Anchorage mayoral candidates address snow removal to score political points

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Snow removal is becoming a campaign issue for candidates running against Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson in 2024, and it’s picking up steam thanks to record snowfall this month.

From cars getting stuck in the snow to school closings, Bronson’s rivals say these are just a few of the administration’s failures when it comes to snow removal. Meanwhile, the mayor is keeping track of the records.

Former assembly chair and mayoral candidate Susan LaFrance said Anchorage is a winter town, and if the roads aren’t plowed, everyone will suffer.

“You know, people who have damaged their vehicles, who have been blocked on the way to work, who can’t get childcare when the schools are closed,” I heard him say. LaFrance said.

She posted a picture of herself digging out of the snow on social media. LaFrance said it’s time for strong leadership in the mayor’s office, and she already has a plan to improve snow removal. If elected, the plan would raise the base wage for operators to $25 an hour.

“Because Muni’s wages are not competitive, we can’t attract people, so we’re understaffed,” LaFrance said.

Bill Pope, a mayoral candidate and former CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, posted a video of himself on social media when cars were found stuck in the snow in his neighborhood.

“When the whole neighborhood is blocked by nine cars in the middle of the snow … and when the entrances to the neighborhood are closed with vehicles unable to leave or enter, that is a clear sign that something is not working. “No matter how deep the snow is, we need to do a better job of finding solutions to snow removal,” Pope said.

He said it’s time to start tackling snow removal more aggressively.

“Instead of looking back to the good old days of snow, we need to prepare for their road responsibilities in a joint plan with the state of Alaska. “The snow,” said Pop.

A video has surfaced on social media showing former Alaska state lawmaker and candidate Chris Tack plowing what he claims is a Bronson neighborhood.

“Well, I wanted to make sure the mayor could get to work because a lot of us couldn’t go to work,” Tuck said.

He said he thinks the snow removal problems are a shared problem between the council and the mayor, and it’s time for a new voice.

“Once you’re elected, we have to go back to the old days of people doing what’s best for your community, and the problem right now is not what’s best for our community,” Tuck said.

Bronson said he would remind the public that the administration has allocated $1.5 million for snow removal services in the proposed 2024 budget.

“The thing you have to remember here is that when you call me incompetent — and the topic I’m thinking about today is snow removal — you’re calling people who do snow removal incompetent,” Bronson said. “You can say you’re not, but at the end of the day the mayor’s exposure, the mayor’s influence on snow removal is primarily budgeting.”

Bronson thinks the opposition is trying to score political points over the snowfall Anchorage has seen in the past two years.

“So maybe you want to pay more in property taxes to solve a one-time problem, or maybe just two waves in the winter months, when we can come to terms with contracts?” Bronson said. “It seems like a more prudent and more fiscally responsible way to do it, and that’s why I’m doing it.”

Ballots will be mailed to voters in March and returned by April 2. If no candidate receives more than 45% support in the first round, a second round will be held with the top two vote getters.

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