• 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

  • Politics

    State and local lawmakers call for more transparency on health care costs

    by Liz Raines on Mar 28, 18:57

    The price of health care in Alaska is higher than anywhere else in the nation. With national reform on the back burner, state lawmakers in Juneau are joining with the Anchorage Assembly in demanding more transparency from health care providers. Both local and state officials want to put a price tag on procedures. Last month, the […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage School District wants voters to say yes to bond package

    by Lauren Maxwell on Mar 28, 18:50

    The Anchorage School District is hoping the second time’s a charm when it comes to approving school bonds in the upcoming April election. Voters narrowly defeated the district’s bond package last year. Mike Nero, the director of capital planning and construction for the district, said the $58.5 million bond proposal will pay for roof replacements […]

  • Weather

    Hello spring? Anchorage may get 5 to 9 inches of snow overnight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 16:41

    The National Weather Service says Anchorage residents should expect between 5 and 9 inches of wet snow through Wednesday morning. The NWS issued a winter weather advisory that will be in effect from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday. Watch the entire KTVA Weather forecast at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. “Periods of snow […]

  • Weather

    KTVA Weather Lab: Aquarian Charter School

    by Melissa Frey on Mar 28, 15:56

    In this week’s KTVA Weather Lab, I visited Aquarian Charter School in Anchorage, where the second and third graders in Ms. Sarah and Ms. Stacy’s classes have been tracking the weather all year. I also answered the question of the week: What do meteorologists do on an average day? Every Tuesday, Melissa Frey will take the KTVA […]

  • News

    Multiple agencies searching for missing seal hunter in Western Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 15:38

    Last updated at 4:46 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 Multiple agencies and search and rescue groups are working together to find a Newtok seal hunter who was reported overdue Monday morning. Alaska State Troopers received word that 59-year-old Tom John was overdue around 11:45 a.m., more than 24 hours after he left the village of […]

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 5 – Seat I – East Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 28, 15:21

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography, each of which has been […]

  • News

    Anchorage police respond to report of gunfire between 2 vehicles in Northeast Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 12:11

    Anchorage police officers were called to Northeast Anchorage Monday evening shortly before 7 p.m. after witnesses in the area reported hearing gunshots. One witness told the Anchorage Police Department that multiple shots had been fired between two vehicles near the intersection of 11th Avenue and Turpin Street, according to a release from APD spokesperson Renee […]

  • Sports

    GCI Great Alaska Shootout: Same tournament, different marketing strategy

    by Dave Goldman on Mar 28, 11:56

    This November, the GCI Great Alaska Shootout has a big anniversary — it turns 40. The tournament’s look has changed over the years. Now, University of Alaska Anchorage’s athletic director, Keith Hackett, is marketing it that way too. For decades the tournament featured some of the biggest programs in college basketball. But the days of the […]