first_imgFacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享KSRM is hosting the four candidates running for the K-Beach (District 1) seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, from 4-6pm on KSRM 920AM.  Incumbent Kelly Wolf  is on air with their challengers Gary Knopp, Robin Davis, and David Wartinbee.  Text questions to: 907-283-5811************************************************Opening Comments: Background, qualifications and reason for running.Wolf: I guess being a resident here, I moved up here in 1975 with my parents and lived in the K Beach area for about the last 25 years, a little bit longer perhaps. My wife could tell me. I’ve been involved in the Borough Assembly race for three years. I am running again because there’s issues coming up for the K-beach area. One of those being annexing of K-Beach to Soldotna as well as the flooding. We are in a process of having a look at the tax structure and that’s something I’m concerned about. We have a fiscal issue in the state, and it’s going to affect the borough.Knopp: I do have a little experience on the assembly. I served six years on the assembly. The last two years as the assembly president. I’m an issue driven candidate. That in relationship to the fiscal issues with the state, is a factor, as well as the hospital debate. Those types of issues is what moves me to run again.Davis: My wife and I have lived in Alaska for 13 years, the last 8 of which have been on the Peninsula. I served two churches on the Peninsula as a pastor. For the last 3 years I served for the borough. I served in the Air Force. I’m running to bring to the borough assembly the experienced leadership they need. I will bring experience district one needs.Wartinbee: The reason I am running starts back in the 70’s when I fell in love with Alaska, the beauty and the people, the quality of life they live. We decided this is where we wanted to live. We moved here about 18 years ago. I’ve been a professor at KPC for many years. This is my community, I care about it. I’m big into volunteering. I have served in Africa. I have worked at the food bank, Salvation Army, have been on the Tustumena 200 board and the Water Shed Forum for many years. I felt we needed to bring someone in who has experience with common sense, science and law. I have experience in all of those.************************************************Anadromous streams ordinance:Wartinbee: I was asked to be on the anadromous fish habitat task force. The particular ordinance I believe in. I think if we look history and what we know, those are the areas that are very important. The task force itself was given a charge to make it work, to find the problems. Some people are opposed to certain things, or don’t like different things. We needed to go forth and tweak it to meet the desires and needs of the people and I feel that’s what we did. We weren’t always in agreement but I think we came up with something that worked. That is how I feel government should work. I think because of the care and consideration we gave, there have not been complaints and concerns. I think you can count on the number of both hands the complaints we have heard. I feel it’s good that someone can come back and explain their concerns and we can evaluate and fix things to meet the people’s needs.Wolf: First off, when the anadromous ordinance was originally passed, Mayor Navarre postponed it and created the task force. Looking at the whole issue of the ordinance, I have nothing against the river center itself, there is some hiccups within the river center. Prime example, last year there was an individual that got called in and they contacted the borough and asked what they do, how do they put their walk way in. They were offered burlap bags, which they took and put their walkway on it. Someone reported, and it was difficult for them to understand that they did something wrong. It escalated to the point of reaching the mayor’s office. My issue is that the anadromous ordinance needs to be tweaked.Knopp: I thought the tweaks were good. What I supported was something the borough already does, where you go down and apply for tax credit and go through the process. It was an incentive for the people who own water front property, who would have been effected by the ordinance. One of my problems was that it was overreaching into the flood plains.Davis: I am strong advocate for individual property rights. Personally, I don’t want anyone coming on my property and telling me what I can and cannot do. However, we do have to protect the environmental habitat, we need to find a middle ground. I felt like the ordinance infringed on property rights. However I wouldn’t repeal it.************************************************What’s your overall take on the current rate of taxation? Do you support the current tax exemption for individuals of a certain age and certain house value? How do you feel about the current tax code, too high, too low, too confusing?Knopp: There is a question posed to us by the Clarion, how is the rate? I think it is good, it’s weighted very evenly. Everything the borough funds comes out of property taxes. Everyone knows assessment values have skyrocketed in the past few years. It needs some review. I’m concerned about the fiscal hits the borough will take. I don’t think people could afford the proposal for the income tax, the sales tax and so forth. That one I support, the senior property tax exemption I also support. The voters had decided to move it up.Davis: I support it but the seniors are increasing on the Peninsula. I support as long as we possibly can. I think the balance between sales and property tax is good. I think it is confusing, and it needs to be looked at. I would