Today's Assembly #ANCgov meeting starts at 5pm, Tuesday November 23 at the Loussac Library and streamed online. Business includes next year's budget, a resolution honoring Eugene Haberman, more board appointments.
Agenda here:…
Meeting starts shortly. Most in the room are wearing masks, even if they clearly don't want to. Perhaps they decided they don't want to watch at home, which is the alternative option, in the Assembly policy. #ANCgov
Everyone present in the chambers tonight! Even Bronson.
Chair LaFrance reminds that masks are required, available & rules will be enforced.
Meeting gaveled in. The usual start: roll call, pledge, land acknowledgement. #ANCgov
Predictably, about 20 people in the room call out "I'm on the mayor's team!" and therefore don't have to wear a mask.
Not what they meant, but actually true, if they are all Save Anchorage members. #ANCgov
Also predictably, Bronson's mayor's report is his opportunity to grandstand about not having a bond at all, and therefore no new jobs & spending on projects we need. Followed by defensive budget talking points, since he doesn't know the budget details are all. #ANCgov
The Bronson cheerleading team does its job and cheers.
Constant and Dunbar asks questions. Bronson immediately defers to Demboski again.
The administration again sounds defensive, referring again back to their press release. #ANCgov
Tonight's meeting has big middle school energy, down to spiteful clapping in the back after the Chair asked someone else to stop.
Chair LaFrance lays out some of the reasons why Bronson's report was full of lies. Asks for the actual presentation given to ratings agencies. #ANCgov
The Chair also reminds the members to follow the rules, and asks members of the public to be adults. This is difficult for some.
The Chair yet again ask to remind the Mayor how the meeting rules work.
Allard is 2 items behind with her question. #ANCgov
Constant reports the Assembly will declare malapportionment, a step in the redistricting process. They will also share a general calendar for the public to understand v the steps in the redistricting process. #ANCgov
Several laid on the table items. Includes a few appropriations, such as $100,000 to alcohol treatment center planning, and part of the Sullivan exit strategy. Constant explains the procedure.
And an ordinance clarifying things like Robert's Rules, apparently necessary. #ANCgov
Appearance request: Michael Glidden. Sounds like a nightmare of an Eagle River neighbor has been bullying everyone on the street, when they ask him not to park all his vehicles on the street. Not much the Assembly can do but ask the administration to enforce the rules. #ANCgov
Next, Louis Imbriani. Reads snarky testimony to follow his snarky email. Why did the Assembly declare an emergency & require masks? Why did it take so long?
No mention of having the highest COVID cases in the US for weeks. And it took weeks to pass because of his friends. #ANCgov
Last, someone with Imagine Girdwood, asking for support for a grant to finish updating their community plan. They've done a lot of the work.
Then 3 minutes of an anti-government song on Darden's phone with a clap-along. #ANCgov
Another person starts walking straight past the podium and approaches the dias, threatening to not stop because she is entitled to be heard.
5 minute break. The angry people are in a tizzy about a public meeting with a set agenda. #ANCgov
Meeting back online. The delinquents in the back continue muttering, because no one is paying enough attention to them.
Kennedy attempts to coddle them with a motion to extend audience participation by 15 minutes. #ANCgov
Weddleton says he will support this, but it's a new process and it's a business meeting and they shouldn't suspend the rules routinely. He points out the public can speak on public hearings.
Constant says their top priority is to pass the budget.
Vote fails 5 to 6. #ANCgov
The public is so eager to be heard, they keep talking over the actual meeting being conducted.
Consent agenda: looks like 2 problematic appointments to the Election Commission are back, Clopton and Donelson. As promised, Bronson will keep bringing the same people back. #ANCgov
Consent agenda items approved except 8.
Constant moves to reorder the agenda, to take up recognition resolutions first, the Haberman resolution, must pass & budget items, and moving the rest of the consent items pulled to the end of the agenda. The budget is priority. #ANCgov
Weddleton's resolution recognizing Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Some discussion about whether to postpone, whether to call out one group (Black men) in the resolution. He points out it's been postponed already.
They will amend it in the meeting instead. #ANCgov
Allard, trying to be helpful, says "we only have 5 races." Which probably not even worth unpacking, but the statement should be documented.
