Assembly public hearings Tuesday: Naming ‘Johnny Ellis Rainbow Bridge’ for late gay lawmaker, and move the marijuana tax outside tax cap

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The Assembly of the Municipality of Anchorage will hold a public hearing on legislation at its regular meeting of Jan. 10, 2023. The Assembly holds its meetings at the Loussac Library in the Assembly Chambers at 36th and Denali.

Tonight’s meeting will also be the final meeting for Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, who is leaving to take up a position as representative in the Alaska Legislature. She will likely submit her resignation between now and Jan. 17th, when she is sworn in as a state representative.

Ordinance No. AO 2022-110, an ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly adopting the public naming panel’s unanimous recommendation to dedicate Tract A, Block 30, Third Addition (Plat 85-41) for permanent or long-term park or recreational purposes, to name the park “Johnny Ellis Rainbow Bridge Park”, to name the 15th Avenue/A Street Bridge “Johnny Ellis Rainbow Bridge”, and to waive the one-time present name use limitation in AMC 3.97.025A7., an ordinance offered by Assembly Vice-Chair Chris Constant and Assembly Members Forrest Dunbar and Daniel Volland. 

The “Rainbow Bridge” name does not refer to anything about dogs that “went to heaven,” but instead refers to the fact that former Sen. Johnny Ellis, Democrat leader of the Senate, was gay, although not openly so. He died last year. Already the once-red fishing pole art on the bridge are now painted in different colors of the rainbow.

Constant originally wanted to name the Port of Alaska after Ellis, but has evidently settled for a rainbow bridge.

Ordinance No. AO 2022-116, an ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the Municipality of Anchorage at the next Regular Election a ballot proposition to amend Anchorage Municipal Charter Section 13.11 to change management authority for the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) Trust Fund from the Treasurer to a fiduciary board and establishing primary fiduciary duties and responsibilities associated with board management of the MOA Trust Fund, Department of Law and Finance Department/Treasury Division.   

Ordinance No. AO 2022-117, an ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly amending Anchorage Municipal Code Sections 2.10.015 and 2.20.060 related to Assembly Offices and Staff, adding new Sections 2.20.045 and 2.20.075 regarding the Assembly Offices and corresponding Organizational Chart, and adjusting the range for Assembly Positions and making conforming amendments in Section 3.30.172, Assembly Chair LaFrance and Assembly Vice-Chair Constant.  

Ordinance No. AO 2022-117(S), an ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly amending Anchorage Municipal Code Sections 2.10.015 and 2.20.060 related to Assembly Offices and Staff, adding new Sections 2.20.045 and 2.20.075 regarding the Assembly Offices and corresponding Organizational Chart, and adjusting the range for Assembly Positions and making conforming amendments in Section 3.30.172, Assembly Chair LaFrance and Assembly Vice-Chair Constant.

Ordinance No. AO 2022-118, an ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly submitting to the qualified voters residing in the Girdwood Valley Service Area (GVSA) at the Regular Election on April 4, 2023, a ballot proposition to add to the GVSA’s existing powers the power to provide services in support of policies that promote local housing and economic stability; and amending Anchorage Municipal Code Sections 27.20.110 and 27.30.020 upon voter approval of the ballot proposition, Assembly Chair LaFrance and Assembly Member Sulte.

Resolution No. AR 2022-400, a resolution adopting recommendations to be forwarded to the Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS) Policy Committee regarding an amendment to the FFY 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), Planning Department.

Resolution No. AR 2022-405, a resolution of the Municipality of Anchorage adopting the Municipality of Anchorage Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.

Resolution No. AR 2022-413, a resolution of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly amending the 2023 General Government Capital Improvement Budget to include New Project – Mulcahy Stadium Improvements, Assembly Member Petersen.

Resolution No. AR 2022-414, a resolution of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly amending the 2023 General Government Capital Improvement Budget to include additional Parks & Recreation Projects, Assembly Vice-Chair Constant.

