion; we simply need to fix what is there. The project should be funded through a public/private partnership, or through a revenue bond, which would be paid by the operational proceeds of the current Port operation.

Andrew Halcro: With other communities around Alaska facing challenges in affording infrastructure upgrades in a day of $50 oil, the legislature should consider developing innovative bonding mechanisms so communities can afford to upgrade infrastructure without having to overly burden local taxpayers or the state treasury.

Timothy Huit: At this time we need to look at all alternatives to the port modernization project. The project has been a failure and may not be savable at this time.

3. What’s your assessment of Anchorage’s transportation system?

Lance Ahern: Having experienced traffic congestion in many of our large cities, Anchorage is a great city to own a car. I sometimes ride PeopleMover, though the service does not reach where I live. If it were safer to ride my bike on the streets, I would use my bike more often.

Paul Bauer Jr.: B- Overall the system is adequate for most of Anchorage's needs. We can improve on certain aspects of the system as funding becomes available with taxpayers support.

Ethan Berkowitz: Generally good, but it needs works. There are road bottlenecks and chokepoints, some of which require new road construction, and some of which can be alleviated with traffic management techniques like smart street signals. Parking is an issue downtown. Similarly, we face a challenge providing cost-effective public transportation.

Dan Coffey: Adequate. At this time we do not have the resources to do more than maintain what we have. The State Department of Transportation needs to stop its expensive project involving a freeway through midtown and Fairview.

Dustin Darden: It's in ship shape. As long as the federal money keeps coming our way will keep the busses going. The bike trails will always be open for business.

Amy Demboski: The transportation system in outlying communities such as Girdwood, Chugiak, and Eagle River is virtually non-existent. We need to holistically address transportation in Anchorage, and that does require allowing for private sector solutions to enter the market.

Andrew Halcro: I believe we have done a good job over the last 10 years developing new connector streets and improving access to rapidly growing areas of Anchorage like the U-Med District. We need to continue to focus on east-west and north-south connections that will improve access to residential and commercial areas.

Timothy Huit: We need more alternative transportation systems in our city. The roads are getting choked with traffic and will only get worse as the population grows in the coming years.

4. What, if anything, would you do to facilitate non-car transportation (buses, bikes, pedestrians, other public transit)?

Lance Ahern: I am open to ideas from people who actually use, or want to use, non-car transportation.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Bus service is adequate, however examine if a need and cost-effective way to provide express bus service to work centers; bicycling, continue connecting the network as funding is available. Downtown development is priority for pedestrian enhancement.

Ethan Berkowitz: We are a winter city and making our neighborhoods more walkable and accessible requires expanded transit options. It also will encourage denser housing close to Anchorage work centers.

Dan Coffey: Anchorage is the largest geographic city in the country. Transit works in the core areas: Dimond to downtown and Muldoon to the Airport. At this time we are struggling with reduced transit ridership and cannot afford more.

Dustin Darden: Have a bike around town day that we block off streets and have thousands of people ride together on the streets and give it a cool name.

Amy Demboski: This is not a priority, we need to focus on public safety, maintaining existing infrastructure and ensuring adequate educational opportunities for children all based on a sound fiscal policy.

Andrew Halcro: I will continue to support viable transportation options. Anchorage is blessed by a great public transportation system with People Mover, Anchor Rides and shared van pools, along with over 300 miles of biking and hiking trails.

Timothy Huit: We need to improve and expand in all areas of alternate transportation including biking, buses, pedestrian, and other mass transit options.

5. Should there be a mass transit rail or bus system between Anchorage and the Valley? How could such a project be financed?

Lance Ahern: If the only viable mass transit system between Anchorage and MatSu requires significant subsidies, I am against it. The private sector can meet much of the demand for this service.

Paul Bauer Jr.: This would be something interesting to explore using private initiatives to create and operate businesses, given a change in some government regulations and climate.

Ethan Berkowitz: Commuter light rail is an intriguing option to reduce congestion on the Glenn. Parking and feeder routes also require analysis, but I'm amenable if we can finance through federal funds, private investment and rider fees.

