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Anchorage businesses attack Mayor Dan Sullivan's opponents

Posted: March 31, 2011 - 9:16pm

ANCHORAGE — A group financed by some Anchorage developers and real estate owners is campaigning against three members of the Anchorage Assembly who are at odds with Mayor Dan Sullivan.

The group Fiscal Sanity is airing TV ads that criticize votes by the three incumbents — Elvi Gray-Jackson, Harriet Drummond and Mike Gutierrez — in 2008 favoring union contracts, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday. Sullivan has endorsed their opponents.

Six of the 11 Assembly seats are on Tuesday’s city election ballot, as well as two school board seats and some propositions.

Fiscal Sanity is operating as an independent group and says the candidates it backs are not participating in its campaign.

The TV ads show a moose, mountains, buildings and water, plus photos of the candidate in question. A narrator says, “What’s happened to common sense in Anchorage? (Gray-Jackson, Drummond or Gutierrez) voted for union contracts without assuring there was money to pay the costs. There wasn’t.”

Fiscal Sanity has reported contributions of $33,500, including $10,000 each from three building groups: Associated General Contractors of Alaska, Anchorage Home Builders Association and ABC of Alaska. Carr-Gottstein Properties gave $3,500. All of the money came in just over the past two weeks, according to the group’s report with the Public Offices Commission.

The Fiscal Sanity contributors are “people who are very interested in the city not putting itself in a situation” where so much money is encumbered for labor, said Art Hackney, a political consultant leading the group.

The ads urge voters to support Dave Bronson over Gray-Jackson, Liz Vazquez over Drummond, and Adam Trombley over Gutierrez.

Gray-Jackson called it a “smear campaign” and said her record speaks for itself. “No one is more committed to relieving the property tax burden and finding efficiencies,” she said.

Drummond said the disputed contracts fell within parameters set by the Assembly. And, she said, economic information produced by the city at the time of the 2008 contract votes showed they could be paid for under normal growth of the city’s tax cap. City investment income crashed during the recession, resulting in a budget shortfall in 2009.

Gutierrez said he thought the developers financing the commercials were probably more concerned about what will happen with Title 21, the city zoning and land use code that’s being rewritten.

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