Low turnout for first reapportionment public hearing

The Municipality of Anchorage’s Reapportionment Committee has pushed three maps forward, and recently, a fourth map was submitted by assembly member Jamie Allla
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:45 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Options for a new voting district map in the Municipality of Anchorage are being narrowed down. The municipality’s Reapportionment Committee has pushed three maps forward, and recently, a fourth map was submitted by assembly member Jamie Allard for public consideration.

As the May 23 deadline approaches, the first of two public hearings for residents to give their opinions on the proposed reapportionment maps was held Thursday night night in the assembly chambers. The next meeting will be held Tuesday.

The turnout for the first public meeting was low. Fewer than a half dozen people spoke at the public hearing, and those who did said they felt the reapportionment committee should slow down the process so community councils can gather and discuss the maps. One person said she felt the vote on the proposed reapportionment maps should be made after the municipal elections.

Another spoke specifically about map No. 7, which was submitted by Robert Hockema.

”I have heard this map categorized by the Eagle River members as a gerrymander,” Sierra Silvers said. “I just wanted to speak to that. Map No. 7 is not a gerrymander.”

Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance said she wasn’t surprised by the turnout, which she felt was average for a public hearing. She also said many citizens have expressed their opinions through email instead.

However, LaFrance said it is important for citizens to express their opinions on the proposed maps.

“What we are talking about is neighborhood boundaries,” LaFrance said. “What defines what we know as Midtown? What defines South Anchorage District 6? What defines West Anchorage? And so, it is important for people to weigh in on that.”

An assembly work session on reapportionment will be held Friday, and a second public meeting is scheduled for March 1. A new map needs to be approved by the full assembly by May 23.

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