Dan Coffey: This is a question for the Alaska railroad as I do not have information on the costs or the ridership.

Dustin Darden: I like what the pink valley mover is offering with a $7 one way pass $10 day pass or $120 unlimited month pass.

Amy Demboski: As a member of the Anchorage Assembly Transportation Committee this has been discussed, but it is not financially viable at this time.

Andrew Halcro: The city does operate shuttle van service for commuters from the Valley. Commuter rail has been looked at for decades, but the cost combined with the lack of infrastructure, doesn't provide for economically viable rail service.

Timothy Huit: We definitely need to explore the possibility of expanding the Valley Mover bus system that is already in place. We need to work together Anchorage and the Mat/Su to create a MOU for mass transit funding and planning for the future. Most of all we need to find a way to increase ridership on all buses in the Mat/Su and Anchorage systems.

Climate Change

1. Do you believe that the Earth’s climate is changing and getting warmer overall?

Lance Ahern: My reading of the (readable) science is that the climate is becoming more volatile in the short run, as well as warmer. Volatility, the more extreme swings in climate, is going to have the greatest economic impact in the near to mid term.

Paul Bauer Jr.: I will let the scientist argue this out. Until then I will concentrate on staying warm in the winter and enjoying Alaska's summers.

Ethan Berkowitz: Yes. Scientists overwhelmingly agree that retreating sea ice, coastal erosion, permafrost melt, changing migratory patterns, and extreme weather events all bear evidence to this fact.

Dan Coffey: I am answering all three of these questions with one statement: These are questions about which I am not well informed. I do know that over the centuries the earth's climate has warmed and cooled. I believe that climate change occurs all the time as it has for millions of years. I don't know who or what is causing it. I do not believe that anyone really knows because the variables in climate change are so many and so diverse that no casual determinations can be made.

Dustin Darden: I believe God created the heavens and the earth with his word. The earth is thousands of years old. I believe if you are separated from God in eternity it's going to be a lot warmer. I believe the only way to get to heaven is through Jesus Christ.

Amy Demboski: Geologic history demonstrates it is natural for the Earth to go through periods of warming and cooling.

Andrew Halcro: Yes. I grew up in Anchorage during the 1970's when we played the entire winter hockey seasons on outside ice rinks. There is no question with today's more moderate climate that a youth hockey season outside would last a few weeks instead of five months.

Timothy Huit: [One answer for all three]: Climates change overtime as revealed in Archeology. To some degree man has an effect on this change. The degree to which man has an effect is debatable and still needs to be looked at. In Alaska, we see a change in climate that others have not seen and we may be the canary in the mine shaft of the coming changes to the earth's climate. My position is that no matter the cause of climate change we need to take action to prepare for possible changes and reducing are carbon foot print is a good start. Alternatives to carbon energy resources should be expanded and explored and as Mayor I will do my best to reduce our carbon footprint.

2. If you think that the climate is changing, how much of that change would you attribute to human activity (mostly caused by people; people play a minimal or no role)?

Lance Ahern: Disagreement about causes of climate change should not stop us from acting to reduce its impact. Like compound interest growing annually, smart investments now can have a huge positive impact for our children and grandchildren.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Some statistics say climate change may be attributed to human activity. For Anchorage that's not an issue I am familiar with. I will wait for more evidence specifically to Anchorage to guide my future action.

Ethan Berkowitz: Climatologists may argue over the extent to which human activity generates climate change, but the near universal scientific consensus is that anthropogenic factors cause and accelerate the rate of the change.

Dan Coffey: I am answering all three of these questions with one statement: These are questions about which I am not well informed. I do know that over the centuries the earth's climate has warmed and cooled. I believe that climate change occurs all the time as it has for millions of years. I don't know who or what is causing it. I do not believe that anyone really knows because the variables in climate change are so many and so diverse that no casual determinations can be made.

Dustin Darden: Every continent in the world has a story of a flood which covered the whole earth and everyone not on the boat perished. In 2nd Peter 3 we see how people effected the climate.

