Group collects signatures to recall Meg Zaletel from Anchorage Assembly - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Group collects signatures to recall Meg Zaletel from Anchorage Assembly

Saying she has violated the state’s open meetings statutes, a group in Anchorage has begun the process of recalling Assembly member Meg Zaletel, who represents Midtown Anchorage, including Airport Heights, U-Med, and Taku-Campbell.

Why Zaletel, and not the others on the Assembly?

Evidently she is the most vulnerable for a recall. If she had not been in a three-way race in 2019, she would have barely won her seat. Her current term represent Assembly District 4, Seat F ends in 2022.

A recall is in the works for Assembly member Felix Rivera, but since he was reelected in April, the recall effort must wait until he has served six months.

According to the group, Zaletel committed “removable misconduct by violating the Alaska Public Meetings Statutes at the Anchorage Assembly meeting July 28th, engagingly in willful, flagrant, and obvious collision to limit public testimony inside the assembly chambers. Zaletel conducted municipality business following the barring of public presence within the chambers except those approved by the assembly in a manner not disclosed to the public prior to the meeting.”

On July 28, Zaletel was presiding over the Assembly meeting, to which the public was barred by order of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

But one member of the public was allowed into the meeting to testify — Mike Abbot, the former Municipal manager. He now runs the Alaska Mental Health Trust and was brought into the chambers to explain land availability issues to the Assembly. No one else from the public was allowed in.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has for several weeks barred the public from entering the municipal library building, where the Assembly meets. He is using his emergency powers to order restaurants, bars, bingo halls, and churches closed as well.

“The misconduct occurred with and despite video evidence of ample physical space and availability to comply with the Mayor’s emergency powers proclamation which, regardless of intent, would not override AS 44.62.31’s proscription of actions limiting public participation in Assembly meetings.

“Zalatel disenfranchised both the economically disadvantaged without the electronic means to view the assembly, the 70+ members of the public outside the chambers desiring to be admitted, and the hearing and visually impaired public left without Robert means of participation.”

The group just needed 10 names and addresses of municipal voters to apply for the recall petition. Once the petition is issued, the group will have 60 days to collect the required signatures. The petition must have signatures from enough voters to equal 25 percent of the number that voted in the last election for that office. The group is looking for signature gatherers to volunteer.

The last election was in 2019. Some 9,872 voted for candidates for the seat, so the group will need 2,468 good signatures to force a special recall election.

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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

  • How do we sign this? I want anyone out that voted to remove the plastic bags

    • How do we sign the petition?

  • Who do we get a
    hold of and where is the donation person to contribute. I would sign the petition.

  • C’mon folks! We can accomplish this one. This is a great strategy- choose one Assembly member who is very vulnerable, and in a district in which you have to gather only 2,500 signatures. That is just 50 a day- certainly ten devoted people can sign up five people each day! If they think that they are insulated from any serious recall effort, they will just abuse their political power even more. A recall effort that is successful against just one of them will put the fear of God, and maybe also of their constituents, into the rest of them. Let’s do this! Just make sure that each person you sign up is a registered voter.

    • But…why? What fear are you trying to instill in these public servants? That they’ll lose their jobs? That they serve you? That no matter what they do for the community, people will always find a way to be brainwashed into voting against their own benefits? They know this already. What message are you trying to send? “How dare you try to protect these citizens and their children along with those who are forced to use public services daily since they have no other choice! We want you gone! We don’t want these masks or this lockdown! We want to do what we want!” This is such a toxic and egotistical way of thinking…they’re literally setting guidelines so we don’t all contract this virus and have our hospitals overwhelmed AGAIN. I would very much like to know whether YOUVE ever been in a public servant position, because it seems like you’re just an entitled person who doesn’t care if the population of anchorage is devastated and it’s services collapse because there’s nobody to work there BECAUSE THEYRE ALL SICK OR QUARANTINING.

      There is so much benefit to actually reading what they’re doing for the city instead of sitting with your phone in your face and ranting about these public servants doing their jobs within state AND federal guidelines. Deciding to uproot someone who cares so deeply about her district and the people in it is incredibly sad…it really says more about you than anything, Ms Carol Price.

