Posts Tagged ‘ADN’

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Where do we go from here?

August 22, 2009

I’ve been feeling a little directionless this past week.  This past Monday, my husband and I woke up and immediately checked the local blogs and adn.com to find out if Mayor Sullivan had made a decision.  We made plans to check out the UAA campus, as our classes would be starting the next week.  We spoke to our friends on facebook, each of us manically updating the page and then checking adn.com to see if an announcement had been made yet.  I called the Mayor’s office, trying to find out if the rumors of Mayor Sullivan making an announcement that day were true.  She confirmed the rumor, but wouldn’t confirm a time.  Less than twenty minutes later, John shouted from the other room.

Veto.

I was expecting the news in an intellectual sense.  We had heard from numerous people who had talked to the Mayor that he would veto.  Reading it in his pitiful press announcement, however, was very different.

“My review shows that there is clearly a lack of quantifiable evidence necessitating this ordinance,” Sullivan said. “My review also shows that the vast majority of those who communicated their position … are in opposition.” from adn.com

I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  A lack of quantifiable evidence?  I know he wasn’t there for every Assembly meeting that I was, but surely he managed to hear one of the testimonies from those supporting the ordinance?  In the words of Barney Frank, “On what planet to do you spend the majority of your time?”

And so the word came down the line that there was going to be a protest outside of City Hall.  We had short notice, but made some signs and found a parking spot close to Kaladi Brothers Coffee. (Sidenote: I was please to hear a rumor that Kaladi Brothers pulled their endorsement of Mrs. Alaska after she showed up in red at the Assembly meetings.)  There were already a few dozen people there, but our numbers would grow to over a hundred people, venting a Summer full of hurt and frustration at a mayor who refused to hear them.

If we scream loud enough, will Dan Sullivan hear us?

If we scream loud enough, will Dan Sullivan hear us?

In the days after, many people have reached out, trying to figure out what the next course of action is.  Some people want to try to change Debbie Ossiander’s mind.  Some people want to force Dan Sullivan into talking to a GLBT contingent.  Some people want to curl up and disappear from the world for a bit.

We here at sosanchorage.net are still taking a look at what the best options for moving forward are.  But we can guarantee you this, dear readers, we’re not done.  Not by a long shot.

What do you think the next best thing  to do would be?  I’m not asking in a rhetorical sense, I really want to know what the readers of this site think.  If you’re not up for leaving a comment, send us an email.

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Rally at McGinley’s Pub

August 21, 2009

Word has come out from the almighty internet that there is a protest going on tonight outside of McGinley’s Pub, of which our Mayor, Dan Sullivan, is a 10% owner.  I don’t have much time to write, as I have to get over there soon, but here are some links that show the reasons for the protest.

We hope you’ll be able to make it out there.

6:30pm

Outside of McGinley’s Pub on G Street – follow the waving signs

Facebook Event Page – Rally at McGinley’s Pub

McGinley’s Protests Protests – From Henkimaa.com

Protest at McGinley’s – From Henkimaa.com

Protest Sullivan’s Veto – from Bentalaska.com

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We came, we saw, we protested

August 17, 2009

My husband and I joined over fifty people today down at city hall in order to protest Mayor Sullivan’s veto of Ordinance 64.  The energy was amped but positive as we shouted for “Equal Rights Now!” and “United We Stand, Divided We Fall!”  Michael Mason did a great job of keeping the energy up and everyone organized.  Tiffany McClain of Equality Works was there, as well as Mel from Henkimaa.com.  John was interviewed by one of the news crews, and I was interviewed by Christy Harvey, who took the time to come down and talk to protesters after she had only half an hour’s notice.

We heard rumors that members of Anchorage Baptist Temple had plans to come down to City Hall and throw bologna at us, but fortunately that didn’t happen.  However, Anchorage’s own personal pile of bologna, Eddie Burke, did show up.  He spent about fifteen minutes trying to bait people into an argument, but I think he was unprepared to find that lots of us were well read on many of the issues surrounding Ordinance 64.  He drove off in his shiny, red mid-life crisis not too long after.

