The Promise of *EaglExit*

How Much Longer Must We Wait?

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During the 1960s this writer spent a lot of unsupervised time along Ship Creek and the Anchorage Mudflats when Cook Inlet was the community toilet. Greater Anchorage Area Borough Mayor John Asplund celebrated construction of the first Sewage Treatment Plant bearing his name at Pt. Waronzof in the early 1970s. During dedication of the plant Asplund declared to the assembled crowd: If you plan it right it will work right!

Upon flipping the switch to activate the new facility, however, nothing happened. I was there,

[1} Bio of John Asplund

Responsible residents know detaching the sane part of Anchorage from the Mudflats is necessary. We who have lived in Anchorage proper–and also lived in the parts with representation not directly subject to crazy governance–know the difference. Those who elect the caliber of representatives who have trashed Anchorage need to suffer the consequences of their actions good and hard.

What has Anchorage Become?

https://communitycrimemap.com/

Dot Color Key
Black, Homicide; Orange, Aggravated Assault; Purple, Burglary Residential; Brown, Theft/Larceny; Gray, Robbery Individual; Green, Motor Vehicle Theft

Mudflats Anchorage imposes its problems on the rest of Anchorage. What is known as Assembly District 2 (AD2) is where Alaskans who choose to live a rural lifestyle within this over-extended jurisdiction seek Alaskan solace. In one example, back in October 2017 this writer reported on an Anchorage Water and Wastewater scheme to bring large water mains from Eklutna Lake to accommodate proposed new large-scale housing development in AD2. Some long-time Alaskans testified about how they cherish their lifestyle, grandfathered in law on large lots with independent well/septic, and had been promised under the Chugiak/Eagle River Comprehensive Plan they would never be subjected to government imposition of water/sewer service. I reported about their challenge to the requirement to subsidize development of the largest landowner in this region.

[2] Open Discussion Concerning Chugiak-Eagle River Growth, DONN LISTON, October 5, 2017

From the Comprehensive Plan: While the Muni is anticipated to grow by 21,700 people in the 5 years between 2020 and 2025, Chugiak-Eagle River is expected to gain 6,551 of them–nearly one-third.

[3] Chugiak-Eagle River Comprehensive Plan Update 2006

Since then a pandemic dramatized poor governance of Anchorage. Population continues to decline, while the Anchorage School District is overbuilt and still dreaming of new schools. We who have lived in Anchorage prior to Trans-Alaska Pipeline construction know much will likely (NOT) happen in the foreseeable future–we know, for example, Engineers who began their careers working on the proposed Knik Arm Crossing and have retired having accomplished nothing except study of possibilities.

[4] Muni of Anchorage Long-Range Transportation Plan, Knik Arm Crossing Report,

Alaska is a Land of Empty Promises

An early Chugiak/Eagle River newspaper publisher and long-time advocate for detachment of Eagle River Chugiak from the Municipality of Anchorage commented directly about the story I had written in my previous Blogspot.

Lee Jordan: Your observation about the impact of “under-financed individuals living independently on large lots” is key in consideration of expansion of water/sewer lines. Frontage of 330 feet on two sides of a 2-1/2 acre tract means assessments in six-figure amounts to pay for extension of lines, possibly doubling mortgage payments. Small tracts developed half a century ago are becoming saturated to the point of being unsuitable for on-site wastewater disposal and wells are threatened by shrinking aquifers as well as contamination. Public water indeed is in the future, but how to lessen the impact on those “under-financed individuals” is a question demanding both humane and moral solution.

Back on October 29, 1975, that same Lee Jordan had asked: Will the people of Chugiak-Eagle River have the opportunity to control their own destiny, or must they forever remain subject to what has been decreed for them by Anchorage?

Tail Wagging the Dog

Locals know the answer to Jordan’s poignant question now, yet still seek freedom from the Mudflats quicksand of poor choices and government idiocy.

