Anger may be justified, recall isn’t

  • Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:11am
  • News

I’ve been trying to sort out the Sanctuary City/Council member Recall issues. Here’s my take: It’s clear that what we’re witnessing with these related issues is a very emotionally induced action and reaction, a venomous and radical swing between two mutually exclusive and antagonistic parties, the ultra-liberal element and its antitheses, fundamentalist conservatism.

Both parties propose, or have proposed, to use the machinery of government to restrict, if not downright suppress, the influence of the other.

It truly is, as Andy Haas suggested, a community-wide Rorschach ink-blot test — interpretation of events being dependent upon one’s unconscious perspectives and values.

The record, in the form of emails and the voting history among the three council members addressed by the recall proposal, David Lewis, Donna Aderhold and Catriona Reynolds, clearly indicates to me a personal desire and commitment on their part to promote and establish ultra-liberal influence, exclusive of health, safety and direct welfare considerations, extending thousands of miles beyond city limits (Resolution 16-121 Dakota Pipeline Access), as policy of the City of Homer.

And I’m a bit annoyed with myself. I spoke up for them on the Sanctuary City/Inclusively Resolution (17-019) thinking they were motivated by a desire to promote discussion, rather than (as their emails clearly indicate) strongly desiring to institute social-liberalism as city policy. However, I was not duped as much as I simply assumed their benign motive.

Of course, indulging in such a dream of liberalism is their right, although it’s not my inclination; my natural allies are conservatives. And the fundamentalists conservatives, seething with anger, have exploded into action. Their organized recall proposal reflects a determined effort to go for the jugular — the reputation — of Lewis, Aderhold and Reynolds who have clearly been carrying water for the ultra-liberalists. I understand their feeling. I don’t see, though, that the actions of the three council members rise to the level required to justify a recall.

It’s true, as the emails make clear, that although on this issue their background activity has skirted the boundary of improper partisan behavior by, for example, proposing to meet at Alice’s for a strategy session, their actions apparently did not cross the line into illegality or even gross impropriety although they certainly exhibited poor judgment.

Remember, they’ve had formal training to understand the limits of their representative power. By confining their discussion to just the three of them (council members), they remained within the parameters of the Alaska Open Meetings Act. And they routed their email discussion through the city’s email server, information available to any city resident upon request. They also clearly did not intend that the original Sanctuary City Resolution, with the anti-Trump “whereas,” be prematurely posted on social media; nor did they, based upon my reading of city code engage in forbidden political activity, or attempt to unduly assert – beyond the right accorded them by state law (AS 39.52.110 (b)(1)) — an effort to promote their personal interest.

I have not discovered in the record that they lied about their intent.

These are the issues listed in the recall petition, as well as others that I’ve heard stated, as the basis for the recall effort.

Of course, there’s also other associated negative issues to consider such as expense of administering the recall, potential lawsuits among the parties, and the social cost of further fracturing the community.

Therefore, excluding future incriminating evidence, I can’t support the recall. I think the basis for activating such a powerful and potentially destructive tool is just too nebulous and murky when citizens can, while awaiting the next election, still monitor city activities and effect change by participating in normal representative government functions, just as they did earlier this month to defeat the Sanctuary City/Inclusivity resolution.


More in News

Surgeon general tours Dena’ina Wellness Center as part of statewide tour

The federal official tasked with providing health advice to the nation last… Continue reading

Kachemak Bay Campus Director Carol Swartz, left, speaks June 8, 2018, at the opening of the 2018 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference at Land’s End Resort in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Kachemak Bay Campus director set to retire

Carol Swartz, director of Kachemak Bay Campus, will retire from the University… Continue reading

A spawning chum salmon looks to return to the waters of Salmon Creek on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Supreme Court approves Stand for Salmon ballot initiative

The Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative for this fall’s elections, but not before deleting some provisions that violate the Alaska Constitution.

Seabird die-offs may be connected to warming ocean

ANCHORAGE — Federal wildlife officials are documenting a die-off of Alaska seabirds… Continue reading

Dorothy Drive easement petition pulled

Dorothy Drive landowners pulled their petition to vacate the last 2,000 feet… Continue reading

State agency seizes political campaign signs in Anchorage

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Alaska Department of Transportation seized several political campaign… Continue reading

Cox takes second run for District 31 rep

In a second run at the Republican Party nomination for the Alaska… Continue reading

Henry “Hank” Kroll, candidate for the Republican Party nomination, District 31 Representative. (Photo provided)
Kroll: Lifelong Alaskan brings sourdough perspective to race

If the mold got broken making a classic Republican Alaska politician like… Continue reading

Most Read