Friday, August 12, 2011

Valley Victory: DeVilbiss Veto Over-Ridden by MSB Assembly 5 to 2

Trunk Road Roundabout - image by PA
This past week, taking his cue from Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss vetoed the Assembly's approval of putting the possibility of $31 million in road bonds on the ballot, for Mat-Su voters to decide for themselves:
The assembly decided Tuesday to put road bonds on the ballot, but the mayor vetoed the measure.
Devil biss [sic] has vetoed the measure.

Assemblyman Mark Ewing said that as far as he can tell, the mayor was acting on advice from Anchorage officials.
[According to Assembly member Mark Ewing], “the mayor’s down in Sitka right now and he’s talked to (Anchorage) Mayor (Dan) Sullivan and they’ve scaled their bonds back to $25 million. We’re really in a dilemma, we’re down to the 11th hour and the mayor’s out of town.” [emphasis added]
 Then, Thursday evening, at a special meeting of the Assembly:
Voters will decide on more than $30 million in bonds for road projects after the Mat-Su Borough Assembly overturned a Mayor Larry DeVilbiss veto of the package.

The assembly decided Tuesday to put road bonds on the ballot, but the mayor vetoed the measure, but his roadblock didn’t last long, with the assembly voting Thursday 5-2 to overturn the veto. It was the latest in a back-and-forth debate about what type of bond question to put on the Oct. 4 ballot.
Part of the reason this vote turned out the way it did was that over the middle of the week, various local organizations mobilized, asking voters to get in touch with their Assembly representative.  They did.

Here's part of the bulletin sent out by Friends of Mat-Su:

Dear friends,

We are writing to you with an urgent request contact to ask you to take action and contact Mat-Su Borough Assembly members today.  Just a few hours ago we learned that the Mat-Su Borough Mayor decided at the last minute to issue a veto of the recent roadbond package currently up for consideration by the MSB Assembly.  There is a meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. this evening in the MSB Assembly chambers where the Assembly could take action on the veto for the road bond package.

The Assembly has unanimously voted in the past to put a road bond package on the October election ballot for voters to consider.  The road bond requires $32 million of Borough funds to be included in a 55-50 funding split with the State of Alaska and includes projects Borough-wide.Apparently, the Mayor has issues with certain aspects of the package.   Considering this he has decided to issue a veto that will hold up the entire package and effectively eliminate several important community projects.


This last minute veto is unfortunate and irresponsible.  If the veto is successful, it will effectively terminate two important projects included as part of the package for paved trails and pathways in the communities of Sutton and the Butte.  These projects have gained widespread support by local residents and will provide countless benefits for the local communities and all borough residents. 

Projects targeted:
 1. A paved pathway about 2.7 miles long in Butte extending an existing paved pathway from Plumbly Rd. to the Knik River bridge along the Old Glenn Highway.

2. a paved pathway about 0.4 miles long from the Sutton Elementary School to the Glenn Highway.

What can you do?

Please send an email or call all Assembly members now to ask for the support in keeping these items in the bond package.  If you are able to attend the meeting in person this evening it would very helpful to show a presence of support.

Further more, tell Assembly members that the current package as was proposed was voted on and approved unanimously by the majority of the Assembly at their last meeting and to ensure that these important projects in Sutton and Butte are protected.
It worked - along with the efforts of other local grassroots organizations and individuals.  Whether or not the package gets voted in, the voters themselves, instead of Larry DeVilbiss and Dan Sullivan, will get to decide.

note - the author is a lifetime member and Secretary of the Board of Friends of Mat-Su

No comments: