Posted by: shannynmoore | August 17, 2009

Mayor Sullivan Greenlights Discrimination With Veto…Debbie Ossiander Holds Key

Mayor Sullivan’s veto today of Ordinance 64 is not a surprise.  With a stroke of his pen, he effectively endorsed discrimination against our friends and neighbors.  If you weren’t sure whether this ordinance was necessary, you needed only to show up for the fear-based, hate-filled, homophobic public testimony of the religious right wing red shirts-sponsored by powerful emerging not-for-profit Political Action Committees like the Anchorage Baptist Temple led by Reverend and Head X-ian Jerry Prevo.  ABT, by the way, owns at least 11 properties that are tax exempt.  Other ChurchPACs from Wasilla bussed in their X-ian masses to protest this ordinance.  X-ian ChurchPACs from as far away as Colorado and Texas joined in the Tuesday night hate-fest at the Loussac Library over the summer.

Eddie Burke, red shirt self-explanatory

Eddie Burke, red shirt self-explanatory

The Anchorage Assembly can over-ride his veto, but it will take the vote reversal of Debbie Ossiander.  She voted against the ordinance along with Bill Starr, Chris Birch and Dan Coffey.  Debbie represents Anchorage’s only hope of joining the 21st century.  Other parts of the country are debating gay marriage.  Here, with Dano’s veto, we will be chained to the mid-20th century debating whether or not a segment of our society ought to be protected against discrimination.  Good grief!

As a school board member, Ossiander supported gay rights.  In 2001, she voted, along with the rest of the school board (Peggy Robinson, Dave Werdahl, Rita Holthouse, Jake Metcalfe, Harriet Drummond, Debbie Ossiander and Tim Steele) to unanimously approve language including sexual orientation to protect students and faculty from being harassed and discriminated against!  Anchorage School Board Policy 114 is clear, concise and unambiguous.

Debbie Ossiander somehow flipped from supporting gay rights to now supporting the right of homophobes to discriminate against gays.  Since 2001, the Anchorage School District has not had a single case of men showing up to school dressed in drag to hang out at in women’s bathrooms.  The Anchorage School District did not collapse as a result of this policy. 

Granted, Ossiander represents the conservative district of Eagle River. Perhaps she cast a no vote for political reasons. There is now an opportunity for Ms. Ossiander to step up to the plate of the 21st Century and hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs to break a tie ball game with a yes vote to over ride Dano’s veto.

Or…worst case scenario, Ms. Ossiander steps to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with bases loaded and only 1 out.  Perhaps Ms. Ossiander hits a sacrifice fly for the win to cement her legacy of being a champion for civil rights for EVERYONE.  With that sacrifice, it’s possible she might lose her next assembly election.  But she would gain so much more political capital and peace of mind for doing the right thing. 

Sometimes, doing what’s right isn’t easy. 

Ms. Ossiander is in a difficult spot; she voted against her own ideology to appease the right wing of her conservative district.  Contact Debbie Ossiander and respectfully request she vote to over ride Mayor Sullivan’s veto.

You may reach her here:

Phone: 688-2308
Fax: 688-2338

You may contact your own assembly member here and ask them to over ride Mayor Sullivan’s veto.



  1. I sent my email to her. Lets all of us do so.

  2. Here is a thought, some powerful bloggers might help with and have fun with.

    Gay Coffee At McGinleys!

    Lets turn McGinleys into a Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/TRANSGENDER bar and eating establishment.

    To show up just before the dinner rush, in groups at separate tables, to drink only coffee or soda, and to eat only bread. But to turn that stinky Irish bar into the hot new Northwest Gay Establishment.

    Our fair Mayor can be the first post VETO recorded instance of discrimination when the gays and especially the Trannies get thrown out by the good Mayor’s establishment.

    Hit him in the pocketbook and make it so nobody else can spend their money there either.

    Maybe just one busy night a week. So he can measure the impact.

    • Why not just go McGinleys and integrate the place?

      Anti-gay/homophobes possibly could learn tolerance when given the chance to see our basic human commonality….maybe my thinking is too idealistic but we have to start somewhere. I have read the ADN stories about people who are homeless as well as Alaskan Natives being incredibly discriminated against, even murdered. My take on Anchor town is there are some very mean/nasty/ignorant people there. Yet when I occasionally travel up there I do meet civil people, my faith in humanity restored.

      The June/July testimony was overrun by nonresident Provo-bible thumping-closed-minded folks, and unfortunately those running that city’s government are of the same ilk or just aren’t brave enough to stand up for the equality of ALL people!

