With ballots now sent out to voters this City and Borough of Juneau election season, campaigning is in full swing for both candidates and advocacy groups hoping to make an impact on voters before Oct. 3.
The advocacy group known as Save Juneau was formed in late July and runs a campaign opposing the new City Hall proposal set to appear on this October’s municipal ballots. Ballots were sent to residents on Sept. 14 ahead of the Oct. 3 Election Day.
According to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the group’s purpose is “to support City & Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Assembly candidates who will act responsibly with regard to public spending, taxation of CBJ residents, and the regulation of residents’ businesses. Also, to address ballot measures proposing bond authorization or property tax increases.”
Late last week the group announced its support of four Assembly candidates — Joe Geldhof (District 1), David Morris (District 2), JoAnn Wallace and Nano Brooks (Areawide). All four candidates have already expressed opposition to the ballot proposition during recent public forums and interviews.
“Our endorsed candidates understand that Assembly members should respect and represent the voters, not just rule over them,” said Molly Duvall, the group’s chair, in an interview Monday. “Last year residents voted down the new City Hall, but 100% of the Assembly voted to put it back on the ballot. So our Juneau Assembly endorsements really reflect the will of the people as it was expressed in last year’s election.”
Other candidates like Jeff Jones and Dorene Lorenz (both Areawide) have also expressed opposition to the new City Hall project in recent forums, however, they are not backed by the group. Duvall said the four chosen best align with the group’s overall goals beyond the new City Hall ballot.
“We believe the candidates that we’ve endorsed will be more sensitive to the burden of high property taxes,” she said. “These four have the most strength of what we’ve read on paper.”
According to its campaign finance records, the group has reportedly raised nearly $7,000 between Feb. 2 and Sept. 1 of this year. Of those funds, it reports about $1,000 in expenses for costs like signs, stickers and information sheets. Notable donors include Goldbelt President and CEO McHugh Pierre and Ward Air Inc. Chief Financial Officer Tom Williams, who also unsuccessfully ran as an Areawide Assembly candidate in the 2018 election.
A similarly named group, Save Anchorage, gained attention in recent years, and has been described by Alaska Public Media as contributing to “a spread of misinformation about the pandemic, the city’s public health measures, the homelessness situation, and other issues.”
Duvall said Save Juneau is not affiliated with Save Anchorage.
She said she’s optimistic the new City Hall ballot measure will fail.
“I’d be surprised if it did pass,” she said.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at email@example.com or (651) 528-1807.