Facing Extreme Opposition Wasilla Mayor Refuses To Resign
The woman Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed to succed her as mayor of Wasilla now has ethics problems of her own.
GOP vice presidential candidate Palin had endorsed Dianne Keller to take her place as mayor.
the Alaska governor backed a rival when her pro-abortion mother-in-law ran to replace her as mayor in 2002. All still live within a few miles of each other.
Now, Ms. Keller has her own troubles.
Facing Extreme Opposition Wasilla Mayor Refuses To Resign Jamey Kirk
Story Created: Jul 2, 2008 at 9:54 PM AKDT
Story Updated: Jul 2, 2008 at 9:54 PM AKDT
Despite a 4-1 vote by the Wasilla city council on Monday night, Mayor Dianne Keller said she has "absolutely no intention" of resigning. The vote was a non-binding resolution which asked the mayor to step down for her handling of a proposed Parks Highway shopping development.
Although Keller's mishandlings did not meet any of the precedents for ousting her from her position, four members of the city's council members present Monday said the mayor's actions had tarnished the city's credibility.
The fight is over whether Ms. Keller and city staff gave Meritage Development Group unfair backing as it sought to build two shopping centers on Wasilla's Parks Highway. The city already has hired a law firm to investigate the claims.
At issue are the letters that were sent to the owners of 6 Robblees' and Windbreak Cafe, which neighbor the Meritage property. These letters contained a threat to use eminent domain proceedings if the two companies didn't agree to cooperate on a frontage road that would run between the businesses and the parking lots.
Casey Reynolds, Wasilla's economic development planner, wrote the letter and said it was only meant to catalyze talks between the city and business owners.
With the expected 10,000 cars per day generated by the addition of the Meritage property, the current frontage road would become overwhelmed with traffic. Making the road safer was cited by Keller as part of her reasoning.
The threat of eminent domain was not as upsetting as the city's failure to decided on whether it would force a plan to split their properties, said Windbreak co-owner Annette Andres. According to Andres and 6 Robblees' president Thomas Ogren the city repeatedly told the two that road plans had been canceled, while city actions indicated otherwise.
Councilwoman Stephanie Massie said an apology would have gone a long way to smooth the issue, which the council's vote reflected.
Following Monday's meeting Keller made a somewhat indirect apology saying she was sorry, "if people's feelings were hurt. If people misconstrued the intent, I apologize." However it was Keller who attacked Andres during the meeting, with comments that made audience members gasp. The mayor went so far as to say that she had once been a patron of the cafe and had stopped visiting the Windbreak due to what she felt were personal attacks against her.
The mayor failed to exercise any sense of composure as she issued further threats by stating, "What I have done is denied myself the opportunity to have the best bacon-cheeseburger in Alaska since November. If I was truly the woman you have said, I would have directed the Wasilla police department to sit up at your bar and blow (alcohol test) all your patrons. But I didn't do that."
Councilman Marty Metiva stated that such comments gave him reason to cast a vote against Keller.
According to Keller, the comments were meant to illustrate the kind of person she was not.