Vote, and be counted
Dear Neighbor,
I'm worried that the very reasonable concerns about COVID-19 may result in some Alaskans forgetting to vote in the Anchorage vote-by-mail election, or forget to fill out the Census survey. Please check your mail if you haven't already, so you can vote (if you live in Anchorage) and be counted for the Census.
Anchorage Municipal Election:
Anchorage's vote-by-mail Municipal election ends Tuesday, April 7th, so we're down to the wire to get your ballot in the mail. The only other option for voting is to vote early in-person at City Hall, open normal business hours Monday and 7am-8pm on Tuesday. In additional to Assembly races across the city, there are important bond propositions for schools, public safety, and our park infrastructure. Ballot item #11 asks whether on-site consumption of marijuana should be allowed, and ballot measure #12 asks whether all Assembly districts should have equal representation. In effect, this would mean adding a member for the Downtown district. Ballot measure #13 would modestly increase alcohol taxes to improve public safety, camp abatement, and addiction treatment. For more details, visit the Muni's elections webpage.
U.S. Census:
The decennial Census is taking place right now. Our response rate in Alaska will have billion dollar implications on how much money Alaska receives from the federal government for health care, infrastructure, and other core services. Please take the time to respond to the Census now. Our state is more dependent on public investment than any other, and we cannot afford to lose federal investment at a time of economic crisis. Remember: If you don't fill out the Census, that means more money for Mississippi (and every other state) and less investment in our backyard. If you're a landlord, make sure your tenants fill out the census form, or do it for them if you live in a duplex or multifamily unit. Finally, please consider partnering with Alaska Counts, a partnership of community organizations working to make sure every Alaskan is counted. 
Alaska's Fiscal Reality:
Did you know that we face more than a half-billion dollar deficit next year even if there's a $0 Permanent Fund Dividend? I wrote an op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News about our budget outlook. Representative Chuck Kopp wrote a related op-ed on why the legislature couldn't afford to appropriate a double dividend this year, and he's absolutely right. We must not burn through the Permanent Fund or violate the Percent of Market Value statute, which is essential for our state's long term economic health and preservation of essential services like education, public safety, and transportation.
Support Our Downtown Businesses:
Are you tired of cooking every single meal? Me too. Take a break and consider ordering take-out or delivery from one of our outstanding Downtown businesses that are still open, like Club Paris, Fire Island, 49th State, Simon and Seaforts, Urban Greens, Crush, Marx Brothers, and Lucky Wishbone, just to name a few. New Sagaya remains open, and Mill and Feed is as well, including with pickup and delivery options. I appreciate all our business owners who are doing everything they can to survive this crisis and keep workers employed--if you have the means, please consider patronizing our local businesses during this crisis. 
See you around the a distance.
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