A petition to recall Anchorage Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel is closing in on enough signatures to take the matter to a public vote in a special election this fall.
The group pushing for the recall, led by Reclaim Midtown’s Russell Biggs, needs to have nearly 2,500 signatures, plus a good percentage beyond that number just to make sure that enough of the signatures are valid and from the district Zaletel represents.
The discontent with Zaletel began with her push to allow former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to purchase several buildings around Anchorage to create a homeless industrial complex.
Residents of Midtown Anchorage were outraged to learn drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers for vagrants would be placed adjacent to their neighborhoods. Decisions were made during Assembly meetings that were closed to the public, but during those same meetings the Assembly leaders permitted special invited guests of proponents of the mayor’s plan to be in the chambers. All who protested the plan were banned from the Assembly meetings.
Zaletel and then-Assembly Chair Felix Rivera were targeted for recall.
Rivera survived his recall in April. But the Municipality fought the Zaletel petition in court. The Superior Court judge Kevin Saxby sided with Biggs, but the Anchorage Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel, now gone from the city payroll, appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The oral arguments for the appeal is Thursday, Aug. 19 at 1:30 pm, during which each side will be allowed 20 minutes to argue the case.
Most of the signatures on the petition are being gathered at the Carrs grocery story on Abbott Road, Biggs said, although there is some effort being made to go door to door in the District 4 neighborhoods. The progress is heartening, he said.
Meanwhile, the Alaska Supreme Court has decided that just about anything goes with recall petitions and that will probably bode well for Biggs to win in court.