Devin Kelly

Anchorage attorney Treg Taylor is joining the Assembly race in South Anchorage and former TV reporter Joy Bunde is dropping out in a last-minute shuffle among conservative candidates for an open seat in the April 5 election. Taylor, who ran for school board in 2011 but lost to Gretchen Guess, filed paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission last week that allows him to start accepting campaign contributions. He said Thursday his decision to run came after another candidate, Joe Riggs, dropped out last month. Taylor described himself as a fiscal conservative who supports limited government. “At this time, where the price of oil is where it’s at and the economy not turning as quick as we’d like, we need more people like that on the Assembly,” Taylor said. In a phone interview...Devin Kelly
Two downtown agencies want to use their own security teams to make Anchorage’s core a safer and more pleasant place for workers and visitors as the city’s overtaxed police department has been focusing more on violent crimes than public nuisances. A security hotline and dispatch system, increased training for security officers and better networking between downtown security companies make up the elements of an evolving plan. With it, the two agencies — the Anchorage Community Development Authority, the agency that manages the city’s parking meters, garages and downtown bus depot, and the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, an organization supported by downtown businesses that deploys yellow-vested security “ambassadors” to patrol the streets — hope to reclaim downtown from petty criminals and...Devin Kelly
Dustin Darden, an Anchorage maintenance worker who ran for mayor last April and became known for his homemade campaign signs, is now running for an Assembly seat from West Anchorage. Darden registered as a candidate with the city clerk’s office earlier this week. “I want to focus on … getting fluoride out of the drinking water and saving money, cutting taxes,” Darden said in a Thursday interview. Darden came in fifth in the April general election for mayor, winning a little more than 1 percent of the vote. At mayoral campaign forums, Darden focused on water fluoridation, his opposition to abortion and his proposal to replace property taxes with a sales tax. A carpenter, Darden gained attention in the April election for his handcrafted placards that popped up at intersections around town...Devin Kelly
An initiative to lower Anchorage’s tax cap by changing the way it’s calculated will go before voters in the city election on April 5. The city clerk’s office certified the petition this week after supporters collected nearly 11,000 signatures. The Alaska chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the national conservative advocacy organization that has played a role in coordinating the effort, announced the news in a statement Thursday. "Our organization will now go to work to educate the people of Anchorage on the importance of restoring the tax cap,” Jeremy Price, executive director of Alaska AFP, said in the statement. Anchorage’s tax cap, approved by voters in 1983, limits the annual increase of city taxes and is based on inflation and population growth. The initiative is aimed at reversing...Devin Kelly
Don Smith, a former Anchorage Assembly member and state legislator who claims credit for writing the city’s tax cap, says he’s challenging Assembly Chair Dick Traini for his Midtown seat. Smith said he’s been thinking about running ever since the Assembly passed an ordinance in October to change the calculation of the tax cap. That ordinance, which allowed the city to collect over $1 million more in taxes this year than it could using the previous calculation method, is the target of an April ballot initiative. “I’m irritated by the attempt by the Assembly to try to mess with the tax cap,” Smith said in an interview Thursday. Calling himself the “father of the tax cap,” Smith wrote the language, approved by voters approved in 1983, to limit the increase in property taxes from year to year...Devin Kelly
When pot businesses can legally open in Anchorage later this year, they'll have to be at least 500 feet from schools in most parts of the city, the Anchorage Assembly decided Tuesday night. The Assembly also narrowly voted against a proposal to allow on-site consumption in retail stores, at least for now. That question was referred back to the Assembly’s committee on marijuana regulation. Assembly members said the city should wait for the outcome of still-evolving state regulations before adopting local rules on marijuana bars or cafes -- but left undisturbed laws for private social clubs, where customers can bring their own pot to consume. With the state two weeks away from accepting the first applications for marijuana businesses, the Assembly’s action on Tuesday determined what the...Devin Kelly
An Alaska Dispatch News poll found that a majority of Anchorage voters support the city’s new law barring discrimination against gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people. Of 311 registered voters, 70 percent said they either strongly or mildly supported adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes for employment and housing in city law -- a change the Anchorage Assembly approved in a 9-2 vote last fall. Twenty-five percent said they strongly or mildly opposed the change. Four percent were not sure. Asked whether they would vote to repeal the law, 62 percent said no, and 33 percent said yes. Again, 4 percent responded they were not sure. The poll was conducted by Ivan Moore Research as part of the “Alaska Survey,” a periodic poll with multiple clients...Devin Kelly
The Anchorage Assembly is expected to vote Tuesday on land use and licensing regulations that will determine the look and location of pot businesses in the municipality, including in Girdwood and Chugiak-Eagle River. Some of the most mixed feelings on the regulations may be in Chugiak-Eagle River, where about 30 people attended a Saturday town hall on the topic. The event was organized by Anchorage Assembly member Amy Demboski, who said she hoped to answer questions and gather as much feedback as possible ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. Most who attended live in Eagle River and other communities to the north, though some were cannabis entrepreneurs from Anchorage. The mix contrasted with an Assembly hearing in Anchorage last week that drew largely pro-pot testimony from a business crowd...Devin Kelly
Former Anchorage TV news reporter and current business marketer Joy Bunde said Friday she’s entering the race for a South Anchorage Assembly seat. Bunde, the daughter of former Republican state Sen. Con Bunde, said she has filed paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission that would allow her to start accepting campaign donations. Her candidacy comes a week after another candidate, Joe Riggs, withdrew from the race. Bunde said Friday that Riggs and a number of other Republicans had approached her and asked her to run. “There’s only nonfiscally conservative people in the race,” Bunde said. “And I said, ‘South Anchorage needs a fiscally conservative choice.’” Bunde, 48, spent 12 years as a news anchor and reporter at KTVA-11 and KIMO (now KYUR, or Your Alaska Link). She said she’s...Devin Kelly
Retired teacher Don Hadley said Wednesday he’s dropping his East Anchorage Assembly bid and instead running for the Alaska House, a decision he said was based on “party unity.” Hadley, 73 and a Republican, said he’s stepping aside to avoid competing with another Republican, Terre Gales, in a campaign to replace retiring Assembly member Paul Honeman. While the city election is nonpartisan, party affiliation tends to play a role in support and fundraising. The other main candidate in the race is Forrest Dunbar, an attorney in the Army National Guard who ran for Congress as a Democrat against Don Young in 2014. In a phone interview Wednesday, Hadley wouldn’t say who asked him to change races. He would only say there was concern about two Republicans in the East Anchorage race. “They wanted...Devin Kelly