• 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

  • Crime

    Sudan refugee concerned for his safety after vandalism outside his Spenard home

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 15:34

    Mohammed Abdallai, who moved to Alaska almost five years ago as a refugee, says he is concerned for his safety after the vehicles outside of his home were vandalized. Words like “Get out,” “Go home” and “Leave Alaska,” among others, had been written on his green SUV and another vehicle outside of his residence in […]

  • Crime

    18-year-old injured in East Anchorage house party shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 13:28

    An 18-year-old female was struck in the shoulder by a bullet after shots were fired outside of an East Anchorage house party early Sunday morning. The shooting occurred at about 2:15 a.m., police say. A large, private party was being held at a residence located at the 4500 block of Ninth Avenue, near Lane Street, […]

  • News

    Sail into history with Captain Cook at Anchorage Museum

    by Dave Leval on Mar 29, 10:58

    A statue of him overlooks the body of water that bears his name. He also has a hotel named after him. But how much do you really know about Captain James Cook? Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage is a new exhibition at the Anchorage Museum. A telescope that Cook used during his […]

  • News

    AKNG, AST rescue snowmachiner in crevasse of Eureka Glacier

    by Associated Press on Mar 29, 10:19

    The Alaska Air National Guard and Alaska State Troopers on Saturday came to the aid of a man who fell into a crevasse on Eureka Glacier. Troopers say they took a call just after 5:30 p.m. from 59-year-old Shawn Murphy of North Pole. Murphy reported that his companion, 69-year-old Fairbanks resident Robert McClintock, had wrecked […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather, March 28

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 28, 18:30

  • News

    Alaska Air National Guard assists in rescue of 2 Saudi pilots from Gulf of Aden

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 18:20

    Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard, currently deployed to Djibouti, Africa, assisted in the rescue of two Saudi pilots from the Gulf of Aden on Friday. The pilots were rescued off the coast of Yemen after they ejected from their F-15 aircraft, according to various news outlets. Approximately 120 Alaska Air National guardsmen from the […]

  • News

    16 Black Hawk helicopters back in Alaska, ready to help with civilian emergencies

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 15:20

    Sixteen Army Black Hawk helicopters are back in Alaska and ready to help with civilian medical emergencies after spending nine months in Afghanistan. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1MgUB22 ) reports the military helicopters supplement Alaska’s civilian fleet of about two dozen medical helicopters operated by private companies including Life Flight, Life Med and Guardian. In […]

  • Crime

    Man injured in leg in West Anchorage shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 14:15

    Police say a man was struck in the leg by gunfire in a shooting in West Anchorage Saturday afternoon. At around 1 p.m., witnesses say there was a disturbance between two groups of people in a parking lot near the 1300 block of West Northern Lights Boulevard, according to a release from the Anchorage Police […]