Mayor Pierce says meetings should be open to public - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Mayor Pierce says meetings should be open to public

Although it’s not up to him, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce says the Assembly meetings should be open to the public.

Not everyone has access to the internet, he said in a social media post on Friday, “and therefore not everyone has equal access to the Assembly video meetings. I want to encourage the Assembly to open up the assembly doors and truly be open to the public again.”

Assembly member Kelly Cooper, who is also running for House District 31 against Rep. Sarah Vance, said the meetings will remain closed until the borough’s Assembly chambers get renovated, by using the CARES Act money.

She admitted in the last assembly meeting that this could take months.

The matter came to the fore when a member of the public, in the middle of a Zoom meeting public comment period, said he could go to Walmart, churches, and other public places, so there is no reason that the Assembly cannot meet in public.

For Pierce, months of Zoom meetings is not good enough: “This should not wait for another week or months as was stated in the last Assembly meeting. This should happen now. I do not oversee the assembly or clerks’ office, so this is just a friendly encouragement. We can do all this while still obeying the CDC guidelines. For those who do not feel comfortable to be in person, you can watch from home. It’s a win/win.”

The Assembly and the Borough school board have received push back against the closed meetings, but the school board has moved its meeting to a high school gymnasium in the borough.

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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

  • Better have the cops there then.

    • Yes, for sure, the party of peace and love has become violent since marrying antifa………….

  • Which one is the expert? I thought the mask saved us all? If your worried, stay home, if not, get back to liberty and freedom of choice!!!!

  • Assembly member Kelly Cooper wants to keep the public locked out of the meetings just like her comrades in Anchorage. She is running for a seat in the State Legislature.. We don’t need that attitude in Juneau!

  • Kelly Cooper is for vote by mail also! Sound familiar?

  • the meetings will remain closed until the borough’s Assembly chambers get renovated, by using the CARES Act money. WHY are they using this money to renovate?

    • And why not hold meetings at an alternate location until the renovation is completed? How hard can that be? For a group of people who are so concerned about being able to vote that they mail a ballot to every voter you’d think they’d also be concerned enough to allow the public to attend assembly meetings.

  • For all the people who have never attended an assembly meeting, this is encouraging news. Maybe if they pass a law that says that adults are no longer allowed to vote, people will conclude that voting rights are important. Love you government.

  • AS 44.62.310
    (a) All meetings of a governmental body of a public entity of the state are open to the public except as otherwise provided by this section or another provision of law.

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