Timeline set for narrowing down options on proposed Anchorage reapportionment maps

The Anchorage Reapportionment Committee is hoping to make a big decision about the new assembly voting district maps by next week
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 7:21 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -The Anchorage Reapportionment Committee is hoping to make a big decision about the new assembly voting district maps by next week. Right now there are four maps open for public comment, and the committee would like to have the options narrowed down to one after the next public hearing.

At an Anchorage Assembly work session on Friday, members discussed a new timeline for the proposed maps, and deadlines for amendments based on public feedback. Assembly member Pete Petersen and Vice Chair Chris Constant said they were open to narrowing down the options Friday, as some maps have already proven to be more favorable than others. However, others wanted to wait until after the next public hearing, and allow the city’s community councils more time to view the maps and weigh in.

The committee approved a timeline of keeping all the maps in play until the March 1 public hearing. After that, they would like to have a public hearing on March 15 to discuss proposed changes to the map or maps that are most preferred.

The turnout for the first public hearing was low on Thursday night. Fewer than a half dozen people spoke at it. 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. Weddleton said he expects more participation in the upcoming meetings.

“We also heard from community councils and others that they were not up to speed on it and they wanted more time,” Weddleton said. ”So bringing things forward past March 1 into March, we’re looking at 22, I think that will accommodate the community councils. So I think we’ll hear more on March 1 and possibly more even March 22.”

Right now Weddleton’s proposed map is getting the most feedback and seems to be the preferred, according to Constant.

“Certain assembly members said in their districts certain neighborhoods needed to be continuous, compact in their existing districts, so I did that as best I could,” Weddleton said. “And I didn’t really break up any districts. I think the maps that broke up the Hillside neighborhood was clearly not reasonable.”

The committee would also like to have a special meeting on March 23 to vote on the proposed amendments to the preferred reapportionment map. A new map needs to be approved by the full assembly by May 23, and needs six votes. If Mayor Dave Bronson decided to veto, it would take a supermajority of eight votes from the assembly members to overturn it.

Updates to the reapportionment timeline approved by committee:

March 1 - Public hearing

March 7 - Amendments to to proposed maps still in play due to contractor

March 11 - Deadline to have amendments published for public review

March 15 - Public hearing on amendments

March 18 - Work session

March 23 - Special meeting to vote on reapportionment

March 24 - Committee meeting if needed

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