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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Response: Ms. O’Brien’s Latest Attack

By Dan Bockhorst


September 30, 2019

Michelle O’Brien, candidate for Borough Mayor, claims in social media that her own words are being “deliberately obfuscate[d]” about how she would handle a situation where she, as mayor, disagreed with the assembly.  She was quoted in the local news media on September 27 as saying “you can have private discussions in terms of voicing your disagreement with fellow assembly members . . .”   Her statement on the matter is clear. 

Ms. O’Brien claimed in social media that I alleged she “would purposefully ignore the rule of law as it pertains to the Open Meetings Act.”  I urge Ms. O’Brien to carefully re-read my letter as I made no such assertion.    

Alaska’s Open Meetings Act allows “private discussions” among three assembly members, or the mayor and two members of the assembly.   While allowed under the law, do we want our local elected officials to have “private discussions” about public matters?  I certainly don’t.  As I stated in my previous letter, sunshine is the best disinfectant when it comes to conducting the public’s business.  The Borough Assembly has enacted in law a policy that the Assembly’s “deliberations be conducted openly” (see KGBC 2.10.190).  

If Ms. O’Brien didn’t mean what she is quoted as saying, she could simply admit such.  Instead, she chose to lash out at someone who raises alarm about her troubling views.  Her choice to attack here validates the serious concerns that others have expressed about Ms. O’Brien (see, for example, the September 17 letter in SitNews from Barry A. A. Dillinger and the September 25 letter in SitNews from John Harrington).

Dan Bockhorst
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received September 29, 2019 - Published September 30, 2019

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