      As I like to say, education cures ignorance and I always will try to live my life by following the wisdom of the I Ching: “to overcome evil, make energetic progress in the good”.

      So why not just go to Sullivan’s bar in all your glory, or if straight arrange to meet a gay friend or two there for beer or whatever. And for more integration, on a Sunday it might be glorious to attend a church service or two, as a way to practice tolerance 😉

  3. Think about what you are saying here, Shannyn. Our elected officials are supposed to represent the people who elected them (not themselves). I hate that your mayor thinks civil rights don’t apply to all people, but that is not an excuse to browbeat someone into voting against her constituents. This is what fascists and republicans do…

    • So Martin Luther King was a Fascist NAZI? Rarely do I cuss online, but I say bullshit! I recommend making the protests fun and positive, but expensive to oppose. Leaving civil rights to the mob will always result in a lynching.



  4. There is a poll on Sullivan’s decision on KTVA’s site. I sent a letter to Ossiander, I had no sleep last night I hope it makes sense. I also sent one to Sullivan. It was in large capital letters. I am so disgusted with this state. I am having memory flashbacks of the 70s in San Francisco and some of it is not pretty. The difference is there was much more support for civil rights then. It’s like a lot of people in this state and country have had lobotomies now. They have no passion about anything.

  5. I emailed also. To bad in the year 2009 that we as Americans even have to still try to pass ords that deal with discrimination.

  6. Was I the only one who saw this coming last week and refused to be happy about the ordnance being passed? [sigh]

    Ossiander and Sullivan will never surprise me.

    • I knew it was coming and also did not celebrate.

    • Nope. I called Sullivan’s veto the day he was elected.

  7. Wes Ben, I respectfully disagree with the idea that “This is what fascists and republicans do”. It can also be what a person with foresight and conscience will do. LBJ pushed for and signed the Civil Rights Act because it was the decent, just thing to do, even though he knew it would cost him and the Democratic Party. Should he have accepted the will of the majority in the south and refused to guarantee civil rights for the minority?

  8. I dont live in anch so i dont have a voice. But all these folks from outside of anch have a voice? Whats with that? i guess being honest and polite has no room in this world. All i can say is Dan Sullivan has a hard road ahead. I will do what i can to stop him from going further. He is not for the people.

  9. email sent to Debbie Ossiander:

    Hi Debbie,

    As retired ASD teachers, we have seen young children calling their classmates “gay” or “fag” frequently. It always became a teachable moment for us – to teach tolerance, even though we were paid to teach music. We believe that Mayor Sullivan has taken Anchorage in the wrong direction with his veto. A few things to consider:

    1) Recently, a young couple filmed themselves attacking a defenseless, native man on an Anchorage street. I also recall vividly when a former West High hockey player beat a native to death with a hockey stick in an Anchorage alley years ago. It is only a matter of time before the same sort of thing happens with a gay, lesbian or transgender individual as the victim. The Mayor’s veto seems to give tacit approval to that kind of behavior – it’s OK to discriminate in Anchorage.

    2) The opposition, once again, seems to be lead by “Dr.” Jerry Prevo. He is a wealthy, powerful man who likes to judge others and put on a show. My Bible talks about how it’s easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. It talks about leaving Judgement up to God, and praying alone in a room with the door closed rather than on the temple steps. And it summarizes Old Testament law with two simple commandments – love God, and love your neighbor. I can’t help but think that there should be NO restrictions on that neighbor we are to love. The “forest” is unconditional love. The “trees” are isolated Bible verses, often taken out of context. We need to be able to view the forrest without being distracted by those trees. Question – If Christ came back tomorrow, would “Dr.” Prevo even recognize Him?

    3) Four years ago we were in Haines in early September and a large cruise ship was in town. We noticed the streets were crowded with passengers from the ship and they were nearly all men. It quickly became apparent that it was a gay cruise. The small shops in Haines were doing a thriving business. My friends who are gay or lesbian are intelligent people with good jobs who travel and spend money. The word will get out across the country that Anchorage turned down a Gay rights ordinance, and there will be a negative reaction. Well healed tourists will seek other travel destinations where they will be welcome. Do we want to restrict our tourist trade in the current economy by allowing the defeat of an ordinance which protects a minority and harms no one?

    We hope you make the right decision when the vote to override takes place.


