Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomePoliticsAnchorage Assembly shoots down confirmation of Anchorage Attorney, giving no reason

Anchorage Assembly shoots down confirmation of Anchorage Attorney, giving no reason

The leftist majority of the Anchorage Assembly has denied the mayor’s pick for the new Anchorage municipal attorney. Mario Bird, a conservative appointed by Mayor Dave Bronson, was not confirmed by the Assembly, which gave no real reason. No matters were brought up during the committee process earlier this month that would have indicated Bird’s confirmation was in trouble.

The vote was 8-4, with the leftist members voting against Bird; Assemblyman Pete Petersen broke away from the leftist majority to vote for Bird’s confirmation.

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Thus ends the abbreviated term of the second city attorney for Mayor Bronson; Patrick Bergt, who was appointed at the beginning of Bronson’s term, left earlier this year. The Municipal Law Department is once again without a lead attorney.

The Assembly did confirm Courtney Petersen for the Office of Management and Budget, and Michael Braniff for the office of Parks and Recreation.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Perhaps conservative legislators could take a lesson from the Anchorage Assembly in how important the legislative branch of government truly is. It is a force either for great good, or great evil.

    From everything I know of Mario Bird’s public service and qualifications, this latest exercise of raw power was one of evil for the people of Anchorage, and all the more so given that any future attorney who is appointed to the position will have been legally required to relinquish each of their clients in accepting the appointment (if they are coming out of private practice like Bird was), and must accept the appointment without any way of knowing why Bird was denied confirmation or what the likelihood is of their being similarly denied (after they have been required to give away all of their clients to other attorneys of course).

    I imagine today’s action will have a rather chilling affect on the future appointment of anyone to the position who is not already an avowed political opponent of the mayor.

    America’s Founding Fathers did not refer to the legislature as “the most powerful branch” for no reason. Even with all the power of the president, and with the decision at the Constitutional Convention not to impose term limits on the president, they still viewed the legislature (Congress) as having the greater amount of power.

    The next time legislators tell you they are helpless against the judiciary or the governor…remind them of what the Anchorage Assembly did tonight. Remind them of the time the West Virginia Legislature impeached every single member of the West Virginia Supreme Court. Remind them that the courts and the executive branch rely on the legislative branch for their funding, in many cases for their confirmation, and are all subject to impeachment…every single one of them…by the legislature.

    The legislature a helpless branch? No.

    Either branch of the legislature (in Alaska or in D.C.) can refuse to fund a project…and that’s it.

    Either branch of the legislature (in Alaska or in D.C.) can conduct investigations, issue subpoenas, and require testimony under oath.

    Either branch of our state legislature can put forward legislation; to change state law, or even the state constitution, or to join with other states in changing the United States Constitution by convention.

    Your legislator (in Congress or in Juneau) may be but one member, but he or she is a member of the most powerful branch of government. It was for this reason that the Founding Fathers determined that the legislative branch would be the most numerous; so as to dissipate the power of the most powerful branch.

    “Coequal branches” is not a constitutional concept. The other two branches wish they were coequal with the legislature. But they wish in vain, for that is not how the Constitution sets it up.

    Note: I acknowledge that the legislative branch in Anchorage and in Juneau and in D.C. all have their unique ways of operating, and are not mirror images of one another. There are strong mayors and weak ones, just like there are strong governors and weak ones, depending on a state’s constitution. But there is no state I know of in which the governor is more powerful than the legislature. The governor in Alaska has great power when it comes to the veto…but the veto is a negative power and can always be overridden by the legislature if enough legislators get on board with the idea. On the other hand, the legislature can veto statute (by legislation) or appropriation (by inaction in most cases), as well as create.

  2. It’s a shame that Mr. Bird is not gay. A man who has fathered children, a husband with a wife and a religious person we can not have such a person representing their city. This is the correct move. I hear that the Mayor Cat from up north is interested in this pawisition

    • No. He is not qualified and would not represent the municipality well. The city attorney has to interpret the law for the mayor, not lick his boots like a yes man.

  3. We’re no longer shocked at the actions of the socialist lead Assembly. What was shocking is that Peterson not only voted for the Mayor’s nominee, but was allowed to. Perhaps this is the tactic of the socialists, have one of their ranks vote for the mayor’s proposals when they know that they have more than enough votes to defeat it.

