Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting started off with a bit of a bang. Within the first 10 minutes Assemblyman Ernie Hall took the unusual step of apologizing to Muni staff for the disparaging comments towards them made by a fellow Assembly member in an email. He read the email aloud without disclosing the sender’s name. It sharply criticized the Municipal Attorney and Clerk’s saying:
“It is disappointing to see that the Municipal Attorney and Clerk’s office are manipulating the referendum process to intentionally undermine the democratic process. A quick review of the most recent referendum reveals AO 37’s question was legally sufficient, and this question, being very similar, has been not only rejected, but reworded in such a fashion to manipulate the electorate. This is not only a violation of the public trust, but in direct conflict with both officials’ sworn duty to serve the people of Anchorage and protect the democratic process, which is core to our democracy.”
Hall said as Chairman of the Muni’s Ethics and Elections committee he felt compelled to “Speak in support of our Municipal Clerk and Municipal Attorney.” He then went on to apologize, to both of them for the contents of the email, again, without saying who sent it.
A few minutes later, during her own committee report Assemblywoman Amy Demboski acknowledged that she was the one who sent the email and defended its contents:
The email was a response to the Municipal Clerk’s and Municipal Attorney’s handling of the referendum petition submitted by a group of women last month regarding the recently passed ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Muni’s non-discrimination code.
As we reported earlier in the week, our sources tell us Hall’s public rebuke of Demboski’s email wasn’t the only message her fellow assembly members sent Demboski. Her continued attacks on the Municipal Clerk and Attorney have lead to three of them (Jennifer Johnston, Bill Evans, and Ernie Hall) resigning from the committee Demboski chairs, the Community and Economic Development Committee.
The actions as a whole indicate the majority of assembly members have chosen to adopt a strategy of internally confronting Demboski to make clear her actions are inappropriate. At the same time they are avoiding publicizing their actions or even mentioning her by name, thereby depriving her of the high profile negative attention they clearly think she thrives on.