She also defends something "because it's from the internet," not the first time. #ANCgov
Next, a resolution honoring lives lost to violence because they were transgender or non binary. Says 2021 has seen a record number of deaths (43). Likely much higher over the years, as this population has been invisible.
Clapping from some, audible silence from others. #ANCgov
Next, public hearing for the resolution honoring Eugene Haberman.
"Classic community organizer, putting people above personal gain."
"He was punctual, succinct, accurate." Suggestion to add an inscription on the podium. #ANCgov
Testimony continues. The tone of the meeting changed, more informal, collegial and not divisive. The meetings don't have to be a battleground, or angry, or all about winning points with the base. It's a choice to make them that way. #ANCgov
Andrew Gray testifies, in honor of Eugene and his work to build the Alaska LGBTQ community. He thanks Eugene for creating a safe space for him years later. #ANCgov
More testifiers speak to his dedication, his commitment to process, his decorum and respect, and his wide ranging impacts on the community. #ANCgov
It's unusual to have a public hearing on a resolution for a person, but this is appropriate.
Members share some anecdotes about Eugene. His brother Howard on the phone.
Resolution passes unanimously, followed by reading the ordinance into the record. #ANCgov
Howard Haberman speaks to learning just recently how much of an impact his brother made in the community, being welcomed when he came to take care of his affairs, and that Eugene had good friends.
20 minute dinner break, then a couple business items before the budget. #ANCgov
Back on the record.
Taking up an item funding for Catholic Social Services to provide shelter at Clare House.
Zaletel asks for a determination of a conflict of interest.
The Chair rules she does not. #ANCgov
Allard asks for an opinion from legal counsel. Ennis says it's not a conflict either. "Members may have their own opinions, but if it's not a financial or private interest or benefit, not a conflict."
Item passes 11 to 0. Good to see funding go to sheltering people. #ANCgov
Next item is also funding to continue planning for a treatment center. Zaletel asks for the conflict of interest review questions again. No conflict.
Weddleton speaks to the funding and getting an old treatment center started up again. Part of the negotiated plan. #ANCgov
Sounds like the negotiating group could have been better about telling the rest of the Assembly members about the plan.
Constant explains it is supposed to be discussed in next month's meeting, but got moved up sooner. They will have a work session with all details soon. #ANCgov
Next, the budget debate. Starting with the capital budget.
Dunbar moves an amendment for funding to complete Chantsnu Muldoon Park. "This will build literal bridges."
Weddleton says the Mayor tried to make the bond below the debt being retired. Why not wait #ANCgov
Dunbar points out higher interest debt is getting retired, park bonds pass in the community, and that there were multiple East Anchorage parks taken off the list.
Zaletel points out delaying projects can make them harder to start again. #ANCgov
Allard asks Demboski to say the "government spending is bad" line.
Kennedy, continuing the same line, asks how the bond rating downgrade will impact.
They repeat the only talking point they seem to care about: "this will cost taxpayers more money." #ANCgov
Kennedy asks if the Muni will ever not be able to sell bonds.
Even Frisk says it would take years, there are 17 levels.
He still uses the scare tactic that we are suddenly a bad risk.
Dunbar: the main issues are slow FEMA reimbursement, bad data given to agencies. #ANCgov
Moving through amendments. Passing with 8 votes, or 9 in some cases.
For Russian Jack Park improvements, Petersen points out this has been talked about for 20 years, and this project planned since 2017. Also passes. #ANCgov
Traffic calming funding increase: one of the most popular things neighborhoods want. Not for just one part of town but area wide.
Many Anchorage streets are unsafe.
All bond projects will get debated in January before approved to go to voters on the ballot. #ANCgov
Good thing Bronson has all those staff to do all the work, so he can keep playing Minesweeper and randomly clicking until he blows everything up. He hasn't even had to delegate to Amy this time, they just ask her questions directly now. Saves a step. #ANCgov
Capital budget approved. Passed 10 to 1. Only Allard voted against millions of dollars of bond projects for voters to decide.
