News from Patrick Flynn

Some reflections

Thursday, 09. February 2017 by Patrick Flynn

As my Assembly tenure comes to a close I thought I’d share some things I think I’ve learned during the years:

  • Anchorage has a fascinating history, particularly how it developed and the how its governance evolved. Learning it helps provide context that informs to this very day. Some of the sources I’ve tapped include “Get Mears” and others regarding the transition from federal to local control, changes wrought by World War II development, the Charter commentary and Dave Rose’s biography.
  • Speaking of the Charter, the Bill of Rights includes protection of the citizenry from Assembly actions after midnight – sheer genius!
  • Similarly, the Assembly doesn’t make its best decisions at late hours. If you vote to extend a meeting beyond the code’s 11 pm deadline you better have a very good reason.
  • If your packet and associated materials, piled onto your passenger seat en route to a meeting, sets off the seat belt alarm do two things; fasten the passenger seat belt so you don’t have to listen the audio alarm for the trip and, steel yourself for a long night.
  • Community councils are a great forum for discussing and vetting ideas. That said, and some will take offense at this, but here goes; an idea supported, or opposed, by a community council is not necessarily good or bad. For any number of reasons many of your neighbors do not participate in the community council process and their thoughts have merit as well.
  • Do not conduct important conversations via e-mail/Facebook/text/etc. – they’re tragically flawed in that they cannot capture the nuance of in-person or, at least, phone communication.
  • It’s appropriate to politely respond to e-mails from those with opinions who differ from yours. If, after you acknowledge their comments they choose to get belligerent, it’s okay to conclude the conversation.
  • There’s no point in arguing with anyone who presumes you’re a congenital idiot or on the take. Almost nothing you say will disabuse them of their notions.
  • Don’t shy away from respectful, robust discussions with those who have opposing viewpoints. Their thoughts may very well strengthen and improve your ideas, even if you ultimately agree to disagree, and may even help evolve your approach.
  • The municipality is blessed with a number of hard-working, talented employees. If you keep their confidences, they will help you navigate the minutiae of local governance.
  • (Related) Never burn a source – that includes people outside government.
  • If you don’t have public, third-party, verification of a factual statement you’d like to make, don’t make it. It may be true, but someone else has to attest to that fact as well.
  • When in doubt, vote no. It’s easier to re-do than undo.
  • No matter their ideology, every Assembly member wants what’s best for our community. You’d be surprised how often you can find common ground and work with someone you’re “supposed” to shun.
  • You are most effective when something gets accomplished and no one has any idea you had anything to do with it.
  • Never take anything personally.
  • Remember that most of the people who contact you do not enjoy the level of information available to you.
  • Never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut.
  • Take the job seriously; yourself, not so much.



Friday, 30. September 2016 by Patrick Flynn

There is a trend of late to use a phrase akin to, “I apologize if anyone was offended by my words or deeds.” Not much of an apology, in my opinion.


To kneel or not to kneel?

Sunday, 25. September 2016 by Patrick Flynn

I read an interesting opinion piece in the paper this morning, which posited that a white NFL player taking a knee during the national anthem would be an important step in advancing the conversation begun by Colin Kaepernick.


Ballot measure 8

Friday, 11. March 2016 by Patrick Flynn

Editor’s note: As April approaches and the Anchorage municipal election nears I thought I’d share a piece I co-authored with my Assembly colleague, Ernie Hall, for the League of Women Voters’ informational pamphlet regarding a proposed ballot initiative. My understanding is proponents were afforded the same opportunity.


Fighting fair

Monday, 11. January 2016 by Patrick Flynn

There seems to be something of a drumbeat thrumming with a rhythm criticizing various municipal officials – assessors, attorneys, clerks and the like. I’m not known for being a government apologist, quite the opposite, but I find this trend problematic.


Little library

Wednesday, 06. January 2016 by Patrick Flynn

My family and I received a “little library” for Christmas. If you’ve never heard of such a thing here’s a description: (more…)

Much ado about…not very much

Friday, 01. January 2016 by Patrick Flynn

If you’re amongst the few who pay attention to some of the rants against Anchorage’s recent amendment to the equal rights code you might have heard that some of those ranters are now up in arms about their efforts to promulgate a referendum to repeal the changes.  Their charge seems to be that they are not being treated fairly by the municipal attorney’s & clerk’s office and they point to the recent labor law referendum as evidence. Bad example.


Understanding Anchorage’s Tax Cap

Thursday, 03. December 2015 by Patrick Flynn

Editor’s note: I produced this piece so that it could be utilized by local media, thus it’s perhaps a little more didactic than usual.  Hopefully that doesn’t detract from its informational value.

During my tenure on the Anchorage Assembly there’s been a recurring discussion about how we employ state revenues. To put it as simply as I can, the question is whether they are considered part of our tax revenues and therefore “under” Anchorage’s tax cap, or are they used after we set the mill levy and therefore “outside” the tax cap. And I’m sorry if that isn’t very simple.


More on the tax cap (sorry about that)

Sunday, 01. November 2015 by Patrick Flynn

Having recently enjoyed a chuckle in reviewing Paul Jenkins’ most recent nonsensical rant I thought it might be useful to provide a little perspective on the object of his ire: Anchorage’s tax cap.


A call to roads, trails, buses and more!

Wednesday, 23. September 2015 by Patrick Flynn

Alright fellow transportation geeks, you say you want to influence the direction of transportation projects in our community?  Here’s your chance:




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