Kalenka jailed on trespassing -
He and colleague campaigned outside Sullivan Arena.
Anchorage Daily News (AK) - April 8, 2003


Uwe Kalenka, political activist and candidate for the Chugach Electric Association Board, was arrested and jailed Sunday on a trespass charge for distributing election fliers outside the city-owned Sullivan Arena during a sports show.

Kalenka says he was just exercising his First Amendment rights. City officials say he was on privately leased property and refused to leave.

It was around noon that Kalenka and his colleague, attorney Karen Bretz, went to the northwest corner of the Sullivan, on the sidewalk near the metal sculpture, to distribute fliers for Kalenka's candidacy. People were filtering in and out of the Sullivan for the 2003 Great Alaska Sportsman Show, and Kalenka said he figured some of them were Chugach customers.

The pair distributed yellow fliers for about an hour, Bretz said. One flier exclaimed: "Watch Your Wallet!! Chugach Electric is working hard to raise your rates!" It claimed the electric company paid "outrageous yearly wages and benefits" to union workers.

A few times, security guards asked Bretz and Kalenka to leave or move to a public sidewalk, police said. They refused.

"We were very polite to everyone that we talked to," Kalenka said later. "We were peacefully distributing fliers. ... it's city property. It's open to the public."

That is not always the case, said Marianne Beckham, contract manager for the city's Cultural and Recreational Services Department. The city in effect sells the Sullivan property for a limited time to promoters, in which case it becomes like private property.

"This promoter bought everything," Beckham said -- the arena floor, seating areas, interior and exterior public concourses and sidewalks, assigned dressing rooms, points of ingress and egress, and all other areas in, outside and about the premises.

Bretz said, "This notion that it's magically transformed because it's privately leased is bogus."

Anchorage attorney Ken Jacobus, who recently filed a lawsuit on a similar issue involving the Sullivan, said he thinks the city has a duty to add conditions to its leases.

"I don't think the municipality can convert public property to private property with the result of allowing discrimination," he said.

"Where (Kalenka) was arrested was at a location normally used for petitioning," Jacobus said. "It was privately leased property at the time."

Security guards told Bretz and Kalenka they would call the police if they didn't leave.

"(Kalenka) asked for them to call the cops," Bretz said; she said she and Kalenka just wanted to better understand the limits.

"It was not our intention to get arrested," she said.

The pair refused to give their names when police arrived, police said.

"It's my constitutional right not to give my name," Kalenka said later.

The responding officers detained the pair and called a supervisor.

"They just started shackling us," Bretz said. "I was never told I was under arrest. I was never read my Miranda rights. ... Frankly, I don't think they knew what to do with us."

When Lt. Paul Honeman arrived on scene, Bretz said he asked her: "You're going to stay away from this area, right? You're going to stay on this sidewalk, right?' " But by that time, she said, she'd been sitting in a patrol car for an hour and a half and told him she wanted to talk to a lawyer.

"They would not identify themselves," Honeman said Monday. "They weren't being cooperative with the police or with me, which made it extremely difficult."

Bretz and Kalenka were charged with trespass. Bretz was released on her own recognizance. Kalenka was taken to Anchorage Jail and released later that day on $500 bail.

Kalenka said he is suspicious of Honeman's motives. Honeman ran for the Chugach Electric Association Board in 2000, and the person who defeated him was supported on one of Kalenka's fliers. "There is more to this than meets the eye," he claimed.

"That's absolutely absurd," Honeman said. Kalenka and Bretz were treated like anybody would have been under the circumstances, he said.

Daily News reporter Tataboline Brant can be reached at tbrant@adn.com or 257-4321.


Uwe Kalenka says there's "more than meets the eye" to his arrest Sunday for trespassing at Sullivan Arena while handing out Chugach Electric Association campaign fliers. The police disagree.

Photo 1: Kalenka_040803.jpg