• 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

    Parent objects to showing of drug documentary

    by Associated Press on Nov 24, 11:20

    A Juneau mother says her 12-year-old daughter came home from a school health class with a little too much insight into how to cook and smoke methamphetamine. The Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/1vFP3pQ) reports Tauni Duncan objected after her daughter watched a documentary, the National Geographic Channel’s “World’s Most Dangerous Drug,” as part of a drug awareness […]

  • On-Air

    Teacher of the Week: John Bruce

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 24, 10:37

    You wouldn’t consider these seventh-grade algebra students football fanatics. But you can bet they know who the defending Super Bowl champions are. In a way, Seattle Seahawks fan John Bruce is like coach in the classroom, teaching his students ways to use math in the real world. “Kids always ask you, ‘why are we doing […]

  • News

    Hawaii and Alaska pay more for Thanksgiving feasts

    by Associated Press on Nov 24, 8:57

    Residents of Hawaii pay the highest prices in the nation for their tasty birds and fixings on Thanksgiving, and Alaska feasts are almost as expensive. That’s according to an analysis by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Most food has to be flown or shipped into both states. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports (http://goo.gl/6HhPO2) that Hilo and […]

  • Sports

    UAA rebounds with a 4-0 win against Northern Michigan

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 24, 8:12

    It should be a happy Thanksgiving for the UAA hockey team after a victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats over the weekend.

  • Sports

    UAA teams gain momentum ahead of Great Alaska Shootout

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 24, 8:04

    As the Great Alaska Shootout approaches, the UAA men’s and women’s basketball teams are headed in the right direction. The tournament, which kicks off Tuesday, will be held at the Alaska Airlines Center.

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Nov. 24

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 24, 7:50

    Mostly cloudy skies today with a few showers over the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound. In the Southeast skies will be cloudy with rain at times. In the Interior skies will be cloudy. On the North Slope there will be mostly to partly cloudy skies with flurries and fog. Out West skies will be […]

  • News

    Geothermal energy at Pilgrim Hot Springs could help Nome’s costly power problem

    by Alexis Fernandez on Nov 24, 7:33

    Alaska’s oil boom days may be more numbered than we realize. Because of this, a popular hot springs near Nome is hoping to tap into an underground heat source to help solve its rising electricity costs. The site is located on the outskirts of Nome, about 60 miles away in a valley surrounded by mountains. “It’s […]

  • Lifestyle

    Photo Gallery: Dall sheep along Seward Highway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 24, 7:11