Bronson afraid of being recalled by CARLOS MATías (Based on a news story by Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News)
On July 13, the Anchorage Assembly approved, by a vote of nine to three, a proceeding to recall “a mayor (...) for breach of public trust.” Twice since May, the Assembly had postponed the vote. But now it has passed by three times as many votes against.
This has angered Dave Bronson supporters and Bronson himself. As first reported by Anchorage Daily News reporter Emily Goodykoontz, Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel has explained that the motion refers to “a mayor” and does not personalize “the current mayor. Forrest Dunbar, who ran againstBronson in the last municipal election, has told Sol de Medianoche: “Has the process started to recall Bronson? The answer is no. Approval of the process does not open it up to start a recall.”
There are procedures in place to remove Assembly members, School Board members and other elected officials if they betray the trust placed in them. The new measure puts the mayor (any mayor) on an equal footing with all other elected officials and will “set clear limits” to their power.
Dave Bronson has taken it personally. So he called on his supporters to come to the Assembly chambers to show their opposition. And the July 13 session was convulsive, due to the aggressive attitude of these supporters: shouting, interruptions, insults, booing... A full-fledged public disturbance.
“If you ask me if this measure is the first step in a real effort to recall Mayor Bronson, the answer is no,” says Assembly vice president Christopher Constant, who is not going to use this procedure against Bronson, although he believes the Mayor has ignored the City Code since he took office. Constant was the first to propose a vote on this measure, because the Mayor’s behavior prompted him to draft it.
Dave Bronson is afraid of being removed, judging by his reaction and that of his supporters: Randy Sulte (South Anchorage), Jamie Allard and Kevin Cross (both Eagle River-Chugiak), who voted against the motion, described by the Mayor as a “coup” and a “blatant attack.”
Sol de Medianoche has asked these three assembly membersif they believe that as of now Bronson can be recalled. Allard has said that she doesn’t understand this question, because “the wording in English does not make sense,” and has asked us to rephrase it in Spanish. We have done so, but as we go to press she has not yet responded.
Randy Sulte wasn’t sure he understood the question either. “The ability for citizens to recall an elected official still exists. This provides an added option where the Assembly can recall the Mayor by a 2/3 vote for breach of public trust, after a legal review. The replacement Mayor would generally be the president or another member of the Assembly until a new duly elected Mayor is recognized.” Kevin Cross didn’t respond to us. Suzanne LaFrance understood our question without problem: “Yes, a member of the Assembly could initiate the recall process,” she told Sol de Medianoche.
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