Amy Demboski: No answer

Andrew Halcro: I believe it is a combination of factors including human activity and changes in traditional weather patterns.\

Timothy Huit: [One answer for all three]: Climates change overtime as revealed in Archeology. To some degree man has an effect on this change. The degree to which man has an effect is debatable and still needs to be looked at. In Alaska, we see a change in climate that others have not seen and we may be the canary in the mine shaft of the coming changes to the earth's climate. My position is that no matter the cause of climate change we need to take action to prepare for possible changes and reducing are carbon foot print is a good start. Alternatives to carbon energy resources should be expanded and explored and as Mayor I will do my best to reduce our carbon footprint.

3. If you believe the climate is changing and humans have a role in causing the change, what can the mayor of Anchorage do to contribute to a reduction in the cause or effects? If you don’t believe the climate is changing or you believe that humans have no role in climate change, would you fight efforts by others to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases?

Lance Ahern: The Mayor can provide leadership having a lasting impact. The Municipally owned electric company has not piloted any smart grid projects. We can easily test variety of approaches that can result in reduced power utilization, or even allow us to defer capital investments that are driving large rate increases.

Paul Bauer Jr.: I would strongly support scientific data to guide me with the issue of climate change. Evaluation of the cost to benefit analysis would also be necessary. Alaska is unique, separated from the rest of the country. Addressing global climate change also has geo-political ramifications such as maintaining national security.

Ethan Berkowitz: As Mayor, I will implement a Climate Action Plan based on the one submitted to the city in 2009. That plan focuses on six key areas of concern: energy production and sources, energy efficiency, city planning, transportation, waste management, and education and outreach.

Dan Coffey: I am answering all three of these questions with one statement:These are questions about which I am not well informed. I do know that over the centuries the earth's climate has warmed and cooled. I believe that climate change occurs all the time as it has for millions of years. I don't know who or what is causing it. I do not believe that anyone really knows because the variables in climate change are so many and so diverse that no casual determinations can be made.

Dustin Darden: Yes I believe that people can effect weather patterns this is a example. James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

Amy Demboski: No answer

Andrew Halcro: The next mayor can be an advocate for sensible policies from energy conservation in municipal buildings to adopting more energy efficient infrastructure and promoting recycling to cut down on waste.

Timothy Huit: [One answer for all three]: Climates change overtime as revealed in Archeology. To some degree man has an effect on this change. The degree to which man has an effect is debatable and still needs to be looked at. In Alaska, we see a change in climate that others have not seen and we may be the canary in the mine shaft of the coming changes to the earth's climate. My position is that no matter the cause of climate change we need to take action to prepare for possible changes and reducing are carbon foot print is a good start. Alternatives to carbon energy resources should be expanded and explored and as Mayor I will do my best to reduce our carbon footprint.

Quality of Life & Recreation

1. How important are parks and trails to the city of Anchorage?

Lance Ahern: Our city and state parks and trails are absolutely critical to the quality of life in Anchorage.

Paul Bauer Jr.: We have enough parks, but not enough diversity of use. Trails are great and as funding is available we should continue on connecting the network. Parkland is not used to its full potential.

Ethan Berkowitz: They're awesome! Parks and trails are one of Anchorage's best assets. They make our city unique and attractive and enhance our quality of life. Proximity to trails is highly valued and helps build strong neighborhoods.

Dan Coffey: Our parks, trails and recreational facilities are critical elements in the quality of life in Anchorage. We must maintain what we have. We should follow the Park Plan which I helped author and support while on the Assembly.

Dustin Darden: Access to lush fragrant greenery in the summer to the crystalized sparkling sound of crunching snow under your feet on a moonlit walk on trails and park gatherings are something that makes Anchorage special.

Amy Demboski: It is important to maintain Municipal assets, not only for adequate stewardship of the taxpayer's investment, but for quality of life and tourism as well.

Andrew Halcro: Parks and trails are essential to what makes Anchorage a great place to live, work and play. The city's recreational amenities not only improve quality of life for residents, but attract tourists and athletic competitions.

