Tag Archives: dan sullivan

bike to work with the mayor

Note: The following is cross-posted from my other blog, La Bomba Shelter.  It’s not directly related to Mt. View, but the neighborhood does support bicycling as much as any part of Anchorage… and we have a fondness for populist politicians.

Ran across this item yesterday at Bike Commute Tips. Tried to put the video up here but couldn’t do it last night after an hour of trying. WordPress supports a few different players, but not the one StreetFilms uses… there was another way to back-door it in via Vodpod but that had its own problems. Since I’m too cheap to get the $57 annual upgrade to support all video types [I’d do it, if this blog was getting hundreds of hits per day instead of 10 to 20], I gave up.

Ya sure… anyway… do go to StreetFilms and watch the short video of Seattle mayor Mike McGinn biking to work. It is totally worth it! I know nothing of McGinn’s politics, but I am aware that he beat two other candidates who were a lot better funded, in a close three-way race. He makes biking 6.5 miles from his house in the Greenwood neighborhood to City Hall downtown look like a piece of cake — even while it’s obvious it isn’t. I biked around Seattle extensively in Summer ’08 when I was photographing alleys, and while it was delightful it was also challenging and obstacle-laden. Anchorage is a lot easier.

Conservatives are fond of telling commies like me that we have “Portland envy” or “Seattle envy”. There are aspects of both these places I find compelling, even precious. But they have major issues with pollution, crowding and congestion and high cost of living — without the access to wilderness that Anchorage offers.

But what I appreciate about them is a desire to improve. Look at McGinn’s ‘Ideas for Seattle’ site, and try to imagine these suggestions coming from Anchorage residents. Or do I sell Anchorage short? Maybe a little. You’ll never see our current mayor, Dan Sullivan riding a bike to work — but on the other hand, the days I ride I have plenty of company on the paths, side streets and arterials.

McGinn is still in the honeymoon phase — but if he makes good on listening to suggestions submitted directly from citizens, and flattens the pyramidal control structure a little, and makes good on various populist principles — he will enjoy a long and productive run. I love the guy.

Tagged , , , , ,

mt. view branch library nears completion

The library project is moving right along.  As 2009 wraps up, the exterior of the building is nearly complete, and the interior is well underway.  I don’t know the official schedule but from the looks of it I’d say to expect a Spring opening.

This summer the new conservative mayor, Dan Sullivan was sworn in.  Predictably, he proposed massive cuts to social programs, and cut municipal subsidies of arts and cultural programs and institutions, including the municipal library system.  There was a rumor that there would only be enough money to keep the new Mt. View branch open one day a week! 

There’s been considerable discussion about how to improve that situation.  The Anchorage Library Foundation, chaired by local writer and former Government Hill Community Council officer Charles Wohlforth, has been collecting donations and conducting studies to find out how local libraries are used.  Some have pointed out that Anchorage under-funds its libraries, compared to similarly-sized U.S. cities even though the library remains a well-used, well-loved community asset.

A change in leadership of the municipal Assembly looks positive for both libraries and Mt. View.  The new Assembly Chair is Patrick Flynn, Assemblymember representing Mt. View, Government Hill and Downtown.  The Vice Chair is Mike Gutierrez, who was the Mt. View Weed and Seed Coordinatior before being elected to the Assembly.  Both are good friends of Mt. View.  One of Flynn’s first moves was to restore $50,000 in funding for the libraries that Sullivan had cut.  Sullivan then line-item vetoed the appropriation, but Flynn managed to find the votes to override that action as well.  I hope Flynn will cut the ribbon, when the Mt. View branch opens.

The new library seen from Bragaw St., earlier this month.

Detail of entry roof, behind construction fencing.

Rear view, looking east.

Tagged , , , , ,