KODIAK — I attended the City Council meeting on March 28 and, personally, it was extremely difficult to witness and to listen to the city mayor with the approval of the city council members perpetrate a great oxymoron faux pas. Webster’s: “Ox·y·mo·ron: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (such as cruel kindness) broadly: something (such as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements.”
During the day of the city council meeting, the community of Kodiak and many Alaska residents participated in a “Choose Respect Walk.” That night, at the city council meeting, the mayor read a proclamation: Choose Respect, specifically addressing the issue of Domestic Violence in Alaska. The Proclamation stated, “…Whereas, the Choose Respect initiative is a call to action to break the silence and stand up against sexual assault, domestic violence and child sexual abuse; and whereas, the rates of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse in our state are staggering and unacceptable; and…” Yet, sitting in the presence of the general public, on the stage of the council chambers, alongside four other council members and the mayor, was a council member who on March 5 was cited with Class B and C felony charges and a class A misdemeanor charge all regarding domestic violence, according to Court View. On March 6, an Order Granting Short-Term Petition of protection was issued against this council member.
We do not say this council member is guilty, that is for the court to decide, but many community members believe he is no longer effective as an active council member and it would be best for our island community for him to show our children the respect they deserve and step down as an acting representative of the people. It could be temporary, depending on the court decisions, but he should step down immediately. If he chooses to maintain his position as an active city council member the consequences are going to be detrimental to the mental health and well-being of all children and adult community members.
Some community members already question his working relationship with the Kodiak Police Department, with which the council is involved by determining its budget. Is he being given special treatment because he is a council member?
We have to stand up for higher morals and values on our island. We cannot allow our elected officials to be charged with domestic violence or other crimes and maintain a seat representing the people. Domestic violence should not have a home based in the chambers of the city council.
This statement is made respectfully with compassion for the situation. In this situation, the needs of all of us outweigh the needs of the one.
Also, congratulations to the city manager. All people deserve cost of living increases in pay for a job well done. I think the city council and mayor acted appropriately by giving the manager a raise.