    Dan and Gwen Heynen

  10. It is no surprise that Sullivan voted this way, as it has been expected all along that he would be happy to veto this ordinance and allow discrimination.

    Ms. Ossiander has stated for the record she will not change her vote.

    I am not in the least bit surprised by this decision. Disappointed, yes, disgusted, yes, surprised? Not in the least.

  11. I do not live in Anchorage, and hence have no voice in the matter of individual Representatives. I do not even live in Alaska, hence do not have a voice in Alaska politics. However, I do travel and planned to travel to Alaska in ’10. Anchorage WAS on my itinarary as was Eagle and Fairbanks. I have cancelled my flight reservation and will not be going voluntarily to a State that does not value all people. Between the gay discrimination, the Native Alaskan discrimination and the shocking treatment of the homeless Alaska has ceased to be the attractive place I have seen it as for the last 50 years.

    • You are not the only one who feels this way. I have family that were planning a trip up there for 15 couples for a 50th wedding Anniversary next year, that have now cancelled plans for the trip to AK calling this decision the “final straw”. The couple who is celebrating their anniversary feel that although Anchorage had held a special place in their hearts, they would prefer not to spend their money supporting a place that actively allows and encourages discrimination.

      • Tell them they should come to Juneau; we’re much friendlier here (not than all Anchoragites, just than the idiot ones…).

        • I will admit that I asked if they would be willing to visit other area’s besides Anchorage, but since that was the Anniversary Couple’s former home that was why the event was planned for there. They have decided to visit Canada for this “Celebration/Vacation” instead.

  12. EyeOnYou states:
    Ms. Ossiander has stated for the record she will not change her vote.

    Where and when did she state that? I haven’t seen or heard that anywhere and I hope that’s not the case, or this may all be over. I am still hoping she will come around, but that statement worries me.

    • It was in the Anchorage Daily News:

      Assembly Chairwoman Debbie Ossiander, a surprise vote against the measure last week, said she hasn’t changed her mind.
      Ossiander said she doesn’t believe it’s right to discriminate against gay people. But she said last week she feared that some language in the compromise might force businesses to create special facilities — unisex bathrooms, for example.

      “My position hasn’t changed,” she said Monday. “I believe I made the correct vote. … Parts of this ordinance, I feel, were wrong.”

      Ossiander said, however, that it’s possible the Assembly could at some later point decide to revisit the issue with a new ordinance that she could support.

  13. They are cowards and should be remembered as such when they are up for election.
    Do you not think The ‘Rev.’ vote was not fascist?
    Busing in people that do not live in an area for a vote?
    These people are bullies and cowards and should be held in contempt for their narrow minded views.

  14. To the commenters that have decided to boycott Alaska:

    Why people, deny yourself the opportunity to see what Shannyn and AKM and myself and all the other AK bloggers find wonderful and beautiful about Alaska?

    Alaska is about more than just politics and unfortunately many of you from outside of our state have only come to know us thanks to a certain idiot that ran for VP.

    However, before all this political circus brought awareness to Alaska, well, we were still Alaska and sure we have issues, but we are still beautiful and worth a visit if you are a person that loves mountains and clean water and sights that make your heart weep.

    Alaska is more than our politics and some of us just revel in the fact that we live here and it is a wondrous place.

    Please stop judging the place by the people that are making bad decisions.

    Deny yourself the pleasure of seeing these mountains and traveling these roads into the remote places. It’s your loss, your soul will never forgive you for missing it though.

    Alaska is not defined by the Sarah Palins and the Dan Sullivans and Jerry Prevos and the abusive fisheries that rape the seas and rivers.

    Yes, there are problems but show me a state that doesn’t have them.

    This place is special and you should see it before you die; it’s a “bucket list” kind of place.

    Some of you will come and even choose to live here long term or just for a while, but Alaska should be seen and experienced.

    Even if you have to see it on a cruise ship and tour bus, still come and see it.

  15. I don’t live in Alaska at this time but I did for a period back in the 80’s. I sent an e-mail asking Ms Ossiander to vote yes because it’s the right thing to do.

  16. i don’t live in alaska. nor have i ever. but for some reason i read your blog, everyday shannon. maybe because alaska and chicago have a sisterhood.. if you know what i mean. and i like to hear it from your mouth..or keyboard.

  17. You’re wasting your time with Ossiander. As chair of the council she could in have cut all of this off at the pass by declaring at every forum for public testimony that people must state their name and legal address and that no testimony will be taken from anyone not within the voting area of the Ordinance. She didn’t do that. She opened it up into a homophobic side show. She wore red. And she voted against it. She’s not going to turn.