Supporters of Ordinance 64 protest outside of City Hall after Mayor Sullivan's veto.

Supporters of Ordinance 64 protest outside of City Hall after Mayor Sullivan's veto.

We were there from 5:00pm-7:00pm, stopping twice to take a stroll over to protest outside of McGinley’s Pub, of which Mayor Dan Sullivan is a partial owner.  The tone was kept civil and positive, and we were pleased to be a part of it.  It was also nice to blow off a little steam from the frustration of Mayor Sullivan’s poorly based decision.

If anyone has any photos from the protest, we’d very much love to post them here, with permission of course.

There is another protest planned in the near future, so please check back frequently so we can get the information to our readers as soon as it’s available.  If you have any information about organized events that you want to let people know about, please let us know and we can post up information.

A great big “Thank You!” to all those who have worked so hard to get this ordinance passed.  We knew this would be a long battle, but we’re still here and we’ll keep fighting.

Update: Mel from Henkimaa.com posted a great summary of the protest with lots of pictures, so check it out when you have the chance!

Christy Harvey of Studio 1080 at KUDO also posted some pictures of the event.  Listen to her show on AM 1080 tomorrow at 3pm to hear the interviews she got while she was downtown with us this afternoon.

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Sullivan disappoints with Veto on Ordinance 64

August 17, 2009
Mayor Dan Sullivan

Mayor Dan Sullivan

Mayor Dan Sullivan, like his father before him, has carried on a legacy of bigotry by vetoing Ordinance 64.  He made the announcement around 2:30pm today.  Many of us were eagerly watching facebook and the anchorage daily news website in order to get the most up-to-date information.  We didn’t have long to wait to find out that our Mayor would be dancing on the strings of Jerry Prevo and Jim Minnery.

The Anchorage Assembly has 21 days to override the veto.  The Ordinance was passed through the Assembly 7-4.  We need to contact out Assembly representatives and ask them to make a stand for Equal Rights in Alaska.  We need to ask them to not let history repeat itself with this veto.  We need to politely but firmly tell them that the needs of the minority override the opinions of the majority.

Take heart that this fight will continue.  It’s not over, not by a long shot.

Update: The link to the Anchorage Assembly Contact page has been fixed.

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A message from Equality Works: Support the new S-2 version of Ordinance 64

August 1, 2009

No more public hearings! Thanks to all of you who sat through hour after hour of tiring and often painful testimony over the last two months. As hard as it was, I think it would have been much harder to do without feeling a sense of connection with others in the room who support equality. Over the weeks, people started to recognize familiar faces and strike up friendships and other forms of political collaboration that might last for a long time. So while we might wish that we hadn’t been forced to sit through all the hearings, I hope that we have emerged from it with a better understanding of who makes up the LGBT community and with a greater appreciation for the allies who stuck with us over the months.

As we move into August, and into a new (hopefully shorter) phase of this campaign, here are a few things you could do to bring Equality to Anchorage:

Call or E-Mail Mayor Sullivan and Write a Letter to the Editor

Have you contacted the Mayor yet?

Have you contacted the Mayor yet?

Mayor Sullivan hasn’t publicly stated what he will do if the ordinance reaches his desk, but he needs to know that people in Anchorage support equality, he needs to know why you support equality, and he needs to hear that vetoing an ordinance to protect LGBT people from discrimination sends the message that he, as the Mayor of Anchorage, believes that LGBT people should be discriminated against in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations. If he doesn’t want to send that message, then he should not veto this ordinance. If you havent already, please, please, please call or e-mail Mayor Sullivan at mayor@muni.org or call (907) 343-7170 or (907) 343-7100.

Please, remember to be respectful. No one responds positively to insults, accusations, or anger.

And if youve already contacted the mayor, please revise your letter accordingly and send it to the Anchorage Daily News.