[5] What Kind of Local Government DO We Want?  DONN LISTON 07/28/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/07/visions-of-eaglexit_28/

The Hope of Detachment

I have written multiple long-form stories about the organized detachment effort known as EaglExit. While detachment is not a new idea, this incarnation has been a long time coming from the EaglExit Central Committee of dedicated EaglExit advocates. I have been personally frustrated with progress since I first wrote about it in a story for Must Read Alaska in 2019. Nobody has written more for general publication about why many residents of Chugiak-Eagle River seek detachment from the mudflats community of Anchorage than I. EaglExit has evolved a quality website–devoid of a single link to any of my independently researched and written stories in their echo chamber.

Providing outstanding accommodations in Eagle River since 1991

[5] Introducing EaglExit: Is Eagle River ready for a divorce? DONN LISTON Must Read Alaska May 4, 2019.


As owner of Garcia’s Cantina in Eagle River, Joel Rivas does it all

 [6] Garcia’s Restaurant in Eagle River, Quirky and Comfortable with Great Food, DONN LISTON July 11, 2021.

So, let’s review where this Detachment effort is now since that initial story, and years of promises about what detachment might mean for the majority of normal people who enjoy a higher quality of life in AD2 than most residents stuck in the Mudflats.

[7] What Kind of Local Government DO We Want?          07/28/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/07/visions-of-eaglexit_28/

High Standard of Living

One primary reason for a higher standard of living in AD2 is proximity to the JBER Military Installation. Anchorage was founded in the early 1900s as terminal for the Alaska Railroad and military presence prevailed during WWII and afterward the Cold War against Alaska’s Asian neighbor, Communist Russia. As Anchorage neighborhoods have declined with general lawlessness encouraged by progressive policies and criminal-coddling courts, the military has moved north, where service families find wholesome living in Northeastern AD2, short of moving all the way to the Mat-Su Valley.

Matanuska Brewing Conmpany owner Matt Tomter talks about innovation during the Covid-19 Pandemic. His business has locations in Anchorage, Eagle River and the Valley.

[8] Matanuska Brewing Company Innovates, DONN LISTON, 03/20/2021

From recent EaglExit published statements: The goal is to establish a new and independent Chugach Regional Borough. As proposed it will include the communities of Eagle River, Chugiak, Birchwood, Peters Creek, Eklutna, Hiland Road, Thunderbird Falls and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

This would be the biggest and most complex boundary change in the history of our state–a multi-billion-dollar transaction. It would impact 40% of the state’s population including over 50% of the Municipality of Anchorages geographic jurisdiction.

[9] EaglExit Webpage

Understood This Must be Done Right

A study, conducted by Northern Economics (early-on), showed there is more than adequate tax base for a new city to be born, and a good foundation for establishing a local city; enough taxes available to provide for our community government needs, but not necessarily creating more taxes, explained Eaglexit spokesman, Dan Kendall in May of 2020. There are three parts to the first financial study and this is the first part.

[10] Eaglexit’s New Validation  DONN LISTON 05/11/2020

Lots of busywork.

Latest statement includes: By completing the petition and bringing it to the public, we hope to answer many questions our community has concerning the cost of our endeavor, and if your taxes will go up, what will our new local government look like.

They are just now getting around to that?

Brigitte Humphery, Alaska Chalet BNB, has been a long supporter of EaglExit and has continued to buy regular advertisements in this Independent Eagle River-based website.

[11] What Happened to Anchorage Hospitality? DONN LISTON 02/04/2021 

Central Committee volunteers who have done all of the legwork to control what detachment includes or doesn’t include. Members welcome input from anyone and will let the public know what they propose after these years of selfless efforts. If what they arrive at turns out to be a Pig-in-a-Poke the voters will get to take it or leave it when they compare  what has been tentatively approved by the LBC and allowed to be voted on.

Political groundswells Don’t Usually happen this Way

Back in October of 2019 (Pre-Covid) this writer interviewed EaglExit Chairman Michael Tavoliero to establish some basic touchstones for why detachment made sense and his views about what might change for residents of AD2 through detachment.