recommend focusing on paying close attention to health care task force and the marijuana task force then look at the tax code.Wartinbee: The difference between sales tax and property tax is good. I think as long as we can maintain the senior property tax exemption we should keep it. There were talks about what’s coming in terms of the state budget when the governor came down. I think that we have to be aware of those types of things and what could happen. If the borough has to save money, or raise revenues then you have to put everything on the table to talk about it. I’m in favor of revising it if needed. I think it entices people to live here. Now those numbers seem large currently compared to what I paid for my home but I feel it’s appropriate and going very well.Wolf: Absolutely in favor of it. Our senior citizens are a valuable resource. They have been where most of us haven’t been. A lot of people need that and want it. Touching that is off limits. The tax structure, it is time we need to look at it. Looking back at the tax codes I think there is a fair balance between sales tax and property tax.************************************************Current Cost of Health Care and how you would like to see it changed:Davis: The Affordable Care Act forces in-affordable health insurance upon people who cannot afford it. Health Care is not affordable. I believe that the borough assembly should support, monitor the progress and expect results from the health care task force. I wouldn’t want to see it become such a monopoly that an individual service provider wont be able to come in and put up competition.Wartinbee: When it comes to health care I think it’s one of those things we are all concerned with. The question is, what can we afford? What do we have? What can we do to improve it? I don’t think we as a borough can do much about the costs, but we can facilitate a lot of important decisions. I think that growth is good, that expansion is good. I think it’s going at a nice growing rate.Wolf: I think it’s something worthwhile to look at. I think the people made it pretty clear they don’t want their hospital to be a private hospital. There are many pros and cons to this decision. The issue  with the health care and where the task force is going, there’s talk about combining Central and South Peninsula and I am against that. It is concerning to me how the hospital is expanding. I jumped on the band wagon of postponing the Taj Mahal we are building over there.Knopp: It’s a pretty in depth question. It’s expensive. I think the assembly’s role is a shared judiciary with the board. We ensure it’s a viable entity and we want to support the best possible health care. Changes in the Affordable Care Act mandate a lot. There’s a lot of changes. My concern is that there are a lot of good people at the hospital but we don’t have the population to support the clinic as other areas do. The state currently will fly you to Seattle with a companion because it’s cheaper than to service you here in Alaska. Health care is an ongoing issue.************************************************Annexation: Have you given much thought to the annexation discussion and how do you feel about it?Wartinbee: I lived in an area that was being considered with annexation and I was not in favor in that. I try to look at both sides of it, asking why are they doing this? Perhaps because what they would be receiving are property taxes. I imagine they are more looking at annexing in more for sales tax. I understand the concern of the people involved in the annexing. Personally, I’m not in favor of annexation. The assembly doesn’t have anything to say about it, they can simply come up with a resolution. They can bring forth ideas.Wolf: When the issue of annexation came out, I was immediately against it. There’s a hundred businesses up and down K-Beach and many of them do not want to be annexed. I don’t think the city of Soldotna is being truthful. They said they were studying the idea. All the people of District One want is an opportunity to vote on it. I don’t have any problem making my voice heard. I have a backbone and I will take anyone on.Knopp: I too am not a fan of annexation. I actually moved to get outside of the city limits. If you’re going to be annexed you’re subject to a lot more of zoning, and codes the city has in place. The goal is to capture sales tax revenue. I support the people who don’t want to live within the city. I think if the City of Soldotna was going to have an annexation plan they should have a good comprehensive plan and I don’t see that. However, the assembly really has no role in that but you have have conversations with them.Davis: We moved to K-beach for a reason. We didn’t want to live within the city. We can ask them to ask for a vote of the people. They don’t have to do that but I would continue to work with them to get that opinion. I just don’t see them being able to provide any additional services without raising our cost. I think if they need more revenues they need to raise their sales tax.