New S-2 version of the ordinance

For those of you who dont know already, an S-2 version of the ordinance has been submitted for consideration by Patrick Flynn:

http://www.muni.org/iceimages/Assembly2/AO%202009-64_S-2_-FLYNN-HC-081109.pdf

We believe that his is a strong revision that acknowledges the concerns of some in the religious community by broadening the religious exemption, but does not weaken the original intention of the ordinance to protect LGBT people from discrimination. It includes employment protections for our entire community–including transgender individuals. Please call or e-mail your Assembly members and tell them to put their support behind the S-2 version. We want to make sure that this version of the ordinance is the one that is debated and eventually voted upon. You can find there contact information here:

http://www.muni.org/iceimages/Assembly2/2009assemblycontactlist.pdf

August 11th Meeting

The next Assembly meeting is August 11th. While the agenda has not been officially set yet, this very well may be the day that Assembly members get to a debate and vote on AO 64. It would be great to have as many supporters as possible inside the Assembly Chambers so that they can see how many people care about this issue. You know the drill: Blue shirts, Equality Works buttons. We will keep you posted once the agenda is set and/or if plans change.

It’s very likely you will see this message posted on other blogs and sites supporting this measure.  This is important enough that we want to be repetitive.  If you haven’t contacted Mayor Sullivan or your Assemblyperson, please  take the time to do so.  And if you live in Eagle River or Chugiak, please email us as soon as possible!


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We the future of Alaska, in Solidarity

July 20, 2009
[Reprinted from my husband’s site, Alaska Commons.  Now it’s my turn to be proud.  Your eloquence humbles me at every turn.]
Loussac Library

Loussac Library

Tomorrow is round six of the public hearings surrounding proposed Ordinance 64, which would extend equal rights protection, in cases of discrimination in the workplace, housing, and credit, to the LGBT in the municipality of Anchorage, Alaska.

Alaska Commons will be live blogging, provided I make it into the Assembly chambers, as will my wife, Heather, over on SOSAnchorage.net, and I’m guessing we’ll be joined by the multitude of other usual suspects; MudflatsShannyn Moore,HenkimaaCeltic DivaImmoral Minority, and more (check my links to the right for additional sites)

I’ve heard and learned a staggering amount during these hearings. Some words have left me in absolute awe of the intelligence, bravery, and perseverance on display. Other words are harder to drink away.

During our time in chambers, those in attendance have heard from our friends, family, and neighbors. We have heard Alaskan legal opinions,  medical opinions, the One In Ten and Identity Reports conducted in the 80’s and presented to this Assembly by one of the reports’ authors, Mel Green of Henkimaa. We’ve heard from our own Equal Rights Commission. We even heard from Vic Fischer, who helped write our state constitution, as a delegate of the Alaska Constitutional Convention. All offered their unwavering support in the pursuit of equality.

Many don’t view this ambitious catalog of participants as evidence painting an urgent need for this ithinkthereforiamlegislation, nor do they recognize it as grounds for legal precedent. Some view it as utterly obsolete, simply because Jerry Prevo says so. Some people speaking before the assembly, as well as from the Reverend himself, preaching from the pulpit of the Anchorage Baptist Temple, have challenged that religious institutions should be exempt from codes dictating tolerance on matter of “sexual behavior,” ignoring the reality that this ordinance does no such thing. It offers protection regarding sexual orientation. They are two separate issues; Sexual behavior is a choice to proceed in a manner reflective of your morals. Sexual orientation is a core part of who you are. Who we all are, no matter if you choose to thump a bible or a bed stand; indifferent to which bible you thump, or which gender attracts your gaze.

There are those who have claimed that this violates the First Amendment, which affords all citizens of the United States our most intrinsic freedoms. However, this specific translation of the United States Constitution is as narrow as the interpretations of the Bible that these men and women subscribe to, and equally as devoid of context and intent. Our First Amendment clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or the prohibiting free exercise thereof.”Free exercise is explicitly different than free reign, and this Amendment was carefully designed to offer protection both for and from religion and its often conflicting interpretations, written by framers (largely deists) who in no way wished to write into law a narrative where they were actors in an American theocracy. Glenn Beck can tea-bag himself until he’s blue in the face and the cows come home. He still can’t change that fact.

For now, the fate of Ordinance 64 rests with the Assembly. We need to keep showing up, and keep reminding the Assembly that we won’t go away. The filibuster put in place by certain shadows of organized religion in our society (what Shannyn Moore has dubbed X-ians), has lasted long enough to usher in a new Mayor, and regardless of how these Assembly proceedings pan out, will most likely result in a ballot measure for the public to vote on. But if we are unsuccessful in passing this ordinance, it will remove us from having an established precedent to base future attempts on. And, this legislation is absolutely still on the table and a risky choice, for the elected Assembly members, between constituents (long thought to be a minority) who fight for a better future within the Anchorage community, and crusaders (the alleged majority) who, in the case of one local church, the Northern Lights Baptist Temple, clearly state in their charter that religious law supercedes state and federal law, declaring a “sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origins.” Being above the law is granting special rights; granting equality is upholding civil rights.

Courtesy of Floridana Alaskiana v2.5 (and congrats!!)

Courtesy of Floridana Alaskiana v2.5 (and congrats!!)

Tomorrow, the struggle continues, and along with it all the sideshow highlights: the busing in from the valley, the faux-grass roots, mass produced, carbon copy signs delivered in a single red pick up truck, and the convenient childcare service that will, no doubt, form again outside on the lawn; equality opponents dropping their impressionable children off, who are forced to represent an inherited ideology independent of personal growth and development, to display messages of hate while Mom and Dad attend the meeting.

Inside, we have heard testimony that has cut deep into our LGBT community.

One sentiment that has profoundly struck me is the passionate debate regarding differences between this and other civil rights movements. On a personal note, I make a concentrated effort to keep the different movements separated. The Civil Rights Movement was its own struggle, as was the Womens Rights Movement. But, this is a civil rights issue of its own, and shouldn’t be dismissed as anything less. And to those who ask: “where are the fire hoses and where are the police dogs?” With all due respect, I would humbly submit in return: Is that what you need to see before you react?

I had trouble not reacting to a nurse, who offered testimony asserting that sexual orientation is social engineering on par with Nuremberg and the Tuskegee experiments. I had trouble with a dentist’s sudden outburst, saying “I don’t want gay folks putting their fingers in my mouth!” (That one really conflicted with my entire concept of modern dentistry, and caused panic that a proctologist might be next in line to speak) One gentleman boasted about having to be restrained after assaulting a gay man who, many would argue, just paid him a compliment (Would he have beaten a woman who hit on him too, if he didn’t find her satisfactory?). Possibly most audacious was hearing a terminal AIDS patient described as a “cesspool of life,” while in a similar description wee heard the disease (which has no sexual orientation or preference) defined as a complication due to a lifestyle. Abomination. Perversion. Deviance. And there’s been some talk about the fate of our restrooms, too.

Hate, in no way, results in the betterment of a society. And we are foolish if we pretend that Anchorage is somehow immune.

The vicious and twisted accusations put on display for this Assembly are followed up, often in the same breath, with the position that this is rushed legislation, and that we would be better served by an exploratory committee, and an issued report based on its findings. I would posit that any of us, including those who serve us on the Assembly, who have sat in these chambers over the past handful of meetings, or watched from home, our out in the lobby, have represented and effectively participated in such a committee. You can read the findings in the ADN, Anchorage Press, the Northern Light, Mudflats, Shannyn Moore, Celtic Diva, Henkimaa, Progressive Alaska, Immoral Minority, among countless others. We’ve explored every ugly side of this issue, both in fact, fiction, and deranged fantasy. And that all important report has already been filed. Through hearing this public testimony, we, as citizens have been shown, beyond a shadow of doubt, the dire necessity of equal rights legislation.

And we need to show the Assembly, Mayor Sullivan, our members of the state legislature, Senators Murkowski and Begich, Representative Young, incoming-Governor Parnell, the media, and each other, that we won’t go away.

See you all tomorrow.

-john

Courtesy of Floridana Alaskiana v2.5

Courtesy of Floridana Alaskiana v2.5


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SLOPPY PROPOSAL REEKS IN TIMING, CONTENT, INTENT. (and poor grammar.)

July 20, 2009

Why are they dragging the Governor into this?

Why are they dragging the Governor into this?

From sosanchorage.com/org:

Anchorage Daily News


Sloppy proposal reeks in timing, content, intent


PAUL JENKINS
COMMENT

(06/13/09 19:04:40)

Is anybody really still in the dark about why certain members of our august Assembly, at this particular time, are hell-bent on ramming through an ordinance adding “sexual orientation” to the growing list of behaviors and personal traits protected against discrimination?

The proposed measure, AO No. 2009-64 (S), was offered by Faux Mayor Matt Claman at a time when the city is up to its eyeballs in debt, has daily bouts of often-fatal gunplay and faces other serious challenges. Such as: Gee, do we really need fire trucks available all the time?

Instead of dealing with the myriad tangible, pressing issues at hand, Claman et al. — and how many are in the et al. camp on the Assembly is anybody’s guess — are peddling a poorly crafted proposed ordinance addressing what essentially is a nonexistent problem. Has there been a rash of discrimination against gays? Do people seek them out to be mean?

Deny them housing? Refuse them loans? Fire them? Say ugly things about their shoes? Not so you’d notice. At a packed hearing last week on the ordinance — about 88 of the 317 people who signed up to testify actually had their say; the rest get another shot Tuesday — there was ample grumbling and various anecdotal accounts about such things, but few actual complaints filed with offices such as the Equal Rights Commission.

Despite that, despite the lack of a credible problem, despite protections already provided in the U.S. Constitution, the Alaska Constitution and the Municipal Charter, some on the Assembly are in an absolute tizzy to change the anti-discrimination law to include the words “sexual orientation.”

That is defined thusly: “… Actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender expression or identity. As used in this definition, ‘gender expression or identity’ means having or being perceived as having a self-image, appearance, or behavior different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.’ ” Good grief.

Proponents want to sneak the ordinance through before the duly elected mayor, Dan Sullivan, takes office July 1 to avoid any possibility of a veto. They even thought they would grease the skids by adding military veterans to the lengthening list of protected classes — sans the Navy for reasons nobody can fathom — to make it tougher for Assembly members to vote no. They amended them out of the proposal when veterans became irate.

What we are left with is a sloppy proposal that is a classic example of a poorly crafted, hurried piece of legislation with almost certain unintended consequences down the road.

For instance, what exactly does “perceived” mean? Perceived by whom? If I am denied a home loan and I “perceive” the banker is gay, can I sue, claiming that is why I was denied? Vice versa? The thing with lousy law is that it is open to interpretation by judges who too often are not even as smart as the people who wrote the statute. And lawyers? They’ll have a field day.

Don’t get me wrong. I oppose the proposed ordinance not because I oppose equal rights for gays or bisexuals or anybody else. We all have the same rights. Exactly the same rights. All of us. Get over it. I oppose the ordinance because it stinks. Timing. Content. Intent. Language. The weasel factor.

It all reeks, and its proponents on the Assembly have done the gay and transgender community no favors.

How the vote might go, if one ever is taken, is not certain, but this much is: Of the five Assembly members deemed most likely to vote for the ordinance — Patrick Flynn, Harriet Drummond, Elvi Gray Jackson, Sheila Selkregg and Mike Gutierrez — only one, Selkregg, is up for re-election in 2010, as is Claman, who cannot vote and will return to his Assembly seat when Sullivan takes his post. The other four face voters in 2011.

If the proposed ordinance passes and is signed into law, I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for any of their chances. In the end, it may be the best thing. This is, after all, the Assembly we got when we stopped paying attention.

There likely would be a measure on next year’s ballot to strip the ordinance from the books, and that would bring many people to the polls who might otherwise stay home.

