Those of you who read the Anchorage Press are likely aware that the Alaska Press Club‘s 2009 “J-Week” is underway. The event, which brings together media folks from throughout Alaska to discuss the state of their industry and the trends affecting them, continues through Sunday. Among the events was a small Friday night party at the Press headquarters on Fifth Avenue to which I received an invitation (clearly a crossed wire on the electronic guest list).
After orchestrating a successful amendment reducing the Anchorage School District‘s budget by about $3.9 million I find myself in an interesting place. I’ve received several “thank you” e-mails from Anchorage residents who, previously, have been less than appreciative of my efforts on the Assembly. Yesterday Eddie Burke, whom I’ve known for many years, invited me to appear on his radio show for the first time. And a friend who spends far more time monitoring internet activity than me reported:
In my previous post I ruminated about what level of Anchorage School District spending the Assembly would be willing to approve for the coming year. I talked to Superintendent Carol Comeau over the weekend and, while she certainly doesn’t want to see ASD’s budget cut, she drew the same conclusions I did about the Assembly’s mood during the Friday work session.
On Friday, March 20, the Assembly held a joint work session with the Anchorage School Board, something we do roughly once a quarter. The primary topic of discussion was the proposed ASD budget, already approved by the School Board and scheduled before the Assembly at our March 24 meeting.
As I wrote back in January, one of the good aspects about things going wrong is the opportunity to improve upon mistakes. Last night’s Government Hill community council meeting was an excellent example.
With apologies to Jackson Browne, the songwriter whose lyric I’ve amended above, I’m not sure how to react to a recent KTUU story on the latest budget battle between Acting Mayor Claman and members of the Assembly. While the story focuses on a dispute as to what the Assembly can, or can’t, do to address Anchorage’s budget shortfall the real issue is the ridiculous lack of collaboration between the Acting Mayor and his former (and, likely, future) Assembly colleagues on this important topic.
I’m in Juneau today, having arrived yesterday, and leaving tonight. As a co-chair of the Assembly’s Legislative committee I’m spending my time touching base with many of the Anchorage-area legislators to get their perspective on how the session is progressing and discussing some of Anchorage’s priorities.
After slowly wending our way through the consent agenda, the portion of Assembly business that’s supposed to be brief but often drags on – last week over lunch budget discussions, this week over garbage truck deliberations - we will ultimately deal with three motions that would rescind our previous approval of three labor contracts. What’s interesting about them is the differences between the seemingly similar motions.
Copyright - Patrick Flynn, All Rights Reserved