Much like the wind there is no way to ever estimate the unpredictability of this supposed non partisan assembly's actions. Here's how Tuesday nights sock hop went.
First the Foxtrot…
The Point MacKenzie SPUD got a unanimous thumbs up after some tweaking by those long arms from China again. There has been lots of discussion about what to allow and what is considered a compatible use as this document weaved its way through the port commission and to the assembly. Items specifically off the list of allowable activities are adult businesses, alcoholic beverage sales, correctional community residential centers, race tracks and residential dwelling units. Guess the message is NO adult fun along with libations followed by treatment while visiting a race track or moving in. In conclusion, assembly member Arvin was able to add amendments allowing light, medium and heavy manufacturing, natural resource extraction processing and refining and “workers camps for the term of the project". It’s not specified if that's a 6 month or 6 year project and every effort to set a standard was voted down. But pretty sure there won’t be drink and dancing in camps for an undetermined amount of time.
Then the Quick Step..
Or better known as VETO dance with the assembly. It seems the mayor spent the afternoon getting some enlightenment from the finance director about the risk of lowering the bond rating the borough receives by taking this action. Instead of saving tax payers money it could have the substantial reverse effect by costing taxpayers more in interest rates as we borrow money for the recently passed bonds for schools and roads. Apparently this basic finance 101 fact had escaped the mayor and although he wasn't ready to pull his veto off the table he was putting it a little off to the side for the assembly to decide with this new information. A bit of a slow waltz ensued and another mayor veto was overturned as the mayor only found a lone Salmon in his bend of the stream.
The next dancing partner was the City of Wasilla which was there to seal the deal for the deed of borough land at the corner of Swanson and Crusey Street for a shiny new public library. It made an easy glide across the school board dance floor and made its way to the assembly floor looking like a shoe in for a perfect score of 10. But the pirouette fell flat on the assembly desk when assembly member Colver introduced a last minute lengthy amendment costume change. A slow, passionate tango led by assembly member Colligan changed the music and gave direction to the manager to bring back language and comparisons for both a long term $1.00 a year lease and deed transfer. The argument for the lease was preserving this high dollar asset for all borough residents and not setting precedence for other land grabs. And then there is the elephant on the dance floor with the continuing debate on the level of financial support libraries get from the borough and taxpayer which almost no one agrees on. Some dancers in the audience were clearly disappointed as they are forced to keep the music playing for another day.
And then..The Hand Jive
The real performance everyone was sitting on the edge of their seat for was Resolution 11-153 adding to the policy and procedures of the assembly and mayor referred to as the housekeeping portion of the recital. The majority of the dancers stumbled on the amendment by assembly member Keogh to require members to tuck their cell phone away during assembly meetings thus prohibiting communication between, to and from the assembly members while they are sitting at the table doing the people’s business. New assembly member Colligan, not a fan of rules or regulation and fresh off new assembly training wondered just where “we are going to stop”. Assembly member Salmon cut in right away by suggesting this part of the legislation “bordered on the ridiculous” and he didn’t need to be “ordained” to be asked to put his cell phone away. The long arm of China seemed a bit confused about some missing dance steps perhaps and inquired why this was even an issue. Awkwardly assembly member Arvin was informed that part of it was spurred on by his own action exposed at a prior assembly meeting while texting another member. Maybe it was too late, early or a gloomy day in China but the none too happy assembly member Arvin described the incident as unfortunate, but then forcefully responded by letting the body know he would text “whoever I want, and whenever I want”. Well then. That might be a dramatic and appealing way to register one’s opinion, but I think someone needs a nap. We’re talking about doing the people’s business and as assembly member Keogh tried to explain to deaf ears that it’s problematic for a myriad of pretty apparent reasons. Things like the public’s right to know, potential for abuse, and expectation of a fair balanced discussion and the importance of establishing rules of decorum and cleaning up the way the assembly does business. All dancers scurried off the dance floor except assembly member Keogh left doing a low light solo.
And finally…the Rumba…
The end of the meeting brought conformation of the mayor’s choice for the planning commission, ex radio station owner John Klapperich. Assembly member Salmon congratulated the City of Wasilla for having the best tasting water perhaps as a concession for not leaving the room with a library. Colver mentioned it was the chairs job to run the meeting and he didn’t think they needed to get down in the weeds, referring to the attempt to check texting at the door and perhaps they could handle it much like the legislature (that by the way doesn’t operate under the open meetings act) and just bring donuts when the phone or text goes off. So there you have it. No citizen voice pie for you. You’ll have to settle for donuts.
About the entire dance performance most could take. But you can count on their being another one especially after all the chaperones are dismissed and clearly there aren’t enough now.