Timothy Huit: Parks and trails are one of the unique qualities about our city and create a good quality of life for all our citizens that use and enjoy them in Anchorage.

2. Is the level of public funds spent on parks and trails adequate? (Yes or No)

Lance Ahern: Yes. Overall the parks seem to be in pretty good shape.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Yes.

Ethan Berkowitz: No.

Dan Coffey: Thanks to a partnership with the Rasmuson Trust (The Anchorage Park Foundation), Anchorage has been able to support our parks and trails. However, a lack of long term maintenance has resulted in problems that will require additional funding.

Dustin Darden: Yes

Amy Demboski: Yes

Andrew Halcro: Yes.

Timothy Huit: We have good levels of funding but we have so many parks and trails that we can't spend enough to maintain them. We need volunteers from the community to adopt and take care of some of the smaller parks and trails so we can properly maintain them in a financially sound way.

3. What’s your idea of balance between humans and wildlife living in the Anchorage bowl?

Lance Ahern: Balance means we use the planning process to preserve and connect enough undeveloped land to provide reasonable habitats for our urban wildlife.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Most of us choose to stay here; we enjoy the beauty and accept the dangers. The right to defend yourself is an intrinsic right. Education on the dangers and preparedness is always prudent.

Ethan Berkowitz: Like most folks here, I love seeing moose and going fishing, but we face a challenge balancing these unique aspects of living in this place while protecting the safety of humans, who don't always appreciate the risks posed by and to wildlife.

Dan Coffey: Balanced and improving.

Dustin Darden:We have a rich wildlife habitat in Anchorage from wild duck in the flats to the abundance of hooligan and salmon that run in our waters I support the responsible procuring of all that God has provided for us in this great land. It's always nice to see people horseback riding.

Amy Demboski: Obviously we live in Alaska, so there will be interaction. But I have found it is minimal and not been a significant issue.

Andrew Halcro: My idea of balance is recognizing that Anchorage by its own branding is called the Big Wild Life, and wildlife in Anchorage should be expected, celebrated and given room to roam.

Timothy Huit: I believe we currently have a good balance between wildlife and human activity and we should try to maintain the current balance because this is another unique attribute of our city.

4. Are the city’s sports facilities adequate for softball, tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer, skiing, swimming, etc? (Yes or No). If not, how would you change them?

Lance Ahern: The city's sports facilities generally meet our needs, though I am a huge proponent of not restricting access to School District fields in the summer. It is discouraging to see school fields and parking areas locked up during some of the best times to be outside.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Yes!

Ethan Berkowitz: No. And your question forgot hockey (among others) . . . Expansion of Anchorage's sport facilities hasn't kept pace with our growing population and demand. We should build on the successful Anchorage Park Foundation to attract private investment, and see to it that school facilities get more use.

Dan Coffey: Mostly.

Dustin Darden: Yes, I will propose allowing volunteer development of art work and skateboard parks in designated ares. I also would like to open the doors of a existing structure opened and staffed 24/7/365 for a place for any and all that would like to congregate including pool, book clubs, ext.

Amy Demboski: Yes

Andrew Halcro: Yes.

Timothy Huit: Yes


1. What’s your favorite place to take a visiting friend or relative in Anchorage?

Lance Ahern: Powerline Pass, from Glen Alps

Paul Bauer Jr.: No answer

Ethan Berkowitz: The Coastal Trail.

Dan Coffey: Too many to answer just one.

Dustin Darden: Flat top

Amy Demboski: Turnagain Arm

Andrew Halcro: Saturday Market.

Timothy Huit: Point Woronzof

2. Do you regularly attend a religious institution? Which one? Should it matter in the mayor’s race?

Lance Ahern: I do not regularly attend a religious institution. Whether it should matter is a personal decision that each voter makes for themselves; I trust the decisions of the voters.

Paul Bauer Jr.: I used to attend a local church. The pastor's religious message was great until subtle political messages from the pulpit dominated the agenda during election time. Especially outside the institution.

Ethan Berkowitz: These questions are inappropriate. Freedom of religion is a constitutional right, and separation of church and state protects our right to worship as we chose.

