The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday delayed until December its vote on a proposal to rename the Port of Alaska as the Don Young Port of Anchorage.
Several Assembly members said the citizen naming panel that recommended the new name did not follow city code. It failed to give proper notice to the public in order to gather input from residents during the panel’s June meeting, when it voted on what name to recommend, the Assembly members said.
“Practically speaking, the public hearing wasn’t properly noticed,” Assembly Chair Christopher Constant said. “Therefore, it effectively didn’t happen.”
That means the panel’s recommendation of a new name is not valid, he said.
At Tuesday’s meeting, in a 9-3 vote, Assembly members put off their vote on a recommendation to an upcoming Assembly meeting on Dec. 19. They also directed the four-person citizen naming panel to hold another public hearing and to then vote again on their recommendation for the Assembly’s consideration at the December meeting.
Mayor Dave Bronson initially proposed renaming the port in remembrance of late U.S. Rep. Don Young after the longtime Alaska congressman died last year during a flight to Seattle on his way home.
Bronson and former Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance then each appointed two members to a citizen naming panel. In June, the panel recommended renaming the port as the Don Young Port of Anchorage in a 3-0 vote, with one panel member absent. No residents attended the meeting to testify, according to the meeting minutes.
Bronson’s chief of staff, Mario Bird, pushed back on the postponement. Although the panel’s meeting was not placed on the public notice calendar, it was noticed on the city’s events page and mayor’s events page, he said.
“I think is the administration’s position that this was sufficient to to answer the public notice requirements,” Bird said.
Assembly members Karen Bronga, Kevin Cross and Randy Sulte opposed the postponement of the Assembly’s vote.