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Coffey Stains Anchorage City Plan

It was a little before Mudflats’ time as a blog, but Anchorage residents may remember the best piece of political theater since… OK, it was the best ever.  It all had to do with a conversation between Assembly members Dan Coffey, and Bill Starr when we all got to eavesdrop on – how shall I put this – their “coarse language,” a scheme to force the Anchorage Police Department to approve a shooting range in Eagle River, and some illegal fund raising activities by a certain Mr. Dan Coffey.

Alaskans fondly refer to this telephone call as “the butt dial.”  We’ve all done it before. Accidentally dialed someone when our phone is in a back pocket or bag. And the person on the other end says, “Hello?” but we never hear it, and then they stop and listen to see if they can tell who it is… and sometimes they get an earful.  In political circles here in Anchorage, “butt dial” is really the only description necessary and people will look at you with a knowing nod. What happened was that Assemblyman Dan Coffey and Assemblyman Bill Starr, both on the Anchorage Assembly, were accepting campaign contributions for some new Assembly candidates, and chatting about the police union that refused to endorse the candidacy of Mr. Starr. But someone had a cell phone in their pocket and must have sat down wrong, because a call was unintentionally placed by our hapless Assemblyman, and a little slice of their real life and personalities was left unknowingly, on an answering machine.

Fortunately the gods of karma and humor got together and made this a good one. The message was left on the answering machine of one of my favorite people – the late Assemblyman Alan Tesche. Now Mr. Tesche shared a common feeling with many of my favorite people – he saw Dan Coffey coming, and couldn’t stand the entire Coffey/Sullivan/Starr cabal in the Assembly who were out to strongarm, and peddle influence, and create policy to serve their own ends at the expense of the public.

Here’s the text of the infamous Butt Dial for those of you who missed it the first time around. You’ll be hearing  some shady fundraising activities by Dan Coffey, who plans to dole out money $250 at a time to keep people in line, “I’m going to be able to [say] hey you didn’t vote right last week. You don’t get your second $250.” You’ll also learn about a certain intimate activity Coffey apparently wants the police union to perform with themselves, and exactly how it should be done. And I quote… “down in the mudflats, and up your a**.”

(Shakes head disapprovingly at Dan Coffey, and Bill Starr)

Well, Mr. Coffey is no longer on the Assembly, but Mr. Starr still is. But being out of office hasn’t stopped Dan Coffey from continuing to engage in his self-serving municipal thuggery at the people’s expense. No worries there. The following is a submission by Mudflatter X, who is in the know and wants to share with us the latest chapter of the skullduggery between Mayor Dan, and ex-Assemblyman Dan.

Turns out, we’re getting “Sullied” by “Coffey.”


By Mudflatter ‘X’

Well, he is at it again—telling half truths and being the smug demagogue that he is.

But this time Coffey is shooting himself in the foot because his latest ranting about how bad some of the incumbent Assembly members are, really comes back to haunt him as a former Assemblyman himself.

Coffey issued a letter recently to “Friends and Colleagues” in support of three people who he would like to see replace incumbent Anchorage Assembly members. He hones in on the Title 21 rewrite in particular, saying it is anti-development and will cost the poor developers too much. Title 21 is a collection of land development codes that are meant to implement our comprehensive plan called, Anchorage 2020. Implementing that plan will almost bring Anchorage into the 21st century and will streamline the process for developers.

The Assembly’s Title 21 Committee met nearly every other week for about two years. The meetings were always well-attended by Anchorage’s vocal developers who always got the floor at these meetings, many times over. While they offered real-life solutions to some issues, their clear intent was to avoid doing things differently; neither was there recognition that the Rewrite’s purpose to implement the comprehensive land use plan, Anchorage 2020. In short, their views rarely considered the need to make Anchorage a more livable city, per our legally defensible land use plan. For them, their own bottom line was paramount.

Residents were present too at these committee meetings, but in smaller numbers. And their voice–to ensure the policies of our citizen-derived Anchorage 2020 Plan were heard—was drowned out.

As the Title 21 Rewrite project was nearing completion last summer, the city received a long letter from the Building Owners and Managers Association Anchorage (BOMA) whining about a multitude of problems with the proposed new code. Their letter clearly showed they were mistaken in some of their assumptions. One wonders why they weren’t at the table with the other developers for the past two years.

