For most municipalities and boroughs in Alaska, Oct. 1 is Election Day. Turnout for these elections is typically abysmal, and in many places, the slate for school boards, city councils, and assemblies is thin, with uncontested races being the norm this year.
One race to watch is the Fairbanks mayor’s race between incumbent Jim Matherly and well-funded challenger and hardline Democrat Kathryn Dodge.
JUNEAU’S THREE-HEADED TAX IS ON THE BALLOT
Juneau voters will decide on three ballot initiatives as the city, in an effort to build a new 44,592-square-foot arts facility, proposes three intertwined tax measures to find funds for a new Juneau Arts and Cultural Center.
Conservatives have come out against this rearranging of the chairs on the ship’s deck whilst the budget tempest continues across Alaska, but those in favor of the arts center say that it will send a message to Gov. Michael Dunleavy that Juneau isn’t going his direction.
HOMER VOTES ON PLASTIC BAG BAN
The question on the ballot is quite simple: whether to amend city code to ban single-use plastic carryout bags, by prohibiting sellers from providing those bags under 2.5 millimeters thick.
It’s a yes-no question with no qualifiers for produce bags, meat or fish bags, or little bags for your pharmaceuticals and Homer art items or big bags for your dry-cleaning. Maybe they don’t do dry cleaning in Homer, but you get the drift — this is a vague ballot measure.
A much more detailed ballot measure is in front of Sitka voters, which explains all sorts of exemptions (bags for fish, pharmaceuticals, flowers, ice, etc and other exemptions, including bags for marijuana, naturally.)
KENAI TO VOTE ON BOROUGH MANAGER FORM OF GOVERNMENT
The question for borough residents is: Shall the Kenai Peninsula Borough adopt a manager plan of government, where the chief administrative officer is a manager appointed by the assembly instead of the current form where the elected mayor runs the borough administration? This is a question for voters from an Assembly, some of whom do not like Mayor Charlie Pierce and would like to make him ceremonial.
KETCHIKAN TO DECIDE ON CANNABIS ON-SITE CONSUMPTION
The question for city residents of Ketchikan on Prop. 1 is whether to prohibit the use of marijuana in the same establishments in which it is sold. Chances are good this will fail.
PALMER VOTERS TO DECIDE ON TERM LIMITS
Voters will be advising whether the Palmer City Council should consider enacting term limits for the mayor and council members. The vote is advisory.
BETHEL TO DECIDE ON POT BAN
Voters will decide whether the city will opt out of the state’s liberal commercial marijuana laws. The question is whether Bethel will prohibit importation, sales, cultivation, and testing of marijuana. Voters will also decide if the community will prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages with the exception of restaurants.