That could be a bad thing for some folks.

I find it rather entertaining that Jerry and friends are having to resort to posting comments on the Anchorage Daily News website and the cut-and-pasting them onto their own site in order to find “published resources” supporting their nonsense.  The comments about our “Faux mayor Matt Claman” try to add an air of illegitimacy to the the standard proceedings of the Assembly.  I do like the imagery Mr. Jenkins employs: ramming through the assembly, up to its eyeballs in debt, the weasel factor.  He rushes to assure his readers that he doesn’t oppose the ordinance because “We all have the same rights. Exactly the same rights. All of us. Get over it.” Yet he chooses to end his article with the thinly-veiled threat that a possible ballot measure resulting from the proceedings of the Assembly “could be a bad thing for some folks.”

Well, guess what?  I can cut and paste comments off of the Anchorage Daily News site, too.  Here are some of my favorites from the most recent article about the Assembly Proceedings:

beachbum2315 wrote on 07/08/2009 03:00:33 PM:

Why is it that the Prevo “so called” Christians who read the bible as we hear repeatedly over and over the ones who scream the loudest against gay rights? I also read the bible and Jesus said love one another and treat eachother as you want to be treated. I have a hard time understanding that the Prevo people would want to be discriminated against, have seperate laws for them, hate crimes acceptable etc. We are ALL brothers and sisters and everyone has the same rights under the law according to the Constitution of the USA “equal rights for ALL”. Cant we start honoring that?

h2h907 wrote on 07/08/2009 01:06:42 PM:

I wanted to speak at the assembly meetings, but with Prevo’s people getting there at 3 pm, when I’m at work, it’s just not likely.

I could potentially use my 3 minutes to dispell the sky-is-falling reactionary hysteria over potential lawsuits (which have not been a significant issue anywhere such legislation has been adopted), or the pseudo-scientific factoids, or the outright lies, or the entirely irrelevant religious opinion that has ZERO bearing on the discussion.

Instead, I think the best testimony for this ordinance is the words and actions of those opposing it. I hope the assembly and our new mayor recognize a fillibuster by a tiny religious special interest when they see it.

lessonlearned wrote on 07/08/2009 10:26:17 AM:

What I dont think people realize is that everyday they work, live and recreate beside a gay or lesbian person without even knowing it. We are no differant than anyone else. But like any group of the human race there are always a few that can push things to the limit and mess it up for the rest of us. Thanks guys. We all have our own beliefs. i do not expect anyone to change thier beliefs for me. I just wish to be accepted for the good person that I am, not the way that i choose to live. I wish not to inflict my lifestyle on others. Just to be equal. Maybe some in our commmunity should see this way instead of pushing the limit and causing such a ruckass, Even though I am in a lesbian relationship, what i do in my home is private. I do not believe that the world is going to change anytime soon and so I will keep my private business my private business untill such time comes. It just makes more sense. one step at a time, you can jump the whole stair case in one bound!!

bstringd wrote on 07/07/2009 11:57:10 PM:

After watching the meeting on TV, I commend the Assembly’s patience for enduring so much rambling repetitive testimony from a sea of red-shirted intolerant people. The need for passage of the anti-discrimination ordinance could not have been more clearly demonstrated. I trust the Assembly to base their decision on our Constitution, not on biblical dogma.

The majority of Mr. Jenkins arguments are part and parcel with the rhetoric we’ve been hearing from Jerry Prevo’s followers.  I’m sure there’s a handout or email somewhere (and I’d happily pay $5 it if you’ve got one) giving instructions for phrases and words to use when talking about this ordinance in public.  Anyone who still doesn’t believe that Anchorage citizens are discriminated against because they are members of the GLBT community is either not paying attention, or is hurriedly stuffing sanctimoniously saturated cotton into their ears.

I look forward to see you at the Assembly meeting tomorrow.  Get there early if you can.  Wouldn’t it be great to have an Assembly Hall awash in a sea of blue?