Three Anchorage residents filed a lawsuit on Friday against the new political district known as the seat of the L Senate, as established by the Alaska Redistricting Board. Their lawsuit opposes part of East Anchorage being lumped together with part of Eagle River, which plaintiffs call “arbitrary and extremely irrational Senate districts … despite the radically different and even conflicting legislative needs of these communities.” . Critically, the matches inexplicably ignored the demographic, economic and geographic characteristics of these communities and the lack of meaningful adjacency… ”
Eagle River is largely white, they say, while East Anchorage is very racially diverse.
Friday was the deadline for lawsuits challenging the new district boundaries to be filed.
The plaintiffs are all part of the new L-Senate seat: Felisa Wilson is a Democratic Party activist who lives at an address on JBER. George Martinez is registered as a non-partisan who has run for mayor of Anchorage in the past and is described in the media as a “prominent Occupy Wall Street activist” from New York. Yarrow Silvers is an impartial voter who is the co-founder of a political action group called Anchor action, which opposes the grassroots group Save Anchorage. The three say the new map gives Eagle River disproportionate power and lessens East Anchorage’s political clout, when it comes to Senate representation.
Another lawsuit has been filed by the Town of Skagway, which challenges the boundary that connects it to the northern district of Juneau House. Skagway maintains that the final version of the map, version 4, was never made available to the public for review or comment, in violation of the Open Meetings Act, until the last meeting before the presentation of the drafts. plans to the constituency council.
Plaintiffs in this lawsuit say Skagway prefers to be aligned with downtown Juneau and Douglas, not the Mendenhall Valley and the north, which is physically closer to Skagway. The lawsuit says Skagway wants the map as it was during the 2013 court-approved redistribution plan.
The city of Valdez has filed a lawsuit because its House neighborhood was moved to align with the Mat-Su, as it says it is economically more aligned with the Richardson Expressway pipeline corridor.
Previously, a lawsuit was filed by Mat-Su Ward, which said the new map was shrinking and diluting its growing population. On Friday, a group of indigenous companies joined the lawsuit on the district council’s side, saying the map, as it is now drawn, better keeps indigenous shareholders in the same district.
The Alaska Redistribution Board has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, during which it will hold an executive session to review the lawsuits with counsel for the board.