In a late breaking development fans of the Anchorage Senior Activities Center have launched an eleventh hour campaign seeking an extra $100,000 to fund their 2010 operations despite the fact that, unlike virtually every other municipally-funded entity, the mayor’s budget proposal doesn’t cut their funding below 2009 levels. Nevertheless, I’ve been inundated with calls and e-mails seeking more dollars, including one from my mother (who called at the behest of another ASAC supporter).
While the senior center is a terrific community asset whose mission I greatly admire, here’s the e-mail I sent to an ASAC board member:
At this point I plan to vote against the amendment. While I support ASAC, there are three reasons why I can’t support adding $100,000 to its budget at this time:
- When we last talked I suggested that the solution to this matter was via the administration. The mayor has drawn his line in the sand and unless a group like yours can convince him to move it the Assembly can’t either.
- Without administration support an amendment like this will most likely trigger some sort of line-item veto. If it’s not to this specific amendment, perhaps it’s to Public Transit, which would mean some seniors couldn’t access ASAC. Or maybe it’s to before-and-after-school care for children of less affluent families, which means other seniors can’t access ASAC because they’re watching grandchildren or neighbor children. While the services provided by ASAC are important, what value do they have if they cannot be accessed?
- I love and respect my mother a great deal, and often seek her counsel on a wide variety of matters, but it is unfair to her if I signal that an effective way to lobby me is to convince her to advocate on behalf of a given issue. The decision to seek her assistance on this issue leaves me no choice but to emphatically reject that tactic and the amendment, if for no other reason than to maintain the cohesiveness of my family (both now and in the future).
So here’s the new Flynn doctrine: if you have a concern about a municipal issue call (or e-mail) anytime, and feel free to call me anything you want. But remember that I’m the one who signed up for public service whereas my family, while they make many sacrifices to accommodate my night job, did not enlist so I’d appreciate your leaving them be.
Copyright - Patrick Flynn, All Rights Reserved