Voters on Tuesday, October 5 will choose from a list of eight candidates for two seats in the Petersburg district assembly. Seven of the eight expressed their opinions on a variety of topics in an online forum hosted by the Petersburg Pilot and the KFSK on Monday, September 27. a role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One candidate, Marc Martinsen, has served on the Petersburg City Council and has run for assembly for the past five years. He worked in commercial fishing and marine construction. He would like to repeal a revision of the borough emergency ordinance adopted by the assembly a year ago.
“I totally disagree that a government should have the ability to shut down a private business, to do whatever it wants in its own house, but a private business for me is all. just wrong, ”Martinsen said. “I mean we had 500 people who signed the petition against this ordinance, the emergency ordinance that was passed. They did it anyway.
The version of the ordinance passed by the assembly last September requires assembly approval for any business closures and has removed language on curfews or restrictions on gatherings.
Martinsen doesn’t think the virus will be stopped and doesn’t think it’s that deadly. He also cited other reasons for running.
“I think we should start a discussion on how to continue working with child care costs,” Martinsen said. “I had four children in daycare. I know how expensive and necessary it is. We must resume regular school sport. Little league, I mean kids are resilient. What’s wrong with healthy people who test positive for COVID with little or no symptoms? Isn’t that how the miracle we call the human immune system is supposed to work? “
Electrician Brandi Thynes was on the board for a three-year term, but failed her bid for re-election last year. She also served on the school board. She doesn’t think local government has a role to play in the COVID response.
“I think people can take whatever precautions they feel are necessary for their health and that of their family and to avoid it or many of us have had it and now have even stronger immunity and vaccines available for those who want it, ”says Thyne. “So at this point I don’t think the borough needs to be involved in the fight against COVID.”
While in the assembly, Thynes voted against the revised emergency ordinance, which drew numerous public comments both for and against. She said she had enjoyed her time at the assembly and wanted to come back.
“I would like to be someone who will actively listen to everyone and I have the impression that there are several people in town, many people in town who feel that there is no one who please listen to the assembly, ”she said. “It was a huge motivation to run again. “
Lawyer and musician Tom Fine-Walsh has said he doesn’t want to force anyone to do anything, but he believes the government has a role to play in the pandemic.
“It seems they are heavily involved in dealing with aid money or dealing with grants or programs related to government money coming into the community and I mean if they don’t.” not, who is it? I mean, it seems like there is a lot to deal with for the borough, someone has to do it, ”Fine-Walsh said.
Fine-Walsh said he also runs to listen to others.
“My background as a lawyer will make me really well suited for this position,” he said. “You don’t necessarily know because I spend a lot of time reading legal documents, but because a lot of my job is listening to people. You know that being a good service provider for your clients is really about listening to people, really actively listening, not just thinking about what to say next.
Fine-Walsh said he was interested in some zoning changes to encourage more affordable housing options and keep electricity and telecommunications affordable.
Lars Christensen has worked in commercial fishing, logging and construction. He served on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and is now on the Salvation Army Advisory Board in Petersburg.
“I think the borough should take an active role in helping to stop its spread, but I think everyone should be vaccinated, but I don’t believe in forcing people to be vaccinated”, a- he said of the local response to the pandemic. “You can’t ban this because it’s like the flu, I’m afraid it’s been there for a while.”
Christensen said he had no personal agenda to run for office.
“I just want to see this city thrive,” Christensen said. “I was born and raised here and spent a few years outside the city but I love this city and I have so many family here that I just want to see this city thrive.”
Christensen said he would like to take action to help St. Petersburg’s aging population and also encourage young people to return.
Paul Anderson is retired from the US military and served on city council for two decades. Worked in the maintenance of the local pharmacy and has a home heating repair business. He has also served on an advisory committee on resources for federal funding, the Thomas Bay Power Authority and several other boards and commissions.
“I was quite disturbed watching some of the actions going on with the assembly,” said of his reasons for running. “Basically, when someone makes a move and they don’t have a second, they die. In our 20 years on City Council, we have always supported motions for discussion, whether you like it or not. You have the audience trying to listen to this and they want to act, they are dead in the water.
Anderson would also like to end the daytime assembly meetings. He said he wears masks where they are needed and has received the vaccine and even a booster. But he was also upset when someone reported him for not wearing a mask in the mail. He doesn’t think the borough should play a role in responding to COVID.
“I guess I’m saying no, I don’t think the Borough should be involved in this anymore,” Anderson said. “I think it will depend on individual stores and businesses. The borough already has it for theirs.
Dana Thynes agreed that people should be allowed to make their own choices. It questions the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine and questions their safety. She also wants to repeal the emergency ordinance of the borough.
“I really think the only role the city could have and still could play is to help people who can’t afford supplements like vitamin D,” Thynes said.
Thynes has been the mayor and city councilor of the town of Kupreanof and likes others not to think that the current assembly is listening.
“I want to stand up for people whose concerns are ignored,” she said. “In Petersburg, two fears face us daily, the fear of the virus and the fear of an oppressive government. I am not afraid of the virus because I know it is not very fatal, even for people over 70. I respect the virus but don’t fear it. I fear that governments will seize this crisis to tighten control over their citizens, as we have seen. “
Thynes also wants the borough to take measures to encourage community gardens for more food security.
Bob Lynn, retired from a long career with the US Forest Service, is the sole incumbent. He does not want to impose vaccination but believes the government should educate local citizens. He believes the government has a role to play in the pandemic response.
“First of all, it’s in educating what it is, what the virus is and can do,” Lynn said. “I think there is a role for research. I think there is also a role to play here for funding. If you look at our hospital here, for example, they’ve been given a huge sum to do tests, do whatever, and keep the doors open so to speak. And I think it is necessary and I think it has to be an ongoing role of government.
Besides COVID, Lynn has listed some of the pressing issues he hopes to work on if he is re-elected.
“To name just a few of the issues we will face include borough land selection, budget, modernization of our utilities, port dredging, funding for our schools, completion work on our swimming pool, ”he said. .
Lynn also wants to continue with the takeover of the Papke’s Landing wharf and the complete renovation of the Blind Slough hydroelectric power station.
Candidates said they would comply with a mask mandate in borough buildings to attend assembly meetings, but several said they would only do so if the assembly voted to approve it. .
An eighth candidate, Jim Vick, did not respond to requests to participate in the Candidates Forum or interview with the KFSK.