Monday, March 13, 2006

Begich's Missing Cops

During the mayoral election campaign, Mayor Mark Begich has been bragging about how we hired 40 cops during his administration. He makes is sound like there are 40 more APD officers now than there was 3 years ago.

However, his most prominent opponent, Jack Frost, has a different take on this story. Here's his analysis, from his campaign website:

40 Phantom Cops
How many more cops does Anchorage have on the street under Mayor Begich?
The Mayor says we have 40 new cops, but as yet we've seen no documentation of any kind that supports that figure.
What we have seen is the City's budget documents, the actual year-end performance of the city from 2003 through last December 2005. The actual budget documents that tell how much we paid and who we paid it to.
And if you believe the Mayor when he says we have a net of 40 new cops... then you have to believe that the city's books are completely useless.
Because the City budget books say there are not 40 new cops on the street. They say we actually have 12 less than where we started in 2003 when the Mayor took over. The Mayor says 40, the budget books say minus twelve... that's a difference of 52 actual cops, actual boots on the street.
And if you believe the Mayor, and believe that the city records are off by 52 phantom police officers, then we should ask the question... where else is the budget in error? It must be very difficult for anyone to keep a straight face and describe Anchorage as a well run, efficiently managed and fiscally responsible city, when you believe your financial records are that bad.
Perhaps the answer is that these 40 new cops are Ninjas, who haven't yet been spotted by the payroll clerks. Or maybe this is just a case of new math at City Hall.
Actually, that new math might also explain how the Mayor can tell us property taxes only increased by just over 4%... and come to think of it, that's a figure for which we've still not seen any documentation... It does appear that the Mayor has been caught spinning the numbers.

Let's look at APD's own numbers. In their 60-Day Management Report delivered to Mayor Begich on October 28, 2003, APD reports 363 officers. However, on the Professional Police Career Opportunities page of their website, they only report 350.

So how does Hizzoner explain this discrepancy. Perhaps our mayor loves diversity even more than he loves competency. Visit for more insight as to how our next mayor will govern the city.

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