Dan Coffey: Where I go to church is not a public matter. I do attend regularly and have done so for many years. This question is irrelevant to the Mayor's race.

Dustin Darden: Yes, Heart of the City. Yes whosoever. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life — John 3:16

Amy Demboski: I don't attend as regularly as I should, but I do attend Community Covenant Church.

Andrew Halcro: I've grown up attending Holy Family, St. Anthony's and now St. Benedicts. I don't believe that a candidate's religious affiliation matters in the mayor's race.

Timothy Huit: No, I believe the Mayor should have a positive spiritual side to his life. The lack of spiritual practice or awareness is a leading cause of our social decay as a society I believe.

3. Have you ever faced a significant personal danger in Alaska? Tell us the story.

Lance Ahern: There are way too many stories to tell. If you elect me Mayor, I promise to publish a new story of tragedy narrowly averted regularly, on the Mayor's website.

Paul Bauer Jr.: Yes! In 1994, at the Seward Recreation Camp, I had the privilege to captain a 27' Seasport on a fishing trip. I, my co-worker and his family fished the Chiswell Islands when the weather turned for the worst. As a 4-year Alaskan sourdough, I used all my skills and courage driving the boat in 10-15' swells, wind and rain through the rocks at Aialik Cape to calmer waters of Resurrection Bay. Welcome to Alaska!

Ethan Berkowitz: When I was fishing with a couple of buddies, we flipped a skiff off of Juneau. We stayed on the overturned boat until we drifted ashore on an island. The Coast Guard found us early the next morning.

Dan Coffey: I've been run up a tree by a mother moose while fishing. She had two calves with her and they could not make it up a cut bank. I saw that and started running away thinking that she was surely going to come after me. She did and I barely made it from the stream to the woods and up the tree. Fifteen or 20 minutes later my fishing buddy came along, saw me up the tree and asked what I was doing. I told him about the mother moose and, since I was 30 feet up the tree, real near the top, he assured me that she wouldn't get me up there. Turns out she was long gone.

Dustin Darden: I swam across bird creek a couple of years ago when the freak high tide came in wile I was fishing on a island I made it to the other side with my hip wanders full of water my fishing pole in one hand and a jar of salmon row in the other the water was cold when I got back on solid ground I was glad that creek was not a large river like kasiloff or the kenai . I now have a higher respect for the water.

Amy Demboski: Many years ago, I had a gun pulled on me from a distance. When I was 17, I worked at a downtown hotel and late one summer night I walked to my car. I noticed a man standing on top of a building near my car. He acted peculiar and kept jumping up to salute. Then he picked up what looked like a stick and aimed it at me. At the time I didn't realize the item being pointed at me was a rifle, had I known it I likely would have had been concerned. I simply went back to the hotel, had the front desk call APD, and the gentleman was arrested for terroristic threatening.

Andrew Halcro: Well, on a few occasions when I served in the Legislature, I felt I was in danger of losing my mind. All joking aside, I've never felt in personal danger and Anchorage is a great place to live and has been very good to me and my family.

Timothy Huit: When I was 15, we were travelling the Alaska Highway in between Haines Junction and Tok. We came over a hill and on the other side a semi had jack knifed and its trailer was hanging over a cliff. I was instructed to go to the top of the hill with a flashlight and stop any traffic that may come over the crest of the hill. It was 65 below, I was 15, and it seemed dangerous to me.

Biographical questions

Lance Ahern

Age: 54

Date & place of birth: 1961, Oceanside, NY

Marital status: Married

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Tammas Brown, Natural

Resource Specialist III, State of Alaska

Children (ages only and whether they attend public or private school): 23, 22, 20, 14 – all attended public schools

Residence neighborhood: ValliVue

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:;; @Ahern4Anchorage;

Party registration: None

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): BS Mathematics, UAA, 1988

Occupation(s): Chief Information Officer

Current employer: Municipality of Anchorage

Public sector work experience, including military: 5.5 years at the State of Alaska (Dept. of Public Safety), 4+ years at the Municipality of Anchorage

Private sector work experience: Applying technology to support business needs in a number of critical local industries, including Natural Resources, Telecommunications and the Internet, Military, and small business.

