• 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

  • Politics

    Panel pitches plan to eliminate cashable oil tax credits

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 21:51

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska Senate committee has proposed eliminating cash credits for oil and gas companies that lawmakers have increasingly come to see as unaffordable. The proposal doesn’t delve as deeply into oil tax policy as the version that passed the House. But the Alaska Oil and Gas Association says an initial review […]

  • Ex-‘Deadliest Catch’ star arrested on drug charges

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 21:47

    PHOENIX (AP) – A former reality television star has been arrested in Phoenix for alleged vehicle theft and drug possession. Phoenix police say 31-year-old Jacob Harris was released on his own recognizance Monday after his initial court appearance. He faces a May 5 status conference. Harris was on Discovery channel’s “Deadliest Catch” series. According to […]

  • We may be underestimating whale-boat collisions

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 21:34

    PORTLAND, Maine — A group of marine scientists says collisions of whales and boats off of the New England coast may be more common than previously thought. The scientists focused on the humpback whale population in the southern Gulf of Maine, a body of water off of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. They found that […]

  • Man gets 4 years in Anchorage bank robbery

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 24, 21:25

    An Anchorage man has been sentenced to serve four years behind bars following a conviction for a 2016 bank robbery. Scott Hartvig McDowell, 49, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union robbery that occurred on August 2, 2016. McDowell presented […]

  • News

    Aurora watchers spot something new in night sky

    by CBS News on Apr 24, 21:00

    Citizen scientists looking at the northern lights appear to have stumbled upon a new natural phenomenon. Members of the Facebook group Alberta Aurora Chasers posted photos of a mysterious purple streak cutting through the night’s sky. In their early posts, the group’s members referred to the streak of purple light as a “proton arc” — […]

  • Juneau playground fire ‘possibly arson’

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 24, 20:52

    A fire broke out Monday evening at a popular child’s playground in Juneau. The Twin Lakes playground went up in flames in the 5 o’clock hour Monday evening, and the $250,000-worth of playground equipment is a total loss. No injuries were reported, according to Capital City Fire and Rescue. The Fire Marshal is investigating the […]

  • News

    Alaskans might need passport for flights, military base access

    by Liz Raines on Apr 24, 19:38

    If state lawmakers don’t pass new legislation soon, Alaskans may not be able to use their  State of Alaska driver’s license to fly or access military bases.  That’s because of the Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005, designed to create minimum security standards for all state ID cards nationwide. Now, 12 years later, the […]

  • News

    Crowd packs 4th Avenue Theater meeting

    by Lauren Maxwell on Apr 24, 17:49

    Meetings of the State’s Historic Preservation Commission don’t always draw big crowds, but on Monday morning, the room was packed. People came to testify before the Commission as to why they believed Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theater should be designated a historic monument by the state. Judy Bittner, chair of the commission, said the hearing was […]