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Politics

Stories about politics.

Al Gross campaign

There are a total of five people running for Alaska's U.S. Senate seat, currently held by incumbent Dan Sullivan. The Independent candidate that has been endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party, Dr. Al Gross, says that he entered the race because he is concerned about the divisive nature of President Trump’s leadership, and wants to help change health care in the United States.

Proposition 1 on the 2019 Bethel municipal ballot asks voters if they would like to return Bethel to local option status and limit alcohol licenses to restaurants and eating places. Fili's Pizza is the only Bethel restaurant with an alcohol license and wo
Dean Swope / KYUK

Several weeks ago, Fili’s Pizza, a restaurant in Bethel, began selling beer and wine via curbside pickup and delivery. Alcohol delivery and pickup was authorized by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on April 14 to help Alaskan restaurants and bars generate revenue during the coronavirus-related business shutdowns. But some Bethel residents are saying that curbside alcohol sales should be banned under Bethel’s local option status, and the state says that's a valid argument. 


The City of Bethel's finance department has lost 14 employees over the course of as many months, with the most recent loss being former Finance Director Christine Blake who left on May 22.
Greg Kim / KYUK

The City of Bethel will be receiving $8.4 million in CARES Act funding from the federal government, but the city can only spend it on COVID-19-related expenses. The funds cannot be mixed with the normal operating budget, even though the city is expecting hundreds of thousands of dollars less in sales tax revenue this year because the pandemic has slowed down business.  


Katie Basile / KYUK

On May 26, the Bethel City Council reinstated the COVID-19 emergency after the first declaration of emergency expired two days earlier. The new declaration has some changes which limit the authority of the city manager, specifically his authority to change cab fares. The city council also set the stage for a potential "by-mail" election this October, and confirmed the hire of new police chief Richard Simmons.

The City of Bethel's finance department has lost 14 employees over the course of as many months, with the most recent loss being former Finance Director Christine Blake who left on May 22.
Greg Kim / KYUK

The City of Bethel’s finance department has a turnover problem that got even worse. Finance Director Christine Blake decided to quit early, citing a “chaotic and unprofessional environment.” This marks at least the 14th employee to have left Bethel's finance department in as many months. 


Bethel City Council to consider alternative methods of voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Bethel

Some of the issues before the Bethel City Council tonight are whether to continue the state of emergency due to COVID-19, and whether it should add new rules to allow elections by mail. Also on the agenda is confirming the new police chief.

Katie Basile / KYUK

On Friday, May 22, the state is lifting many of the coronavirus-related restrictions that have kept businesses and organizations closed; Bethel is following suit. The city is opening its facilities to the public on May 26, planning to resume bus services, and returning cab rules to a pre-COVID-19 state. 

After being cancelled earlier this week, the planned flyover of military aircraft over Bethel, Kotzebue, and Nome has been rescheduled for Friday, May 15.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Bethel's taxi cab system was a big issue in the May 12 city council meeting. The council introduced an ordinance that would allow the city manager to extend the COVID-19 cab fare structure, but rejected a proposal to permanently move to a meter system. 

Bethel City Council to consider alternative methods of voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Bethel

Bethel City Council will meet May 12 to consider three proposals related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first ordinance, introduced last week, would allocate $60,000 for homeslessness services. An earlier story on KYUK incorrectly said that the allocation was already approved. The council did introduce that ordinance at the May 5 meeting, but will listen to public testimony before voting on that ordinance tonight.

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