Hard Numbers

From that story: Total assessment for AD2 is $3.7 Billion according to the Muni website. AD2 population is around 50,000 people who pay an estimated $57.5 million each year to the Muni in property taxes toward the total $3.7 Billion assessment amount.

The MOA has $5.7 Billion in assets with $3.7 Billion totally paid for. We also know that the Muni has $1.6 Billion in long-term liabilities for which AD2 has some obligation. This information can be found in the Muni’s 2017 CAFR.

Only $57.5 Million from AD2 of the total $3.7 Billion Muni Assessment Amount?

Times have changed and we have no reason to think anybody who is required to live in the Anchorage Mudflats would not expect others pay for their mess.

But wait! In fact, detachment from Anchorage has happened before–back in the mid-1970s. It didn’t have a chance to work, of course, and was undone by—you guessed it– Alaska Courts. Ultimately the big government Greater Anchorage Area Borough (GAAB) and City of Anchorage duplication of services programs were consolidated into the Municipality of Anchorage in 1975.

Throughout Alaska history since purchase from Russia in 1867, Political Progressives have dictated Alaska development, beginning with Pres. Franklin D Roosevelt-appointed Territorial Governor, Ernest Gruening. As a colony of USA these Progressives have instituted bigger, unaccountable government run by Public Sector Unions for Alaska’s miniscule population base, reinforced by attorneys in black robes on their Alaska Adventure, in a biased left court system.

[12] 2019 EaglExit Overview: Can Local Government be Better for Us? DONN LISTON 10/01/2019

More update from the current EaglExit webpage: During the latest phase of the detachment and incorporation exercise EaglExit has submitted to the Local Boundary Commission (LBC) a petition, charter, and legal brief for an informal review. With feedback from the LBC, they (the Central Committee) have completed substantive redrafting of Eaglexit’s legal brief in support of the petition, and most importantly we have revised the petition transition plan to comply with Alaska law and Eaglexit’s goals. This month the board will be meeting with the Municipality of Anchorage to work on our transition plans. The board is also following up with the LBC to review our current work, with the goal of gaining approval to collect signatures.

Please, Please, Please Master…

The EaglExit Central Committee is asking for permission to collect signatures, seeking consideration of the LBC to detach from the Muni that gains tremendous revenues from productive people who have fought having even a single marijuana dispensary in their community. Back in 2019 Tavoliero said their polling showed 75% of AD2 residents supported detachment: Our polls right now, which is more of a sample, show that about 75% of the community likes the idea; they want more information and I believe if the information is reliable and provable they would support it continued Tavoliero.

The Alaska Legislature gave a commendation to these Chugiak/Eagle Businesspeople who fed local children for free during the Muni shutdown during Covid Pandemic. We bought the restaurant in October 2019 and were shut down by the Municipality of Anchorage in March 2020, continued Nguyen. It caused me a lot of worry and stress. Several of my customers at the nail salon said they had to go to the school to get free food for her kids. I realized we had food we could not sell because of the lockdown.

[13] Alaska Pandemic Business Survivor! Kim’s Asian Bistro in Eagle River, DONN LISTON, December 8, 2021.

That was four years ago. Any student at Eagle River High School writing a paper about this issue could easily find plenty of information from what I have written. Still nothing has been brought up for a vote. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to build a case and accommodate bureaucrats but mostly all we hear is happytalk. Tavoliero had stated in public that he believed cost for detachment would be at least $1,000,00 and it appears they just aren’t there yet..

You want Small Government? It’ll cost you…

Section 44.33.810 – Local Boundary Commission
There is in the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development a Local Boundary Commission. The Local Boundary Commission consists of five members appointed by the governor for overlapping five-year terms. One member shall be appointed from each of the four judicial districts described in AS 22.10.010 and one member shall be appointed from the state at large. The member appointed from the state at large is the chair of the commission.

[14] Duties of the Local Boundary Commission

Flag Day is June 14 but it was celebrated on Saturday, June 12 IN 2021 at the Eagle River Elks Lodge.

