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Sean Doogan

The Anchorage Assembly began reviewing budget revisions for 2013 during a work session at Anchorage City Hall on Wednesday. Municipal finance officer Lucinda Mahoney broke down the numbers, detailing a total of about $15 million in savings and increased revenue from last year. The money includes $4.6 million the municipality got as part of its share of an increase in the valuation of Alyeska Pipeline Service company assets mandated by an Alaska Supreme Court decision...

Sean Doogan

After the results of the April 1 municipal election, the Anchorage Assembly swore in two new members and elected new leadership at its Tuesday night meeting at the Z.J. Loussac Public Library.

Pete Petersen -- who beat out incumbent Adam Trombley and Mao Tosi in the East Anchorage race -- and Bill Evans -- who won a three way race for the South Anchorage seat vacated by Chris Birch -- took their oath of office during the short meeting. Their ascension to the Assembly marked a left turn in the political make-up of the body...

Sean Doogan

The Wasilla City Council voted 5-1 Monday night to create a new ban on synthetic drugs . The ordinance mimics one passed in Anchorage in January, which has taken one especially dangerous synthetic drug -- known as Spice -- completely off the shelves of the more than two dozen tobacco stores, head shops, and gas stations that sold it. The new law, which was amended Monday to take effect immediately, becomes official at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday...

Sean Doogan

Mao Tosi, the former NFL lineman and current Anchorage community activist, is relaxing these days. He got 20.4 percent of the vote in last week's Anchorage municipal election race for Assembly Seat I -- thousands of votes shy of what he would have needed to win a three-way race.

After absentee and questioned ballots were counted April 12 at City Hall, Tosi ended with 1,727 votes -- trailing incumbent Adam Trombley (3,272) and winner Pete Petersen (3,653 votes).

Even though the outcome isn't what he had worked for, Tosi said he is happy with the way the race ended. But it was a rough beginning for the political novice...

Sean Doogan

The Anchorage municipal election held earlier this month was almost finally decided (unofficially) Friday night. Almost. After counting more than 6,000 absentee and questioned ballots, the results aren't final, but some decisions became clear.

Tight races in East and South Anchorage did not change. Former state House member Pete Petersen extended his 336-vote election night lead over incumbent Adam Trombley in East Anchorage. Petersen ended the Friday count with 3,653 votes to Trombley's 3,272. Community activist and former NFL player Mao Tosi finished third in the most hotly-contested race of the election, with 1,727 votes...

Sean Doogan

A big budget surplus and new rules for traveling city officials were the big items at the Tuesday night Anchorage Assembly meeting at the Loussac Library.

The Municipality of Anchorage said it spent about $15 million less than it budgeted for the year 2013. How to use the surplus will be debated at a work session next Wednesday, but some of the money will likely be put into savings.

"We need to be cautious how we deal with the surplus this year, because there are clouds on the horizon for state spending," Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said.

Sullivan said some of the savings would be put into one-time projects, which will be discussed at the April 16 Assembly work session...

Sean Doogan

Six Anchorage Assembly seats, two school board seats and nine bond propositions awaited Anchorage voters at polls in Tuesday's municipal election. With the fate of the Anchorage Assembly and the possible identity of the next mayor depending on the results, by the end of Tuesday night, about 92 percent of the votes had been counted, with an estimated 5,000 absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted. If the results hold, however, the Assembly will likely take a short left turn and shift the current 6-5 conservative advantage to liberals.

The turnout for the 2014 election was in line with the average turnout of non-mayoral municipal elections, at just about 20 percent...

Sean Doogan

The Anchorage Municipal elections are today -- Tuesday, April 1 -- and it's no April Fool's Day joke. There’s much at stake for local residents.

But the voting history of Anchorage residents hasn't been the greatest example of a people exercising their democratic rights. Since the borough and city of Anchorage unified in 1977, city-wide elections without a mayoral race have been poorly attended, with an average turnout of about one-in-five registered voters, or 20 percent. Mayoral races average about twice that amount...

Sean Doogan

As the Alaska Legislative Council considers whether to buy the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, a multistory office building downtown, the decision has serious financial implications for Alaska's largest city and its property tax payers.

The building, currently leased by the state from a private owner, is undergoing $28.5 million in renovations. Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, who chairs the Legislative Council that approved the renovations and, with them, a fivefold increase in rent, said if the state bought the LIO building instead of leasing it for the next 20 years, it could save almost $48 million in rent. But the sale of the building would also remove it from Anchorage's municipal tax rolls ...

Sean Doogan

Anchorage School Board seat D candidate Don Smith believes that refugees -- especially those from Central Africa and Indonesia -- are draining resources from taxpayers and other students in Alaska's largest city.

Smith, running against incumbent Kameron Perez-Verdia, first made the comments on Thursday evening on the Alaska Public Media show "Running," a recurring public affairs program. In an interview Thursday, Smith explained his reasoning: Immigrant refugees who are sent to Anchorage, and helped along by Catholic Social Services, are an unfair burden to Alaska and Anchorage residents. Smith's comments were not taken lightly by CSS staff and those who work with the city's refugee and immigrant populations...

Sean Doogan

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