FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Four candidates are running to be the next mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. One important issue facing the borough right now is air quality. The candidates were asked how they felt about proposition four on the ballot, which prohibits the borough from regulating home heating.
Candidate Bryce Ward said, "It would make it more difficult I believe for us to have effective control measures, in a short time frame at the local level. Does it mean that we're not going to be able to tackle this still? No, I think we're still going to be able to continue to make progress, it just might not be at the same speed and rate that is necessary in order for us to not be faced with some of those federal level regulations, but ultimately I think we'll still be able to make some things work. It just won't be as effective."
Candidate Robert Shields said, "If we're going to solve the big problem, we need to start looking at the larger solution, and no one seems to do that. That's why I'm voting yes on four, so we can end the discussion of wood smoke, so we can start focusing on other sources of pollution, other sources of air quality that we can use here and now to improve this situation before it gets worse."
Candidate Christopher Quist said, "I feel strongly that it needs to be defeated. So if proposition four passes, it would remove the borough's ability to regulate home heating. So we have a problem. It's a real problem, but even if you wanted to ignore the real health effects, there's regulatory pressure from the state and the feds that will not go away, even if we remove the borough's ability to regulate home heating. So if we want local, Fairbanks, North Pole sized solutions to this problem, we need to maintain borough control. "
Candidate Nadine Winters said, "I think there's been an enormous amount of conversation and an enormous amount of meetings and groups, and I think at the end of the day, what the feds call control measures, not very aptly named, but we just have to pick the least onerous solution that we can. And we just need to implement it, so that we can clean the air up. I'm a no vote. I think the solutions are better local. There's just no way we're not a better determiner of our future then I'd say larger government, and so I'm hoping like in the past, that that gets defeated."
These candidates are running to fill the seat of Mayor Karl Kassel who chose not to run for a second term for personal reasons.