July 1

By Sam Bails

The Anchorage Assembly on Thursday overrode Mayor Dave Bronson’s veto of an ordinance that lets the Assembly make nominations and oversee a nomination process for the Assembly’s youth representative, rather than leaving nominations only to the Youth Advisory Commission.

When Bronson vetoed the ordinance earlier this week, he called it “simply unacceptable” and had the effect of “diminishing the role of youth and stripping them of the few powers that they have.” Current members of the mayor-appointed Youth Advisory Commission had also protested the ordinance and passed a resolution against it.
An Assembly memorandum in response to the mayor’s veto message said that the previous nomination process for a youth representative, a position created in 2017, led to an “unintended and unacceptable abridgement of the separation of powers” between the Assembly and the mayor’s office.

The ordinance “also seeks to widen the pool of potential youth participants,” the memorandum said. The veto override passed on an 8-3 vote, with members Jamie Allard, Randy Sulte and Kevin Cross voting against.

Under the new ordinance, the Youth Advisory Commission can still put forward nominations for a youth representative. Now, Assembly members — rather than just the commission — can select young people for the pool of nominees.

The Assembly chair makes the appointment, and youth representatives then must be confirmed by the Assembly. They participate in Assembly meetings and work sessions, but their votes are only preferential and don’t count toward passing or failing ordinances and resolutions.