Raging protesters take over Wasilla Middle School - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 15, 2019
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Raging protesters take over Wasilla Middle School

The 22 legislators who are convening in Wasilla were given the royal “Antifa treatment,” with numerous antics and disruptions from protesters.

The moment the legislators walked into the gymnasium at Wasilla Middle School, where their makeshift proceedings are taking place, the protesters rushed to occupy the lawmakers’ assigned seats. Legislators simply moved to other seats. Protesters screamed and chanted and held signs.

Photo by Shannon Connelly

As Rep. Sharon Jackson began to sing “Amazing Grace,” there was a noticeable pause in the yelling, as if it caught the protesters off guard. Then, a protester yelled “Indigenous prayers on indigenous land!” And the collective howling continued.

As the prayer was said, protesters yelled more against prayers and for “45 to override!”

They screamed over the voices of legislators reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

And then some of them chained themselves to the outer door, causing a public safety hazard. They screamed while Sen. Mia Costello made a few remarks.

[Read: Protesters chain themselves to Wasilla Middle School doors]

Wasilla Police and State Troopers talked to the protesters but didn’t intervene. They later ushered lawmakers into a “hospitality room” for their safety, and eventually the lawmakers were able to exit the building through an undisclosed door.

Rep. Lance Pruitt takes a selfie with one of the screaming protesters, while another one screams behind him.

Protesters stayed for another two hours, while media cameras took in the entire spectacle.

In contrast, there were conservatives from across the Mat-Su Valley at the meeting, and they conducted themselves with decorum, although they were shocked at the spectacle and, in whispers, wondered why the protesters were not arrested. There was no shouting back, although there were some attempts to have meaningful dialogue — attempts that were met with more shouting.

One lawmaker noted that the presiding officers of the Legislature, Sen. Cathy Giessel and Rep. Bryce Edgmon, said Wasilla was not a safe place to do the people’s business, ostensibly because Wasillans are known for their passionate conservative politics.

But it was the “other side” that created a safety issue, behaving much as protesters do in third-world countries when they occupy government buildings, the lawmaker noted.

Among the protesters who stormed the floor and took legislators’ seats were Olivia Garrett, who was recently a staffer to Sen. Scott Kawasaki; and Judy Jessen, who recently staffed Rep. Ivy Spohnholz. They are the women photographed above.

Back in Juneau, there were not enough legislators present to override the governor’s vetoes. Gov. Michael Dunleavy has vetoed 12.5 percent of the overall operating budget, but many of the cuts are to the University of Alaska, whose leadership has mounted a concerted protest. The entire university system is now alive with protest of the $135 million vetoes to the nearly $1 billion university budget, which is 17 percent of the overall university system operating budget.

Protesters stormed the Capitol in Juneau this year, led by AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami, but the media didn’t report it widely. MRAK did report on the near takeover of the Third Floor of the Capitol:

[Opposition groups storm capitol over budget ‘state of despair’]

JUST FOR THEATRICS?

While the theatrics took place in Wasilla, a vote took place in a joint session in Juneau, and the votes to override the governor’s vetoes failed with just 37 to override. Rep. Tammie Wilson, who flew to Juneau on Monday, was the lone “no” vote. There were not even enough lawmakers in Juneau to actually override the vetoes, but the vote allowed them to get on the record their displeasure.

This is a developing story. Check back for further details.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Let them protest. Fools! When they get their $3000 check in the fall, they will become amazingly
    s i l e n t……. even UA administrators will be heading to the bank….and then down to Seattle for the weekend to shop and watch baseball.

    • Do any of these people have jobs?
      All unemployed? Or did the state and UA give them a day off with pay? Democrats and union organizers. Wait, ….some of them were at Brett Kavanagh’s confirmation hearings.

    • Down to Seattle to go to school, get health care, experience a functioning economy…

  • Children…….please take your seats and be quiet. Even the REAL children are nicer. This is what happens in Alaska when you try and give them money.

  • bah. $3000 won’t go anywhere when the economy of the state falls apart. Lucky you, you’ll be paying for all your senior care yourself, the local economies will fail because no one will be able to purchase locally, and you can enjoy your smugness in complete poverty.

    • Wah, wah, Kathy. Please call the government protection line and beg for help. You, obviously don’t know how to take care of yourself. Go call your daddy!

      • Happiness is 50,000 Lefties heading South, for good!

        • With no PFD in their pockets, and no return air tickets.

    • They’ll be able to enjoy their smug retirements if the homeless people thrown onto the street don’t decide to take their nice things. Of course they could just call their public safety officer . . . oh wait!

    • Kathy —
      So that’s it? The permanent fund will save the state? No qualms about Alaska being 2nd in nation in per capital spending? No qualms that we are still 65% dependent on oil revenue? Taking the pfd, even all of this years pfd’s is still only a temporary bandage. We have a serious spending problem and the bandage will temporarily absorb it.

    • Goodbye Kathy. What State are you moving to? We will be just fine without you.

