To Mayor Sullivan on Property Tax Day

I heard that you are collecting ideas for how the city can cut the budget and save or make more money. I was thinking about that while writing a check for the second half of my property taxes, which are due on August 15, and wondered how many thousands of dollars the city has lost by allowing Anchorage Baptist Temple to keep it's tax-exempt status while openly funding political battles through ABT's donation site and threatening to campaign against Assembly members supported by tax-paying citizens like me, but opposed by exempt Jerry Prevo . . .

But seriously, I do have a suggestion for improving the outlook of the city during these hard economic times, a suggestion that is within your power to do:

I suggest that you let Ordinance 64 become Anchorage law.

How can an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance help Anchorage financially?

It's no secret that employers in Anchorage have trouble finding qualified people for certain highly skilled positions, especially in fields where the training is not available here and they must hire people from outside who are willing to relocate. Despite high unemployment and hiring freezes in the lower 48, Anchorage hospitals, for just one example, struggle to fill important medical and technical positions. Why?

Beyond the personal reasons, the public image of Anchorage and Alaska is the biggest barrier.

Most people outside think Alaska is
1. cold, dark and isolated, and
2. full of nutty yahoos and religious fanatics (thank you, Sarah Palin)

The adventure of living in a far north climate on the edge of spectacular wilderness, with a variety of outdoor sports available just outside the city (and sometimes just outside the door) makes the challenge of winter worth it for some job seekers.

But how can we improve the political and social image of Alaska? More importantly, what can we do to make sure that Anchorage is not bullied by the vocal minority of nutty yahoos and religious fanatics who do live here - like the ordinance opponents who shouted and insulted and threatened and preached hellfire at the Assembly members during the hearings?

We can support Ordinance 64.

The compromise version of the ordinance that the Assembly passed on Tuesday protects civil rights while also protecting religious freedoms. It is based on sound business practices that support a good quality of life for all residents. It shows that we value a diverse and talented workforce, but it does not burden the city or business owners with new expenses.

The Assembly created a win-win solution. Now it's your turn to show that Alaskans are rational people who can pass reasonable laws.

What would the property tax base look like if Anchorage employers could fill more of those empty positions with skilled workers looking for good jobs, a bit of adventure - and a fair and friendly community?

Please allow Ordinance 64 to become Anchorage law.


Mike Travis said...

This is a great article, with well-thought-out reasons why having Ordinance 64 will help to make Anchorage a better community for all.

Everyone should send the mayor a similar message.

KaJo said...

How sad and pathetic is it for this hopeful request to be written to Mayor Sullivan on the heels of the charges filed in the evil hate crime perpetrated on one of Alaska's First People, as reported in the ADN yesterday.

Unless the Feds find cause, the evil perpetrators will only have a misdemeanor on their records.

It might be enough to make a LGBT to think twice about the social atmosphere and the state of law enforcement and justice in Anchorage.

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