News from Patrick Flynn

Corrective action?

Everyone makes mistakes.  Indeed, if humans were on some sort of mistake quota system I’d likely be cadging ducats from friends in order to keep myself within limits.  And I’ll let someone else tell you about the “negative example” marketing plan once proffered on my behalf.  But the important thing about making mistakes is learning from them and doing better the next time.

Which, of course, leads us to the Assembly’s badly bungled reapportionment process toward which my antipathy knows few bounds (examples here and here).  To summarize, three members met behind closed doors for months, hired a partisan demographic firm (co-owned by the former vice-chair and current treasurer of the Alaska Republican party), produced three lousy plans clearly aimed at protecting the status quo (incumbents), shut out all community council and other public input, and, finally, manipulated the de minimus public process by laying their plan on the table at one meeting and passing it at the next.  To the credit of at least one of the three, he seems to be ashamed of his behavior.

Not so my colleague Chris Birch.  Nope – in the face of criticism throughout the political spectrum he’s decided the solution to his failure (he chaired the aforementioned “committee”) is a charter amendment to mandate single-member districts.  Not that such a change is necessary – if he’d understood the charter prior to promulgating his deficient plans the result could’ve been nine single-member districts and a single two member district, or some other mix thereof.

And if, per chance, 11 single-member districts is the goal, his proposed charter amendment still goes too far by mandating them.  Oh, and it also requires yet another reapportionment in advance of the 2014 elections without reforming that process – I can only imagine the brain trust envisioned to take charge then.

But, unable to feel satisfied with flubbing his Assembly responsibilities, Birch plans to take it to another level by including the School Board in the mess he’s created by forcing it into his ill-conceived plans with yet another charter amendment.  And, of course, he’s promulgated these proposals with (surprise) no input from either the public or his colleagues.  No surprise there – he’s got a history of lousy charter amendments.  (Call me old-fashioned, but on the one I successfully drafted and got passed I spent nearly a year working with a multitude of parties.)

Rumor has it Mr. Birch wishes to serve as chair during the next and, blessedly, his last year on the Assembly.  If this is the sort of leadership he’ll provide I’m hopeful we can find a better option.



This contribution was made on Sunday, 02. December 2012 at 14:23 and was published under the category Election matters, Neighborhoods. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. I agree that this was not done correctly but you seem to point the finger at only one Assembly person when his leader, the Assemembly Chairman is the person responsible for appointing committees and the other committee man was Dick Traini who has been Assembly Chair so many times I would think he would have AS 44.62.310 memorized.
    I agree with Mr. Birch that the way to fix this is a charter ammendment. Having the Anchorage Assembly responsible for reapportionment of itself and all the other things associated with elections has long been a problem. It is like having the fox guarding the hen house.

    Comment: Tom McGrath – 03. December 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  2. You’re pretty hard on Birch, but he deserves it. The reason he’s so ill informed is that he’s lazy.

    Comment: friend43 – 04. December 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  3. […] member who appears quite hostile to the ordinances is Downtown Assemblyman Patrick Flynn; in this personal blog post, he uncharacteristically rakes Chris Birch over the coals, claiming that if Birch understood the […]

    Pingback: Anchorage Assembly Contemplates Charter Amendments Changing The Structure Of The Anchorage Assembly And School Board » New Online Course in Navigating Organizational Politics and Business – 07. December 2012 @ 1:51 am

  4. […] times the public process is subverted, as we saw with the recent Assembly reapportionment, and the citizenry is excluded from debate and deliberation by a government simply checking the […]

    Pingback: News from Assemblyman Patrick Flynn » Title 21 Terminus | An Assembly member's take on Anchorage issues – 15. January 2013 @ 7:29 am

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