Sullivan Reacts to Chief's Fender-Bender and More
KTVA’s Sean Doogan asked Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan if he thought the punishment fit the crime and if APD should have handled an investigation into one of its own. Plus, what Sullivan thinks about the latest effort to protect gay and lesbian residents f
Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew and his fender-bender cause by a cell phone distraction last week has come under much scrutiny. KTVA’s Sean Doogan asked Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan if he thought the punishment fit the crime and if APD should have handled an investigation into one of its own as part of this week's View From City Hall.
Sean Doogan: What do you believe constitutes texting? Is manipulating your phone? Should that be something that people don't do while they are driving?
Mayor Sullivan: Oh, I don't know. That's a state law and they did a lot of research on it and they held the committee hearings and so it’s hard for me to weigh in on what's an appropriate law or not an appropriate law when it's a state law. Bottom line: It was a very, very minor fender-bender. If you look at the two pictures, you can't even tell there's damage. The chief has admitted he was checking his PDA. He wasn't texting, he was just checking to see what was making it blink and took his eye off the ball for a second and I would hate to make an above the fold headline in the Anchorage Daily News. I think that's a little overkill on this incident.
Sean Doogan: Do you believe it was handled properly by APD? Some would suggest that should that be me in that car, I would have received a ticket.
Mayor Sullivan: Yeah, the policy of the city has always been to deal with these things internally. We are reviewing those policies. This is something that after two years on the job has never come up before. So, you review policies once they become an issue, but it's been a long-standing practice that they handle these things internally. He was given a reprimand and has accepted that and is obviously contrite for taking his eye off the ball, literally, for a nanosecond. But it's over and done. I think we'll move on from that.
Sean Doogan: Well, I think you have to feel for the guy a little transgression, but embarrassing when you are the police chief.
Mayor Sullivan: Sure, absolutely, and he's duly embarrassed.
And two years ago, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullican vetoed an ordinance that would have protected gay, lesbian, bisexual and trandsgender residents from discrimination. With a new proposed initiative set to appear on the ballot that would do the same thing, KTVA's Sean Doogan asked the Mayor if he would veto it again as part of this week's View From City Hall.
Sean Doogan: If they were to show that there's a systematic pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in Anchorage, would you then sign that ordinance, should it pass again?
Mayor Dan Sullivan: The current effort is for an initiative. And if an initiative passes, then I don't have a role in it. It the people vote to support an ordinance, that's the people speaking, and I would certainly support whatever the people decide, and so, I told them after the last time that this was brought forward that I thought that would be the proper way for them to go is to go get the public to weigh in on it. If the public says that's a problem we think can be solved with this ordinance, let them sign the petitions and get it to the ballot and vote in April.
SeanDoogan: Well, suppose the Assembly jumps the gun on that initiative, I know that some are talking that, well if they get this out there, maybe they could go back to the Assembly. If it passes, would you again veto that?
Mayor Sullivan: We have to wait and see what the language is. You know, you never assume what an ordinance might say or what the implications might be so you never say what you will veto or not veto until you see the actual ordinance. And, you know, it was interesting, when it came up before, I think over 800 people testified and not a single person provided a concrete example that they had either lost their job or had lost their housing because of their sexuality. And that's what I was looking for, is, give me a name a place a time where this happened and it was all so vague and anecdotal that really is was hard to support something that didn't have concrete evidence behind it.
Sean Doogan: Are you going to read that report when it comes out because it's reported to contain that exact information.
Mayor Sullivan: Yeah, Absolutely.