Two charter amendments will be on the April 1 municipal ballot.
Right now only sworn police officers are allowed to issue parking tickets. The situation stems from something called the parking fairy wars. Yes, you heard that right – the parking fairy wars.
Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew says more than a dozen years ago the Anchorage Parking Authority subcontracted parking to a private security company.
“They subcontracted to a private security company to actually write the parking citations and those folks were very aggressive – extremely aggressive – and the public revolted, actually,” Mew said. “And the fairies were two sisters. They dressed in pink tutus and they would come downtown and they would plug the meters for people to make a statement and thwart the efforts of the parking authority.”
The public was so fed up that they changed the charter, which is like the Constitution of Anchorage, in order to stop a private company from every being able to ticket again. They passed a ballot measure in 1997 requiring that only sworn police officers could issue parking tickets. Then, recently, the Alaska Police Standards Council changed the definition of sworn police officers saying community service officers could not be included.
Mew says it is impractical for sworn officers to be responsible for issuing parking tickets and the Aunicipality just wants to keep the systems they’ve been using.
“It asks the voters to allow CSO’s to continue writing tickets even thought they are not sworn officers from the standpoint of the Alaska Police Standards Council,” Mew said.
If the amendment is not approved the Municipality will be required to pay sworn police officers to write parking tickets, something Mew says he does not have enough officers to do and will cost the Municipality significantly more.
The other charter amendment on the April 1 Municipal ballot brings the charter into the 21st century by making language gender neutral; for example replacing the title Assemblyman with Assembly member.
Patrick Flynn who represents Downtown Anchorage helped write that amendment.