News from Patrick Flynn

Labor context


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.



Let me start by saying that I am not particularly focused on the content of Anchorage Ordinance 37, whatever version we’re on; and what is, or is not, included within it.  The text could be as brilliant as the Magna Carta or as scurrilous as the Sedition amendments to the Espionage Act (and I’ll assure you it’s neither), and I wouldn’t vote for it in either circumstance.

In case those bits of history are a bit much to absorb in the current moment, allow me to provide a more localized context.  Several years ago, when we were hearing seemingly unending public comment on the equal rights ordinance my friend and former colleague, Dan Coffey, approached me with the suggestion that we move to conclude public testimony.  I demurred, and all who wished to speak had the opportunity to do so.

More recently, several of my colleagues made an effort to pull the Title 21 rewrite from the Planning & Zoning commission review and deliver it back to the Assembly for final action.  I voted against that effort.

In both of the above cases, had I supported those efforts, the political ends likely would’ve hewed more closely to my philosophical aims.  Despite that, I consciously chose to honor Anchorage’s charter and our public process.

And, of course, I’ve often been the lone voice protesting the outrageous, closed-door reapportionment presided over by a minority of this body.

My point is that when we sometimes, somewhat reasonably, myopically focus on the matters with which we are immediately faced, such as this one, we fail to grasp the larger responsibilities with which we are charged.  By taking the unprecedented step of curtailing public testimony on this ordinance the Assembly, this institution, has irrevocably harmed the standing of both itself and our citizenry in the deliberative process.

Indeed, Ms. Ossiander and I recently registered our protest in the chair’s inability to honor the proper steps for even introducing a measure for consideration.

I can’t say I have spotless record in upholding these principles and I’m not a political virgin.  I’m therefore not expecting to change any minds here tonight so, by all means, vote as you feel you must.  Just do so knowing that as ye sow, so shall ye reap.  And hope you haven’t sowed the seeds of your own irrelevance in the formation of public policy.

This contribution was made on Wednesday, 27. March 2013 at 18:19 and was published under the category Other. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Honest,sincere and intelligent. Thank you.

    Comment: hfree – 28. March 2013 @ 12:51 pm

  2. The most impressive statement I’ve heard in the Assembly chambers in a long time. Thank you.

    Comment: Clinton Powell – 28. March 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  3. I wish I could vote for you, I hope reason wins and that it turns out good. I, however live on the hillside, do I need to say anything more……..Keep fighting, belive me I have lived here since 1947, I do understand the “uphiil battle”.

    Comment: marcia Briggs – 28. March 2013 @ 8:34 pm

  4. “Conformity is doing what everybody else is doing, regardless of what is right.
    Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what everyone else is doing.”
    Evette Carter

    Thank you, Mr. Flynn.

    Comment: Kurt Sorensen – 30. March 2013 @ 2:12 am

  5. Sir, thank you for your continued support of the working people in this community. I greatly appreciated your comments and the perspective you brought. If everyone’s motivations were pure, we wouldn’t be in this conflict now, causing so many distractions from the mission of providing quality public service to this community.

    Comment: Gerard Asselin – 04. April 2013 @ 8:42 pm

  6. Patrick,
    Thank you for your candid comments at the assembly. The entire thing has been a distraction that is not needed. I must say the entire 4 years has been a a feeling of “which shoe is going to drop next.” It has been a long and insuting odeal that has taken away from what we are here to do! Serving the public is important, fun, exciting and interesting. The “this way or the highway” attitude is getting very old. The public deserve to have their voice heard. It is a slap in the face. The team of public employees is crumbling little bits and pieces at a time.

    Comment: Jillanne – 23. April 2013 @ 8:33 am

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