Bassett: Let’s figure out what it is we want

  • By Grayling Bassett
  • Thursday, October 2, 2014 7:46pm
  • Opinion

People in Kenai, as around peninsula, want things to happen, but it’s not always clear on what we want.

We want action on how to spur outside demand to come spend money in our area, through capital investment, resource development, or tourism. We want to spur the local economy to keep money within our community from leaching out, which it must do since there is very little point source production on consumables.

However, we also fiercely value our independence and individuality. We want people to keep their noses out of our business, let us be.

These aren’t incompatible, but can lead to conflict. You can’t do this if it affects that. You can do that despite affecting this.

Competing wants give us a slew of headaches and unfortunately can’t be ironed out when those wants are diametrically opposed.

What is the responsibility of government? Action? Restraint? Wanting something done, but in the right way. Wanting to curtail some action, or cut it all together. When we’re pooling our collective resources, we all want responsibility and accountability… whatever those represent to each of us.

We have our starts and stops, which is not necessarily bad, and while it makes things less efficacious than many would prefer, it’s how some people think that is the way democracy should work; opposing views ameliorating their positions until a compromise is reached that makes both sides equally happy (or the more likely alternative, equally unhappy).

The partisan nature of certain conflicts make some compromises very difficult, but we need to temper our passions if we are to understand that our own personal biases are not equally shared. We all have ideas as to what’s best for the community. Some of them sensible, some unfeasible, others right out. As an assembly member, I hope to recognize my own biases, which track towards collective action, but still hold onto values maintaining individual responsibility.

The borough has core obligations concerning education, waste, and road maintenance.

Besides those obligations I have a few ideas that I would like to put forward. Maybe at least one might work.

I would like to explore a scheme of taxpayers being able to direct a portion of their tax burden to borough expenditures in a prioritized fashion. This can allow taxpayers to signal the assembly and borough mayor their interests directly. This scheme may be useful as an advisory allocation, but I hope it will give more clarity to the administrative and legislative processes. Coupled with that accountability, I would like an accompanying system where voters may have feedback to the assembly or administrative action, to give a wider voice than to they who shout the loudest.

I would like to see the feasibility of a transit system that may move people between city/town centers within the borough. I would not want such a system to directly compete with the other transportation services, but introduce an option that may allow for greater ease to mobility restricted or low income individuals to still be more active throughout the community. This kind of infrastructure may also give some of the less incorporated tows a node around which to focus potential development.

We also need to evolve flexible plans as effects of climate change become more pronounced. Issues of erosion, invasive species, wildfire mitigation, and possibly uprooting low lying communities will have to be continuously explored as we face a new challenges.

I am assured that the people of Kenai will choose as their representative the person who will best advance their interest for the community, whether it be me or my fellow candidates. Thank you.

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