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Back to the Sidewalk — Assemblyman Traini will introduce Repeal on Tuesday

(photo courtesy of Alaska Commons)
By Linda Kellen Biegel

A few days ago, Jeanne recounted the tale of Anchorage City Attorney, Dennis Wheeler and his role in the Mayor’s no-lying down/no-sitting sidewalk Ordinance. If you remember, Municipal Attorney Wheeler lied used “a poor choice of words” when he claimed the ordinance had been “run by” the Alaska ACLU to determine whether it was vulnerable to lawsuit. (As it turns out, “run by” is only a poor choice of words when it actually means “never spoke to the ACLU about it once.” It would only be an outright lie if…ummm when…uhhh…errr…well…back to our story…)

Assemblyman Dick Traini was the one who had the discussion with Mr. Wheeler about potential lawsuits and ACLU involvement:

Assembly Member TRAINI: Dennis, since this will end up probably in the court system if it is approved, the ACLU takes this to court, is this defensible in your
point of view?

Municipal Attorney WHEELER: Mr. Traini, this ordinance was run by the ACLU.

Assembly Member TRAINI: Did they have any problems with it?

Municipal Attorney WHEELER: They did not have any problems with it. And, that’s primarily because we drafted it after a law that was already challenged in

Assembly Member TRAINI: Because I’m wondering why ACLU is not here. Normally when something like this comes forward, if they have a problem, they
are here to testify. So, I appreciate that. Thank you.

He then voted for the Ordinance, based on Mr. Wheeler’s response.


While not always in agreement with those of us here at Mudflats, we know Assemblyman Traini to be a good guy. His response to Attorney Wheeler’s behavior (with the support and co-sponsorship of Elvi Gray-Jackson and Paul Honeman) didn’t let us down. It is An Ordinance to Procedurally Repeal for Good Cause Retroactively to November 22, 2011…” AO 2011-112. In simple terms, if passed, this would throw out the no-lying down/no-sitting sidewalk ordinance.

The Ordinance itself is two pages — the legal document to be signed by the Assembly and the attached letter/explanation from Mr. Traini. The letter shows me why I could never be a member of the Assembly. The emphasis is mine and my comments are in a very festive red & green:

The vote taken on the Mayor’s Sidewalk Ordinance, AO 2011-112 was taken in reliance on specific information requested from the Municipal Attorney, as set out in the excerpt transcribed and attached  for ease of reference.

(Note: The first place I saw the Traini/Wheeler discussion transcribed was on Mudflats…just sayin’… )

The intent of this ordinance is to reverse action taken by the Assembly on November 22, 2011 to pass and approve AO 2011-112, in light of corrections in that information from the Municipal Attorney, received by the Municipal Clerk on November 29, 2011, after the vote was taken and the time for notice of reconsideration by the Assembly had expired.

(Coincidentally, this also happened AFTER ACLU attorney Thomas Stenson handed Wheeler’s butt to him in an email exchange, and threatened to go public with his lie “poor choice of words” unless he said something to the Mayor & Assembly first.)

As noted in e-mail communication from the Municipal Attorney dated Tuesday, November 29, 2011, included as Attachment 1, the information provided by the Municipal Attorney at the
Assembly Meeting on November 22, 2011, immediately prior to the vote on the ordinance, was not accurate and the choice of words was misleading.

(Misleading, as in a fabrication, an untruth, a distortion, a deception, a fable, a falsity, a myth, a BIG, FAT, FRIGGIN’ LIE!!!  Yeah, I’m repeating myself…)

As Assembly Members, we often place legal counsel “on the spot” and it speaks to good character when the misstatements and/or misinformation are corrected. This repeal will not
foreclose future consideration by the Assembly. Repeal will simply allow for a “reset” of the matter, and ensure that the integrity of Assembly action on an important ordinance is not
clouded by misinformation from the Municipal Attorney’s Office, corrected later in good faith.

(Yeah, good faith…as in, I have “faith” that Dennis Wheeler wanted to save himself from the embarrassment of being publicly (and eloquently) called-out by an ACLU attorney.  Did he think no one would find out?  Silly, silly lawyer…)

This Ordinance is only being introduced tomorrow (Tuesday). I am unsure at this time if there will be public testimony.  I also do not know if the vote will occur during the last Assembly Meeting of 2011, December 13th or sometime in January. We will find out more tomorrow night. If it isn’t repealed before the Ordinance takes effect on December 22nd, I know where I’ll be…occupying a lunch break on the City Hall sidewalk!



13 Responses to “Back to the Sidewalk — Assemblyman Traini will introduce Repeal on Tuesday”
  1. carol says:

    Please, quit being shy and really tell us how you feel! LMAO. Loved it!

  2. leenie17 says:

    I can’t decide if it’s arrogance or stupidity that makes these people think their lies will never be exposed. I’m not sure which is worse.

    Props to Assemblyman Traini for doing the right thing and following through.

  3. Terise says:

    Every once in a while I get to be proud of someone from my district…believe me with state pols like Charisse Millet and Kevin Meyer, it’s not too often. So just let me offer a big “Thank You” to Dick Traini for being…himself: reasonable, thoughtful, and unwilling to put up with (ahem…) people who “misspoke.”

  4. tallimat says:

    So Bartender/Mayor Sullivan’s city attorney is a IDIOT. As well as a waste of public funds.

    Does any one know if the guy will be reprimanded?
    He should be picking up trash in city parks this spring.
    Make the work off the public money he wasted with his worthless, false words.

  5. UgaVic says:

    Have to throw my thanks in there too for the work you two ladies have done to make us aware and update us on this issue.

    I too hope the assembly does the right thing and that there is time to get them to rethink their entire thought process on this issue and not try to pass a future mean spirited ordnance to deal with this.

    Unfortunately I will not be in Anchorage on the 22nd to join Miss L IF this is not taken care of before hand, but I will be there in spirit!!

  6. Sane in Redding says:

    It would be interesting to get a background on the illustrious (read tongue in cheek) Mr. Wheeler. Thank you Jeanne and Linda for your bringing this power grab to the fore.

  7. Zyxomma says:

    Very entertaining write-up.

  8. Writing from Alaska says:

    🙂 Look forward to how this develops. 🙂 Thank you, Linda and Jeanne for your entertaining write ups!!

  9. John says:

    Traini is the kind of politician that used to be welcome in the Republican party. He is honest, thoughtful, conservative, civil. Those old style public servants have been pushed aside by the tea partiers.

  10. juneaudream says: the raveling/unraveling of this most juicy morsel..and the new letters to be..commited to memory..BFFL!

  11. Alaska Pi says:

    This is so sensible and the very best of what we want our governing bodies to do when decisions are made on bad information and/or lies.
    Good luck ANC. I hope Mr Traini’s good sense prevails and the full Assembly understands the importance of this.

  12. mike from iowa says:

    Please rescind my request to kick the Assemblyman once or twice for me. If people are not allowed to lie on sidewalks,shouldn’t they be barred from lying in Assembly meetings? Maybe they should be penalized twice for sitting and lying at Assembly meetings. Mayhaps they need to be placed under oath to force them not to lie. A really big thank you for all your time and effort spent with the whackos of Alaska.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] with the law. And when Mr. Traini found out that they did, he was steamed about getting duped, and tried to get the ordinance repealed in December before it even went into effect, but to no […]

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