• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 41s

Anchorage Assembly hears more on labor law vote

By KTVA CBS 11 News 4:55 PM October 10, 2013

Assembly/voters divided on election timing

ANCHORAGE – Gerrymandering, mudslinging, backstabbing — those were some of the words brought up at Wednesday’s Anchorage Assembly public hearing. The assembly ran into overtime on Tuesday night, so they suspended the hearing to listen to more testimony on AO-37.

First, the back story of the controversial labor law:

AO-37 came before the assembly this spring. The mayor and supporters of the measure claimed the measure streamlined labor in the municipality. City unions countered it inhibited their rights to negotiate. City unions like firefighters’ unions and police officers’ unions fought the decision. The Assembly heard dozens of hours of testimony. Despite a strong showing from city workers at Anchorage Assembly meetings, the body voted to pass AO-37 this spring.

City unions decided to try to put the issue to the voters. They put out a petition to get a referendum on the ballot. The petition gathered more than enough signatures. Wednesday night, Anchorage Assembly members heard comments on whether that measure should come sooner or later.

Those who support AO-37 said it’s best delayed until the general election in 2014. Assembly member Jennifer Johnston said, “It’s just to get as many voters as possible.”

Those opposed said setting the date to a general election is political strategy. In an interview last month Dick Traini theorized in a general election, more Republicans vote. He said the GOP will likely vote against the unions. That’s where all those dirty names come in. During public testimony, Cameron Hokenson quoted things he’d heard people say at the last meeting — “Yesterday people used terms like gerrymandering, mudslinging, backstabbing, dark-of-night-decisions, back-door meetings, many other unflattering things to describe how the whole process has played out”

“I think that’s mainly a delaying tactic,” said Cornelius Eastman. He doesn’t work for the city, but opposes AO-37. As a union worker, he wanted to support city workers who feel this ordinance infringes on their right to collectively bargain.

Linda Kellen Biegel doesn’t work for the city either. She’s also opposed to AO-37. She said the proponents don’t have a good reputation. “This administrative body can’t afford another incident where the perception of shenanigans is once again on display,” she said during public testimony.

Assembly member Jennifer Johnston said it’s not about shenanigans, it’s just an important issue that is better addressed by more Anchorage voters. She cited local turnout in most city elections. “With that low margin … you would question really how the people felt, so I would rather have it in the general election with a high voter turnout,” she said, “and you can get an idea. You can have a discussion and find out how they feel about it.”

On Wednesday, a lot of the testimony was from city employees and union representatives who wanted an earlier election.

Richard Braun wasn’t part of that group. He told the assembly the unions seemed too powerful. “Our city is supposed to be run by elected officials,” he said, “and I get a feeling in listening to the original argument that the unions think they can set the rules. I object to that.”

The assembly got an earful, but they won’t be voting on the measure this week. Its suspended a decision until later in October.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Funding cuts threaten Alaskan nonprofits

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 03, 22:48

    Alaska’s safety-net agencies are there to help residents during the hardest of times, but now they face a crisis of their own. Every year, the Department of Health and Social Services awards community matching grants to Alaskan nonprofits. Those funds are set to be downsized dramatically by the House Finance committee on Thursday. If they are, […]

  • News

    Anchorage proposes sale of Solid Waste Services’ collection unit

    by Kate McPherson on Mar 03, 22:10

    The Municipality of Anchorage is proposing to sell the collections division of Solid Waste Services (SWS). A resolution was introduced on behalf of Mayor Dan Sullivan at Tuesday night’s Anchorage Assembly meeting. Assemblyman Paul Honeman said the idea needs to be analyzed to make sure it’s in the best interest of the rate payer. “We […]

  • Politics

    Daylight saving time bill springs forward

    by Associated Press on Mar 03, 21:40

    A Senate committee has advanced legislation that would eliminate daylight saving time and allow for consideration of another time zone in Alaska. The bill would exempt Alaskans from advancing their clocks each spring. It would also direct the governor to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to consider moving part or all of Alaska to […]

  • News

    Valdez police teach residents safety preparedness

    by Jacquie Slater on Mar 03, 21:20

    The Valdez Police Department says their community is ready should an active shooter ever take aim at their city. Back in May of 2013, the department trained in a program called ALICE — which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. The program’s founder, Greg Crane, says it is designed to be a proactive […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, March 3

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 03, 19:37

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Expect scattered rain and snow showers with a snow elevation at 1200 to 1400 feet. Southeast Just about all locations will see rain showers overnight as moisture moves into the panhandle. Interior/North Slope Interior locations will see scattered snow showers at times with light accumulations. The northern Brooks Range […]

  • News

    Adjustable desks help Anchorage architecture firm improve employees’ health

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 03, 19:29

    One look inside KPB Architects’ new space and it’s evident it’s not your average office. Employees aren’t just standing around; they’re standing at their desks. “I’d say about 80 percent of the day I stand and work,” said interior designer Alisha Weiss. Every workstation has an adjustable table that raises and lowers so employees aren’t […]

  • News

    Anchorage food pantry reopens its doors after closing for a month

    by Dave Leval on Mar 03, 19:24

    Jade Ransom lined up for several hours before she could buy groceries. She is not alone as several dozen people waited outside the New Hope on the Last Frontier church on E Street, near downtown Anchorage, on Tuesday morning. Ransom and others have been waiting for the church’s pantry to reopen its doors since Feb. […]

  • News

    Downtown Anchorage business owner calls 2015 ‘worst year’ for Fur Rondy

    by Bonney Bowman on Mar 03, 17:42

    The Fur Rendezvous festival usually brings an annual influx of people and money into downtown Anchorage, but this year, it looks as if Mother Nature had different ideas for the Fourth Avenue festival. No snow forced organizers to cancel the dog sled races, typically Rondy’s biggest draw. Event organizers say the unseasonably warm temperatures, lack of […]