This year, we've asked a number of local leaders to make a New Year's resolution, or two, for the City and Borough of Juneau. We asked them the question, "What do you think the City of Juneau should resolve to accomplish in the New Year, and how should they make it happen?" Here's what they had to say.
Juneau Assembly Member District 2
Juneau is a great city filled with wonderful and dedicated people. Unfortunately, whether because of the media, education, politicians or something else, our society in general and Juneau in particular has become polarized between "us" and "them" - between the good guys and the bad guys - or at least that is the way the world looks to many of us.
For 2006, the City and Borough of Juneau should resolve to bridge that ideological divide and come together for the benefit of Juneau. We don't have to agree on religion or Iraq or Clinton or Bush. And we don't have to frame every issue as for or against development or the environment or tourism or the road.
In 2006 we can resolve to search for common ground with each other - to see places we can agree instead of focusing in on where we disagree. We can resolve to find "third ways" and win-win solutions. We can resolve to believe that we are all sincere in our desire to make Juneau a great place to live - even when some of our visions differ.
In 2006 we can resolve to seek places we can stand together.
We should resolve to recognize the value the seafood industry brings to Juneau - it is more than you probably think, tell every tourist we see about our great Alaska seafood, and eat more Alaska seafood because it is one of the most healthy foods we can eat."
Juneau Economic Development Council
Juneau should continue to strive to diversify our economy and create a welcoming culture for new members to our community and new and expanding companies. In Juneau, we have the opportunity to create additional value for existing and new businesses through the application of technology and science.
Positive growth can happen by embracing new ideas, companies and innovation. A business friendly regulatory and tax structure is critical along with open minds. As Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Juneau Assembly Member
We all know that many, if not most, New Year's resolutions never actually come to pass. Nonetheless, it is important to set high goals for ourselves and our community. In this spirit, for 2006 I think Juneau should resolve to accomplish the following:
1. Make significant progress toward an eventual North Douglas Channel crossing. More than any other potential Juneau project, a North Douglas crossing will benefit our community and prepare it for a bright future. It will open up new land for housing and economic development, improve recreational opportunities such as Eaglecrest and the planned golf course, and generally encourage positive growth.
To accomplish this, we need the help of all our city leaders - legislators, Assembly, Chamber of Commerce, and others - to persuade state and federal leaders to do what is necessary to make this project a reality.
2. Build the first segment of the downtown waterfront seawalk. A continuing focus of the Assembly on this project should make it a reality.
3. Improve recreational activities in Juneau. We need to build the new chairlift at Eaglecrest to provide earlier season skiing, develop a new plan for a valley aquatic center that voters will support, and assist the golf course developers in getting that project off the ground.
4. Improve Juneau's housing market. Principally, this means adopting the cottage housing ordinance, and continuing to explore opportunities to sell city land to developers committed to building affordable housing projects.
Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club
My New Year's resolution is to remind people that "Life is a team sport." On any sports team, various positions call for different abilities.
Good teams strive for a common goal and they harness their differing abilities towards success. When players forget that they are part of a team and stop respecting the other types of talent around them, they pull the team apart and the team fails. Communities are no different.
In this next year, let's remember that we all want to have a healthy, safe, and prosperous community for our family and friends to live in. We can disagree on the way to make that happen, but don't think for a second that the other folks don't care about their community.
Build on each other's strengths and help cover each other's weak spots. Remember, our country was founded as a team - United We Stand.
Rotary Club of Juneau "The Downtown Club"
What: Expand current recycling efforts to include curb pickup on a regular basis whether it is weekly, monthly or a combination thereof.
How: Implement a task force to sort out the pros and cons of such a challenge.
As this group begins to identify certain elements of this enterprise, a partnership could be developed with private industry, volunteers and non-profits to initiate a test bed in a selected area of Juneau to determine how it's going to work in the real world. Give this phase a realistic time frame to give the planners some good hard data to look at.
Having moved here in late 1999, I may not be fully aware of all of Juneau's efforts at recycling. If nothing else, we raise the level of consciousness again to the problem of too much garbage and the limited space in our landfill.
American Red Cross of Alaska
I would like to see everyone living in Juneau be prepared for emergency and disaster calamities. To prepare, everyone should take classes in disaster training and heath and safety; make sure their homes and businesses have gone through an emergency checklist and have followed the suggestions for maintaining adequate supplies; and have posted procedures for emergencies.
Every year, people make New Year's resolutions. If the city did the same as a group, much more could be accomplished. For safety's sake, a harder push for the North Douglas Crossing would help a great deal.
It would also mean good paying jobs. Finding ways to encourage the private sector to expand would also help the economy of Juneau. Having the community pull together rather than being at odds with each other might take a miracle but it is a goal that is well worth working toward.
In the spirit of harmony in the coming year, I submit this wish list.