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Fairbanks North Star borough mayor race — Robert Morris

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Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:10 am

1. Discuss your idea for reducing the cost of heating homes and businesses in the borough.

All of the ideas we have been reading about are good; opening the Healy plant, trucking gas, building a gas pipeline, getting a better deal for state oil. But they are all either possibilities for the distant future or can help only incrementally. For the immediate future, we should allow our people to heat their homes and businesses any way they can. Coal and wood are the cheapest. Modern coal burners are very clean.

2. Do you believe the borough should privatize any of its services? Why? If yes, what services should be privatized and why?

No. I do not think that the borough should privatize any of its services. This issue comes up wherever there are financial problems. In business they call it outsourcing. The assumption is that it will lead to saving money, and I am not convinced that such is necessarily the case.

3. How do you intend to vote on Proposition 3, the borough air quality initiative? Explain.

I will vote “yes” on Proposition 3. I want people to be able to heat their homes any way they can. The argument against it is that it will invite the state to come regulate and that the borough’s regulation will be more comfortable for us than the state’s. I am against borough or state regulation.

4. How much authority should road service area commissioners have to make improvements to area roads without borough approval or oversight?

I have heard that the commissioners feel that they are too hindered by the borough in their duty, so right now borough oversight should be marginally relaxed.

5. The borough provides property tax exemptions for property “used exclusively for religious, charitable, cemetery, hospital or educational purposes.” Last year, the assembly denied a nonprofit performing arts organization a partial exemption. Should the list of exemptions be expanded? Reduced? Why?

The list of property tax exemptions should not be expanded. It already allows for too many possible exemptions.

6. What role should the borough play in promoting the local economy, and what can it do to diversify businesses?

It is not what role the borough “should” play in promoting the local economy but what role the borough “can” play. We are in desperate times, and anything that can be done should be done unless it involves raising taxes, which is counter-productive. Our diversity of business is not the problem. Going out of business is the problem.

7. Why do you want to be elected to this office?

I’m getting poorer every year now. I have never believed that people in high-level management and politics can identify with those in the working class. And now that things have gotten to the point where I am really worried about the near future, I know they can’t.

So I want to be elected mayor.

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