Comments of the day: Will Mayor Dan’s veto impact November election?

Two loyal readers–Lynn Willis and Jerry Hood–share their thoughts on how Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan’s veto of “A037 light” will impact the November race, Willis agrees with my analysis that it will. Hood not so much. Read on.

From Lynn Willis:

I agree that this is unintentional and unnecessary brinksmanship on the part of Mayor Sullivan. Unless the Assembly can override the veto, I agree with Amanda and Dan Coffey that this decision has repercussions beyond the Municipality of Anchorage. This veto action will draw the interest in November of single issue voters who might have been more than content to stay home and savor their increased PFD. Many of these voters are not inspired by issues relating to guns, abortions and federal overreach. Nor would they agree that public sector unions are a problem or oil tax reform was necessary and beneficial. They care about their paychecks and jobs and could well lash out at all those who appear to threaten them especially those with the name “Sullivan”.

I generally have been satisfied with the performance of Mayor Sullivan. He has a stubborn streak as was aptly demonstrated with the tennis court debacle; however, Mayor Sullivan has been exponentially more responsible with spending than was Mayor Begich. That said, Alaskan politicians understand that nobody wants to be among those pushed away from the trough even if it means deficit spending. The current crop of state politicians, despite claims of being fiscal conservatives, (especially Governor Parnell who has line item veto power), live by that understanding.

From Jerry Hood:

Amanda – your analysis appears to be on point. However, AO 37 is an Anchorage issue and will not appear on the statewide ballot. I think that minimizes impact on the Senate race either for Begich or against Sullivan. Observers of elections in Alaska will tell you we are much different than say Washington state where elections can be determined by King County alone. “So goes Anchorage” does not mean “so goes Alaska”. In general the areas outside Anchorage are much more conservative and are inclined to vote that way. It will be interesting to watch this play out.

As a former labor leader (yes, I’m a usedtowas) my advice to organized labor would be to campaign on the merits of the issue – not get into a name calling contest with the Mayor. We’ve seen too much of that already this campaign season.


8 thoughts on “Comments of the day: Will Mayor Dan’s veto impact November election?

  1. Lynn Willis

    I agree. Also, the Alaska State Constitution almost guarantees future poltical power concentration into the Rail Belt, and Anchorage in particular, by apportioning both Senate and House seats on the basis on population and specifiying that each Senate Seat will consist of two contiguous house districts.

    Alaska State Constitution, Article 6 (Legislative Apportionment), Section 6 (District Boundries): “The Redistricting Board shall establish the size and area of house districts, subject to the limitations of this article. Each house district shall be formed of contiguous and compact territory containing as nearly as practicable a relatively integrated socio-economic area. Each shall contain a population as near as practicable to the quotient obtained by dividing the population of the state by forty. Each senate district shall be composed as near as practicable of two contiguous house districts. Consideration may be given to local government boundaries. Drainage and other geographic features shall be used in describing boundaries wherever possible.”

  2. Arctic Urbanophile

    Thanks! Anchorage has been politically conservative in the past and has become more balanced recently, so I don’t think people fully realize the true potential of Anchorage voters to determine state elections. Other than New York, no state has a city that so thoroughly dominates population-wise as Anchorage. If the Anchorage vote ever consolidates–which I think it will due to increasing levels of urbanization, post-secondary education, and young/minority voters–like most of the other nation’s large cities have, Alaska policy will become more analogous with Anchorage interests.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m sure there are those who would put politics ahead of principles but I don’t believe that is what voters want in their elected officials. The last Assembly election saw two candidates who had previously supported AO 37, back away from their position and lose their election. Trombley’s waffling not only did not placate the unions who spent big bucks against him, but he also alienated his conservative base – political suicide. Bill Evans was steadfast in his support and won handily. AO 37 “light” was amended by the union puppets so that it contained none of the key provisions of the Responsible Labor Act – even the sponsor, Jennifer Johnston ended up voting no – hardly a compromise as some like Mr. Coffey have suggested. If you don’t stand for something, no one will stand with you.

  4. Dee

    The mayor should think a little more and not hang out at his business as much after hours. Too bad he can’t see the impacts of his shallow thinking.

  5. Bonehead Detector

    Buzz. Beep-beep. Siren. Buzz. I have been alerted to a bonehead politician. In this case it is the lazy, unremarkable, dense Mayor Dan Sullivan. This guy must be oblivious to political realities, plain stupid or hard-headed beyond reasonableness.
    Hopefully, for the Republican party of which I align myself, the Anchorage Assembly will have the grace to cover for the mayor’s stupidity and cover for him by overriding his veto. Poor Governor Parnell. First, he was saddled with Treadwell that he had to admonish for his behavior more than once and now Mayor Sullivan.

  6. Arctic Urbanophile

    I agree with Amanda and Lynn. If April’s municipal election and Adam Trombley’s loss told us anything, it’s that unions can turnout the vote. Union organizing has already cost the Assembly its conservative majority. Even though the ballot will only appear in Anchorage, one can probably except there will be a spill over effect in heavily unionized Fairbanks since union leadership spans multiple jurisdictions. Additionally, despite the Mat-Su’s conservative streak there are most definitely commuters who work union jobs in Anchorage.

    Also, I believe Jerry’s “as goes Anchorage comment” is inaccurate. A quick calculation will tell you King County accounts for 29 percent of Washington’s population, while Anchorage accounts for 41 percent of Alaska’s. Adding the Mat-Su–where close proximity will surely engage voters–the population share of greater Anchorage goes up to 54 percent. The majority of voters live in greater Anchorage, and theoretically a candidate could wins state wide by racking up huge margins in the metropolitan area. This is essentially what has happened to Washington state, which is made up of the incredibly liberal Greater Seattle and the equally conservative Eastern Washington. The last gubernatorial race was close and the winner only carried the eight counties around Seattle. The only difference here is that Anchorage is much more politically balanced. A recent Washington Post article had Anchorage as one of the most politically balanced large cities, meaning the rest of the state’s voters still play a deciding role. If Anchorage were to swing heavily towards one end of the spectrum or the other, a situation akin to Washington’s would most likely occur.

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