Breaking: Municipal Attorney denies recall petition for Zalatel - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, January 20, 2021
HomePoliticsBreaking: Municipal Attorney denies recall petition for Zalatel

Breaking: Municipal Attorney denies recall petition for Zalatel

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The municipal attorney and Municipal Clerk for Anchorage have rejected the petition application for recalling Assembly member Meg Zalatel, who represents midtown Anchorage.

“We conclude that the recall application is factually sufficient; it is sufficiently particular to allow the reader to understand the allegations, and to permit Assembly Member Zaletel to respond in 200 words. Determining the legal sufficiency of the application is more complex, and requires analysis of the governing law on open meetings in Alaska as well as factual context of the allegations in the application.

“The bulk of the petition’s allegation is that Assembly Member Zaletel’s ‘misconduct in office’ violated Alaska law at the July 28 Assembly meeting by not allowing public testimony inside the Assembly chambers; by conducting municipal business after the public had been excluded; by permitting people to remain in chambers through a means not disclosed to the public prior to the meeting; and by ‘disenfranchising people’ who wanted to attend the meeting in person. The petition alleges that Assembly Member Zaletel’s misconduct violated both Alaska’s Public Meetings statute, AS 29.20.020, and Open Meetings Act, AS 44.62.310-.312.19”

The rejection explanation goes on to say that the Open Meetings Act does not specify the logistics of how to allow public testimony, and that there is no guarantee that testimony must be allowed in person or the the public has a right to “any particular method of participation.

The decision means the public may not collect signatures to put a recall question on the ballot.

Another group, Recall Dunleavy, was granted a petition last year based on flimsy accusations that had no factual basis. After appeals, the Supreme Court has already ruled the governor can be recalled for any reason, even though there is a “for cause” standard in statute. The standard for municipal seats is even lower, but the municipal attorney Kathryn Vogel is an extreme leftist who supports the positions of the left-wing Assembly and mayor.

Zalatel, during a meeting earlier this summer, was the presiding chair of the Assembly and allowed one person from the public to testify because she wanted specific testimony; the rest of the public was barricaded from the meeting due to what the Assembly interpreted as a CCOVI-19 health threat. Her arbitrary allowance of one person over all others became part of the basis for the recall petition application. Without having a petition to gather names on issued by the Clerk, there is no path for a recall.

Must Read Alaska was not able to reach the sponsor of the petition application, Russell Biggs, of Anchorage, for a comment, but this story will be updated.

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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

  • Was there any doubt that would happen?

  • The list of elected and appointed officials to be recalled and sued is getting longer.

  • The oligarchy grows to include even the municipal attorney. This is all bull—. These people are going forward whether the the property tax payers want to pay for this idiocy or not.

  • Well, it’s off to the Supreme Court then.

  • I suspect Berkowitz’ little fingers are all over this opinion. The public has a right to ask for a recall petition. I never thought that Anchorage residents would be treated like this. We truly have a dictator as mayor!

  • Is there an appeals process that goes to someone who is not the municipal attorney or municipal clerk? I don’t pretend to understand how city employees are hired, reviewed, paid or fired but it seems to me that there is at least the potential for a little conflict of interest here.

  • Mr. Constant an is not well educated on racism. You cannot make laws to eradicate racism. Oh you can make the laws but they are already on the books now. Racism is taught. It is how you are brought up in a home setting.

  • Hmmmm, seems like Anchorage better look at firing another public employee, maybe put out a add for a new city attorney. The public access to meetings law is pretty clear

  • As if there was any doubt…

  • Kudos to Mr. Biggs. I hope he can and will appeal this decision of the partisan Municipal Attorney to Superior Court and have it expedited. I will support that effort. My theory is that if the Muni Attorney has to defend this arbitrary and capricious ruling in court, she’ll have less time to defend the other unlawful excesses of the Assembly and Mayor. Power comes from the people. It’s not something the ruling elite possesses for their own purposes.

  • When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    That, whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    • “He has erected a Multitude of Offices and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass the people and to eat out their substance”
      Sound familiar? Seems Jefferson might be talking about Berkowitz?
      Somethings never change.

    • Mongo, you stopped short and left of the best part!

      Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

  • The question is: Who does the Muni Attorney represent? The Assembly, The Mayor, or the people within the Municipality? Some would say that she represents only the Municipality. But wouldn’t that include all of those property taxpayers who pay her wages, the voters, and all employees of the Municipality?
    .
    She has an ethical responsibility to act fairly and dutifully in her decisions. If she is truly acting in a partisan manner to defend an Assembly member from a legitimate and valid recall, and she fails in her ethical duties to advance that recall, then she may have breached that duty.
    .
    Possible bar complaint to AK Bar Association. There must be a formal investigation of her action or inaction.

  • The Municipal Rubber Stamp Attorney and Municipal Rubber Stamp Clerk for Anchorage have rejected the petition…………….

  • Actually I think this is pretty easily solvable. Recall lawyer only needs to take that outrageous opinion by the AK Supremes in the Dunleavy recall case into District Court and force the recall. Essentially, the opinion said any reason is ok. Then ask for legal fees.

    It is always possible that the District Judge will rule against them anyway and force it back to the AK Supremes to similarly reject. If )and when) they do that, we will have a great display how corrupt the AK courts system actually is. Solution if that happens? Constitutional Convention. Cheers –

    • You have too much faith in the Alaska Supreme Court. A.S.C. does not value precedent or consistency in rulings unless if favors their political leanings. If this goes to A.S.C. the Justices (led by Bolger) will bend over backward to find favor with the Muni.

      COUNT ON IT!

      • No faith in them at all. But they are on the horns of a dilemma. Rule in favor of the recall and half the Anchorage Assembly goes away. Rule against (as you expect and I fear), and they rewrite their opinion on recalls less than 6 months of allowing the Dunleavy one to proceed. Worse, they open the door for a Constitutional Convention in 2022 which they really, really don’t want. Cheers –

    • AK Supreme court may be the most liberal court in the entire USA

      • Certainly the most insulated from public reactions to the court’s actions.

  • Can the city attorney be sued for malpractice?

    Seriously, not just for this, but the decision on CARES Act funding, which apparently was based on the legal concept of “Other cities did it.”

  • Wow, Berkowitz really is a little dictator! What skeletons are in his closet?

  • Just more proof that the residents of the municipality do not live under any recognizable version of a representative democracy. There are no checks and balances, no way to redress wrongs with the current administration.

  • Why is it that Alaska is one of the few states that allow our elected Officials to appoint their Chief Prosecutors? IMHO, this is a recipe for political bias and corruption. State Attorney Generals and City/ Borough District Attorneys should be elected into office by the voters.

    Although the link below is 2003 data, it clearly shows that Alaska is one of the few jurisdictions that does its own thing.
    cga.ct.gov/2003/rpt/2003-R-0231.htm

  • Anchorage has become Portland…

    • How did these little commie, women attorneys get into these positions of authority? They were NOT elected by anybody.

  • Recently had a municipal administrative hearing judge tell me both verbally and in writing that
    “ though the officer did in fact lie under oath, that in her opinion, his offense does not rise to the level of perjury !

    That’s the whole problem in anchorage
    A double standard of accountability

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