From Sen. Bill Wielechowski <[email protected]>
Subject East High Pool, Governor's Vetoes, and New Homeless Camp
Date July 7, 2022 11:15 PM
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The latest from Senator Bill Wielechowski July 7 , 2022 Senator Bill Wielechowski State Capitol, Rm 9 Juneau, AK 99801 800-550-2435 907-465-2435 [email protected] 1500 W Benson #315 Anchorage, AK 99503 907-269-0120 Contact My Staff Sonja Kawasaki Chief of Staff [email protected] David Dunsmore Legislative Aide [email protected] Nick Moe Legislative Aide [email protected] Contact the Governor Governor Dunleavy's Anchorage office may be reached at 269-7450, or e-mail him at [email protected] Visit the state website ________________ Dear Friends & Neighbors, I hope you enjoyed the 4th of July weekend! Here is an update about the Bettye Davis East High School pool reopening, the Governor's budget vetoes, and the homeless camp situation at Centennial Park. You will also find information about an excellent job opportunity with the Municipality of Anchorage below. Thank you for reading my e-news! East High Pool Reopening After four long years and many phone calls to the Municipality and School District from my office, I am happy to report the pool at Bettye Davis East High School is being filled with water this week! I was joined by the East High swim coach and a few families from the swim team for the ceremonial refilling of the pool. We received a briefing from staff and they let us know it will take a few weeks to fill, test the pumps and finish some repairs, but the goal is to have it open by August. This timeline to reopen the pool means that the East high swim team will be able to use their own pool for the swim season and can avoid the bus rides to the Bartlett pool for training. Thank you to the many parents, students, and community members who helped get this reopened! But we need your help with one more thing: The Municipality needs lifeguards! It's estimated that 3-5 additional lifeguards will be needed to staff the East High Pool along with 8 or more lifeguard positions that could help staff area lakes in Anchorage. The Municipality is offering free training for anyone who meets the basic swim requirements. It's a great job for young Alaskans since it is a flexible schedule. Please share with all of your friends, family, neighbors, and older teens you know. To apply for the lifeguard position, click here. Lifeguard Position Description. Apply today! Governor Dunleavy Vetoes This week Governor Dunleavy announced his vetoes of the legislature’s enacted budget. Among others, I was disappointed by vetoes of child care assistance and money for a homeless housing trust that I was able to pass in the budget through the legislative process. With the struggle the state faces with the lack of child care for working families and the crisis of homelessness we’ve been experiencing, it’s surprising that the Governor would refuse to devote needed resources to address these problems at this time. I was also disappointed to see funds for the Alaska Long Trail—a project that I’ve pushed for two years now and that is widely supported by the members of the legislature all over the state—were cut for all segments outside of Anchorage. I envision the Long Trail will someday be established as world-class hiking and camping trail that will attract visitors from all corners of the globe and will become a major economic driver for the state in all sectors of business. Last year, the governor cut 100% of the funding I was able to pass in the budget. It’s unfortunate that the governor does not share this vision for Alaska's economy. Here are some of Governor Dunleavy’s budget vetoes: $4 million (of $5 million total) for child care assistance $4 million (of $5 million total) for Housing Trust to address homelessness $4.3 million to the Food Bank of Alaska $1.4 million for senior and disability services $1.8 million to hire more Criminal Division attorneys and staff $673,700 to assist in finding Missing Persons $22.5 million for statewide deferred maintenance $62.5 million for school major maintenance $52 million to refill the college scholarship fund $27 million for University of Alaska deferred maintenance All Alaska Long Trail items outside Anchorage $300k capital grant to Alaska Black Caucus for construction of an Equity Center Salary increments for Court System employees $6 million for Tudor Road/Patterson (Muldoon curve) safety improvements $1.3 million in federal funds for Muldoon Library $89.3 million to fully fund public employee pension and retirement liabilities An additional deposit to Permanent Fund principal if oil prices are over $110/ barrel $1.5 million for Public Broadcasting in rural Alaska $2.6 million for Technical Vocational Education Program $340,000 for Alaska Native Arts Economy and Workforce Training In contrast to the important things that were vetoed this year, a few things that were not cut this year and that shockingly remain supported by the governor: $1.3 billion in oil production tax credits $390 million in carried-forward oil tax credits $150 million to Texas oil company in corporate income tax loophole Centennial Park Homeless Camp A little over a week ago, I was informed that a sign was posted in Centennial Park announcing that Centennial Campground was closed and being repurposed. I immediately asked my staff to get to the bottom of this. We learned, that despite no announcement being made to the public, Mayor Bronson had unilaterally decided to cancel all reservations at Centennial Campground and instead use it as a campground for people experiencing homelessness who were being evicted from Davis Park and the Sullivan Arena. It was shocking that this decision was made without consulting the Northeast Community Council or any East Anchorage elected officials and I sent a letter to Mayor Bronson, along with Assemblymembers Forrest Dunbar and Pete Petersen, expressing our strong concern, explaining some of the many reasons why this is a particularly bad location for a campsite for people experiencing homelessness, and urging the mayor to reconsider. This unilateral decision by Mayor Bronson to convert Centennial Park into a mass homeless camping area is very troubling. While the homelessness issue is significant and demands serious solutions, this decision was done behind closed doors without any input from the public, the Northeast Community Council, local state, or municipal officials. I urge the Mayor to reconsider this decision and work with the local community. I attended the emergency meeting by Northeast Community Council to hear neighbor concerns and listen to the Mayor's office explain their lack of transparency. You can watch my live stream of that meeting here: [link removed] I am already hearing about safety concerns from area residents. I've also heard about several run-ins with bears by campers that have led to 4 bears being killed. You can find the letter I co-wrote to Mayor Bronson here: [link removed] East Anchorage Capital Projects I am pleased to report that all of the East Anchorage projects I worked to include in the budget were signed into law. These include $500,000 for the second phase of development at Chantshnu Muldoon Park, $500,000 for improving pedestrian safety in the Russian Jack area, $500,000 for traffic calming in Northeast Anchorage, $150,000 for community gardens in the Russian Jack area, and $10,000 each for the Nunaka Valley and Northeast Community Patrols. I am confident these projects will help make East Anchorage safer and more vibrant, and I am glad that the governor saw the need for these projects. Unfortunately, there were two East Anchorage that Governor Dunleavy choose to veto. Representative Liz Snyder worked to include $6 million for installing a signalized intersection at Tudor and Patterson to improve safety along the Tudor/ Muldoon curve which is one of the most dangerous stretches of a major road in the state, as well as a $1.3 million for improvements to the Muldoon Library. I greatly appreciate Rep. Snyder’s work on these projects and I am disappointed that the governor chose to veto them. As always, feel free to reach out to my office if I can be of assistance. Warmly, Alaska Senate Democrats | Capitol Building, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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