It’s not enough to pass an ordinance — AO 2022-60 — that will give the Assembly a path to impeach a duly elected mayor. That controversial ordinance will be revisited by the Assembly on July 12 after much hue and cry from the public and a strategic decision on Tuesday by the Assembly to wait until they can seat another liberal member on the body for downtown Anchorage.
Now, the Assembly leadership has an ordinance that will give it the power to appoint the Youth Advisory Commission, taking that power away from the youth commission, who last year changed their procedures to vote as a body to appoint their representative to the Assembly.
The current youth member of the Assembly is conservative and outspoken. Sarah Price, who was voted by the commission in January, but not seated by the Assembly until May, has only been to three meetings. But she has challenged Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance on her and the majority’s attempt to create an impeachment process for the mayor, and sided with the conservative adult members of the Assembly.
Thus, on Tuesday night, AO No. 2022-69, was offered by LaFrance, proposing to seize the power of the Youth Advisory Commission to appoint their representative and award that power to LaFrance, who would appoint someone who agrees with her.
Price excoriated LaFrance during the meeting on Tuesday during a traditional “moment of personal privilege.” Price pointed out that it had taken the Assembly five months to seat her as the youth representative after she had been elected by her peers, and that the ordinance to remove the power and voice of the youth commission had not even been shown to the members of the YAC before it was introduced as a last-minute agenda item on Tuesday.
Price called the move “devious,” and said that the role for the youth representative on the Assembly is not meant to be just a token seat-filler who would be both nominated and approved by the Assembly.
Later, LaFrance prevented Price from being able to speak on the topic, since she had already spoken.
Several young people who attended the meeting also objected to the takeover of the Youth Advisory Council by the Assembly and said so on the record during the public comment period.
The Youth Advisory Commission has a unique ability in code to nominate two youth commissioners to the Assembly — one regular, and one alternate. In the past, during the administration of liberal Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, the member was chosen by the mayor and was a leftist, who resigned from the youth commission when Dave Bronson became mayor, declaring the administration “homophobic.”
Since the group has been meeting, it established a new method for picking its ambassador to the Assembly, something that could come to an end with AO 2022-69.
As Price was using her time at the end of the meeting to ask the Assembly to not overrule the will of the Youth Advisory Commission, her microphone was cut off, something that has happened before with conservative speakers.
The crowd jeered and pointed out that other microphones were live still, as LaFrance attempted to blame the cut mic on a technical issue.