Kenai ballot initiatives propose changes to city council

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct the misreported date of Kenai’s general election and an inaccurate description of the proposed changes to the council election process.  

On October 7, Kenai voters will be asked to consider three ballot initiatives that could change the process for electing city council members and the mayor. Kenai Mayor Pat Porter introduced the trio of initiatives, and the council approved their inclusion in October’s general election ballot at the its June 17 meeting.

On last year’s Kenai council ballot, voters were asked to make their choice of candidates for mayor, and make two selections from the list of council candidates. In order to become a ballot-listed candidate, each prospective candidate had to submit a petition with 20 signatures. Both of these features may be changed by the new initiatives.

One initiative removes the petition requirement, which in the resolution Porter wrote “merely presents an inconvenience to candidates and creates administrative work for the City without any real benefit to the public.”

Instead, any individual who submits a statement of candidacy to the city clerk will be listed on the ballot.

Another initiative creates two seperate election contests for the two council seats that open every year. Under the current arrangement, the two contested council seats are won by the two top vote-getters of a single race, who run against all other contenders for council. The iniative proposes designating each of the six council seats, possibly with letter designations, and allowing candidates to choose a seat, for which they will run only against the other candidates seeking that seat. 

Porter wrote in the resolution that allowing council candidates to run for a designated seat may “encourage more candidates to run because candidates can choose a seat to run for and avoid running against certain other candidates running for different seats.”

In an interview, Porter said the proposed system would allow prospective council members to specifically challenge an individual sitting council member without potentially displacing the other member up for re-election that year.

“This way, if a person decides to run for election, you can run against the person in Seat A or the person in Seat B on an individual basis, thereby not necessarily running against a person you think is doing a great job,” Porter said.

The third initiative would allow future council meetings to be canceled by a majority vote. Presently, the council is required to hold two meetings each month. It can postpone a meeting within a calendar month but not cancel it. The initiative would allow council members to cancel up to one meeting per month for any reason, so long as a minimum of 20 meetings are held per year.

Porter wrote in the resolution that “there are times when it is not necessary to hold two regular meetings each month or when such a schedule would greatly inconvenience council members, administrative staff and the public due to holidays and seasonal activities.” Porter also wrote a lack of a quorum (the minimum number of present council members required to make official decisions — in the Kenai council, four members) could also prevent a meeting.


Reach Ben Boettger at

More in News

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Statewide COVID cases continue drop

On Monday, Alaska’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 people was 268.6.

Anne Zink, Alaska chief medical officer, participates in a briefing with Department of Health and Social Services officials to discuss the rise of the omicron variant of the corona virus, on Nov. 29, 2021. (screenshot)
Omicron ‘an animal of its own’

State health officials emphasize unknowns, prevention measures in wake of new coronavirus variant spread.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry carried the Together Tree, bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion, up from Wrangell where it was harvested after a brief delay due to some mechanical issues. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

Forever Dance students practice for the “Forever Christmas” annual holiday variety show at Kenai Central High School on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Remembering that we’re all in this together’

Forever Dance celebrates the holiday spirit with Christmas showcase.

Image via the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Nikiski soil treatment facility moves ahead

The facility, located at 52520 Kenai Spur Highway, has drawn ire from community residents.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID case rate continues decline; 7 new deaths reported

The state reported 632 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska.

People sit on a float by Kendall Auto Group during the “Christmas Comes to Kenai” parade on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘It’s our biggest so far’

The holiday spirit is back in a big way with ‘Christmas Comes to Kenai’

Most Read