If Coffey really believes the stuff he’s now spewing about how suddenly awful Title 21 is, then why did he himself vote for the new Title 21 chapters as each came before the Assembly month after month?  After all, he was a member of the Assembly Title 21 Committee for years, and at one point chaired that very committee. He could have imposed whatever he wanted, and what the building community wanted.

As for his sudden assertion that the new Title 21 codes will increase building costs—the city’s reply to the Building Owners and Managers Association Anchorage (BOMA) (August 17, 2010) clearly shows this is not true. To quell BOMA’s complaints over costs, the city included the findings of the Economic Impact Analysis of the Rewrite (2008), completed by a nationally recognized firm, Development Strategies.

In that economic evaluation, it was determined that the new code would, in most scenarios, result in lower site development costs, that larger buildings (on the same parcel) would be enabled under the codes, and the impacts on property values would be neutral. Unfortunately, the study didn’t evaluate the one thing that Coffey should be interested in—how much more valuable and desirable a well-designed city will be to businesses and the public, years from now. But Coffey and many developers can’t think that far ahead.

Coffey left the Assembly last year and immediately received a contract from the city to work on the uncompleted Title 21. His six-month contract was worth more than he made annually as an Assemblyman. Apparently that contract has been renewed for another six months and it is rumored that he wants to contract for another costly economic study because he doesn’t like the results of the first one. Some think it is a conflict of interest for him to get this contract, but apparently the city’s Legal Department didn’t look too deeply before saying it was ‘OK.’

Another mistaken impression included in Coffey’s letter is how successful the Mayor has been at reducing taxes and shrinking government. Only those without vision or who do not care what happens to our children would say that. How does it benefit a city and residents when budget cuts (lacking an economic necessity) leave the school district so short of funds they tried to tell us we couldn’t afford summer school classes, or even after school activities for Junior High students. How does a city benefit when the Parks Department can’t offer residents simple recreational opportunities? There are statistics that show a healthy, active population costs their city less to operate than the reverse. Gym fees are high, but we all should be able to enjoy our parks, recreational centers, pools and trails.

This city is not in an economic bind. We have a surplus of almost $20 million. But the Mayor and Assembly’s actions have created one. They chose not to tax to the legal limit allowed or even close to it. That created a false economic dilemma and it is doing irreparable harm to our city.  Anchorage needs all the help it can get to attract businesses and keep an educated populace. Who benefits here? A few of the richest residents who complained to Coffey and the Mayor about high property taxes for houses that THEY bought—knowing full well what the taxes would be.

I sure hope Coffey’s “Friends and Colleagues” are smarter than he is. For the rest of us, well, we know Anchorage won’t be a city where our children will want to live, until we get and keep people on the Assembly who have our vision and aren’t afraid to seek it.

The city’s Planning Department replied to the BOMA letter; in straight forward and logical language the city stated that BOMA’s concerns had been debated and often compromised during prior drafts. In addition, the city provided strong reasoning why Title 21 needed to be updated (for consistency and how the streamlined codes would benefit developers).

Bottom line? The Coffey/Sullivan dynamic duo is at it again. Personal gain and ambition trumps the will of the citizens, and top down bureaucratic subterfuge is about to squash a well thought out public process that was years in the making, and designed for the long-term livability of a great city.



17 Responses to “Coffey Stains Anchorage City Plan”
  1. The Good Tim says:

    Robo calls way worse than buttdual recordings, already got one from 703 area code demanding I vote ‘conservative’ and against the terrible Ethan B. Invading my private domestic tranquility with their incessant, automatic dialing machines to ring my single phone to directly advertise to me, not a broadcast medium like a radio, phones are an indidual communication device, why is mass marketing allowed to use this method? I pay for it, not advertising dollars.
    I guess so called conservatives think those who are for the people and against their raids on the public treasury are evil, if your not of The Party your an enema of the Righteous.

  2. All I Saw says:

    A bunch of years ago Mr. Dan Coffey struck my car at a high rate of speed on a Hillside dirt road. He lied to the insurance adjuster about the circumstances. Luckily I had a witness. At the time the Anchorage Police did not respond to calls on Hillside. But, in a nutshell Mr. Dan Coffey was obviously looking at something on the side of the road (vs. the road itself) and as my car was sitting at a stop in the middle of a one-land road (waiting to make eye contact and decide who yielded) he hit my car head-on. He did significant damage to my car (we were unhurt) on what was supposed to be a residential road with a speed limit of 15 mph.

    Remember that Dan? You lied to avoid financial responsibility in a fender bender… I wonder what else you’ve lied about since.


