Candidate profile: Dixie Hood, Assembly D2

What is your highest priority for the CBJ to accomplish during your term in office? Explain why this is a priority and how you would facilitate this change.

Maximize government transparency and public hearings and input throughout the borough. This would enhance Juneau as a “sustainable community,” protect and improve Alaska’s capital city, the quality of life work and opportunities for all residents, and create and maintain a positive experience for visitors.

Juneau needs more housing for several kinds of populations that range from the homeless to young families on limited budgets. The Housing First effort is an encouraging start, but much more is needed. What additional actions would you suggest the Assembly take to get on with solving the housing problem in Juneau?

Beyond Housing First and Haven House, both of which I have strongly supported, some additional actions I would support include the Planning Department, continuing to expand accessory apartment options on appropriate existing residential properties, housing units in mixed zones above shops and businesses downtown, Willoughby District and Douglas, and also offering CBJ land for bid and development, as done in Lena Point.

As Alaska tightens its belt, city revenue is likely to shrink as well. What are your suggestions to increase efficiency in Juneau and/or reduce the municipal budget?

Extensive cuts have been made in the programs and personnel within the current CBJ budget and efficiency has been enhanced significantly. I would encourage exploration of options for increased revenue through the Juneau Community Foundation, grant applications and additional review of taxes. The state “belt-tightening” also impacts the CBJ and deserves focus on expanded efforts for revenue increases. Pressing our legislative representatives in this regard is something the Assembly needs to do for the benefit of our community.

When considering public transportation, traffic, and parking issues in our municipality, what do you consider to be the major concerns and the solutions for them?

Downtown traffic and parking congestion has increased every year for decades. More parking lots and garages have not solved the problem. Capitol Transit has been acclaimed for successfully promoting ridership among adults, students and visitors in our community, but there are still too many single drivers, lack of carpooling and need for more “park and ride” opportunities from the Valley. The grant-supported circulating shuttle was an experiment some years ago and ran from the Willoughby District through downtown every 20 minutes to transport business and state employees and shoppers. It was very popular. Recent public meetings with the Downtown Revitalization Committee have urged reinstating such a circulator service. Keeping bus stop approaches safe and ice-free for seniors is a priority.

The legalization of marijuana requires new regulations for CBJ that determine how the use of this substance will be handled in the municipality. For example, the Assembly must decide whether or not to allow the production and sale of marijuana edibles such as cookies, candies or sodas, and whether or not to allow smoking parlors for marijuana, including in the downtown area to draw in cruise ship passengers. Select one of these two specific decisions that must be made and discuss what you would like to see done..

Recent Assembly action to increase local authority over marijuana control issues is important to press for. I personally do not support sweets that could attract young people any more than the e-cigarettes that are increasingly available. A smoking parlor in the Downtown area could be considered and regulated in the same manner as bars where alcohol and no food is served. The growing and selling of marijuana should have additional public discussion and input throughout the borough.

Tourism is a significant part of the CBJ budget. What steps should be taken to make sure tourism is a positive experience for both visitors and residents?

Cleaning-up sidewalks, removing intrusive signs and sandwich boards, repainting buildings that have deteriorated over time, maintaining parks and providing more benches would improve appearances and convenience for visitors and residents alike. Increased use of the Passenger Head Tax revenue tor completion of the Sea Walk to the Juneau-Douglas Bridge should be expedited. This would increase pedestrian safety and enhance the experience of cruise ship passengers and Juneauites alike, on their way to Skip Wallen’s Whale Sculpture, soon to be in place on the Waterfront.

The Juneau Economic Plan tells us that we need to be courting young people to fill state positions of retiring Juneauites. What can the Assembly do to further this goal?

Assembly action to increase availability of affordable housing and support of continuing excellence in our public schools should be the highest priorities to attract young families. Health care and recreational resources and activities would also be important to maintain and fund optimally.

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