Joe Westfall

Age: 79

Family: Just me

Occupation: Retired engineer, business owner

Previous government experience or community involvement: USN (SS), AMRG, BIKE ANCHORAGE, KIWANIS

Highest level of education: Graduate

What is the latest book you’ve read? Or, what book do you recommend and why?: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Because there always will be.

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?

Return to normal occupancy, with masking.

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

Not if it would cause a direct or indirect increase in property taxes.

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

Make sure the municipal workers union complies with diversity loading, as it is them who are ultimately in control.

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?

The next few years are going to be lean and mean. Any candidate who paints a rosy picture is suspicious.

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

Yes, solar and nuclear have been successful at this latitude. Solar in warm months, nuclear in cold months. Wind from Fire Island actually costs customers more at this point.

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?

Listen to the housing industry and the community councils to determine the best choices to put forth to the assembly.

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

Well, right now the assembly has taken the insane opinion that it is solvable. There is a certain component of the homeless that shall never be productive citizens, and for those we need to determine the percentage and the identity. For the rest there is worthwhile effort to get them to a point of returning to work so that they can support themselves and become productive members of our society either as new or returning members. It is important to realize that if the homeless person came from a society prior to coming to Anchorage it is important to get that society involved in helping.

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

Well first off, there are more than two. Search the pandemic, remote learning has risen to a new level. The University of Arizona is one of the largest remote learning degreed programs. Adapting that model for Alaska and Anchorage, in particular, could generate a good deal of revenue and notoriety for the municipality

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

Yes. By being a much better listener than an orator.

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?

It is certainly worth investigating.