Mayor Dan defends tennis court appropriation

Give Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan credit for responding to stories about his administration. Below is his response to the Friday story on this site about Sen. Lesil McGuire’s attempt to re-appropriate money slated for Anchorage tennis courts:

The indoor public courts were requested by the Alaska Tennis Association so that all kids could have an opportunity to play the lifetime sport of tennis without having to be rich enough to afford the Alaska Club. All the high schools will use the facility for their regular season and regional tournament, as well as teams from around the state for the state competitions. The need became essential with the pending sale of the Alaska Club North, which has 5 of the 9 private indoor courts in town.

The first location considered was in south Anchorage (in Lesil’s district) but because of poor soils the current site was proposed. It does not matter to me where the location is, because I will continue to be a member of the Alaska Club, as I have been for nearly thirty years, because there is a wider variety of exercise options and amenities.

As for investing in our public facilities before building new ones, my administration has invested over $650 million in our parks, trails, public facilities, etc., over the past five years, the largest amount ever invested in our public infrastructure in Anchorage history.


20 thoughts on “Mayor Dan defends tennis court appropriation

  1. Ben

    First I’ll say that I too am encouraged by the mayors willingness to comment on public feedback, especially surprised that he would go as far as to comment on sites like Amanda’s.
    I think this debate has been turned into something that it shouldn’t be, a political game. Just looking at what is really going on here, nobody would normally blink but because there is political gain that can be made by turning this into a heated subject, who can pass that up?! Apparently not Lesil. She saw an easy opportunity to make the Mayor look out of touch, but it’s really quite the opposite. The Mayor is a huge supporter of the Library and has done more for deferred maintenance than Begich or any previous mayor which is amazing considering the soundness of Sullivan’s budget when compared to Begich’s. Lesil, and several others, are making this look like the Mayor is building this tennis courts so he can spend all his afternoons playing tennis on them, really? Really?? Tennis courts are not a bad thing for this city. Improving the library is also not a bad thing, so lets work on moving forward with finding news ways to do that without backtracking on progress already made!

  2. Jon

    What facts are you missing? Where to start. First, Administrations going back to Hammond appointed legislators. Second, The Governor’s Office asked the Dept of Law – not Sullivan – if a legislator could be hired. An Assistent AG informed the Governor’s Office that the hire was legal. Third, Sullivan had nothing to do with the hire or the initial advice provided to the Governor. Fourth, Sullivan did not exonerate or bless this process. When he was asked to review the decision, he reviewed the law and told the Governor that the constitution likely did not allow him to make the hire. Fifht, the law is not black and white and this was not a close call – there are good arguments on both sides – read the AG opinion.

    The process worked – the AG upheld the law and the Governor agreed with his advice.

  3. Non-smoker

    I too have to say that I like to see our elected officials engaging the public in forums such as this. It shows real respect for their constituents. Good job Mr. Mayor for having the acumen to engage and share your views.

  4. Lynn Willis

    All I ask if for politicians who will obey the law because they see the value in that approach as opposed to the alternative, which is rule by obfuscation of the law and by fiat. To claim ignorance of law is, as I suspect you know, no defense.
    What facts am I missing? What facts support your argument? She was a sitting legislator when the job was created for her. The fact that Parnell created and offered her the position while she was a sitting legislator was in direct violation of the Alaska State Constitution. That is a fact and is the only fact that counts as regards the A.G. The ethical breach was Parnell and Sullivan attempting to rationalize circumvention of the spirit of the State Constitution by justifying aligning the dates of her resignation and subsequent creation of the job custom created for only one person – her. Sullivan came to an ethical and legal crossroad and he chose the path to first exonerate his boss. Sullivan knew the legislature wouldn’t do anything nor would the Feds be interested in a breach of the State Constitution. By not representing the people of Alaska when the Governor violated the State Constitution Dan Sullivan violated his oath of office which also includes upholding the State Constitution. Perhaps because he is so malleable he appeals to those who are funding his current political effort.
    Finally, if Sullivan and Parnell were correct then why did they not oppose her leaving? The silence was deafening. That lack of loyalty to her is just as damming to them.

  5. Jon

    My interest is not in defending Parnell. It is to simply state the facts, which you ignore. By the way, how did Sullivan come to Parnell’s rescue?

  6. Young Republican

    I wish other politicians, particularly Governor Parnell, would see the benefit of engaging with the people and commenting on blogs in the way that Mayor Sullivan does. Also, Senator Begich does this too which I greatly respect even though we are miles apart philosophically.
    It really feels good to see the leaders we elect directly engaging with the public as opposed to hiding behind their press people or always putting out official releases and comments. Be real, get real.
    Engage the public, don’t run from the public.
    Keep commenting Mr Mayor. You are earning my respect. You have courage and we need more of that.

  7. Grenwald58

    I admire and applaud Mayor Sullivan’s courage to comment on blogs. It makes me feel that he is genuinely concerned about people and their opinions. Too often politicians live in their ivory tower and don’t engage. I find this to be cowardice and disrespectful. Frankly, I felt the tennis court fiasco was just that and wasn’t too happy about it; however, I have gained a lot of respect for the mayor and the manner in which he has handled the criticism surrounding this issue. He’s not perfect but appears honest and engaging. I’m going to vote for him on August 19th.

