The Anchorage Assembly voted 7-4 to repeal an ordinance banning sleeping and camping on city sidewalks.
Assembly members Harriet Drummond, Dick Traini, Paul Honeman, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Adam Trombley, Patrick Flynn, and Debbie Ossiander voted for the repeal.
"Politically I usually side with the mayor, on this one I don't think it's the right thing to do,” said Ossiander, who originally voted for the measure.
Assembly Chair Ernie Hall, Jennifer Johnston, Bill Starr and Chris Birch voted against the repeal.
Mayor Dan Sullivan originally pitched the ordinance in July of 2011, after homeless resident John Martin camped out in front of city hall, protesting the mayor’s policies on homelessness.
"Next thing you know he's caught with an open container and smoking pot with kids,” Sullivan said about Martin. “It became an unsafe situation.”
Sullivan says the ordinance was modeled after one that was passed in Seattle, targeting panhandlers.
"I haven't seen a real significant problem," Ossiander said about pandhandling in Anchorage "Certainly like nothing I've seen while walking down the streets of Seattle or San Francisco."
Ossiander and other members of the assembly say the ordinance infringes on the rights of people to assemble freely.
Mayor Sullivan says he will veto the repeal. It will take 8 votes to override that veto.
Contact Adam Pinsker