Petition to recall assembly chair partially approved

Assembly Chair Felix Rivera now faces a recall effort.
Assembly Chair Felix Rivera now faces a recall effort.(Matt Leseman)
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:36 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A petition to recall Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera has been partially approved by the Municipal Clerk’s office to begin gathering signatures.

According to the lead petitioner, Russel Biggs, the recall effort came from a number of people who felt frustrated with the assembly’s handling of the pandemic.

“We’ve been disappointed with the way the assembly has listened to the concerns of our community,” Biggs said. “Particularly the Midtown community has had many, many instances where we’ve felt our voices were not heard.”

Similar recall petitions have been filed against other members of the assembly including Rivera’s Midtown colleague Meg Zaletel, as well as Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson and her West Anchorage colleague Kameron Perez-Verdia. Other than Rivera’s, the rest were denied.

The grounds for recall on the petition itself tie back to an Aug. 11 meeting, while Emergency Order 15 prevented more than 15 people from gathering indoors. During the meeting, a member of the body alleged there were 17 people in the room.

“And rather than stop the meeting and actually remove people, they continued to power on,” Biggs said.

The petition argues not stopping the meeting there amounted to misconduct in office and failure to perform duties. A review from the Department of Law denied that amounted to misconduct, but did approve the petition otherwise.

“We disagree that our language should have been changed,” Biggs said Tuesday.

He added he feels the municipal attorneys involved in reviewing the claims couldn’t be impartial because they’re part of the current administration, while Rivera has dismissed the petition as frivolous and a personal attack.

“If people don’t like what I’m doing, there’s a way that we handle that, it’s by elections,” he said. “It’s by electing someone else.”

With the approval, the petition is now on to signature-gathering and needs 2,735 by Jan. 5 to get on the April ballot.

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