City and Borough of Juneau Assembly candidate Chuck Collins turns in his paperwork to City Clerk Laurie Sica on Monday. Collins said the people of Juneau “need to take control of our town again.” (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

City and Borough of Juneau Assembly candidate Chuck Collins turns in his paperwork to City Clerk Laurie Sica on Monday. Collins said the people of Juneau “need to take control of our town again.” (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Homelessness, crime inspire new challengers to run

Every seat is contested in this year’s City and Borough of Juneau regular election.

Seven candidates will be competing for three Assembly seats, while three competitors are seeking two seats on the Board of Education. The three newest challengers for seats on the CBJ Assembly all agree on two points: Juneau’s rising levels of crime and homelessness need to be addressed.

In the final days for candidates to register for the Oct. 3 election, four candidates for Assembly submitted their paperwork. One of them, Robert Edwardson, had declared his candidacy for the District 2 seat currently held by Debbie White in July. The others were new names in the race, which is the first one since 2009 that will see multiple candidates for every seat.

The three newer contenders — Chuck Collins, Loretto Jones and Carole Triem — all stated this week that some of the biggest issues facing the community are homelessness, crime and the opioid crisis. Jones, who is running for the District 1 seat currently held by Jesse Kiehl, has lived in Juneau off and on for 40 years and is unhappy with what she’s seen lately.

“I never remember anything quite like the homeless situation or the increased property crime in Juneau in all of my years living here,” Jones said Tuesday. “That’s why I’m running for office. I think there’s solutions that we can work with within the community. We’ve got a lot of very smart people here, and you’ve gotta ask a lot of questions to get the right answers.”

[Registration closes for candidates to run in fall election]

Since 2007, Jones has owned and operated Sedna Charters, a geo-tourism company that takes visitors out on the waters around Juneau. She served on the AWARE board and Docks & Harbors board in the 1980s and has worked as a professor, property manager and business owner since then.

Triem is also a first-time candidate, and is running for the Areawide Assembly seat against current Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski. Triem, an economic development advisor for the state, also mentioned homelessness and the opioid crisis as reasons for looking to get more involved in local government.

Triem has paid attention to Assembly decisions, and said the ordinance that the city passed in February to give police the ability to remove people sleeping in the entryways of downtown businesses was more of a Band-Aid than a long-term solution.

“I think the camping ordinance is just addressing a symptom of a much larger problem and probably not really good enough,” Triem said, “and I don’t know that it was the most humane solution either.”

Collins, a longtime businessman in the financial realm in Juneau, is running for Kiehl’s District 1 seat as well. He’s run for Assembly before, and said the homelessness and crime in town have had him thinking about running again. He made his intentions official Monday afternoon when he turned in his paperwork.

Collins said he’s wary of bringing his grandchildren downtown now with the homeless population there, and believes Juneau isn’t as family-friendly as it used to be.

“I just think that it’s time that Juneau became the community it’s always been,” Collins said. “It’s always been a great place to raise families and I want to see it get back toward that.”

Collins has known Kiehl for more than 20 years, he said, and though the two get along, Collins said, “(Kiehl) just doesn’t believe the way that I believe.”

While the candidates might not see eye-to-eye on everything, Jones said she’s prepared to work hard to reach agreements if she earns a spot on the Assembly. Her father was a diplomat in the Philippines when she was younger, and she worked as his secretary and learned quite a bit about working with others without animosity.

“My father taught me very well, you have to bend with the bamboo,” Jones said. “You can’t just go in there forcefully.”

All three of the new challengers expressed a desire to help fix the issues of homelessness and rising crime, but actually doing so will require an effort from more than merely the nine Assembly members and CBJ staff, Jones said.

“We need to all work together to try and come up with a solution,” Jones said. “It’s not gonna come from City Hall. It’s gonna come from the residents.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.


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