    By the way, what is Bernadette up to these days? Is she a “project assistant” to Coffey’s contract work?

    Just askin.

    • All I Saw says:

      Come to think of it, this “fender bender” was probably the same year Joe Boehm was hanging out with minor girls and giving them drugs in exchange for (whoknowswhat).

      No wonder Dan Coffey was so distracted. My apologies Dan C., you probably had pressing business to attend to…

  3. akglow says:

    Isn’t Dan Coffey the one, who, in support of his friend that was arrested on child sex trafficking charges, called the underage victims “vultures”? Claiming THEY (the underaged victims) preyed on his friend.

    • All I Saw says:


      He said Joseph Boehm was a “victim” of the girls with whom he was exchanging drugs for sex with. The rumor is Bill Allen was a part of that “crowd”.

      I wonder who else was victimized by minor children peddling drugs in a (used to be) swanky neighborhood like Oceanview?

  4. TX SMR says:

    Property taxes in Anchorage/Eagle River are nothing. Less than nothing. And for nothing you get: police, fire, schools, parks, roads, and on & on. Yet ask for .000001 dollar per year to pay for a school upgrade and the voters say NO WAY!

    Apart from its surroundings, Anchorage is one ugly city. Buildings: ugly. Architecture: what’s that? Road lay-out: poor to awful. Pedestrians: big middle finger up at ya!

    The crazy GOP voters in AK are determined to drag the city of Anchorage and the State of AK down into the mud. The “referendum” of Nov 2010 that saw crazy teabaggers installed in congress is like AK every day all day.

    I’m not happy that we’ve moved to TX, but I am looking for the positives day in & day out, and embracing those that I find. However, I would have to be dragged back to AK kicking & screaming. If my husband’s employer transferred us back to AK I would tell him to find a new job. I am not kidding, and it is largely due to Coffey Stains and Sully Stains and Ward Stains and Palin Stains and the people who vote for them, their numbers vastly outnumbering the sane people in AK.

    As someone born & raised in Anchorage, who lived on what is now a 4-lane street, one of the busiest, when it was gravel, I can defend my positions if anyone wants to take exception!

  5. AKMuckraker says:

    Here’s a great website for Dan Coffey’s conflicts and other skullduggery. *Warning – you will need sunglasses. Just saying.

  6. Chenagrrl says:

    Someone should start lifting rocks and look for Dan Coffey’s previous escapades. Can he still practice law?

    • Simple Mind says:

      A large part of Coffey’s legal practice before his Assembly years was representing bar/liquor store owners before the Alcoholic Beverages Control Board.

  7. Maybe you can feed them to the bears and then fine them for feeding the bears.Just a suggestion.

  8. I wanted to chime in here a minute. What is often obfuscated by those who complain about the “outrageous property taxes” is that actual homeowners pay a drop in the bucket compared to the biggest property tax payers…the ones that Coffey/Sullivan/Starr are really working for:

    All the mall stores

    According to Statute, property taxes are property taxes…corporations cannot get a different rate than homeowners. However, the way that Anchorage has gotten around that is through sweetheart deals on other takes and fees when they’ve signed agreements to purchase a property. On top of these deals, the commercial owners STILL want to get away with paying no property taxes. That’s why Sullivan has been working so hard to manipulate Anchorage into changing their minds about sales tax. He wants that to replace property taxes completely, although he knows that in order to balance out, the sales tax rate would have to be extraordinary…hurting our poorer residents most of all. If we no longer receive property tax income, we’d have to get services on a fee basis. That worked so well for the poor guy whose house burned down.

    • errr…that’s TAXES and fees…

      • All I Saw says:


        It’s quite the mystery how much of Anchorage’s residential buildings are in dire need of upgrades and repairs (due to age) but residential property tax revenues keep climbing…

        … yet, during the same time period, billions of dollars in commercial construction has taken place and commercial property tax revenues are in decline.

        We know who was mayor when all that went down, but since he’s a Rockstar in Alaska’s Democratic party, I won’t name him here. He knows who he is, and who the developers are that he helped so graciously… they continue to leach off of working Alaskans to this day, and have even went on to much bigger and better business ventures. There is hardly any development in this state that they don’t get their “take” on.

    • ks sunflower says:

      Sullivan should have been a magician. He is a master of misdirection.

  9. fawnskin mudpuppy says:

    that was like swallowing a bitter pill with a teaspoon of sugar (i’ve never done it personally but grandma used to say it so it must be true).
    a bit of humor before the reality of dealing with sullivan again.

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