************************************************Non-Departmentals Funding:Davis: I’m a supporter of those organizations. They do good things. We do have a homeless problem. The number one problem is the lack of transportation.You were involved in the operation of The Way Cafe. What happened with that community service?Davis: It was a ministry we started with the church and it took off. We started feeding homeless children and extended to homeless families. There were many people being taken care of. We initially started that at the church, but we couldn’t reach them, they couldn’t transport there but when we moved locations we were giving over 200 meals to homeless families a week. I would definitely support funding cars.Wartinbee: These are organizations that were created under the direction of the borough. There is funding for certain entities but it cannot come to the borough. We get services the borough wants and it’s not paid for by the borough so if we give a little bit of money to them to keep them going, I’m supportive of that. We need to look at why these entities exist and how they benefit the borough. Let’s see if they do a job we need them to do.Wolf: I have been one of those individuals who have been opposed to supporting those non-departmentals. we have over a million non-profits in the nation. I have a personal philosophy. If a non-profit is created, annually, there’s a lot of funding that is not requested. I have a special needs son, and there was a large Taj Mahal built to help people with special needs in Anchorage but how does that support or help the rest of the state?Knopp: I have supported them and I have argued against supporting them in the past. I have supported some of them based on results. EDD, I quit funding them. I haven’t seen results in ten years. Carts had a lucrative budget from the state. I didn’t agree with that, I didn’t fund them in the past. KPTMC is one that I have supported because of the results.************************************************How do you feel about gravel pits, their location and so forth? Wolf: I think the people came out and were very much opposed to the expansion of the gravel pit on Czechanski . The people got what they wanted. The restriction on the expansion of that gravel pit was put into place. I support the development of gravel pits but we have to be very aware of where we place them.Knopp: I have a bias. I have about five gravel trucks. I don’t mind gravel pits. I do sympathize with the people that have gravel pits next to their homes. It lowers property value. You have to really consider where you put the gravel pit. Some areas have good gravel, some areas don’t. The borough have put a lot of rules in place and I believe they are appropriate. People don’t want them in their backyard.Davis: Gravel is a necessary construction material. We need it to do things around here. There’s always going to be gravel pits. I think comprehensive planning is necessary. The gravel pit on Czechanski has permanently harmed those properties around it.Wartinbee: It’s been stated that gravel pits are somewhat problematic for home owners. I concur we do need it to build stable buildings. I understand that for construction and growth. I’m sympathetic to some of the problems. Perhaps what we should do in preparation for this in the future is to have a task force to look for good areas for gravel pits. To really look into it and consider it, putting rules in place. We need to come up with some good decisions borough wide about the placement and use of gravel pits.************************************************What is the role of a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member?Wolf: Referee at times. You know. sitting on the Kenai P B assembly I have experienced the mayor’s frustration with my constituents. I sometimes feel like an assembly member is more of a referee. As an elected official, there’s nine assembly members, there’s one mayor. Those assembly members are the sound board. They are out in the community. We take constituent issues each and every day.Knopp: It’s already written. It’s a legislative body, and you are charged with setting policies. You do referee occasionally but what you’re really doing is explaining the situation. To listen. I want the members to be leaders, not followers.Davis: I think the role is to have the best interest of the people. To understand the concerns. We approve budgets, and we look to see that those budgets are spent well. We are there to communicate for the constituents.Wartinbee: I think the role of the member is to study policy and to guide the borough with the vision of what we want to do and where to go. It’s also someone for people to talk to. I think with my experience in teaching for an extended amount of time I can help people understand the other side. Intervening on the behalf of you constituents. Helping people find the information they need, guiding them so they can get what they want.************************************************Closing Comments:Wartinbee: I bring to the tables a lot of skills. I’ve got a lot of skill sets in understanding science, in understanding law, and education. I come with common sense. We might have some complex issues ahead and I understand how to deal with them and how to move forward.Davis: I will do what I can to help lead the Kenai Peninsula Borough to a bright financial future. I want to see the borough better off. To see better skills.Knopp: I want to encourage everyone to call the candidates, grill them, ask them what they think, what they believe in, where they come from. Please call them. I would appreciate your vote, I’m familiar with the issues, I’m an issue driven candidateWolf: As the incumbent, with legislative experience, I have brought grit and backbone to the assembly. I’m not afraid of asking tough questions. I believe it’s good government. I believe when residents voice their opinion, that’s good government. If people wish to have me represent them, I will continue to do so. Please feel free to contact me. I believe in representation of the people. it’s your government, folks. It’s your voice that makes it better.************************************************Vote on Proposition One:Davis: Yes.Knopp: No.Wartinbee: No.Wolf: Yes.Vote on Proposition Two:Wolf: Yes.Knopp: No.Davis: Yes.Wartinbee: Yes.last_img read more

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