News from Patrick Flynn

Lawyers (not) in love

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.

Not to make too many references to pop culture, and being cognizant of the importance of attorneys in my life (both my father and wife happen to be members of the Alaska Bar), I can’t help citing one of my favorite modern plays, later made into a movie.  Lawrence Garfield, better known as “Larry the Liquidator,” said in Other People’s Money:

Lawyers are like nuclear warheads. I have them because the other guy has them, but the first time you use them it ****s everything up.

Whatever his motivation, the Acting Mayor (an attorney) has chosen to make cuts to Anchorage’s budget with little or no input from the Assembly.  Assembly members, in this case Dan Coffey (another attorney), are frustrated by being excluded from the process (Mr. Coffey is certainly not the only one).  The Acting Mayor justifies his actions, rightly or wrongly, on his interpretation of Anchorage’s Charter.  Mr. Coffey refutes that justification based on another interpretation of the Charter. 

I like Matt and supported him when he sought the chairmanship in April 2008, which ultimately led to his becoming Acting Mayor.  I like Dan and supported him when he sought to become Acting Vice Chair in January.  Right now, they both frustrate me.

Here’s a radical idea – how about we quit splitting legal hairs and actually try to address Anchorage‘s challenges together?  A controversial notion, I suppose, but one I’ve been trying to employ since my first day on the Assembly.  I guess I’m not making as much progress as I’d hoped.  Any advice would be appreciated.



This contribution was made on Wednesday, 18. March 2009 at 20:15 and was published under the category Fiscal matters. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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1 Comment

  1. I have been watching this drama unfold. Had many meetings with various individuals to include the Mayor. I like Dan Coffey and I like the Mayor! I’ve watched the recent Assembly members and it appears Tuesday at the Assembly is actually a bit of Tuesday night at the fight.

    I too have been confused by this notion of not working together for a common goal. It has been rather frustrating. Someday…I’d be happy to sit down by a fire with a cup of warm coco and discuss my limited experience with politics!

    It has truly been interesting. An experience I will not soon forget! Never know who is coming at you straight or if there is a story behind it. Regards!

    Comment: Jillanne – 19. March 2009 @ 10:32 pm

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