Two of the Central Kenai Peninsula's three members of the Alaska Legislature called a couple of community meetings for Saturday. A packed meeting with residents concerned over state budget cuts to Wildwood Prison was held Saturday morning in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers. In attendance were Rep. Ben Carpenter of Nikiski and Sen. Peter Micciche of Kenai.
Another meeting followed at noon for those concerned about fixing Senate Bill 91 from last session and the attack on education spending in the governor's budget. It had even more attendees.
Once underway, Micciche started by going through a survey he took of his constituents, throwing out a seemingly never-ending string of approval and disapproval percentages on various topics for nearly a half an hour.
“You've already made it clear that you want the budget reduced, but you've made it clear that you want public safety and education funding to go up. You’ve made it clear that you want your dividend at a full amount, which I've committed to support,” Sen. Micciche said. “But I've got to ask you how all that balances. That's a conversation we need to be having. How does all that balance out mathematically? Math is hard."
Afterward, citizens did come forward with many ideas and suggestions — here is an excerpt from the nearly three-hour meeting. Note that many people did not identify themselves when speaking.
The Central Peninsula's third member of the Legislature, Rep. Gary Knopp said he was not invited to Saturday's town hall meeting, pointing out that he had held one the week before. He added that he would've turned down the invitation anyway, saying that it would not have been fair to subject Micciche and Carpenter to the distraction of his role in the House organization this year.