At Thursday night’s Kodiak City Council meeting, two members and the mayor responded to some harsh criticism when the anti-Defense Authorization Act resolution failed last month on a tie-breaking vote by Mayor Pat Branson.
Councilman Gabriel Saravia said he received what he described as a threatening communication from a local supporter of PANDAA, the “People Against the National Defense Authorization Act,” trying to coerce him to change his vote.
“I received an e-mail from the PANDAA group asking to make a deal with me to publicly announce I was wrong in not voting for the resolution. I then yes with the council’s next vote on the resolution, and if I do this they will do everything in their power to never have another public position in this town ever,” Saravia said. “This e-mail was threatening, and I would like this group to know the resolution was voted on and I voted what I see was right. And the resolution cannot come back for another year. I would like them and the public to know I do not make deals. I vote, and I will continue to vote what I think is right for the citizens of Kodiak.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 contains language members of PANDAA interpret as allowing the federal government to detain or kill American citizens without due process. Others disagree, saying the language in the Act only applies to terrorists. Dan Johnson, founder of the People Against the NDAA, told KMXT in May that the term terrorist is “now being applied to anyone the government considers a threat.”
A resolution to denounce the Act came before the Kodiak City Council last month, but tied on a three-three vote, which the mayor had to break, voting no. Councilmen Randy Bishop, Rich Walker and Terry Haines all voted in favor of the denouncement.
On Thursday, Haines asked for some decorum in the aftermath of that August 28th vote.
“I’d like to just quickly address disappointment. I know that when an ordinance or resolution that we support or you personally support doesn’t pass we’re all disappointed. Ands sometimes when you’re very passionate about something it’s difficult to stay on an even, level keel, given that disappointment,” Haines said. “But I would just gently remind the public and ourselves that an atmosphere of mutual respect is absolutely required for this process to go forward and to work.”
Mayor Branson explained that the pressure being put on the council can’t be brought back before the council for a year, and offered an alternate course of action for PANDAA supporters.
“Resolution 2014-32 that failed at our last regular meeting, I want to make a public statement about that. And according to city code, that cannot be brought up again for another year. So council members have their hands tied in looking at that again, so it will not be brought up again for another year,” Branson said. “And I suggest those people who are passionate about that do as suggested by several city council members at the last regular meeting, if they are interested in bringing that to the public for a vote, that they so do that.”
There was no public comment at Thursday’s meeting about the council’s PANDAA vote.