  • Excellent piece. Just the facts, love it.

  • Obviously, signers of the recall must A) be registered to vote and B) have their registration in the midtown district. Right?
    Other than Felix are other recalls brewing?

  • Hot doggy!

  • Where do I sign?

    • I don’t know but I’d sign it too if I could find out where to sign .

      • Wow- how ridiculous. She was literally the only representative who emailed me back regarding the abhorrent “save Alaska” postcard outlining why “treatment centers bad” despite this state having one of the highest drug and alcohol abuse rates in the US. Not to mention mental health issues, anger management, and a whole slew of other issues that go along with the abuse rates, domestic violence, and more. Whoever signs this petition has not actually looked at both sides of this and is just using their willful ignorance to ignore the fact that PEOPLE ARE DYING and they could very well be the ones protesting nonsense like “don’t wear a mask- it drops your oxygen levels” since they’re the ones going out and leaving themselves and others exposed. Besides, why recall her? Why not the mayor since he was the one who used his powers to barr citizens from entry to public domain for assembly meetings? Also, we’re these people masked? We’re those outside waiting to get in actually following the mask mandate to go inside public buildings or is this just another “waaaa I dun wanna wear a mask” type of spiteful retaliation?

        Anchorage was full of wonder and new experiences when I arrived, now that I see what some of the people are like here it just sickens me. The fact they’ll put their families and families of others at risk without a second thought just shows how selfish and privileged these people have been. Now that they’re slightly inconvenienced they’re willing to recall someone literally doing her job and representing a majority of her district’s citizens? No thanks. This is nonsense. Shame on these people.

        • If the people of Anchorage sicken you, maybe you should consider moving to California or maybe Oregon, their politics might suit you better.

        • I feel sorry for you. You obviously are derainged.

  • How do we sign the petition?

  • What a nice rule – Felix has to serve for six months before a recall effort can begin. What a contrast to our governor where his hand had barely been put down from being sworn down and the impeachment movement began, gathering Dunleavy’s offenses along the way.
    Yes, WHO do we contact tor WHERE do we go to sign?

  • Recall mayor halfwitz?

  • Where can I sign!!!

  • If the organizers post blank petitions to a website, I could get you hundreds of signatures easy. The people in the neighborhoods near the proposed homeless hives are so mad!!!!! . Recall Zaletel will send a message. On a side note I can’t find out much about her. She is a New York trained attorney. Clearly a brain washed liberal. What are her ties to Anchorage? Is she a carpet bagger?

    • I really hope you’ve never had to experience something as heartbreaking and devastating as homelessness. Without access to proper healthcare, food, shelter, water, or even people to talk to- it can turn people to the worst things such as drugs and alcohol cause they’re cheap and make the pain go away temporarily.

      You saying “homeless hives” with such a venomous tone really shows that you are not empathetic in any way unless it directly effects you. You don’t actually want people to better themselves…you don’t actually want the homelessness problem to be solved…you just want them out of sight and out of mind. What a disgusting way to think.

      Bet more than half the people who sign will be willing to send their kids back to school and be surprised when they come down with Covid and infect their families, their neighbors, and anyone who comes in contact with them. But “woe is them” right? Cause they have to be near someplace that is statistically going to decrease usage of drugs, alcohol, and provide better opportunities to those who don’t have by due to people like you. Hope you don’t have a family cause it would be incredibly sad that their father doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

  • She needs to be recalled back to her Liberal state of New York. We don’t need or want her here.

  • I don’t know but I’d sign it too if I could find out where to sign .

  • Absolute grounds for a recall of Assemblymember Zaletel. The majority on this Assembly have demonstrated a complete disregard for the public process, in which she was the presiding officer, and the principles of democratic governance. Most immature and irresponsible Assembly I have seen in my life in Alaska. Time to take back our local government, starting with this recall.

    Craig Campbell, Former Anchorage Assembly member 1986 – 1995

  • Please let us know how we can collect signatures legally.

    Thanks for writing your blog

  • Well, Is this petition for recall on Meg still live?
    Who can update status?
    Need a signature?

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