Assembly Candidate Forum at UAA

I got to be a part of something tonight that was very special for me.  It was an event that I had been a part of planning with the group that I am a part of- the UAA College Democrats.  The event was an amalgamation of the UAA College Democrats, the UAA College Republicans, and the Political Science Association.  A lot of people worked really hard to put this event together, and I was very pleased with the turnout.  I would like to give some credit to John and Heather Aronno, who head up the UAA College Democrats, for being a large part of this.  Of course, many people were able to help, but I like to give a shout out to John and Heather whenever I can, because those two bust their asses for what they believe in.

This event was actually special for a number of ways.  For one thing, and I think that this is pretty huge- Dave Bronson, a man who almost never goes to these kinds of events, showed up.  This was quite the accomplishment.  I don’t know who got the guy there, but still, nice work.  There were 14 members who showed up.  It was quite the forum.  The moderator of the forum was Jason Lamb, a reporter from KTUU.  He was very professional about his responsibilities at the Forum, and took them very seriously.  He made a point that he would make sure that those involved would stay within the time limit. 

This year’s election, as I covered in a previous blog, is a big deal for the liberal community, since the balance of power in Anchorage is on the line.  If the conservative candidates win this election, it spells huge problems in the weeks, months, and potentially years to come.  This is a huge problem.  Forums like these are to help get the word out to those who are in the districts of these candidates about what these people stand for, and why they should vote for them.

The major candidates that I am backing are Mike Gutierrez, Harriet Drummond, and Elvi Gray-Jackson.  I wrote about them in a previous blog.  While it is commonly regarded that Elvi is a shoe-in to win, it was pointed out to me that even she is not in a secure position.  This really is anybody’s race.  Since only an average of 20% of registered voters show up to vote in municipal elections, this couldn’t matter more.  I have my issues with the voter turnout, but we already had this discussion in the blog linked to above.

The forum began with the opening statements.  The major conservative candidates like Dave Bronson and Adam Trombley both had their pointless bullshit messages of cutting government spending an lowering taxes.  It is like these people don’t realize that if you cut taxes, and lower spending, you still have to find ways to bring money into the government.  Sometimes I seriously wonder if these people even have the slightest clue what they are doing.  Then there was one guy who nobody I was sitting around knew of- Ron Alleva.  This guy opened with an angry speech calling out the person he was running against.  He was rude, stand-offish, and seemed rather unpleasant.

The opening statements of Elvi, Mike, and Harriet were splendid.  They were big on keeping the government of Anchorage accountable (that includes Mayor Sullivan, who has had his crazy ideas going through), working on the city’s infrastructure, and increasing revenue opportunities for the city.  Gutierrez talked about increasing public safety, which is pretty interesting, given how Mayor Sullivan has police detectives checking parking meters.  Of course, all the major conservative candidates talking points were about decreasing spending, and decreasing taxes.  They also talked about how the government is too big (blah, blah, blah).

After the opening statements, there was the Q & A session which focused on the questions from the internet.  The first question was to Gutierreze and Trombley- what do they believe is the main issue?  Gutierrez believed that it is energy prices.  He makes a good point, since the technology to get alternative sources of energy is becoming more and more available.  Another really great issue that came up was whether Ordianance 64 should come back to the table.  Vasquez said that this is a question for the Justic Department, and she is absolutely right.  Drummond pointed out that she is completely behind the passing of Ordinance 64, and that it was the mayor who vetoed it. 

One issue that I personally loved was the question of whether or not churches should be good places for voting to take place at.  Bob Lupo (a reasonable enough candidate) said the answer is no, which is great.  He stated that there should be a seperation of church and state.  Another question was what Gutierrez and Trombley thought about the homeless problem.  Gutierrez said that this was a problem which there was no clear solution, and thought that the a housing-first model to deal with the problem is a good place to start.

Elvi really made me smile when she was asked what she thought about what had happened with the unions in Wisconsin.  In her words, “I think what happened in Wisconsin is a working person’s worst nightmare.”  If one follows how this story is continuing to unfold in Wisconsin, she is absolutely right.  Bronson, on the other hand, thought that while he was against stripping away all bargaining rights, he thought that the “process” was a problem (nice way to be conservative but keep the union’s good side).

Before the Q & A from the audience, Elvi had to leave early.  She made a closing statement, saying that she is a big advocate for public transportation.  She wanted to see work done to improve Anchorage’s infrastructure, which is a great thing.

The first question from the audience was put to Gutierrez.  He was asked if he considers himself fiscally conservative.  He responded that if cuts need to be done, he’ll do them, but he wants people to think critically about the issues.  He also wanted to see the money to toward positive goals.  In his words, “you’re paying more, you’re getting less.”  He’s right about that much.

A rather interesting point is that Adam Trombley said that among his personal heroes were Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney.  Un-fucking-believable.  Yeah, his personal heroes are an idiot and a sadist. 

The closing statments were pretty good.  I have a quote from each of my favorite player’s.  Gutierrez said, “Mr. Trombley, you’re no Dan Quayle.”  He, of course, meant that in a non-insulting way, which got a few laughs (I wonder about Trombley, but that is a different issue).  Lupo said, “it takes money to operate a city.”  Drummond said, “so few people have see nthe candidates.”  She also mentioned that the UAA campus was being mistreated by the state, which is a FACT!  Kenny made a good point when he said, “we have to be globally competetive.” 

This was a great night, and I am glad that I attended.  A lot of work went into this, and I am glad that I have been able to be a part of it.  I am glad that I was able to help, and I want to tip my hat to the UAA College Democrats, UAA College Republicans, and the Political Science Association.  A lot is riding on the elections on April 5th, and for all you liberals out there who don’t want the infrastructure of this city to go to shit, I suggest you get your liberal friends off their asses and get them to the polls.

Until next time, a quote,

“That infers that union workers aren’t taxpayers,”  -Mike Kenny, in response to the question of if he favors unions over taxpayers (and a damn good point).

Peace out,


5 thoughts on “Assembly Candidate Forum at UAA

  1. Re AO 64, Vasquez was rambling, circuitous, and bizarre. She also said it was a matter for the US supreme court.

    • Hey, I don’t like Vasquez at all, but it could, and rightly should, have been brought before the Supreme Court. That issue actually IS in the Justice Department’s court a little bit. I’m sorry, but it is. As much as I disagree with her, I gotta give her props for that. Those in favor of AO 64 should have taken it to court, and could win there too.

    • Although, they could have started smaller than the Supreme Court and won their case, but they should have taken it to court. Those who were in favor really should have.

  2. It would have been a city law and the assembly is completely within their authority to pass city laws.

    The way our system works, laws are passed on the level that they will apply, and – after they’re passed – they can be challenged in the courts. They cannot be brought to the courts in the way that you suggest until after they are passed, because there isn’t anything to challenge yet. It doesn’t work that way.

    Liz Vasquez was asked about including sexual orientation in the non-discrimination law and answered with statistics of hate crimes against religious groups. Ordinance 64 had nothing to do with hate crimes, and religious groups are already covered in our non-discrimination law. Then she referred to “lifestyles.” Bad answer for anyone who supports equality.

    • Well, thank you, everybody, for hanging on that one little detail. Never mind that there was a whole lot more written there, let’s all gang up about this one thing. Fine, whatever, I was wrong. People nit-pick everything to death. Thank you for the correction, now how’s about moving on, shall we?

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