Name: Mike Kenny
Registered Political Party: Democrat
Last book you read: The Political Mind
Favorite movie: Chinatown
Why are you running for the Anchorage Assembly?: Unlike the incumbent, my focus will be on neighborhood concerns. My desire is to represent and to advocate for neighbors throughout our Assembly district.
What one sentence best describes your philosophy of how city government should be run?: In alignment with the Preamble to the Constitution; "insuring domestic Tranquility… promoting the general Welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"…
What letter grade would you give the current assembly, and why?: B. Generally the majority gets it right.
What letter grade would you give Mayor Sullivan’s administration, and why?: C. While agreeing with his use of a community dialogue to help in determining whether to cut services or taxes; I don't agree with his taking the results of the very long and laborious public process of overhauling Title 21 and hiring his political ally to redraft it in the back room.
What are your thoughts on the 2008 union contracts approved by the Assembly? Is there a link to those contracts and the city’s current fiscal situation?: I think there were contracts negotiated at arms length by the Administration. The Assembly approved those negotiations. I do not believe it possible to link the events three years ago, which occurred during the largest economic downturn in the past eighty years, with the current fiscal situation. The President of the United States and the head of the Federal Reserve were repeatedly assuring us three years ago that the fundamentals of our economy were solid until it crashed. It is unrealistic to blame the Assembly or the Administration for not anticipating this.
What are your thoughts on the budget reductions proposed by Mayor Sullivan over the past two years? Are they too much? Not deep enough? A right amount?: His proposal to shut down Fire Sations went beyond "too much" and into the realm of unconscionable. Putting the lives and property of taxpayers in jeopardy because of where they live in our Municipality is wrong. The expected increase in fire insurance premiums for everyone in the Municipality would have shipped money out of our pockets & local economy and would be more than we could save with his closures. His closure of our library is poorly thought out.
What city services would you like to see reinstated, and how would you suggest they are paid for?: If we are in a surplus at years end, as some maintain, that surplus should be targeted at restoring services that were cut. I would start with restoration of those services that promote the general welfare including public safety and transit.
Are property taxes too high? What consideration should be given to alternative taxes like the tobacco tax, or a sales tax?: There is a sizable segment of our community believing their property taxes are too high. Former Mayor Begich proposed a property tax when he was on the Assembly in 1993 and it was soundly rejected. Likewise, a sales tax proposal was rejected in 2001. Both efforts combined a sales tax with property tax relief. It is not productive to try the same solutions over and over again and expect to get a different result. If this is a problem we must resolve, it will take all of us working together.
What is the most important issue affecting the city as a whole?: What do we want for future generations in Anchorage? What is the plan to get there? We have transitioned from a construction camp, to a frontier type settlement, to a government built town, to an All American middle class city, to a large metropolitan hub. Do we continue to transition into a world class, competitive Pacific Rim city by developing twenty first century industries?
What is the most important issue facing your district more than other districts?: There are different "important" issues depending upon where you reside within my district. As chair of the Rabbit Creek Community Council for the past two years I am most aware of the issues on the Hillside. The Hillside District Plan as required in Anchorage 2020 was approved by the Assembly last year. There are very important issues dealing with drainage, well & septic system, roads, streams, access and trails.
Challengers (non-incumbents) -- What specifically will you bring to the assembly that your incumbent opponent has/will not?: I will fully participate in the public process attending all Assembly meetings, assigned Assembly work sessions, and as importantly, all the meetings of our Community Councils in their entirety; except of course for meetings held at the same time. This will allow me to bring to the Assembly an understanding of a range of issues from a broad base of constituents.Should the municipality require mandatory photo identification for all customers purchasing alcohol at package liquor stores? Why or why not?: The State law requiring licences to be marked in certain cases is done so to help save lives. It is not effective unless liquor stores are able to view photo identifications. It is not effective unless all liquor stores are required to do so. This is a small inconvenience with the possible result of saving a life.
Should an agency other than the Anchorage Police Department be allowed to issue parking tickets to vehicles parked downtown? Why or why not?: I believe it is appropriate training for the APD trainees, rookies and less experienced officers to issue parking tickets. I would not believe it appropriate for experienced homicide detectives to be assigned this task.
Should the city extend the disabled veteran property tax exemption to widows and widowers? Why or why not?: My inclination is to extend but my decision would be based on a more thorough study.
The last municipal election had the lowest voter turnout in at least 20 years. Why should people head to the polls and vote on April 5th?: A vibrant, functioning democracy relies upon informed citizens casting their vote. "All politics is local"