I was copied on an e-mail reacting to a media story about potentially cutting police officers whom the city just trained and hired, and chastising the mayor for the situation. As readers can ascertain for themselves, the administration once again blames both the previous administration and existing labor contracts. Unfortunately for them, matters are rarely so simple.
Full disclosure warning; the topic of this post has previously been described as falling into the MEGO category. If you want to keep reading I obviously can’t stop you, but don’t later complain you weren’t warned…
Like most everything, life on the Anchorage Assembly has its ups and downs. For the most part I enjoy the work and appreciate the opportunity to serve my community. But every now and again I encounter one of those low spots that leave me shaking my head. Friday was one such day.
The Assembly’s agenda for Tuesday, December 6, is both light and heavy. The former because it includes the municipality’s 2012 budget and the school district’s proposed bond, the latter because there appears to be general consensus surrounding both. General, of course, does not mean universal.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch or listen to Alaska Edition (formerly Anchorage Edition) on KAKM or KSKA please allow me to recommend it. Even if you aren’t a news junkie like me it’s particularly nice to see Paul Jenkins offering thoughtful commentary befitting his status as an elder statesman of Alaska journalism, rather than the sometimes-bizarre screeds he writes for the local paper. But I digress.
As many readers may know I returned to full-time employment earlier this year, which might help explain the relative dearth of recent blog posts. Sorry about that. But increased interaction with people generally less involved with the political process has the benefit of providing perspective one might not otherwise enjoy. So I’ve appreciated my co-workers’ recent questions about the current kerfuffle between the Plumbers & Pipefitters union and the city.
As you’ve likely heard, last night the Assembly put the finishing touches on the 2011 budget, thereby allowing allowing us to set mill levies. I’ll provide a few more details shortly but first a couple neighborhood announcements.
If you’re afflicted with an unfortunate addiction to following local politics you’ve likely noticed a recent series of op-ed pieces and letters to the editor regarding something with the impressive-sounding title of the “Taxpayer Protection Act.” Unfortunately for the authors of these missives, the charter amendment in question would be more correctly dubbed the “So-called Conservative Clumsy Electioneering Effort of 2011.” To understand why, a little background is in order.
With all the heat and light (pun intended) surrounding the New Year’s Eve fireworks issue, readers may be forgiven if they haven’t heard much about the so-called “Taxpayer Protection Act,” a charter amendment introduced by Chris Birch and wholeheartedly endorsed by the Municipal Taxpayer’s League. If eight Assembly members vote yes and the Anchorage voters subsequently grant approval in April then the following language would be added to Anchorage’s charter (our local constitution):
So tonight’s (most likely) the night; when the Assembly puts the finishing touches on Anchorage’s 2011 budget. With all the work that’s gone into it I don’t expect it to take too long, but I’m usually wrong about those predictions because I tend forget most folks like to verbalize their final thoughts on these sorts of things more than I. (I just write instead.) That said, I expect there to be some discussion on three budget amendments prior to final passage:
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