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May 16, 2021

Zach’s Election Central Photos

It was a smaller Election Central than usual on the second floor of the Dena’ina Center but by the end of the night it was packed. It was a night of blow outs with several candidates running unopposed and at least one seat changing hands. The Nick Moe write in campaign was surprisingly successful and at last word was under 100 votes from the incumbent Ernie Hall. I guess it’s not an election in Alaska without at least one recount.  

Election Good News!

Yes. Election. Good. News. Let’s just sit with that for a moment. As always, there are the last ballots to be counted, and write-in votes to be scrutinized, but here’s where we stand so far: Bettye Davis for School Board handed Don Smith his walking papers (and his rear end) with a decisive 54-45 victory for the seat Smith currently occupies. Bettye is amazing in her own right, but Don Smith’s latest shenanigans and nastiness didn’t help his cause. Davis recently lost her established State Senate seat after Republican redistricting sliced up her former district. It’s good to have her…

Hall Gets Flamed by Fire Department

A letter to Anchorage Assembly Chair Ernie Hall, from Tom Wescott, President of the Alaska Professional Firefighters about Ordinance 37, which is scheduled to be voted on by the Assembly on Tuesday, March 26. Mr. Hall is up for re-election on Tuesday, April 2. Hall is opposed by write-in candidate Nick Moe. Click HERE to learn what you can do to support Moe’s campaign, and to see if you are in the district. March 25, 2013 Chairman Hall, I am writing you to express my disgust in the role you have played in AO-37. As someone who assured our local…

The Many Faces of Ernie Hall

As Tuesday draws near, bringing with it the probable passage of Mayor Sullivan’s anti-labor “Employee Relations Act,” I still have a question for Assembly Chair Ernie Hall. Among the ardent supporters of Anchorage Ordinance 37, on which Chair Hall’s name is listed as the sponsor, are lawmakers who crusaded against unions during their campaigns. During his first run against Dick Traini, Andy Clary told a crowd that he felt limiting city contracts to the public sector was “wrong.” Back in 2010, he said: “I believe that excludes a whole crop of private contractors out there which, if we opened the…

AO37 Testimony Ends, Vote May Be Delayed (VIDEO)

Last night was the last round of scheduled public testimony on Anchorage Ordinance 37,  which would take away the rights of municipal unions for binding arbitration, the right to strike, and would restrict annual raises. AO37 would also utilize managed competition to outsource city work done by public employees to private companies. For another five-hour session, city workers and supporters of labor stood on the podium and gave their three-minute testimony. Sadly, their opinions and experiences seemed less interesting to the Mayor than his manicure. Ultimately, police officers, firefighters, city employees, and concerned citizens were left standing in line to…

ACLU: Assembly Cannot End Testimony

Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska Foundation submitted a letter to Ernie Hall, Chairman of the Anchorage Assembly on Friday. Mittman cites the Municipal Charter,  Assembly Practice, and the rights inherent in public fora to state that any Anchorage citizens still waiting to testify on Ordinance 37 at the end of Monday’s meeting, must have the right to do so, and the Assembly must schedule another meeting for further public testimony. Hall had stated that testimony would be cut off at 11:00pm on Monday, regardless of whether citizens remained in line wishing to testify. Earlier in the…

AO37 Testimony Still Going Strong

After 15 combined hours of testimony, the line of people waiting to address Assembly members stretched to the back of the room, and the auditorium was more than half full. It was 11:00 at night on a Wednesday. There is no doubt that the issue of Ordinance 37, which would radically alter the collective bargaining rights, and benefits of city workers, has hit Alaskans close to home. Longevity and performance bonuses, the right to strike, binding arbitration, and who exactly will decide the outcome of contract negotiations all hang in the balance. For the last week and a half, the…

3/8 Steele for Assembly

I love my city, and I love my job

“It’s starting to feel like a rock concert.” I agreed with the anonymous voice drifting over the mass of people, packed like sardines into the lobby of the Assembly chambers. Bright lights were on, TV cameras set up, and people were fanning themselves with folders, and papers. Everyone was here to testify on Ordinance 37, the mayor’s attempt to take advantage of the current makeup of the Assembly to push through a law that would restrict workers’ rights, and curtail collective bargaining for public unions. The turnout was impressive. I wasn’t sure if anyone had shown up to testify in…

Socialists? Marxists? No – Republicans!

I want to be a Republican and I want a time machine. Oh, I’m not going all Lindsey Holmes on you; I need a time machine to find the Grand Old Party. I have to thank Mayor Dan Sullivan for starting me on this quest. A few weeks ago, at five minutes until closing time, the mayor announced a plan to roll back more than four decades of labor policy in Anchorage. It wasn’t the first shot in his war on working men and women in our town — but this was the nuclear option. I take it as a…