News from Patrick Flynn

Congratulations Mr. Mayor

If you’re interested in participating in my poll gauging community sentiment towards the new Sullivan administration I’d suggest doing so before reading the remainder of this post.  I’d hate for anyone to suggest I’m running push polls!

Anyway, at 4 pm today (July 1) Dan Sullivan is slated to be sworn in as mayor of Anchorage.  You may be one of the many people who’ve discussed with friends and neighbors what you expect to see from the new administration.  I have a few thoughts, so let’s explore some of the pluses and minuses as the new administration gets started:


  • Knowledge – having served on the Assembly for nine years, Mayor Sullivan has a significant level of understanding as to how the city works.
  • Experience – Sullivan’s staff picks thus far all have prior governmental, and in many cases MOA specific, work histories.  That’ll help the administration hit the ground running.
  • Community support – besides his impressive vote counts in April and May, even 27 years after George Sullivan left office the family name still enjoys popularity in our town.
  • Relationships – the new mayor knows a lot of people in Anchorage and served with seven of the 11 current Assembly members.  That familiarity will likely engender better understanding as he moves to enact his agenda.


  • Communication – in my limited experience the new mayor seems somewhat hesitant in reaching out to people.  Even some of his biggest supporters have mentioned this to me.  In contrast, I heard from former Mayor Begich all the time and acting-Mayor Claman eventually learned why that was important.  Goodness knows that Assembly members can be pains in the rear but nature abhors an information vacuum so it’ll be important for the new mayor to reach out aggressively.
  • Goals – during the campaign Mayor Sullivan repeatedly praised Anchorage’s quality of life but generally avoided specifics.  Since the campaign I’ve heard a lot of people intimating their interests were parallel to the new mayor’s, and I find at least some of those claims to be dubious at best.  Unless and until the new administration sets some clear direction they’ll likely engender disappointment, or worse, from those who want to see their issue(s) addressed.
  • Balance – it’s clear Sullivan garnered significant support from fiscally conservative voters.  To address their interests he’ll have to find ways to shrink the cost of government while trying to avoid angering the constituencies served by programs on the chopping block.  The Assembly has already taken heat for the cuts we’ve made thus far.

As for me, I’m cautiously optimistic towards the new administration for the following reasons:

  1. Because we’re both interested in improving Anchorage’s quality of life I suspect we’ll find opportunities to work together.  While we may not agree on every detail, the recent compromise decision on the Knik Arm Crossing left me thinking we can find common ground.
  2. It’s clear to me that my Assembly colleague, Dan Coffey, will be very involved in the new administration.  Because I have a surprisingly good relationship with Mr. Coffey I am hopeful we can build on the work we’ve done together over the past year.
  3. While Mayor Sullivan is likely to my political right on many issues, I don’t consider him to be particularly ideological (and I’d like to think I’m not too bad in that regard either).  That suggests we can put politics aside and address issues on their merits.

All that said, I’m pretty confident some things will be different.  For example, I suspect amenities associated with capital projects will be limited.  I specifically recall then-Assembly member Dan Sullivan trying to remove ice-free sidewalks from a road bond proposal.

With that, please join me in welcoming Mr. Sullivan to his new job.  If he is successful then our community will be a better place to live, and that’s good news for all of us!  Hopefully you’ve already taken the poll, now feel free to share your thoughts.


Patrick Flynn

This contribution was made on Wednesday, 01. July 2009 at 04:30 and was published under the category Coming events. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

«  –  »

1 Comment

  1. I think Dan has a big opportunity to expand his base. It is one thing to get elected to office against an opponent who ran such a pathetic campaign. It is unlikely the next campaign will be so easy. And next time he will have arecord to answer for to not only the big money that got him elected this time but also to the majority of Anchorage citizens that want safe, pedestrian friendly, liveable, attractive neighborhoods, adequate and affordable housing for seniors and quality public education for all our children. Dan has the intelligence to make progress in these areas and our city can leverage the willpower and resources to aid him in doing so if within our new Mayor is an individual with a genuine desire to better the lives of all our citizens, the internal fortitude to look at the long term and the ability to covey a positive vision of the future for our city. I get the sneaking suspicion that we have not yet seen the real Dan Sullivan. As he takes the reins I remain cautiously optimistic, now is the time for change in this city, more of the same will not do. I look forward to being happily surprised.

    Comment: Paul – 01. July 2009 @ 3:29 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.



Community councils


Local government


State government


RSS Feeds – Admin


Copyright - Patrick Flynn, All Rights Reserved