[15] How Eagle River Elks Contribute to our Community DONN LISTON 06/14/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/06/quality-of-life-matters/

No Guts, No Glory

Agencies designed by founders of the AK Constitution to serve Alaskans have become means for restraining development in Alaska’s status quo of union-controlled government hiring halls. Just as Alaskans instituted the Alaska-Tennessee Plan to create a constitution  by Ballot Proposition 2 (April 1956) and took it to the US Congress, to show we were ready to govern ourselves, residents of AD2 might be better served to direct the LBC to consider this as the most important local boundary issue the members of that commission will face during their tenure, and get it before the voters. Such a popular campaign will define whether detachment from a dysfunctional Muni is an issue whose time has come. Instead, EaglExit elites have been meeting regularly to put together the perfect proposal and responded in a cowardly fashion when challenged to put up or shut up.

Assembly adversary Chris Constant called for an advisory vote on the issue. EaglExit crapped it’s pants. On January 21, 2022 the Anchorage Assembly rejected having such a community vote.

[16] Advisory vote for Eagle River secession rejected, Anchorage Daily News, January 20, 2021.

This writer has produced multiple stories about AD2 Businesses who were receptive to detachment but advertisers have fallen away as the EaglExit Central Committee raises money to pay to accommodate bureaucrats instead of pursuing acclamation by voters. They seem to think that campaign will be easy.

[17] Destiny Happens; The Cozy Interiors Story 01/20/2021DONN LISTON

Studied to Death

Watching the way the Anchorage Assembly has dealt with community challenges is discouraging. The Covid Pandemic was a government goat-rope, punishing some businesses and rewarding others. Anchorage continues to suffer from those bad decisions.

[18] Ship of Fools Fights Covid-19 at Anchorage, DONN LISTON, 06/29/23UPDATE

The Anchorage Assembly now strives to create unearned opportunities for unproductive people to live off the government. The duly elected mayor is abused by these elected children. Continued folly requires revenues generated from productive people in AD2.

By the end of this year we will have a new governor and the favorable members of the 5-person LBC could be replaced by persons alien to the values of AD2. I applaud the dedication of those on the EaglExit Central Committee who have committed so much to this cause but the first five-year-plan is over.

Community visionary Lee Jordan was a man of action. He created meaningful popular support for detachment from the Mudflats through an active PUBLIC campaign and VOTE. He was a publisher who changed minds with ideas. In Jordan’s 1970 Anchorage, bloated local government was as unacceptable to residents as toilet paper on the mudflats.

AD2 Residents:
It’s time for a movement.

If you are offended by this story, please tell your like-minded friends. If you LIKE this story please comment and consider contributing to my meager financial situation. 3rd Judicial District Superior Court Judge Josie Garton has found in favor of Atlanta GA scammers Bill, Brenda and Waneta Borden, dba High Caliber Realty, Inc. (sic) who ambushed me at the darkest time of my life in an attempted to steal my house. Bordens will receive payment from sale of my home in a case of AK Lawfare against this Alaska Senior. I am developing a public dialog about that outrage from extensive pleadings, court transcripts and rulings against me. I left Alaska for fear of my life and I am alive and well in Philippines to tell the world of what kind of place Alaska has become.

Any support is appreciated.

References:

[1} Bio of John Asplund

John Asplund was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1913. He graduated from high school in 1932.  Asplund was the owner and operator of the J. M. Asplund Trucking Co. from 1933 to 1937 and the owner of the Arrow Tire Co., from 1938 to 1940, He moved to San Francisco in 1941, and to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1946.  There, he established the John M. Asplund Co., dealing in maintenance supplies and equipment. In 1953, he served as Chairman of the Greater Anchorage Wholesale Trade Commission. Active in community affairs, Asplund served as director of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce (1954-1957), and as a member and president of the Anchorage Independent School District Board (1960-1963). In 1964, John Asplund was elected chairman of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1972. John Asplund died in Issaquah, Washington, in 1994.

