• 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

    Memorial Day a weekend-long affair for Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 19:41

    For members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club, Memorial Day isn’t just a Monday off from work; it’s a weekend-long celebration to remember the fallen. On Sunday, hundreds of bikers from around the state met at Mary’s McKinley View Lodge then road the Parks Highway to the Alaska Veterans Memorial. They’ve been doing the Byers […]

  • Sports

    Sports writer loses job over tweet on Japanese Indy winner

    by Associated Press on May 29, 16:52

    DENVER (AP) – A veteran sports writer is no longer working with The Denver Post after he posted on Twitter that he was “uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.” Terry Frei sent the tweet after Takuma Sato on Sunday became the first Japanese driver to win the race. […]

  • News

    First cruise ship of the summer docks at Port of Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 29, 16:42

    The first cruise ship to dock at the Port of Anchorage this summer pulled into town early Monday morning. Nearly 1,400 passengers disembarked from Holland America’s ‘Amsterdam’ to check out the sights before an 11 p.m. call to be back on the ship. Julie Saupe, president of Visit Anchorage, said the cruise industry in the […]

  • News

    Volunteers place markers in Anchorage cemetery to honor fallen soldiers

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 15:43

    Wenda Sudduth and others from American Legion Post 1 found the going not so easy at Anchorage’s Memorial Park Cemetery. They went on a quest Sunday to pay tribute some of our nation’s most honored dead. They placed religious markers at the grave sites of those who served in the nation’s military. “I come from a […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Denali name should remain

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:58

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the name for America’s tallest mountain should remain Denali. The News-Miner reports that he spoke at the Fairbanks International Airport late Saturday on his way to a Memorial Day ceremony in Denali State Park. The peak was once called Mount McKinley, named after President William McKinley. […]

  • Police: Tiger Woods arrested in Florida for DUI

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:52

    JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Tiger Woods says an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine led to his arrest on a DUI charge in Florida. Woods spent nearly four hours in the Palm Beach County Jail after being arrested early Monday on suspicion of DUI. The 14-time major champion says in a statement that alcohol wasn’t involved. […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Zinke focuses on energy, parks during Alaska visit

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 10:29

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in Alaska for his first visit to the state since his confirmation to the position in March. His first public appearance included a ride to the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial on the George Parks Highway with the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club for their 29th annual Memorial Run. “I think it’s important on […]

  • News

    North Korea launches short-range ballistic missile, U.S. military says

    by CBS News on May 28, 19:06

    North Korea on Sunday launched a short-range ballistic missile, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the launch. This is the ninth missile test North Korea has […]