Anchorage mayoral hopeful Forrest Dunbar is telling potential campaign contributors he and his pals on the Assembly are following the city charter in deciding to not have a special election to fill the seat vacated by disgraced former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.
The idea, apparently, is too retain in the mayor’s office for as long as humanly possible Austin Quinn-Davidson, a member of the leftist cabal now running the Anchorage Assembly. It certainly does not have much to do with what the charter has to say about filling he vacancy.
Anchorage’s charter is specific on the matter and is chock-full of “shalls,” which is legalese for “just do it.”
It says: “A vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled at a regular or special election held not less than 90 days from the time a vacancy occurs. If less than 90 days remain in the term when the vacancy occurs, the vacancy shall not be filled. When a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor, the chair of the Assembly shall serve as acting mayor until a successor is elected and takes office. The acting mayor has the veto power, but may not vote on Assembly action. The Assembly by ordinance shall provide for further succession to the office of acting mayor.”
Berkowitz bailed Oct. 23, and 90 days from that date is Jan. 21. Anchorage residents should about then be voting on a temporary mayor who would serve until July 1, when the mayor-elect from the regularly scheduled April 6 election takes office.
If the liberal wing of the Assembly does not like the current charter language, if its members believe such an election would be too costly or logistically impossible, if they want to make “not less than 90 days” mean “whenever we feel like it,” they should try to persuade Anchorage residents to change the charter’s language at the polls. Until that happens, the Assembly should be following the charter’s dictums. It is not, after all, advisory.
All of this leaves us to wonder: Should a guy who has difficulty reading and comprehending the charter really be thinking about running for mayor?