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September 20, 2021

Assemblyman Admits Back Room Shenanigans

Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting promised to be more interesting than usual, but no one was expecting the jaw-dropping admission of blatant politicking by a supporter of the Mayor on the Assembly, and that the peoples’ referendum to repeal a draconian labor ordinance was being set up as a casualty of electoral manipulation. The Anchorage Assembly passed its anti-union, anti-public-employee Ordinance 37 back in March of 2013 despite hours and hours of testimony against it. In fact, Chair Ernie Hall even cut off testimony with many still waiting for an opportunity to speak. That led to the filing of a petition to…

Did You Miss Irony Week?

I have to admit, I missed it. Apparently it was Irony Week in the Municipality from May 5-11. Luckily we have Mayor Dan Sullivan on the job, raising Irony Week to new heights of… well, irony. This winter, hundreds of people – municipal workers of all stripes, and supporters from the community, filed into the Assembly chambers to protest the erosion of collective bargaining rights, and threats to the livelihood of public workers in the form of the Mayor’s Ordinance 37. They stood in line, they waited in seats, they filled the lobby. They went on their day off, their…

Assembly Passes Anti-Labor Ordinance

I should have known things would go awry when Dan Coffey held the door for me as I entered the Assembly Chambers. Tuesday night was the vote on Ordinance 37, which will gut the collective bargaining rights of municipal workers, and introduce “managed competition.” There was a bunch of business before they got to the bill, but this was my favorite. Adam Trombley, the head of the Ethics and Elections Committee stated that the reason the committee had met only once since last year’s debacle of a Municipal election was that he “didn’t want to crowd the schedule at the…

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…

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…

3/1 Traini Solidarity Bomb!

Assemblyman Dick Traini is standing up for workers. Let’s support him with a money bomb! Whether a firefighter, teacher, police officer, electrician, small or large business owner, student, stay-at-home mom, or anything in between, we MUST stand in solidarity at this crucial time in Anchorage. Anchorage needs the right energy, right ideas, and right experience to move the city forward in a responsible manner that mirrors the will of the people. Thats my one and only promise to you — to be a public servant of the people. Can you help me send this message to Anchorage? Lets raise $5,000…

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…

Tuesday Testimony for Ordinance 37?

Despite confusion from the Administration, Public Testimony on Anti-Worker Ordinance 37 is officially scheduled to start TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH sometime after 6:00 pm. This ordinance would freeze Muni employee pay and benefits forever, gut collective bargaining rights, and sets up “managed competition,” in which city employees would bid against private contractors for work. There has been conflicting information circulating about when public testimony is supposed to begin. Assembly Chair, Ernie Hall announced to a Working Group held last Friday between the Assembly and the unions that the testimony would begin on Wednesday, February 27th. Mayor Sullivan repeated that same announcement…