Anchorage citizens trying to recall Assembly member Meg Zaletel are appealing the denial of their application for a petition to Superior Court. The appeal is expected to be filed this week.
But in the meantime, they have their sights set on taking out another Assembly member: Assembly Chair Felix Rivera.
Led by Russell Biggs, the group has filed new petition applications to recall both Zaletel and Rivera. The group has new language on these petitions, which require an OK from the Municipal Clerk before she can issue petition booklets.
The recall petition reads:
“Assembly chair Felix Rivera committed misconduct in office on August 11, 2020 by violating EO-15, an emergency order intended to protect the health and safety of Anchorage citizens, issued by the Mayor of Anchorage pursuant to AMC 3.80.060(H) by: 1) knowingly participating in an indoor gathering of more than 15 people (a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly) and 2) continuing to participate in an indoor gathering of more than 15 people at a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly after being specifically informed of the violation. Assembly chair Rivera failed to perform prescribed duties as chair of the Assembly by allowing the August 11 meeting he was presiding over to continue in violation of EO-15 after the violation was brought to his attention by a point of order. Of all citizens in Anchorage the chair of the Anchorage Assembly should have been scrupulous in obeying the gathering limitations established by paragraph 4 of EO-15. His failure to do so needlessly endangered the lives of Anchorage citizens, encouraged the spread of COVID 19 throughout the community, and merits recall from office.”
The second petition to recall Zaletel is similarly worded.
Both petitions were signed by a dozen people and filed with the Municipal Clerk this afternoon.
Biggs said, “Reclaim Midtown is deeply disappointed by the meritless rejection of our valid recall petition that clearly meets the standard of Alaska Law.”
Reclaim Midtown is ad hoc group of concerned citizens in the community that object to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ and the Assembly’s plan to purchase two hotels, an old Alaska Club building and Beans’ Cafe to launch a network of services for Anchorage vagrants and drug addicts. The plan involves the use of CARES Act funds that many in Anchorage believe are being misused.
“Our community effort to remove Meg Zaletel for her role in denying Anchorage citizens the right to participate in the most controversial piece of Assembly legislation in recent memory has been an important example of the methods of government overreach used by the Municipality’s administration to stifle free speech and the right to assemble,” Biggs said.
“Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel’s flawed legal arguments used to justify the denial has been rejected in no less than three prior Alaska Supreme Court rulings and flies directly in the face of both settled case law and the Alaska Constitution,” he said. “The decision is patently inappropriate and we will now turn to the courts for remedy.”
Biggs said the Assembly is setting a double standard, forcing some businesses to close, while conducting business with an excess of the legally allowed number of people under the mayor’s emergency orders that were in effect in August, when the violation occurred and when the controversial ordinance was passed.
“We look forward to their explanation of why the same rules used to economically destroy local Anchorage businesses and strip the citizen’s right to participate in their government were not applied equally to our elected officials,” he said.