Burgess: Incumbent running on his record

In spite of evidence to the contrary, I believe most people can make good decisions if provided with good information. My only intent when first seeking political office in 2012 was to test this belief. Unlike the other five candidates running for City Council this year, I’m running on my record — a record of clarity, honesty, integrity and action.  

I’ve worked hard to make my positions on issues clear, to explain my reasoning, and to be open to new evidence.  I’ve voted based on good data and sound reasoning, not based on which vocal group made the most noise. Being an effective City Council person is not about winning popularity contests by telling people what they want to hear, or by not saying anything substantive lest people take offence. It’s about ensuring the long-term economic, social and environmental well-being of Homer and its people. Democracy rests on the shoulders of citizens who are capable of making difficult decisions that are in the best interest of the community.  I believe that most citizens can handle the truth and are ready to be part of a discussion.

The core challenge of the Homer City Council in the coming years is significant — how to balance the budget. Much could be said about how we got where we are today.  Much of it has to do with the state of Alaska and international oil markets, and has nothing to do with the City of Homer.  

Some assessments of the problem are overblown, and others are far too optimistic.  But regardless of how we got here, your next City Council is going to have to choose between one of these three options, or a combination thereof, to balance a budget shortfall of more than $1 million:  (1)  Increase revenues by increasing taxes, (2)  Cut or eliminate city services and/or staffing in a very significant way or  (3)  Use creative accounting or deception of the public to avoid addressing the budget problem and thereby pass the problem to future city residents (the “kick the can” option).

I do not look forward to having to make these decisions. I pity the folks that do. But on Election Day I urge you to elect candidates who will be honest, open and clear.  When city council candidates tell you that the current budget shortfall can be addressed only by cutting a few costs, and that these cuts will not significantly affect city services, these candidates have either not familiarized themselves with the city budget or are being disingenuous. Either way, this is not a basis for honesty, integrity or good governance. 

Homer needs more than a good self-promoter.  We need an open discussion based on good information. I’m ready to sit at the table and use real information to make decisions I will own. If you enjoy always being told what you want to hear, please don’t vote for me.