This will come back in January for final approval for the bond package. #ANCgov
Capital Improvement Program (for future years) up for amendment. Weddleton moves two Vanguard Drive projects, both of which are responding to state DOT not planning very well. Both would happen in 2023. Passed. #ANCgov
Capital Improvement Program passes as amended, 11 to 0. #ANCgov
Next, Utilities and Enterprise budgets, for agencies like AWWU, Solid Waste Services, Merrill Field, the Port and others.
Amendment restores a code enforcement officer to SWS. Zipay is trying to cut a longtime employee.
Why does Bronson keep trying to cut code enforcers? #ANCgov
Zaletel moves an amendment keeping funding for the composting program. It will start again in the spring, may need another look during first quarter budget revisions. Also passes. #ANCgov
Next amendment reverses cut to AEDC. Perez Verdia: "This is not the time to be cutting economic development. And it's in line with the Mayor's priorities, economic growth and COVID recovery."
Allard says she's "disappointed in how AEDC turned out." Passes 9 to 2. #ANCgov
Next amendment is about a new position created, or revived, as deputy municipal manager. Would pay for the full position out of utilities budgets.
Lots of questions about what this person does: is it enterprise work, or muni manager work? For reorganization next month. #ANCgov
Enterprise and Utility operating budget passes 10 to 1. Again, Allard is the lone No vote. #ANCgov
Enterprise and Utility capital budget passes 11 to 0, no amendments.
Next, budget for Anchorage Community Development Authority. No amendments, passes 11 to 0. #ANCgov
Now the big one: the operating budget.
Zaletel asks for a conflict of interest determination because of her role at the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, some alcohol tax revenue might go to that organization. No conflict. #ANCgov
Dunbar and Quinn Davidson move an omnibus amendment, addressing many of the concerns raised in testimony and putting funds back into services.
Part of the revenue to pay for reversing cuts is with increased estimated revenue. #ANCgov
Weddleton asks several questions, including why not put the Mobile Crisis Team in APD?
Zaletel responds keeping it in AFD will help keep the program (12 hour service) and gives time to plan for a new model in future. Fewer transitions are good. #ANCgov
Amendment to remove the Girdwood EMS funding. He plans to bring it up for the general operating budget later. #ANCgov
Rivera, Zaletel and Perez Verdia thank their colleagues for all of the work to create the amendments, happy to see investments the future, and the public for all of their input into priorities.
Kennedy says it's complicated and wishes it was done one at a time.#ANCgov
Quinn Davidson points out the shifted positions would get paid for by increases estimated from other taxes, like the hotel room tax. Will be discussed in the next amendment. #ANCgov
Allard, apparently struggling to justify the administration's choices, asks them to justify cutting pre K, MCT, other funds.
Demboski stumbles, tries to make it seem like the Assembly is cutting homelessness funding. They aren't. #ANCgov
And if the administration cared so much about homelessness, even their top priority, why have they fired so many people? Why did it take so long to get the warming tent set up, after a lot of pressure? Why is just the "visible" population the big priority, Amy's words? #ANCgov
A lot of talk about "a giant grant ASD got" like it's free money. Isn't that $110 million actually COVID relief money? For lost revenue and COVID costs? Why is every big amount of money just turn into a cash grab so we can keep cutting government? #ANCgov
Amendment to cut $375K in early education funding fails 3 to 8.
Frisk chimes in again about FEMA reimbursement talking points, having no substance to add otherwise. More important to keep up the narrative that we're broke. #ANCgov
Amendment to alcohol tax funding passes 9 to 2! Guess who voted against.
Next, amendment 1, another omnibus amendment but with the general operating budget. #ANCgov
Dunbar walks through all the proposed revenue sources, removing several special assistant positions the mayor created this year, higher revenue from bed tax then originally thought, and taxing to the cap (which was only $149k under anyway). #ANCgov
The Bronson team is less prepared to actually play the budget game. They seem to be struggling to justify their own choices, that they published in the draft weeks ago.
Trombley defends their extra positions. And eliminating inspectors. #ANCgov
Even the audience is having trouble knowing what to support or get mad about. No one gave them the talking points ahead of time. #ANCgov
Demboski gets even more defensive, calls the cuts of their political appointees "an attack on the mayor's office" and seems to imply a threat that if they do that, the mayor will veto the Assembly positions in retaliation. Because that's governing. #ANCgov
Administration: "We want economic growth."
