Anchorage open meetings lawsuit has Friday court date - Must Read Alaska
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Anchorage open meetings lawsuit has Friday court date


Alaskans for Open Meetings has a court date for Friday, Dec. 4, when the group is asking the court to force the Municipality of Anchorage to stop moving forward on any measures that took place during the time in August when the Assembly shut the public out of the public process.

The Assembly voted to stop the public from entering the Loussac Library during several meetings in August, during which time the body approved the purchase of buildings to house the homeless and care for vagrants, used CARES Act money for that purchase through a fund-swapping scheme, established a new position in the Mayor’s Office called an “Equity Officer” to address “systemic racism” in Anchorage, and voted to ban a practice known as “conversion therapy” for gay clients inside the municipal borders.

Under the Alaska Open Meetings Act, elected officials must meet in open session unless they call an executive session, which they did not do in August. Former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz had issued Emergency Order 15, limiting the size of gatherings in Anchorage, and the Mayor’s Office defended closing the meetings by saying telephonic participation was adequate to meet the requirements of the Open Meetings act.

Kate Vogel, the municipal attorney for the Anchorage mayor, has called the lawsuit “baseless.”

The Alaskans for Open Meetings spokesperson, Frank McQueary, said the issues of open meetings are not partisan, but are important to the public process so that people can have confidence in their government and sure that their rights will be protected.

The hearing will be in the courtroom of Anchorage Superior Court Judge Una Gandbhir on Dec. 4 at 9:30 a.m. Alaska Courts are closed to the public and the hearing for a preliminary injunction against the city will be conducted via Zoom teleconferencing, with limited public participation available.

Those watching the court case say that because the courts are also closed to the public, by order of Chief Justice Joel Bolger, they may not look upon the Alaskans for Open Meetings lawsuit with much charity.

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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.

Latest comments

  • Let the lawsuits reign. May freedom and liberty prevail.

  • Only rats and cockroaches hide from the light and public scrutiny.

  • When Dictatorship is a fact, Revolution becomes a Duty.

  • (My prediction only not out of pessimism) they will most likely lose the case because you are going to file in the district court where you have no standing !! You must understand that the violations are a Federal court matter not district.

    Then you must understand the heart of the argument that has lead to this is violations of your civil liberties, constitutional rights and your bill of Rights. You will never stop them on a district level only on the federal level witch takes precedence over state.

    Your up to your necks with progressive liberal socialist minded individuals who don’t care what you think including the courts. Good luck God Bless.

  • NAV you are only partly right in what you say. Yes there is a Federal case here, should someone wish to file it. But Federal Open Meeting and constitutional issues will get decided a long way from Anchorage Alaska.
    The State also has open meetings statutes, as does the local Municipality. There is no question but that we would have standing at the State Court level. Will we win at the Superior court level? I won’t argue against my case by implying that the odds are against us. They may even still be long by the time we get to the State Supreme court, but that is a much more visible venue and those folks will realize that the next step is to the Federal courts. There is also the chance that a national constitutional law entity may become involved at that lever. If you remember a couple of years ago this Assembly sued the hugely successful Hope Center because they refused to let a transgender man sleep in the women’s care facilities at the Center. The Municipality lost at the Supreme Court level and ended up paying all of the defendants legal fees. Of course it was your money which they used to pay the penalties, so the probably didn’t learn nearly as much as they might have were it their own money.

    As Maggie Thatcher once said, “the problem with Socialism is the eventually you run out of other people’s money”. Other People’s Money: Are our Assemblymembers Oh Pee uM addicts? I think so.

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