Assembly Memorandum No. AM 768-2022, Platting Board appointments (Brandy Pennington, Stacey Wessel), Mayor’s Office.  ​

How to Testify: The Assembly receives public comments during Audience Participation, as well as public testimony on all open public hearing items.

The Assembly also is going to try to move the marijuana tax so that it is outside the tax cap and has a continuing public hearing:

Ordinance No. AO 2022-17, an ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the Municipality of Anchorage a ballot proposition amending the Anchorage Municipal Charter to support and advance early childhood education, dedicate the net proceeds of the current retail marijuana sales tax to this purpose, and excepting the marijuana tax from the tax increase limitation (“tax cap”), Assembly Chair LaFrance and Assembly Member Perez-Verdia.

This ordinance means they’ll be able to tax people more.

The public may participate in person, through written comments, or by phone. There is no sign-up for in-person testimony – the Chair will invite the public to speak on a first come basis during the Assembly Meeting. Don’t sign up to provide phone testimony if you plan to attend in person.

The agenda for the meeting is at this link.

If you would like to provide written or phone testimony, you may do so by completing the Public Testimony Form:

The above-referenced document is available for examination at the Municipal Clerk’s Office, City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue, Room 250, Anchorage, Alaska and online by the Friday prior to Regular Assembly Meetings on the Assembly’s Meetings page, http://www.muni.org/Residents/Pages/MuniMeetings.aspx. To find the document, click on the agenda link for the meeting date on which the public hearing will be held.  

20 COMMENTS

  1. I am offended of the rainbow bridge name. It’s racist and derogatory. It needs to be a neutral name like bridge number 12 or bridge J.

  2. I wonder if they will eliminate one fishing pole to make it a six-colored rainbow rather than the seven it is? Thankfully the promise of the rainbow still stands

  3. hmmm – moving a tax out from under the tax cap. Seems kind of obviously shady and not right.

    Don’t fall for it anchorage voters. Regardless of how you view of alcohol, cannabis, or any other targeted tax, just because you won’t pay it doesn’t mean its the proper thing to do. This needs to stop…

  4. I wonder if Ellis would’ve preferred to have been remembered for his service to Alaskans or for his love of sodomy. I’d bet a nickel these idiots on the Anchorage Assembly got it wrong. Again.

  5. How degrading. Everyone wants their legacy to be focused on their sexual preference. Maybe we will one day have a “groomer golf course “ just down the way from incest tunnel
    How about changing the airport to Ted’s heterosexual airport?
    Shallow live these few lead.

  6. LMAO! I remember when Anchorage taxed the crap out of cigarettes, it was one off the best things to happen to Valley commuters. It really helped some to subsidize commuting & fuel costs. I wonder if this is being sponsored by the shops closest to the Parks/Glenn Hwy interchange.

  7. Whoa! It ain’t all that bad: the threesome (Constant, Dunbar, and Volland) could be out to get the state to name some straight section of the Glenn Highway the “Johnny Ellis Straightaway!” Now that would gall the un-gallable. Then again, why not name a straight section of the road for Jennifer Armstrong? And why not a “Constant Straightaway?”

      • And name the effluent after Felix Rivera.
        .
        “AWWU reports that a sewer Constant burst under Fourth Avenue and A today, spewing large quantities of dangerously contaminated Felix Rivera onto the surrounding streets. The public is cautioned to avoid the area.”

  8. Remember when rainbows confirmed our faith in God and pot smokers were just ignored by the law instead of being a revenue source? Do they really want people to quit their bad habits when they represent such a revenue source-I think not. Just return our rainbows, please. Nobody owns Mother Nature, especially those who go against it.

    • Remember when religious people didn’t try enforcing their beliefs on others through legislation or through trying to teach stupidity to schoolchildren under the guise of “intelligent design”? Nope. Neither do I.

        • As I’ve said before, I deplore wokeism and I far from a radical leftist but as usual, instead of retorting with an actual retort, you reply with the usual. You didn’t really answer or reply to my comment in any real sense. One trick pony.

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