  8. Milton Friedman

    Good luck Lesil. You are about to go down in flames. Monday is going to be a rough day for you but I am hopeful it will teach you to stay away from cheap and dirty politics and to concentrate on what’s right.

  9. Lucifer

    There is no defense when it comes to building a venue for “your” favorite sport in “your” neighborhood when you’re the mayor. Especially when you look at all the unfunded needs and maintenance on existing buildings. To me, Dan Sullivan’s arrogance unacceptable and disappointing. Neither he or Lesil are the best the GOP has for the number 2 spot on the ticket; however, given the choices, put me down as a Lesil supporter.

  10. Lynn Willis

    Your defense of our unforturnate Governor is, I am certain, appreciated by him.
    Article 2 Section 5 of the Alaska State Constitution includes this sentence: “During the term for which elected and for one year thereafter, no legislator may be nominated, elected, or appointed to any other office or position of profit which has been created, or the salary of emoluments of which have been increased, while he was a member”
    If I can understand that sentence I would assume the Governor or at least his highly compensated sycophants could also. They did and they tried to avoid the law.
    The scam was to have her resign and then create the position immediately afterward so she wasn’t legally in office when the position was created. Of course no other applicants were to be considered. This smelled to high heaven because the position was a to be “military advisor” to the Governor, as if he doesn’t already have a full time Commissioner of Military and Veteran Affairs. The fact is that the Parnell Administration screwed it up and got caught so his appointed Attorney General Dan Sullivan rode to the rescue of the Governor as can be expected with appointed officials.
    The Representative in question admitted to Dan Fagan that she was aware that this was being done for her which didn’t help her case at all.. Parnell had previously done this for a State Senator and, following this botched attempt to award another loyalist, that Senator too was thrown under the bus (resigned my a**).
    Don’t worry because both these politicians landed good state jobs later after the storm had passed. Maybe you would now like to argue that use of the pronoun “he” in the Constitution makes this provision not applicable to any female legislator?

  11. Jon K

    Lynn you have the facts wrong – just read the opinion. Parnell initially asked the AG’s office if he could hire Dahlstrom. The AG’s office said he could in part because Governors since Hammond had done the same exact thing. The hire became controversial and the AG (Dan Sullivan) was asked to look into it. The AG reviewed the matter and overturned the advice that an Assistemt AG had provided to the Governor’s Office. Dahlstrom therefore was forced to resign.

  12. Lynn Willis

    So you admit that Parnell did indeed violate the Constitution however, since the legislator resigned no crime was committed? Try robbing a bank and when finding out that was illegal you simply take the money back and expect to be forgiven. Creating positions for sitting legislators, especially by the Governor, destroys the clear line between the branches of government which I believe is essential.
    Is the duty of the A.G to explain away the actions of his boss? Who represented we the people in that affair? Parnell is an attorney himself and, in any event, has adequate staff to have the Constitution explained to him. As to the argument that “everyone else did it” most ten-year- olds’ know that line doesn’t work even with mom.

  13. Jon

    Lynn – Dan Sullivan DID NOT give him a pass. The AG told the governor that appointing a legislature, even though there was a long precedent going back to Hammond of governors doing just this, violated the Alaska constitution. I’ll see if I can find the AG’s opinion.

  14. Lynn Willis

    Willing to try it… At this time with one party controlling the entire legislative and executive process the checks and balances which we might expect are gone. I can’t help but reflect back on when Governor Parnell directly violated the State Constitution (Article 2 Section 5) by creating a state job for the then chairwoman of the House Rules Committee – a key position described as the “gatekeeper” for legislation allowed to the floor for debate and for introducing legislation favored by the administration. There is no doubt Parnell did this.
    His then appointed Attorney General Dan Sullivan (now US Senate Candidate Dan Sullivan)_gave him a pass. Same as the current Republican A.G. refuses to involve himself in this apparent misappropriation scandal or on the LIO sole source contract. I suspect the reason is that because as far as the eye can see only Republicans (even a brand new one) stand to be admonished.
    The legislature has shown no will to investigate these issues for reasons I already stated. Therefore, who would protect the people of Alaska who believe in the power of law from those who seem to ignore the law at will? What is your solution?

  15. Jon

    Lynn – you really want to politicize the AG’s office and have the AG raise money and campaign? Ugggh.

  16. Mae

    Bartender/mayor Dan just doesn’t get it.
    And Lesil does.

    Well played Lesil. Well played.

  17. Lynn Willis

    I will give credit to Mayor Sullivan for his attention to issues such as fiscal management and his concern for a reliable energy supply; however, as they say one “awe sh*t” wipes out a least a dozen “atta boys” and this use of funds budgeted for “deferred and critical maintenance” for new construction has taken it’s toll of mayoral “atta boys”.
    The question remains as to where else in the state budget did Rep. Stolze abuse his authority by manipulating the budget process to gain political favor for himself? Now will Senators French, Meyer and Fairclough support the actions of Senator McGuire to re-appropriate this money? Does Lindsay Holmes have anything to say to remove the appearance of this last minute appropriation being a quid pro quo for her joining the Republicans? Why no comment from the Governor if he truly is concerned with the level of state spending.
    This issue should be the subject of a formal inquiry to both clear the good names of those involved and punish those who, for all appearances, misappropriated public funds. Also, for any needing a justification for Alaskan to elect our Attorney General this issue and the LIO deal provides an excellent argument.

Comments are closed.