Elected office held, with dates: None

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: None

Paul Bauer Jr.

Age: 59

Date & place of birth: 1955 Brooklyn, N.Y.

Marital status: Married 40 years

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Deborah Amy, wife

Children (ages only and whether they attend public or private school): 39 and 35 both graduates of public school

Residence neighborhood: Baxter

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:; @pbauerak; Facebook: Paul Bauer Jr &

Party registration: Republican

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): Associates; 4-years course completion Political Science/Justice; UAA

Occupation(s): Business manager and security operations

Current employer: Air Security/LSG/Skychefs

Public sector work experience, including military: Retired U.S. Army- infantry paratrooper, military intelligence, aircraft crewman, instructor, front-line combat-arms leader; Commandant of the Alaska Military Youth Program; Council President; Public Facilities Advisory Commissioner; Anchorage Assembly

Private sector work experience: Delivered bottled milk and newspapers; worked produce for a small grocery store; business owner and manager with security operations for 14 years

Elected office held, with dates: Anchorage Assembly 2005-2008

Ethan Berkowitz

Age: 53

Date and place of birth: 1962, San Francisco

Marital status: Married

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Mara Kimmel, Professor (A.P.U.)

Children's ages and whether they attend public or private school: 11 and 14. Both attend public school.

Residence neighborhood: West Anchorage

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:; @ethan4Anchorage; EthanForAnchorage

Party registration: Democrat

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): A.B., 1983, Harvard College (Government and Economics); M.Phil. in Polar Studies, 1986, Cambridge University; J.D, 1990, University of California Hastings School of Law

Occupation(s): business owner, strategic consultant

Current employer: self, Strategies 360 (on leave)

Public sector work experience, including military: Alaska State Assistant District Attorney; Enforcement Officer, U.S. Antarctic Program

Private sector work experience: Senior Vice President, Strategies 360; radio talk show host, "Bernadette and Berkowitz"; Founder, Bortek, LLC (Alaska fiber optic development)

Elected office held, with dates: Alaska State Representative, 1997-2007

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: Lt Governor, 2006, U.S. Representative, 2008, Governor, 2010

Dan Coffey

Age: [Not given]

Date and place of birth: 1946 (Place not given)

Marital status: Married

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Pauline (Halkett) Coffey

Children's ages and whether they attend public or private school: 4 Children [ages and schools not given]

Residence Area: Midtown


Facebook: coffeyforanchorage

Twitter: DanKCoffey@coffey4mayor

Party registration: Republican

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): BA [only response]

Occupation(s): Businessman & Attorney

Current employer: Coffey Consulting, LLC

Public sector work experience, including military: Anchorage Assembly (2 terms/chair) ; Planning Zoning (1 term/chair); Energy Task Force (5 yrs/chair); Homeless Leadership Task Force (2010-2014); Ak Gasline Development Corp. Community Advisory Council (2012-2015); Board of Fish (6 yrs chair & vice chair, 1996-2002); Board Ak Housing Finance Corp. (1988-1990); Anchorage Museum Board

Private sector work experience: Bd Chair & President Barrier Free Recreation, Inc. — Developed barrier free camp for disabled at Beach Lake (1979-2010); United Way Board Education Committee (2009-2015); Owner: Dollar Rent at Car; Owner: Alaska Aces; Owner: Xpress Lube; Owner: Commercial rental property

Elected office held, with dates: Anchorage Assembly (2 terms/chair)

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: None

Dustin Darden

Date & place of birth: Providence hospital, Anchorage Alaska

Marital status: Disillusioned

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Carpenter/maintainer/evangelist

Children (ages only and whether they attend public or private school): None

Residence neighborhood: Jewel Lake

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:

Party registration: UNDECLARED (I vote how ever I want)

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): East Anchorage High School graduate, Southern Alaska Carpenters Training Center graduate

Occupation(s): Carpenter/maintainer/evangelist

Current employer: Municipality of Anchorage

Public sector work experience, including military: blood sweet and tears I have pored out in construction of building all around town, working with venders around town, support and spent time within the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force along with the United States Air Force in joint training exercises.

