By MICHAEL TAVOLIERO
In 2013, then-Mayor Dan Sullivan and the Anchorage Assembly passed AO37 into law. It was deemed the “Responsible Labor Law.”
It provided a legal standard for the costs of union contracts, as well as changed the original 25-year-old labor law, eliminating all pay incentives. Unions could no longer bargain for increased pay for specialized training or for earning a college degree. The mayor and the Assembly believed the incentives didn’t provide any benefits to the city, so why include it in the city’s labor negotiations?
It made sense. After all, it was our tax money, not the public unions.
On Nov. 4, 2014, Anchorage Municipality voters repealed AO37.
This was the equivalent of the Fall of Vicksburg for the special interests’ takeover of what Italian communist Antonio Gramsci described in the 1930’s: “ Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches, and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”
The repeal of AO37 was a clandestine operation through our most impressionable institutions to change cultural, political, and societal behavior locally.
As Christopher F. Rufo, founder and director of the public policy research center Battlefront and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, recently pointed out “the revolutionary ideas of the ‘60’s have been repackaged, repurposed and injected into American life at the institutional level.”
Having lived through Woodstock and my college days living in Berkeley with experiences never to be revealed publicly, I can only say that that is correct.
In Anchorage, we now see this in our Assembly and our school district. We are witnessing the ideological division perpetrated by the elected representatives of the most populated community in the State of Alaska. Like some many other large urban centers around our nation, this handful of elected officials by simple ideological determination controls our future and that of our children.
There is a conditioning approach to all its legislation, creating a public policy where government restricts its people. AO 2022-60 was drafted to give the Assembly a path to allow the Assembly to remove the mayor or any elected official for almost any reason. With declaring that under the authority of the municipal charter Section 7.01(b), the Assembly is establishing specific procedures for the removal of an elected official for breach of the public trust.
Hey, why not? This is true behavioral modification.
The parameters they have given themselves are broad and vague. Nonetheless, they do create a procedural approach for the removal of an elected official who may not be using the same ideological compass as most of the Assembly.
If the ordinance passes, and it appears likely, it may be contested in court as a breach of the separation of powers and constitutional rights. Given the current judicial activist penchant of our Alaskan judiciary, this next level of litigious well-intentioned behavior on the part of the liberty minded conservatives may well end in another darkly polished example of bad case law.
Haven’t we had enough?
If defeated in court, what can happen next?
I point to the short life of AO-37.
May I also point out the more recent failed contests which were costly to Anchorage conservatives? Both recent recall elections of Assembly members Felix Rivera and Meg Zalatel were defeated. Five of the 7 conservative candidates on the ballot were defeated.
Given the pattern, the likelihood of a conservative prevalence in an election to repeal AO 2022-60, I suspect, will not be successful.
Where does that leave the most embattled mayor in the history of Anchorage?
You got it. He is now prey to a continued and vicious attack by the members of the Assembly and their minions with even less defense. He’s gelded and ready for the glue factory.
Which brings me to my point.
All of this defense will cost the mayor, his supporters and the Anchorage taxpayers money, time and wasted elected executive efforts. Given the track record of over the past decade of conservative disappointment, I am not optimistic that this next litigious carnival or election effort will be successful or even effective.
Even if it is, the mayor during the remainder of his term will be effectively distracted just like Trump was by Pelosi and Schumer with the continued obstacles the Assembly puts in his way with little to no accomplishments and perhaps impeachment, removal and/or a one term Mayor.
In the Anchorage political scene, it’s kind of like banging your head against the wall. When you stop, it feels good.
Same cycle same scenario and no sign of it changing soon.
I have an idea: Decentralize the Municipality of Anchorage.
Yes, de-unify the Unified Municipality of Anchorage.
This half century experiment which unified the state’s largest population into a centralized local government is a tragic political, financial, and social failure.
The mayor should consider this as the one true offensive measure which may potentially remove all power and control from the Anchorage special interests. The mayor, with the Alaska Local Boundary Commission’s approval, may submit a petition under 3 AAC 110.410(a)(3) to effect boundary changes.
Remember if Chugiak-Eagle River had not been involved in being a borough during the vote for the unification charter commission, the unified Municipality of Anchorage may have never been. The Eagle River-Chugiak voters were not residents of the Greater Anchorage Areawide Borough in February 1975 when Greater Anchorage Areawide Borough voters approved the concept of unification and elected members to the Charter Commission.
The irony is if the conservative Eagle River-Chugiak voters had voted in that election, the probability of the commission being approved was unlikely and today’s exercise in kindergarten tyranny may never have happened.
Michael Tavoliero is a realtor in Eagle River, is active in the Alaska Republican Party and chaired Eaglexit.