The plan would redefine the areas that state legislators serve, and would potentially be a starting point for redrawing the separate municipal Assembly sections.
Assembly members Elvi Gray-Jackson and Harriet Drummond accuse Mayor Dan Sullivan and newly-elected Anchorage Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander of supporting a plan that would unfairly benefit Republicans.
Gray-Jackson and Drummond say the plan would group several current representatives in the same legislative district, like Reps. Mike Doogan and Chris Tuck, who would be included in a Midtown district, and Reps. Pete Petersen and Lance Pruitt in a proposed East Anchorage district.
Because only one state representative can serve in each legislative district, one representative in each of those two districts would have to leave the Legislature under the city's suggested redistricting plan.
"Terminating incumbent legislators not only affects them but also affects the whole community and the people they have been representing," Drummond and Gray-Jackson write in the letter to the redistricting board.
The two also say in the letter that "the plan appears to be a thinly disguised attempt at political gerrymandering against specific incumbent legislators in order to gain partisan advantage for one political party."
"The plan mirrors almost exactly the plan advocated by Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting, a front group for the Republican Party of Alaska that was organized by RPA chair Randy Ruedrich," the letter said. "Regrettably, it appears that the Mayor and others have tried to manipulate our non-partisan Assembly in order to try to accomplish the Republican Party's partisan goals."
Was the plan designed to eliminate Democrat legislators from office?
"Yes. Definitely, I think so," Drummond said.
Ruedrich responded to the letter's allegations, saying his group's plan is not intended to advance Republican candidates, bur rather to return political boundaries closer to what they used to be, before the redistricting plan that took place a decade ago.
"It paired every Republican in the city with another Republican to absolutely eliminate them from office," Ruedrich said. "I view our project as nothing more than a repair plan."
At Mayor Sullivan's weekly press conference, he spoke about the plan that the city proposed to the board, saying the group -- which also included some assembly members and the municipal clerk -- never considered where current legislators live when forming their proposed map.
"We had one goal in mind, and that was what's best for Anchorage in terms of keeping our traditional boundaries like creeks and major roads, and what comes close to keeping community council boundaries," said Sullivan.
Sullivan's response echoes his comments when he defended the city's proposal in a separate letter to the redistricting board, dated May 5:
"The major goals of my administration and the community were to incorporate where possible community council areas, major roads, rivers and streams as boundaries," Sullivan wrote. "The districts in this plan are geographically compact which will lead to better boundary definitions, resulting with reduce conflicts between local election boundaries and election precincts."
Drummond and Gray-Jackson say they should have been consulted before the municipality presented its suggestion to the redistricting board, blaming Ossiander for not calling a work session to deal with the plan beforehand.
In response, Ossiander said time was a critical factor because the redistricting board required presentations by May 6.
"As such, I did try to appoint a diverse committee of Assembly members," Ossiander said. "Paul Honeman, Jennifer Johnston and myself met with the clerk."
Sullivan says Gray-Jackson and Drummond could have testified about their thoughts of redistricting in Anchorage, but he says he never saw any comments from them before their letter to the redistricting board.
The redistricting board has until June 14 to consider all its options and come up with a final plan.