Bill Evans

Bill Evans

Age: 60

Family: Melinda Evans, spouse

Occupation: Attorney

Previous government experience or community involvement: Anchorage Assembly 2014-2017; Municipal Transportation Commission; Municipal Employee Relations Board; State Mental Health Board; Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Highest level of education: Juris Doctorate, University of Michigan Law School

What is the latest book you’ve read? Or, what book do you recommend and why?: “A Bright Shining Lie.” But I would recommend “The Color of Law.” It provides a useful insight into past policies which have led to current issues of a racially segregated America.

COVID closures, cancelled civic and culture events and the decline of summer tourists have turned Anchorage’s downtown into “a ghost town.” How will you revitalize downtown Anchorage?

Anchorage’s downtown was turning into a ghost town prior to COVID-19. The solutions to revitalizing downtown require a commitment to focusing on business development, reducing bureaucratic obstacles to development and a willingness to partner with developers and investors to spur economic activity.

Do you support a minimum wage of $15 for municipal workers? Why or why not?

No. The municipality has an obligation to the taxpayers to pay a competitive wage for its employees. Increasing the entry level wage for municipal workers will put pressure on small businesses to compete for workers when they are already struggling to recover. Increased economic development will do more to improve the standard of living for all Anchorage workers.

What ideas do you have to ensure that the make-up of the municipal workforce reflects the diversity of the Anchorage community?

Better outreach for recruiting into underrepresented communities. Development of extern and intern programs where appropriate to provide better avenues to municipal employment.

With steep declines in revenue sharing from the state of Alaska, how will you support essential city services? Will this level of support be enough to attract future investment?

We need to really stop talking about declines in state revenue sharing which has been going on for several years and has been very small the last several years already. Anchorage needs to be able to support itself. This will require a commitment by the community to pay for its necessary services and to strategically invest in necessary infrastructure improvements.

Do you have a commitment to incorporate and utilize renewable energy sources?

Renewable energy resources should be incorporated and utilized to the full extent they make sense economically. Moreover, the municipality should look towards the burgeoning alternative energy industry for development and investment opportunities for Anchorage. The world is moving towards alternative energy sources and Anchorage should not miss opportunities to capitalize on this trend.

Anchorage has a shortage of housing at multiple income levels. What can you do to mitigate the problem and how will you influence housing development toward what the city needs?

The municipality should reduce the costs associated with its building and permitting bureaucracy, change its requirement to burden new developments with the full cost of infrastructure additions and improvements, reduce the reliance on property taxes as the main revenue source for the municipal budget and continue to revise non-safety related provisions of Title 21 to eliminate unnecessary housing costs.

The homeless crisis in Anchorage is persistent, disturbing and humanly tragic. How do you plan to help the municipality solve this crisis?

Anchorage has to commit to taking charge of, and solving, its homelessness problems. It must provide adequate shelter space for its homeless population. It must remove the incentive for homeless and other persons to congregate on street corners and it must reduce the amount of unsheltered homeless (i.e. camps). Currently, Anchorage only serves as a pass-through for funds and thus has no ability to direct activities and actually solve the problem.

Anchorage is a university town with two institutions, one public and one private. What opportunities does this represent to the municipality?

Proximity to a good university is a significant factor in determining which cities thrive in the 21st century. Anchorage should take all possible steps to improve the level of education offered by its local universities and create business/university partnerships that can mutually benefit the universities and the local business community.

Can the mayor influence the tone of community dialogue? How?

Yes. The mayor should be focused on solutions and not on politics. Solving problems that the entire community shares, such as homelessness and crime rates, can unify the city. Setting an example by being civil, courteous, responsive and respectful is important. They mayor should emphasize being the mayor for all of Anchorage, not a particular segment or base.

Local builders continually complain about delays in the municipal permitting process, and that Title 21 requirements make homes expensive. The complaints are old. Will you make changes?

Yes. A culture change that is more reflective of getting developments approved in a safe and cost-effective manner must take place within our municipal bureaucracy. This will involve both changes to Title 21 and effective labor/management relations.