• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 7s

Anchorage community councils provide sounding board for neighborhood concerns

By Kirsten Swann 6:40 PM October 16, 2013

Changes to council rules could open participation to teens

ANCHORAGE – Anchorage Assembly members are considering an ordinance amending the rules governing community councils.

“It doesn’t give them any more power, it just tries to reinforce how vital they are to this town,” said Assemblyman Dick Traini, co-sponsor of the ordinance. “The basic level of government we have in Anchorage are community councils.”

From Portage Valley to Eagle River, Anchorage communities are represented by 38 community councils, which are open to all comers, hold elections annually and meet anywhere from twice a year to every month. They provide public forums for residents to discuss neighborhood concerns, and for Mountain View resident Diane Mead, they’re an effective way of spearheading community change.

“I didn’t know how to get involved,” Mead said, who’s now the vice president of the Mountain View Community Council. “I saw problems, and it was endlessly calling the police saying ‘There’s a problem here, there’s a problem.’”

Mead said her work with the Mountain View council facilitated an ongoing dialogue with her neighbors about issues facing their entire Northeast Anchorage community. They’re currently battling a growing public inebriate problem Mead says stems from a neighborhood liquor store. After meeting about the issue Monday night, she said her council is preparing to take its findings to the Assembly and request it reconsider the liquor store’s conditional use permit.

Councils across Anchorage handle neighborhood concerns ranging from public safety to property issues, and Mead said there’s one guaranteed way to improve the process: more public involvement.

“We’re all volunteer, so when people say there aren’t enough patrols, that’s because the person doing the patrol has a job,” she said. “If you have a concern the best thing to do is to step up, and we will help get people involved.”

Traini said changes to the community councils’ governing ordinance could encourage increased public involvement. By dropping the age of participation from 18 to 16, he said councils could encourage civic participation from local teens looking to pick up an extra school credit or get a jump start on future political aspirations.

The Assembly is also looking to improve its own communication with Anchorage community councils. Traini said the ordinance would require councils to send their capital project requests directly to the Assembly rather than City Hall so the Assembly could vet projects and include them in its own legislative request list.

“Like tennis courts,” Traini said.

Click here for a map and contact information for Anchorage community councils.

Latest Stories

  • Neighbors, close family friends react to Utah man accused of murdering wife on cruise

    by Steffi Lee on Jul 27, 22:30

    A Utah man is now facing a federal murder charge — accused of killing his wife, 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, on a cruise ship traveling in Alaska.  Kenneth Ray Manzanares, of Santa Clara, Utah, made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday. According to a criminal complaint, on July 25, Emerald Princess Security and Medical personnel responded […]

  • Politics

    Senate GOP’s “skinny repeal” bill dies in middle-of-the-night vote

    by CBS News on Jul 27, 22:13

    Senate Republicans’ attempt to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act died early Friday morning, with three GOP senators — Sen. John McCain, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski — voting against the proposal. “So … this is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said right after the bill failed. […]

  • Politics

    Larry Persily on political drama in Washington DC

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 27, 22:04

    Both Senators: John McCain and Lisa Murkowski, are in the center of the political drama playing out in Washington DC, with plot lines that could be straight out of a movie. Larry Persily was the federal coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation projects and has worked for three governors and advised many state legislators, including […]

  • Former pro golfers come to Alaska to help future players

    by Dave Leval on Jul 27, 20:15

    Katelin Richards gets a different challenge every time she steps on the golf course. “Right now, my short game, my chipping and putting has been off,” said the 15-year-old player. Richards and other junior golfers ventured onto the Anchorage Golf Course to improve their game. They also received some first rate help. Janet Anderson won […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Sen. McCain calls for bipartisanship, but is Washington listening?

    by John Tracy on Jul 27, 19:42

    There must be something about facing your own mortality, that provides a bit of clarity on the value of your life’s work.  I think that’s what we were seeing on Tuesday when Senator John McCain cast the deciding vote on advancing his party’s healthcare bill and then proceeded to take his colleagues to the woodshed […]

  • News

    APD bike patrols covering Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 27, 19:18

    The Anchorage Police Department is covering some new territory this summer and they’re doing it on two wheels. Officers on bikes are patrolling more areas than ever before. APD’s bike patrols are made up of teams of school resource officers. They work in the schools in the winter and hit the trails during the summer. […]

  • Man with hatchet charged with attempted murder on officer

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 27, 18:52

    An Anchorage man was charged with attempting to kill a police officer with a hatchet. Police say on May 25, around 4:28 a.m., they responded to a report of someone breaking into cars near Morningside Loop, between Old and New Seward Highways. When police arrived, they say they tried to make contact with the suspect, 32-year-old Howard […]

  • Politics

    Two House Democrats call for investigation into calls made to Alaska’s senators

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 27, 18:24

    Two House Democrats are calling for a formal investigation after they say the Interior Secretary threatened Alaska’s senators over healthcare. Thursday afternoon, Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), sent letters to the Department of the Interior Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. They want […]