According to Assemblyman John Weddleton, running for reelection, everything is fine in Anchorage government.
The go-along, get-along Assembly member, feeling pressure from a credible challenger, told voters they shouldn’t be too concerned about what they read. It’s all under control. Everything is going to get better, he said.
The Anchorage Daily News gave the South Anchorage incumbent prime space in its opinion section to campaign to mollify voters in his district, who are evidently not happy with him.
Newcomer Randy Sulte, who has asked the newspaper for equal space, has appealed to voters who think the Assembly is underperforming, and evidently Weddleton is hearing that message from residents, loud and clear. That’s what he addressed and said is wrong.
Weddleton, who collaborates with what’s known as the Liberal Assembly Majority, wrote that as he walks the neighborhoods in his District 6 area, he hears the frustration with local government, that it is dysfunctional.
“I don’t hear blame on the Assembly or the mayor. It is toward both as our governing body. We’ve all seen the fireworks, but behind the smoke, it’s not so bad and will be better. Let’s take a closer look,” Weddleton started out.
He proceeded to make the argument that he and the Assembly are actually working very well with the mayor, and he pointed out several instances that he said proves it.
He detailed how it isn’t so bad that the mayor and the Assembly are embroiled in a lawsuit. He denied that the Assembly has denied mayoral appointments. And he defended the Assembly’s work on homelessness.
Weddleton was an apologist for what many see as a dysfunctional Assembly. That’s just noise, he wrote.
“There are more examples, but these show that despite the noise, your city government is working for you. Our system of municipal government has two branches: the executive branch under the mayor and the legislative branch called the Assembly. By their nature, there is a tension between them. Within this structure, the Assembly and the mayor are working together to help Anchorage become greater,” Weddleton said.
Mayor Bronson wrote a short letter to the editor addressing such claims from his perspective as mayor. Bronson wrote:
“I’ve read in recent news that some members of the Anchorage Assembly are saying that they are working with me as Mayor to help our great city. In fact, the Assembly and I are currently embroiled in a lawsuit after the Assembly attempted to grab power specifically vested in me by our City Charter. Additionally, the Assembly has continually denied or delayed the hiring and appointments of people to important positions that impact the flow of city business and operations. I am all for working with anyone to help Anchorage become greater. But that actually requires willing Assembly Members, who instead of pretending to work with me, actually do so.”
The election for Assembly ends April 5. Ballots were mailed out to Anchorage voters in mid-March and must be postmarked by April 5 or dropped into secure drop boxes by 8 pm on April 5 to count.