It’s been a big news day. The wind whipped up on a few houses. The governor spoke to a business group in Wasilla. The Anchorage mayor gave up on plans to build a homeless housing project on the west side of town. President Obama gave a speech about the shutdown. And then there was the possibility of a big Lester Lunceford comeback.
Lester Lunceford, some of the readers of this blog might know, is the former, ousted mayor of Whittier, Alaska, which should not to be confused with Whittier, Calif., the sunny, vibrant, boyhood home of President Richard Nixon. Our Whittier is a dot of a town hugging Prince William Sound with about 220 residents, most of whom live in one of two buildings in the city. To get there, you have to drive through a 2.5 mile tunnel. In the winter, the city sees about 22 feet of snow every year. Our Whittier is filled with residents with very strong feelings about their town, particularly when the snow piles, the tunnel only opens part time, and the towers begin to feel like crypts.
Last winter, during one of those spates of strong feelings, the city council held a meeting where Lunceford and other council members allegedly violated the open meetings act by going into executive session to discuss the hiring of the new city manager.
Lunceford got recalled in July. Out of a total of 134 votes, Lunceford lost by 15.
Some politicians would have hung it up after getting recalled, moved to sunny Whittier, Calif. perhaps. Our Whittier’s Lunceford hung in there and began a write-in campaign for city council.
Last Tuesday, Oct. 2, when the polls closed, Lunceford appeared to have lost his bid, coming in third in a three-way race. Even I wrote a column wishing him well in his future endeavors.
Au contraire mon cheri! It appears that Whittier has not seen that last of Lester Lunceford. Turns out that Lunceford got half of the absentee votes cast for the council seat. At last count, according to Lunceford, it was Peter Denmark with 45, Lunceford with 25, and Arnie Arneson with 24. Because no one candidate got 40 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff election in three weeks, right about the time the snow begins to pile up.
One of Whittier’s political analysts, which would be me, thinks he has a shot.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org