Bearing nearly 8,500 signatures and a couple of children in tow, organizers of “Protect Our Privacy” filed their petition with Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s office this morning. They exceeded the 5,754 signatures to qualify for the April, 2018 municipal ballot.
Protect Our Privacy is a group of primarily women who want voters to have the opportunity to weigh in on an ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly that gives men unfettered access to women’s and girls restrooms and locker rooms, and other intimate spaces — and vice versa. Current municipal ordinance allows for unabridged personal choice in places previously considered intimate areas for one gender or the other.
The intent of the petition is not to discriminate, said organizers, but to establish boundaries for public restrooms to ensure greater safety and privacy for all people.
An ordinance passed two years ago that says anyone may use a bathroom that corresponds to their sincerely held gender identity. There is no definition in the law for “sincerely held gender identity.” Protect Our Privacy petitioners are giving greater definition to ensure that people are not abusing the “open bathroom” policies and putting others at risk.
HARASSMENT GROUP IS THE ACLU?
The group that has organized to harass and intimidate signature gatherers for the Protect Our Privacy ballot initiative are none other than the ACLU-Alaska and one owner of the Ship Creek Group, a leftist political campaign operation in Anchorage.
Fair Anchorage registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, with Joshua Decker as chairman of the group. Decker gave his ACLU email address for his contact information; he is executive director of ACLU Alaska.
Fair Anchorage organized and converged on petition volunteers working the crowd a the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival over the weekend, standing and holding protest signs within three feet of signature gatherers, trailing them closely throughout the festival, and verbally harassing them and anyone who signed the petition.
Other members of the Fair Anchorage organization are Laura Herman, Rashikah Rakibullah, Casey Reynolds, Andrea Zekis and Paula DeLaiarro.
Herman is the director of philanthropy for ACLU Alaska, Casey Reynolds, former editor of the MidnightSunAK political blog, is the ACLU communication director, and Andrea Zekis is the community organizer for Fair Anchorage, whose offices share the same address as the ACLU on Fireweed Way.
Rakibullah is ACLU operations and outreach coordinator and DeLaiarro is a principal with the Ship Creek Group, whose founder is John-Henry Heckendorn, now body man to Gov. Bill Walker. (Heckendorn stepped down from his ownership of the corporation in January; DeLaiarro is a 39 percent owner of the company, which does work for primarily Democrats and liberal non-aligned candidates.)
ACLU KEEPS TRYING TO BLOCK CIVIL LIBERTIES
This is the second time this year that ACLU-Alaska has tried to stop an election. Earlier this year, the group filed a lawsuit to stop a recall election in Homer. The ACLU lost that battle in court.
The ACLU/Fair Anchorage caught word that Protect Our Privacy would be submitting the petition signatures at 2 pm and have organized to rally today. They posted the following notice on Facebook, calling the 8,700 petition signers “extremists” and using the name of Jim Minnery, Alaska Family Council, as their rallying cry.
The group finds Jim Minnery useful for garnering support for their cause. Earlier, they used their Facebook page to “dox” one of the petition workers, advising people where he was, what his contact information is and how to harass him. The group has since taken that information down from its social media.
While the media may gather to watch the protest the 1:30 pm, the petitions had long since been submitted to the city by the band of intrepid women who would not be bullied into backing down from exercising their civil liberties.