Sept. 26, 2012
To the editor:
Leadership — it’s a quality you can’t always put your finger on, but you know it when you see it.
Sometimes it’s a work ethic, sometimes it grows from experience, sometimes it’s about stepping forward or bringing people together to do the right thing for the community — the entire community, not just one sector or another. These are all qualities that describe Luke Hopkins and that’s why I’ll be voting to re-elect him borough mayor Tuesday.
I’d like to do a little comparing and contrasting of Luke and his opponent, Norm Phillips.
Experience first: Luke has given years in public service on the Planning Commission, the Borough Assembly and as mayor. Norm told the News-Miner “he had no intention to enter politics when he left the corporation,” but decided to run when his friends asked. The corporation is Doyon, where he left a six-year contract after three years. That’s interesting, but unfortunately we won’t learn the real reason for his sudden departure because the News-Miner hasn’t asked Norm to open 30 years of employee records the way Luke was asked three years ago.
Alaskans are best served by leaders committed to honesty and transparency. Maybe nothing was wrong, but I’d prefer it if Norm thought more of us than just to say he left to “spend more time with his family.”
How about lower-cost energy? Luke is working with leaders across Fairbanks to put together a utility to distribute natural gas to the most people in the quickest time at the lowest cost. Norm is a steering committee member of an organization that refuses to list its contributors and supports the oil tax giveaway. Interior Alaskans know a bad deal when they see it — they’ve roundly rejected the $20 billion giveaway.
Norm “declined to give specifics on what his approach would be with the borough budget and what departments or services he might reduce or eliminate.”
Voters making informed decisions deserve better. I’m sure Norm is a nice guy, but maybe he should come back in three years when he has some governmental experience, when he has real answers.