2018 October CBJ Municipal Assembly & Mayoral Candidate Questions
- Please describe your involvement/participation in the arts and cultural activities in Juneau:
Because of my family and School Board commitments, I do not attend as much as I like. But we do try to attend cultural events and make it 4-6 times/year. We like attending these to support the community and to immerse ourselves in the local culture. I have never been a member of a Juneau Arts organization. However, I have been active in the arts throughout my life. I graduated from Parkview Fine Arts Magnet School in 1989 where I focused on Theatrical and musical arts. Upon graduation, I was active in the Little Rock Community Symphony from 1990-1995. If I had time, I would love to be active in the arts again; especially theatre and music. I still own my own Tuba, to my wife’s chagrin and her attempts to store it, so I have not closed the door on my artistic endeavors.
- The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) operates the Juneau Arts & Culture Center (JACC) which is a CBJ facility. Since July 1st of this year, JAHC has been contracted by CBJ to manage and operate Centennial Hall (also a CBJ building on CBJ land). JAHC is committed to building a facility dedicated to the arts and culture to replace the existing JACC: the New JACC.
My understanding of the dual management of the JAHC and Centennial Hall is that it is a win-win for the city, Centennial Hall, JAHC, and JACC. This arrangement seems to allow the JACC to achieve a better economy of scale to minimize administrative costs to the advantage of all parties.
I am not as familiar with the new JACC project as I would like to be. However, I do believe that the JACC should have been placed on the ballot for public consideration. Supporting the Arts and Culture has been a large part of the Juneau identity. Putting the issue to the voters seemed like a reasonable way to decide this contentious issue. A vote would not only judge if Juneau wanted a new JACC, but if the community is willing to pay for it. I am willing, but is a majority of Juneau willing to pay for it? A ballot issue will make this clear.
I am generally supportive of the JACC project. There was an expansion that was promised in the 1% sales tax CIP, but I do not think that expansion project was ever completed. The JACC is aging and the cost of maintaining the structure may be more than building and maintaining a new facility that is built to support the specific needs of the JACC and community. How much support the city should commit is ultimately an Assembly decision. I would need more information and would rely on the advice of JACC and City professionals regarding how much support and the form of support needed. However, whatever the commitment, I would favor a short-term commitment utilizing a combination of sources. But I would not want a bond commitment of more than 5 years; allowing future assembly members to have access to the funding stream for future priorities.
- Juneau was chosen by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as the 11th city in the nation for the Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Initiative, a community-wide effort to ensure equal access to learning in and through the arts for all students. How would you, if elected, support and contribute to equitable access to arts education for every Juneau student?
I would continue to ensure that the Juneau School District was funded to the cap. If additional support outside the school district was needed, I would likely be supportive.
- Juneau was recently named one of the top 10 most Culturally Vibrant small town’s in the United States by SMU’s National Center for Arts Research, and at the beginning of this year was named the sixth most Creatively Vital micropolises nationally by the Western States Arts Federation. Both these rankings were in part determined by the level of economic activity associated with arts and culture in our community, and by the level of public investment in the arts. How do see these national rankings being leveraged to Juneau’s advantage, and what would you do as an elected official to ensure that Juneau remains a national leader in this area?
I am not as enamored with rankings as I am about appropriate match to the city needs, demands, and economy of scale. My philosophy is to try to maximize economy of scale and utility for our community of 30-35,000 people. This is not easy due to our small population, fairly homogeneous economy (i.e. government and tourism), and competing interests between different interest groups.
This being said, I think that the rankings are important to private funders. These rankings help us attract funding and support outside Juneau. Without these rankigs, Juneau would not have access to much of the private support we currently receive. I would like to see us leverage this reputation to attract more convention activity from Western Canada, Alaska, and Washington State. Juneau provides a unique and exotic location that could serve as a nice convention location of which our arts could help develop and foster success.
- JAHC recently adopted a resolution on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as did the Assembly.
Art stimulates thought, empathy, and understanding. A vibrant and diverse art community tends to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion as issues are illuminated through artistic expression. I think the key is to have true diversity. There is art I like. There is art that offends me. But in both cases, I think. A diversity of art leads to a diversity of thought that supports a diversity and acceptance of others in the long-run. But we cannot get in the debate of good art and bad art. Instead, we must allow universal access to artistic expression to resolve deeper issues.
As an Assembly member, I will defend Artistic creativity and diversity. I also support universal human rights. I support a broad interpretation of Juneau Ordinances 41.05.010, 41.05.015, 41.05.020, 44.05.020, Alaska Constitution Article I Section 3, Civil Rights, Alaska Statute Section 18.80, the US First Amendment, and the US Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection and due process for all persons). I believe that no person should be discriminated against based upon Race, Color, Religion, Gender and Gender Identity, National Origin, Physical or Mental Disability, Age, Marital Status, Changes in Marital Status, Pregnancy, Parenthood, and/or Political Identity/Identification. I support any policy and regulation that protects these rights for all people in Alaska.