Anger may be justified, recall isn’t

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.