LAWSUIT TO BE FILED BY NEW HOMEOWNER GROUP CALLED ‘ARCH‘
The Anchorage Municipal Attorney and Clerk have denied a request for a petition to repeal AO66, the Anchorage ordinance that authorizes the city to purchase two hotels, an old Alaska Club building on Tudor Road, and Beans Cafe to create a network of services for Anchorage vagrants.
Much of the plan depends on the use of CARES Act funds from the federal government and proceeds from the sale of Municipal Light & Power to Chugach Electric.
Kate Vogel, the Berkowitz Administration’s municipal attorney, asserts that an appropriation cannot be repealed.
That is what the homeowners group expected. After all, the same municipal attorney has turned down the request for a petition to recall Assembly member Meg Zalatel.
Bruce Falconer, the attorney for a group of homeowner-taxpayers, will proceed immediately this week in filing a lawsuit against the Municipality to reverse the rejection of the petition application.
He will also ask the court for injunctive relief to stop the Berkowitz Administration from proceeding until the case can be resolved or until voters vote.
The homeowners group is now incorporated officially as ARCH, Alaskans for Real Cures for Homelessness. The effort grew out of the Geneva Woods Homeowners Association, but has now become a separate nonprofit, since other Anchorage neighborhoods — Spenard and Heather Meadows — are involved.
The group will assert that the purchase of the hotels and other buildings is an authorization, not an appropriation because it’s not a specific amount of money being appropriated. This item of minutia matters because voters cannot repeal an appropriation, but can repeal an authorization. The group has two main points on this argument:
- On the Assembly agenda, there is a category for appropriations. But AO66 was not placed under the Appropriation header.
- Assembly member Chris Constant, in one of the public hearings, said “this is an authorization, not an appropriation.”
The group will ask for injunctive relief. to stop the city form proceeding until the court decides the merit of the suit.
The clock is ticking on the Anchorage Assembly’s decision to roll out the plan, which is expected to cost in excess of $22 million. The Municipality must spend the CARES Act funds by Dec. 31 or return them to the federal government.