Recognitions, potential airport department on deck for Anchorage Assembly meeting

The Anchorage Assembly is going to a long day Tuesday night, with a full slate on the agenda.
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 7:20 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly has a full slate on the agenda for its meeting this Tuesday. The assembly will taking some time to recognize a long list of people who have helped make Anchorage what is is today, and some other items that will have an impact on the municipality’s future.

At the start of the night, the assembly will be recognizing Emma Broyles for her victory in the Miss America Competition, as well as honoring the late Alaska Sen. Johnny Ellis.

”He was always just a level headed guy who was always willing especially to talk about education,” said assembly member Crystal Kennedy.

They will also be recognizing the legacy of Dr. Etheldra Sampson Davis. She was the first contract African American teacher and principal in the Anchorage School District.

“Anyone who’s breaking down barriers and doing those things is pretty cool. That is pretty worth noting,” assembly member John Weddleton said.

One of the action items on the agenda is a resolution supporting a series of bills brought forward by state Sen. Elvi Gray Jackson, known collectively as turning Pain into Progress. One of the Senate bills prohibits the use of chokeholds by peace officers, and another requires officers to attempt to de-escalate a situation and use alternative non-lethal methods, before discharging a firearm.

“I would not support it unless I get a really good report back on it from APD. And so I suspect there will be a motion to postpone, and then maybe our public safety committee or something like that, or work sessions, will go through with APD,” Weddleton said. “I don’t know policing, but I look at that and think there could be constraints in there that would be a problem for APD.”

Near the end of the night, an ordinance will be introduced to amend Anchorage municipal code to create an Airports Department that will include Birchwood and Merrill Field. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Municipality of Anchorage are discussing the potential transfer of the Birchwood Airport ownership to the city.

“To really kick it off the assembly would have to change some of the things in code to allow for us to have more authority, if you will, over our airports in general. Right now we only have authority over Merrill Field,” Kennedy said. “You can’t mesh funds from various airports according to FAA requirements, so we would have to establish some things in code that would allow us to have kind of a broader definition of airports so that we could specify whether funding was going to Merrill Field or where funding would be going to Birchwood Airport.”

Kennedy added this is an opportunity for the municipality to have an exploratory conversation with the state about whether or not Anchorage wants to take over the “management authority, sponsorship” of the Birchwood Airport.

Tomorrow is also the second public hearing for reapportionment and the re-drawing of assembly district lines. The first one had low turnout.

“I do hope there will be more people testifying tomorrow night. I think we need that,” Kennedy said. This is a pretty big deal”

Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant said right now, Weddleton’s proposed map is getting the most positive feedback. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. in the assembly chambers at the Loussac Library.

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