June 27

By Lora Smith

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has vetoed an Assembly ordinance that would allow the Assembly to make nominations and oversee a nomination process for the Assembly’s youth representative, rather than leaving nominations solely to the mayor-appointed Youth Advisory Commission.

In a statement accompanying the veto Monday, Bronson called the ordinance “a vehicle for attempting to silence the voice of youth in our community.” Current members of the Youth Advisory Commission had passed a resolution against the ordinance and asked the mayor to veto it.

The Assembly, which has retained its veto-proof majority, is likely to override the veto. It previously passed the ordinance on a 6-3 vote.
Among other arguments, Assembly leadership had said the change is being made to address an issue with separation of powers, and also to “widen the pool of potential participants for the position,” according to a memo accompanying the ordinance. A previous member of the Youth Advisory Commission resigned after Bronson took office, citing a “hostile and unwelcoming” environment, and had urged the Assembly to change how the youth representative is selected.

The Assembly youth representative position was created in 2017, and representatives must be confirmed by the Assembly. Youth representatives can participate in Assembly meetings and work sessions, but they can cast only preferential votes, meaning their votes on city resolutions and ordinances do not count.

Under the Assembly’s ordinance, the commission can still make nominations, as well as Assembly members, rather than just the commission selecting the pool of nominees.