    Work on Dan Coffey. He’s your only hope. And work on the original 7 to ensure they continue to support the ordinance.

    You also better find yourself a candidate to run against Dan Sullivan when his term is up. And start working now to defeat Sullivan. That will send your message more than anything else. Likewise Ossiander. She and her fellow no voters need to be replaced asap. If you don’t show them what happens to those that discriminate and refuse to support the will of the people, you’ll have a discriminatory few holding the majority hostage. That’s what you have now with your Mayor and four council members. They need to pay a price. And the price is their elected offices. They need to be taken away from them.

  18. I wonder how many red shirted haters Dan Sullivans uses to equal one victim’s of discrimnationt……

  19. How do we download that Eddie Burke picture to send to our dear Mayor?

  20. Good lord, that Burke is a digusting knuckle dragger. People who listen to him must be deranged. Thank heavens the nutters are a minority.

  21. That hateful bigot disgraces the Burke name and heritage.

    He should be aware that it was Sir Edmund Burke himself who said the following:

    * Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.

    * Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

    * In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.

    * It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

    * Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.

    * Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.

    * Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

    How mystifying and infuriating that such a noxious peddler of hate and injustice would commit such treason against his own family heritage.

  22. The people who hide beind GOD are no better than the taliban for that is what they do also. Your an American you die, why, because we the taliban do not understand you or your way of life. Homophobes who use god, godly, and great in the same sentence should really consider moving to Afganistan. The taliban would take you in, train you how to eliminate those you do not understand and you could all shout god is great kill the homos to your hearts content!

  23. Alicia: Yes indeedy sista! People all need to come to Alaska and let kindness rock their souls.

    InJuneau: Southeast is famous for its hospitality – that’s why we live here! Cheers to you.

  24. I feel for you in Alaska to live with so many bigoted people. I’m in California where we lost our marriage rights due to Prop 8 and at least we don’t see people blatantly parading around in their t-shirts admitting they’re racist, bigoted, etc. Wow. I’m at a loss for words.
    I will leave you with a few words of wisdom that I saw on a blog on the Huffington Post, I believe.

    “Isn’t it ironic that the very book that condemns those who judge others is the very tool Evangelicals use to judge others”

    I think that says it all!

  25. Folks up in AK are just too stoooooopid – no wonder full of politicians like palin.

    Its a 24/7 celebration of ignorance – keep trying to change things, but the rest of America should probably just hope for an endless cycle of devastating earthquakes.

  26. Folks up in AK are just too stoooooopid – no wonder full of politicians like palin.

    Its a 24/7 celebration of ignorance – keep trying to change things, but the rest of America should probably just hope for an endless cycle of devastating earthquakes.

  27. Ossiander’s response to my email – not the sharpest pencil in the drawer…

    I absolutely believe there is a huge problem with basic respect in our high schools, that was a large part of the reason I voted to include a policy clearly against it when I was on the School Board. The recent legislation in front of the Assembly was not even remotely as well thought out or considered. It had several large problems, including sections that lacked clarity. It frankly astounds me that you would take that vote as a rationale to say that anyone approved of or in any way agreed with the young couple attacking the native man. That was clearly illegal and absolutely outrageous.

    She was responding to this portion of my email:

    Recently, a young couple filmed themselves attacking a
    defenseless, native man on an Anchorage street. I also recall
    when a former West High hockey player beat a native to death with
    hockey stick in an Anchorage alley years ago. It is only a matter
    time before the same sort of thing happens with a gay, lesbian or
    transgender individual as the victim. The Mayor’s veto seems to
    tacit approval to that kind of behavior – it’s OK to discriminate
    in Anchorage.

  28. He forgot asshole on that t-shirt.

  29. I think Burke may have misspelled “racist” on his shirt.

    I could be wrong. Might be a whites-only-type spelling.

    You know — like “Muslin”.

  30. […] During the much debated Ordinance 64 that sucked up much of our summer, Ossiander allowed bus loads of Wasilla-billies to testify their hate against the GLBT citizens of Anchorage.  Ordinance 64 would have added those citizens to an already existing protection to prevent discrimination in housing, education and employment.  Ironically, already provided protection; Religion.  The “Red Shirts” vs. “Blue Shirts” found sympathy in the red wearing chair. When the ordinance passed, Debbie Ossiander could have been the over-riding vote to new Mayor Dan Sullivan’s veto. […]

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