A pleasant surprise
Once in a while we are pleasantly surprised by our local newspaper. The most recent example is an editorial over the weekend headlined, “Assembly is out of step on interim pick representing Chugiak-Eagle River.”
In it, the Anchorage Daily News editorial board wondered, as we have, at the Dec. 20 appointment of Gretchen Wehmhoff of Eagle River to fill Amy Demboski’s vacated seat until April’s municipal election.
“The Assembly’s decision was surprisingly quick and uniform,” the newspaper said. She was, it should be noted, voted in on the first ballot. There were, mind you, 11 other candidates – six Republican and two Democrats among them, the editorial said.
There is no need to go into the details here, but suffice it to say Ms. Wehmhoff is a Democrat and the Eagle River-Chugiak area is heavily oonservative. She has run for office before in Eagle River, and lost to more conservative candidates, the ADN pointed out. She promises, it should be noted, not to run for the seat in April.
Nonetheless, her selection at the Assembly’ s Dec. 20 special meeting was, the ADN said, “one that undermines the notion that she is joining a nonpartisan body. The Assembly has a comfortable majority of left-leaning members; this selection pads that number.”
Most of us were disabused of the notion that the Assembly is nonpartisan years ago. Usually, when an Assembly member starts yammering about nonpartisanship, he or she simply is trying to hide their liberal leanings.
There is one strange thing about the vote: Nobody on the Assembly pushed for Wehmhoff’s selection. Assembly members Fred Dyson and Dick Traini supported former Assemblyman Bill Starr’s appointment because of his experience. That was it. No give and take. No other recommendations.
An even stranger thing? Six Assembly members, on the first ballot, all voted for Ms. Wehmhoff. Six. You have to wonder how that happened. On the first ballot.
Nonetheless, it is refreshing to see the newspaper again publishing editorials that take a stand.
It is especially refreshing that it wrote one we can wholeheartedly agree with.