    I wonder if Anchorage will ever wake up and realize the incumbent socialists on the Assembly only want to defeat every Bronson proposal and will never work with his administration.

  4. Here is a possible reason: Mr. Bergt has no relevant experience running the legal department of a city. His experience consists of representing conservative religious groups in public interest lawsuits. Bronson nominated him because his religious views align with the mayors. Bronson has has a series of debacles caused by his selection of unqualified candidates who are politically aligned with him, but no experience running a large city. Examples include Joe Gerace, Niki Tsibaka, and the librarian. If Mayor Bronson wants to hang with his peeps, they can do so after services are over at the Baptist Temple.

    • The only reason Peterson voted yes is because he can’t run as an again. lHis term is up
      So what experience did any of the assembly members have managing a city. In my opinion it is all about christianity , freedom and the constitution. So they voted with NO Reason given. Our taxpayers money pay their salaries and we deserve NO answer??? From an almost 50 year resident of Anchorage, I have never seen an Assembly more contentious and increases our taxes and wastes our Taxpayers money like this bunch of Socialists. Wake up Anchorage and vote them OUT.

      • What exactly does Christianity have to do with running our Municipal government? If that’s your metric, you don’t understand how American government is supposed to work.

        • Thanks for making my point.. The mayor should nominate candidates to run city government based on their qualifications, not based on their religious or political beliefs.

          • So lets get back on track here. So why not give a reason then?

            Political beliefs matter a lot, especially to this assembly. And the assembly will pretend religious beliefs don’t matter, but if somebody is qualified and an outspoken Christian, I have no doubt they won’t like the person unless the person proves that they will walk lock step with this assembly like this assembly demands so they are never hindered or held accountable for doing anything they wish to do.

            So many people criticize this mayor like an idiot who is mocking everybody while he has toilet paper stuck to his shoe, and it is simply because they don’t like the mayor’s religious and political beliefs. So Rick, why don’t you hold yourself to your own principles?

        • The Bill of Rights was inspired by the Ten Commandments. God is the source of our rights in America, not the State. Judeo-Christian beliefs informed our once great culture. If you take Christianity out of the equation, you won’t have America. Enjoy that future. Or move to SFO and get a sample of it today.

  5. “was not confirmed by the Assembly, which gave no real reason.”

    The reason is the far leftist members believe they are gods….

  6. And the city just took one step closer to its own destruction by a commie pack of 8 ASSembly “members”. This is just politics, pure and simple, dirty rotten politics and petty bullyinf by these members.
    The 8/9 members do not support our once great city, they have been destroying it for years, one tuesday at a time….
    I live in the worst area, having constantly complaining as my “representative”.
    Oath breakers that keep getting voted in due to lack of interest in voting.
    I miss my once great city…

  7. MOA needs a competent attorney to protect the taxpayers from a Irresponsible Mayor, we do not need a political activist

    • Maybe the assembly should nominate a mayor instead! That way they can make sure we are nice and safe from the consequences of our own election choices, eh?

      • The fate of this city will be held hostage until they get the mayor they want, so they are essentially trying to do exactly that.

    • Uh, Frank..did you see all the activist flags in front of each member of the Assembly? Or is their ‘activism’ your ‘norm’?

  8. MOA needs a competent attorney to protect the taxpayers from a Irresponsible Mayor, we do not need a political activist

    • The muni needs a city attorney to protect US ALL from the ASSembly commie 9, not from our mayor.
      Mayor Bronson has made fiscally sound decisions which the commie assembly then reject and then spend our tax dollars hower they please. There is no oversight, there is no accountability from the commie oath breaking Assembly.
      Our mayor does not have a chance to hire or legislate when the entire agenda of the ASSembly is NOT to do good for our city, their entire agenda is to undo our voting in this mayor. Undo OUR choice.
      They only have one goal and it is not in our collective best interest, it only furthers their POLITICAL agenda.

      Stop voting them in, start contacting them and objecting to this petty nonsense.
      They had no reason to reject Mario Bird other than a political reason.
      Petty politicians are running the assembly against us, wise up

    • Oh please Frank! Political activism is all that the Marxist nine care about. Do you even live in this town? How obtuse are you? You make some of the dumbest most out of touch tone deaf and hypocritical comments I’ve ever read…..on any platform….ever. Are you and Sophie married or somehow related? Because you both seem to have crawled out of a very shallow gene pool.

      • Uh – you sound like that nether trumpet Jefferson that gasses on here. Exaggeration makes whatever point you were trying make look weak.

        • Lucinda: you are correct. He is exaggerating about Frank’s comment. I think you might be taking the lead with this comment. You might want to look down and see that you are sawing on the limb you are standing on. Or whatever. I can’t stop you. Keep sawing away. Just makes you look really foolish. I don’t have so much spite that I wish you to do it. I wish I could convince you to do some self reflection and find some integrity so we can have a productive discussion and understand each other and live more harmoniously despite our differences, but until you do, your flaws will be exposed for all to see and that’s not a bad thing.

          • Justin. Well, maybe I was a bit mean to Jefferson. My point is that unsupportable exaggeration is not persuasive or constructive. Integrity relies, on part, in maturely concluding from evidence. Facts matter. For example, January 6 was indeed a insurrection against American democracy by Trump-following domestic terrorists. Every word in that sentence is supportable with evidence.

        • Ah, how rich that comment is, Lucinda, coming from the master of hyperbolic exaggeration herself! Point of evidence: your extremely ridiculous and patently false claim about the January 6th, 2001 protest at the US Capitol being a so-called “insurrection”. Also, your repeated statements that all those who do not blindly and totally toe the establishment line, and who dare to challenge any aspect of official propaganda, are “enemies of the state”.

  9. Maybe what the MOA needs is an Engineer such as yourself Frank to design and engineer a complete redesign of the Assembly😂

  10. Every day I read MRA I give thanks I had the presence of mind to leave Anchorage for Juneau.

    Juneau, compared to Anchorage, is a bastion of sanity. Knowing how screwed up CBJ is, what does that say about Anchorage?

  11. Why can’t Mayor Bronson choose his own lawyer without need for approval, like the Assembly always does without needing Bronson’s approval?

    The charter needs to change to fix this inequity (their word).

  12. The assembly will stall everything until they get the mayor they want. What I see happening is the assembly will see that Eagle River becoming a different municipality will give them much more control over Anchorage and they will become covertly for EaglExit. The only reason they haven’t been outwardly for it already is because they have had many mayors that they want in the past and they know the conservatives of Eagle River want EaglExit, so they don’t. That’s how spiteful the assembly is. And they want to have power over the conservatives of Eagle River too if they can and they want the power of their money. But if Eagle River keeps delivering them Mayor Bronson and other conservative mayors, we’ll see more talks about how EaglExit can become a reality but the assembly of course will play hardball over finance and try to screw over Eagle River as much as possible while secretly or subtly wanting to make sure it happens too.

    The sad thing is that if that happens Anchorage will become more of a homeless haven/disaster and crime will go crazy, and there will be a hell of lot more people from Seattle and Portland finding Anchorage a welcoming place and still better than Seattle and Portland. The population will grow and Alaska will become more purple which will entice more and more left coast people to come up here.

    The only way I see hope is if the republican party decides Anchorage and Kenai Borough’s assemblies are battle fronts and starts recruiting and educating good candidates for those assembly seats. Same is true for state legislators. Even if people lose, they will still prevent the existing assembly members from running unopposed and thinking they have free reign over the city to do whatever they want unchecked. And if campaigns are done right, even in a loss, conservatives will have momentum and more experience for the next go around.

    So come on Republican party. The republican party really needs to find ways to reach the conservatives so they can be informed about state and muni elections and make people feel like there is hope but only if they stay informed by reading things like MRAK and vote. But voting won’t do any good if nobody good decides to make the sacrifice to run. And that’s a huge sacrifice with how nasty the ADN, KTUU, Alaska Public Media and the general left can be. But it is less of a sacrifice if we support each other.

  13. A couple things…
    The assembly didn’t give a reason for denying Bird because it was likely to embarrass Bird. Bird is able to publicize the reason if he so chooses.
    If EaglExit fails, there is a movement already underway for the rest of the Muni to secede from Eagle River. It is clear that Eagle River would like to be gone and the Muni is happy to oblige. Jaime Allard for mayor of Eagle River!

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