Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly is set to consider overriding Mayor Rodney Dial’s veto of funding for a local LGBTQ organization at its regular meeting on Monday. Assembly Members Judith McQuerry and Jaimie Palmer say they’d like to restore a roughly $1,600 grant to the Ketchikan Pride Alliance erased by Dial’s veto pen last month.
The group told the borough it plans to use the funding for outreach events, including its annual Pride Picnic in late June.
Dial said in a letter announcing the veto that funding the LGBTQ group would be a “departure from the practice and tradition of the Borough grant process” by funding a group that advocates for a specific subset of the population.
Palmer and McQuerry dispute the mayor’s characterization in a statement attached to the agenda. They say the borough routinely funds organizations that serve narrow groups of people, from seniors to survivors of domestic violence.
The two point to a grant application from Southeast Alaska Independent Living. The mayor declined to veto a $12,000 borough grant to the nonprofit last month intended to provide education, advocacy, awareness and training to “create a culture of understanding in our community regarding disabilities and disability rights,” according to the group’s application.
“If you simply substitute the specific demographic asking for support in this case from ‘disabled’ individuals to ‘LGBTQ+’ individuals, then there is no difference. The ask reads the same,” McQuerry and Pamer write.
Overriding Dial’s veto would require a five-member supermajority of the seven-member assembly.
Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the White Cliff building. The full agenda is available at the borough’s website, where the meeting is also live-streamed. Members of the public have a chance to weigh in at the beginning of the meeting.