Do 'We the people' need an assembly?

Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I attended the recent borough assembly meeting. I learned that the assembly wants to change the form of government we now have in the borough. One assemblyman, Mr. Gary Knopp, proposed this change to see if the voters choose to change from an elected official running the day to day business of the borough to one appointed by the assembly.

From the testimony and timing, it sounded like the assembly was not in favor of the present mayor. It also sounded as those who spoke were more than satisfied by the present mayor's action to date.

Mr. Knopp stated his "constituents" asked him to forward this ordinance. Does it not make you wonder who these people are? I wonder, are they borough employees who have reason to fear for their jobs, are resisting change, or is it that they have been asked to account for their work? Maybe they need to be accountable.

Mr. Knopp took full responsibility for this issue. I later learned the issue was proposed in Soldotna, however, it was discussed in Seward. Why wasn't the mayor recognized to speak to that issue at that meeting? Last I knew he is still a taxpaying voter in this borough.

Mr. Knopp stated it wasn't against the mayor and it was not a personal attack on the mayor. Really? Then why did I get the feeling from the testimony given that the voters were defending the mayor and were all in favor of having one run the borough? Why then, does he so insist on a change? Hidden issues?

Do you really want to change the form of government in the Kenai Peninsula Borough? There are several forms of government other than a manager form. One would be a board of supervisors (most generally three); another would be the assembly back to at large a mayor, and there are a multitude of other options out there that can and have worked.

We did vote for a change last November, and from what I heard during the meeting a majority of the assembly hasn't accepted it.

Fix roads, not government. Lower taxes, not build more million-dollar debts. Didn't sound to me like the assembly was listening to "We the people." Maybe the ordinance ought to be changed to remove the assembly. Thanks, Gary. Maybe we don't need the assembly after all?

Richard Freese


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