Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Former Anchorage Assemblyman And Progressive Firebrand Allan Tesche Dead At The Age Of 60 After Open Heart Surgery In Texas
In a newly-developing story, former Anchorage Assemblyman Allan Tesche, known as an unreconstructed and unapologetic progressive firebrand, has suddenly passed on at the age of 60 three days after undergoing open heart surgery in Texas. According to the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2, Tesche died Tuesday July 14th following a surgery on Friday July 10th in Texas to repair his aorta and a heart valve. The media were notified of this development by Tesche's law firm and by Assembly Clerk Barbara Gruenstein.
No official obituary has been published by ADN yet. When published, it most likely will be available HERE. Additional stories now published as follows:
-- Anchorage Press: "Goodbye, Mr. Tesche"
-- Anchorage Daily News: "Our view: Tesche"
-- The Alaska Standard: "Allan Tesche enjoyed a good debate"
This was not the first time Tesche had received open heart surgery. In 2006, during his third and final term on the Assembly, Tesche suffered a rupture of his aorta and underwent emergency surgery in Anchorage.
Allan Tesche served three consecutive terms on the Anchorage Assembly, representing the Downtown District (Section 1), considered the most liberal district in Anchorage. Although not the most personable individual around, his legal background, understanding of municipal procedures, and elocutory skills earned him the respect and loyalty of many constituents, particularly among those in the South Addition and Fairview neighborhoods. First elected in 1999, he twice won re-election by authoritative margins, over a populist opponent in 2002 and over a more conservative opponent in 2005. Term limits precluded his seeking a fourth term in 2008; he was replaced by Patrick Flynn, who shares much of Tesche's political philosophy, but who is considerably more personable. A more complete professional resume of Tesche's life can be viewed HERE.
Some significant snippets of Tesche's tenure on the Assembly:
-- Although one of Allan Tesche's favorite catchphrases was "elevate the discourse", sometimes he would get so caught up in the heat of elocutory passion that prudence would sometimes sail right out the window. For example, in referring to former Assemblyman Paul Bauer's failed immigration ordinance, Tesche noted that Bauer made his latest bid to push his plan “on the 75th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power.” Tesche was rather fond of playing the Nazi card when expressing disagreement with some interlocutors.
-- In 2003, Allan Tesche led the charge for an intrusive and expensive sign ordinance which would have cost some businesses thousands of dollars to implement. Fortunately, this was modified in 2007 by a more conservative assembly which chose to grandfather existing business owners.
-- Allan Tesche engaged in a protracted dispute with the Fantasies on Fifth Avenue strip club, which resulted in an ordinance passed which singled out this club alone for harsher treatment. Tesche exhibited some personal bias against this club, once characterizing it as a place where "you tie these little lambs up to a stake and let the lions come in and feast their eyes, their fantasies, and god knows what else." The club got off to a bad start when it first opened, but made a serious attempt to clean up its act. But the municipal vendetta against the club proceeded nonetheless.
-- Allan Tesche intercepted a phone call between Assemblymen Dan Coffey and Bill Starr in 2008 which implied that sitting Assembly members were trying to channel campaign funds to Assembly candidates of their choice. But instead of simply forwarding the information to APOC for investigation, Tesche gave the tape to then-talk show host Aaron Selbig to be aired on his progressive talk show on the IBEW-owned KUDO 1080 AM. While nothing about this was illegal, it was viewed by many as an opportunistic attempt by Tesche to manipulate the Eagle River Assembly election away from Bill Starr and towards the union-endorsed "write-in" candidate Janet Brand (Starr won the election by a narrow margin).
Allan Tesche also championed other intrusive and invasive legislation, such as both anti-smoking ordinances and the IM emission exhaust inspection program. He basically subscribed to the progressive notions that government is the source of economic salvation, people cannot be trusted to manage themselves without regulation and minders, and that the presumption of guilt is preferable. An archive of ADN stories about Allan Tesche is available HERE. His holdover Assembly blog is still available HERE.
A more progressive perspective on Allan Tesche is published by Mudflats, for those who want to know why he inspires strong loyalty amongst the progressive community.
Tesche leaves behind his wife, Pam. While I certainly disagreed with much of Tesche's political philosophy, and depsised some of his political gamesmanship, I respect the man's talents and his unbridled commitment to his beliefs. He was never a fake. I extend my own condolences to his family.