Also the Administration: "We want a smaller bond." (Fewer jobs)
Also the Administration: "We are cutting Muni jobs."
Also: "We need to prioritize new development."
Also: "We are only looking at flat growth in 2022." #ANCgov
Quinn Davidson plays the "reducing redundancy and using taxpayers' money for better services" card. #ANCgov
Bronson isn't even pretending to participate in the meeting at this point. He's never in the queue.
Allard speaking to motive, after making a big show that this isn't allowed. Awkward. #ANCgov
So far no one has explained why several special assistant positions are necessary, when they can't keep director level staff around, who could be doing that work.
Demboski getting really defensive now, especially about Winegarner. #ANCgov
Weddleton's amendment to undo the proposed Building Services cut has caused some confusion, each amendment needs to balance (revenue and expense). More discussion about how the position will be funded. #ANCgov
Debate & the meeting continued to midnight. Still working on how to keep funding for the building services director, and the inspectors. Both can be paid for out of another fund, actually.
Amendment to amendment passes.
Now to general debate on amendment. #ANCgov
Zaletel points out that the cuts would be a $12 to $14 tax break for homeowners, which is hard to justify if it results in significant service cuts. When there are disruptions to services, Assembly members hear about it, and it's hard to put back later. #ANCgov
Kennedy moves an amendment to move half of the SRO program costs to ASD, funding only half. No second to the motion.
Allard, who wasn't listening apparently, missed an opportunity to second. #ANCgov
Vote on amendment 1: passes 11 to 0.
Next, Weddleton moves restoring a cut to Girdwood Valley Transit, the only amendment the administration planned. He thanks the mayor "for making it happen." Even though they were the ones who made the cut in the first place. #ANCgov
Next amendment puts money toward Girdwood EMS, not with alcohol tax but other funds. Passes 11 to 0. #ANCgov
Next amendment grants $50,000 to Anchorage Youth Court.
Everyone supports the Youth Court. The issue is whether they should get earmarked funds out of the competitive grant process.
Allard notes her daughters volunteer with the Youth Court. Not a conflict. #ANCgov
Youth Court amendment withdrawn.
Constant moves another amendment, that would require a revised 2022 budget if and when the reorganization also happens. Revised budget needs to be done by December 31 before the budget is done. #ANCgov
Weddleton asks if the adqministration can meet that deadline?
Demboski says yes.
Won't be a fun end of year for the staff who have to carry it out. But they can thank Bronson and Demboski for the reorganization work. #ANCgov
Operating budget passes 11 to 0!
Everyone claps.
11 minutes left in Tuesday. They attempt to do as much as possible before midnight.
Reconsideration vote for Aviation Advisory Commission, to bring it back later. #ANCgov
Taking up liquor licenses, very quickly, so they can meet the state deadline for dealing with applications. No testimony on the first. No discussion, just vote. #ANCgov
Two items passed. Testimony against an alcohol license at Hilltop Ski Area. Very quick motion to vote, and a vote JUST in time for midnight.
A lot got done tonight.
Meeting adjourned.
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More from @AnchorageAction

23 Nov
Dr. Morris seems to be playing both sides:
"Other communities built or bought well-designed facilities to provide services & shelter more efficiently and with more effective outcomes." But then... #ANCgov 1/5…
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Assembly special meeting starts at 6 pm on Monday, November 1 at Assembly Chambers.
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Meeting has gaveled in. Everyone present, except Quinn Davidson who is excused.
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1 action today: take some time this weekend to read up on the 2022 Bronson (but really Demboski) proposed budget. There are many bad choices for our city, but there's still time to fix it. #ANCgov
Read the details:
Testimony form:…
Budget 🚩🚩🚩: long 🧵
❌ Hides a flat-funded budget with complicated reorganization
❌Achieves “cuts” by using dedicated alcohol tax money for general government
❌Creates a top-heavy executive team, with 4 new positions
❌Cuts $1 mil for new ASD pre-K, funded by alcohol tax /🧵
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❌Cuts $250K for providers serving DV victims /🧵
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Assembly meeting continues tonight, picking up where they left off. We'll see how much actually gets done today. #ANCgov
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