[2] Open Discussion Concerning Chugiak-Eagle River Growth
https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/6144703834679089068/8505062191611480708

NOTE: This Blogspot story was vandalized by Atlanta-based scammer, Bill Borden, dba High Caliber Realty, Inc. (sic). Together with his wife Brenda and mother Waneta, These Bordens were able to commit elder abuse against this writer with full acceptance by Alaska Court Lawfare just like we have witnessed is done in Georgia, USA. Pictures are missing from this story but I have reconstituted it from original written text including exact comments by the late Lee Jordan.

[3] Chugiak Eagle River Comprehensive Plan Update 2006
http://www.muni.org/Departments/OCPD/Planning/Publications/Documents/Chugiak-Eagle%20River%20Comprehensive%20Plan%20Update%202006/Chugiak-Eagle%20River%20Comprehensive%20Plan%20Update%202006.pdf

[4] Muni of Anchorage Long-Range Transportation Plan, Knik Arm Crossing Report,
https://www.muni.org/departments/ocpd/planning/amats/documents/2027ch12reva[1].pdf

[5] Introducing EaglExit:  Is Eagle River ready for a divorce? DONN LISTON, 05/04/19

[6] What Kind of Local Government DO We Want? DONN LISTON 07/28/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/07/visions-of-eaglexit_28/

[7] Garcia’s Restaurant in Eagle River, Quirky and Comfortable with Great Food
https://donnliston.co/2021/07/garcias-restaurant/

[8] Matanuska Brewing Company Innovates DONN LISTON 03/20/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/03/challenges-from-anchorage_20/

[9] EaglExit Webpage
https://eaglexit.org

[10] Eaglexit’s New Validation DONN LISTON 05/11/2020
https://donnliston.co/2020/05/eaglexits-new-validation/

[11] What Happened to Anchorage Hospitality? DONN LISTON February 2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/02/alaska-chalet-bed-breakfast/

[12] EaglExit Overview: Can Local Government be Better for Us? DONN LISTON 10/01/2019https://donnliston.co/2019/10/eaglexitoverview-whatis-eaglexit-all/

[13] Alaska Pandemic Business Survivor! Kim’s Asian Bistro in Eagle River, DONN LISTON, December 8, 2021.

[14] Duties of the Local Boundary Commission

[15] Advisory vote for Eagle River secession rejected.
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2022/01/20/eagle-river-secession-advisory-vote-wont-be-on-the-anchorage-ballot-this-april/

[16] EaglExit Overview: Can Local Government be Better for Us? DONN LISTON 10/01/2019

[17] How Eagle River Elks Contribute to our Community DONN LISTON 06/14/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/06/quality-of-life-matters/

[18] Advisory vote for Eagle River secession rejected, Anchorage Daily News, January 20, 2021.
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2022/01/20/eagle-river-secession-advisory-vote-wont-be-on-the-anchorage-ballot-this-april/

[19] Destiny Happens; The Cozy Interiors Story DONN LISTON 01/20/2021
https://donnliston.co/2021/01/destiny-happens/

[20] Ship of Fools Fights Covid-19 at Anchorage, DONN LISTON, 06/29/23UPDATE
https://donnliston.co/2023/06/ship-of-fools-fights-covid-19-at/

2 thoughts on “The Promise of *EaglExit*”

  1. Andrew Brewer

    Eaglexit’s governance plan does not involve the direct election of Assembly members or a Mayor. Community Councils are supposed to take upon themselves the main functions of selecting an Assembly and reviewing the Budget. The Office of the Mayor is primarily that of a figurehead. The thinking was “Why repeat the failure of an Anchorage style government” ? The problem is that the Community Councils have not come out in favor of detachment, and given the limited functionality they now possess, it is hard to imagine them somehow stepping up to the plate as the Local Governing Bodies, and do that without remuneration. If Eaglexit cannot get the Community Councils on-board, then they need to go back to the drawing board, even if that means a more conventional form of governance that includes the general election of the Assembly and Mayor.
    A vote ? We need to know the kind of government we are voting for, other than that, there is every reason to believe that we can do it cheaper and control our own destiny, at least within the limits of what is humanly possible.

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