Private sector work experience: working with restoration companies

Elected office held, with dates:

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: school board 2011

Amy Demboski

Age: 38

Date & place of birth: Falmouth, Mass.

Marital status: Married

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Ben Demboski, Firefighter

Children (ages only and whether they attend public or private school): 18, UAA; 15, Chugiak

Residence neighborhood: Chugiak

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:;

Twitter: @amydemboski; Facebook:

Party registration: Republican

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): Chugiak High School, 1994; UAA, Bachelor's Degrees, Justice & History; Columbia Southern University, MBA with an emphasis in finance

Occupation(s): Anchorage Assembly Member

Current employer: Anchorage Assembly

Public sector work experience, including military: Anchorage Assembly

Member; Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct, Commissioner; Budget Advisory Commission, Past Chair; Chugiak-Eagle River Parks & Rec Board of Supervisors, Mayoral Appointee; Chugiak Community Council, Past President; USAF, Dental services

Private sector work experience: Business Development and Management: Built & Managed multi-million dollar businesses here in the Alaskan Healthcare Industry (17 years experience); Paralegal – worked in a law firm with a focus on businesses and estate planning (2 years).

Elected office held, with dates: Anchorage Assembly 2013- Present

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: N/A

Andrew Halcro

Age: 50

Date & place of birth: 1964, San Francisco

Marital status: Married

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other and occupation: Vicki, Marketing Manager,

Providence Health & Services Alaska.

Children (ages only and whether they attend public or private school): 30, 24 (both attended Alaska public schools)

Residence neighborhood: Sand Lake

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:;; @TrustHalcro

Party registration: Republican

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): Willamette University, Salem, Ore.; University of Alaska Anchorage; Continuing Education: Kennedy School of Government, 2003; Harvard Business School, 2004

Occupation(s): Contracted Consultant

Current employer: Anchorage Chamber of Commerce

Public sector work experience, including military: Walker/Mallott Transition Team 2014; House Education Task Force 2013-2015; Alaska State House of Representatives 1998-2002, Republican, Sand Lake, Chair -- House Transportation Committee, Vice Chair -- House Transportation Committee, Co-Chair -- Community & Regional Affairs Committee, Vice Chair -- Labor & Commerce Committee, University of Alaska Budget Sub-Committee, Administration Department Budget Sub-Committee; Municipal Budget Advisory Commission; School District Budget Advisory Commission

Private sector work experience: President, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce; Publisher of, a blog; Owner, Halcro Strategies – Business Consulting; Radio Talk Show Host, KENI Radio, Anchorage; Vice President/Business Development, Avis Alaska; President, Avis Alaska 2002-2006; Vice President/Advertising & Marketing, Avis Alaska, 1990-2002; Owner, Prestige Limousine Service 1992-1996; Vice President Sales, Windjammer Cruises 1990-1992; Fleet Manager, Avis Alaska, 1985-1990; Administrative Assistant, Avis Alaska, 1984-1985; Airport Rental Agent, Avis Alaska, 1982-1984; Car Wash Manager, Avis Alaska, 1980-1982; Car Washer, Avis Alaska 1979-1980

Elected office held, with dates: Alaska State House of Representatives, 1998-2002

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: Anchorage Assembly 1995-96, Governor 2006

Timothy Huit

Date & place of birth: Sacramento, Calif.

Marital Status: Single

Children (ages only and whether they attend public or private school): 32, 29

Residence neighborhood: Sherwood Acres

Website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page:

Party Registration: Republican

Education (degrees, years awarded, institutions): UAA B. A. Anthropology-Justice-


Occupation(s): Small Business Owner; Social Worker/Street Outreach Worker

Current employer:

Public sector work experience, including military:

Private sector work experience:

Elected office held, with dates:

Previous unsuccessful runs for office, with dates: