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.


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.


A Tale of Two Mayors

Wednesday, 02. September 2015 by Patrick Flynn

While the coverage of President Obama’s venture to Alaska has been more than thorough one aspect of it has curiously, at least to me, been ignored – the relationship between the mayors of two communities visited by our commander in chief.


Labor context

Wednesday, 27. March 2013 by Patrick Flynn


I’ve had a few folks contact me about my comments at our Tuesday, March 26, Assembly meeting.  Some supportive, some not, and some whom I know well and am respectful of their intelligence & judgement (even when we disagree).  To help answer their questions I’ve posted my notes below.  They’re not verbatim (I’m not much for reading speeches), but they generally reflect my concerns regarding the process surrounding the labor ordinance.




Fifth inning results

Saturday, 07. April 2012 by Patrick Flynn

Thanks to everyone who participated in the fifth inning of Assembly insider baseball, though I was surprised at the weak performance of respondents.  I guess Assembly goings-on are sufficiently uninteresting that many of you have lost track!  But, without further ado, here’s the answers:


Insider baseball, fifth inning edition

Saturday, 10. March 2012 by Patrick Flynn

It’s been a long time since our last edition of Assembly insider baseball, the quiz where random factoids test even the most ardent followers of matters municipal, but with spring training underway there’s no time like the present!


Thank you; what’s next?

Friday, 06. January 2012 by Patrick Flynn

In a pleasant surprise, I recently received the following e-mail:

At Stateside Associates we have been reviewing blogs that cover local politics for several months to find the very best the web has to offer. Your blog was selected for inclusion on the Best Local Politics Blogs list. The list is a comprehensive review of blogs that cover politics and policy issues in cities, towns, counties and regions across the country. Stateside Associates’ Best Local Politics Blogs list has been published alongside the Best State Politics Blogs (published in fall 2011) on our website. It has also arranged into a printable FactPad insert that slides easily into a FactPad mouse pad, distributed free of charge to clients and other friends of the firm. In addition, we’ve published a press release detailing the release of the list and your inclusion on it.


Happy holidays!

Wednesday, 14. December 2011 by Patrick Flynn

Happy one week ‘til solstice, when winter begins (unless you live in Alaska and it started back in October).  Tuesday’s meeting, on December 13, was the last Assembly assembly until January 17 so those afflicted with excess interest in local politics have no choice but to relax and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.  In an effort to tide you over, here are a few tidbits from the front lines.


Bad Press?

Monday, 17. October 2011 by Patrick Flynn

By now many readers already know that Brendan Joel Kelley, erstwhile editor of the Anchorage Press, was fired this morning.  Change happens, and hopefully this will ultimately turn out well for Brendan, whom I consider a friend, but what I know about the situation is troubling to me.




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