    • The state economy is NOT going to fall apart because UAA has to cut back on some of their unnecessary programs, supervisors, staff, and raises. I have lived in this state for well over 50 years and this state did not fall apart or experience any repercussions because we didn’t have a huge, over-budgeted and mismanaged university. This state will be fine with a downsized and better managed University system that we don’t have to throw millions of dollars at for them to produce a quality education. Quite frankly their graduation ratio is horrendous, the average GPA for students is dismal, and they can’t keep accreditation for one of their better programs – a degree in education. Cut out the fluff subjects being taught – art, music, drama and other non-essential subjects, cut back on the number of supervisors to employees (the ratio is appalling), cut back on the huge raises for the President and other staff, eliminate the unnecessary “satellite” schools such as in Eagle River and elsewhere (which would save millions of dollars in lease and maintenance funds) and get back to teaching.

    • You don’t go by the name “chicken little” in a different environment, do you?

  • Please. I’m calling the analogy police. Antifa my backside.

    A number of young people who are learning that their scholarships have been cancelled and their schools are in danger of closing and/or losing their accreditation bang on desks and sing.

    What were they disrupting? A dog and pony show . The ‘legislators’ don’t have a quorum. It’s an expensive stunt — we ain’t got no money for education but have all the money in the world for stunts. At least Wilson has both the decency and the ovaries to show to work.

    • Ovaries? A ballsey statement for sure. Women’s NBA players grew em. Now, it looks like women’s soccer too. Democrats and Lefties wouldn’t look so ridiculous if they grew a pair.

      • 🙂 Women’s soccer has ovaries of iron.

    • They already lost accrediation… a while ago…. why should we keep paying a failing U of A???

      • Err. Because that’s not true? Because the U of A is the world leader in Arctic research?
        ***
        Or because it contributes to the economy and creates jobs?
        ***
        Or because kids have dreams and they need education to realize them?
        ****
        Or a dozen other reasons?
        ***
        Sincere question: do you dislike universities? Do you distrust educated people?

        • Dear “Strange World View”—-
          Ok first – I am a UAA alumni as is also my husband and an adult daughter graduated from UAF. I also worked for UAA in the 80’s. My husband and I still continue to personally fund annually particular UA programs. Hence although I completely disagree with all of your above mentioned generalizations and I am in support of the recommended cuts.
          That said —— you failed to add to your list :
          UA receives state funding at 250% the national average for state funding to state universities.
          UA has 17 campuses for a stare population of 800K
          UA has many duplicate programs of study between the three main campuses that each has their own administration.
          There are ample areas in which our university system can be more streamlined and cut costs. They have had a number of years to work on this and they have done some but simply eliminating programs or athletics is not the answer.

          • Elizabeth, thanks for pointing out the obvious good stuff to “What a Strange Website”. He/She must be a new participant or a poser using a new handle. Clearly anyone with a pulse that knows anything about the UA system would know of the duplicative programs and waste that abounds in our public university system and not simply suggest you dislike universities and distrust educated people.

          • Elizabeth, the problem is the manner and method of the cut. Dunleavy has targeted UAA, UAF, and Statewide for a 135 million dollar cut. If 17 campuses are the problem do you really want to cut the two largest and most efficient campuses that serve the most students? If administration is the problem, the entire budget of UA Statewide is only about 50 million. Besides, the administrators will be making the cuts. This is an ill conceived devestating cut. I can’t help but think Donna is going to gain in the longer run from some type of private for profit college set up in Anchorage. She is the force behind this as during the campaign Dunleavy was clear he wouldn’t go after education for massive cuts. He would never have been elected.

        • Actually, yes to both…considering that some of the most educated exhibit the most boorish behavior… and ignorance.

        • Some of the dumbest people i’ve met are university graduates. Zero common sense. I have a master’s in finance from a private school outside. There is nothing special about the UA system. But academics treat it as such because it’s the only University system in the state. No in state competition to make it stand out. Provincial thinking does not make it a high caliber school. UA and its many satellite campuses are a drain on the state. Too many deputy assistant vice-presidents, assistant Dean’s and tenured professors who teach young, influential minds to be Lefties, globalists, and wacko environmentalists. No critical reasoning skills taught.

          • As I mentioned above, the proposed cut is no way to reduce the number of campuses, reduce administrative burocracy, or improve efficiency. I’ve met many dumb people without a degree it doesn’t mean anything. As for radical leftists at UA… UA faculty and institutions are definitely more accommodating to conservative students and ideas than any other public university I know of. Lots of students in math, engineering, business and economics learn critical thinking skills. Programs in nursing, psychology, social welfare are critical for training skilled labor in demand by the health sector.

        • The UA doesn’t produce educated people; it produces mind-numbed leftists that are at best semi-literate.

      • Could this have had something to do with Strategic Pathways forced by several years of deep budget cuts. Perhaps it had something to do with the horse trading that led to UAS being the administrative head over UAA – when they were derilect in duty the blame hits UAA. Does politics have anything to do with the fact that Dunleavy has directed all cuts away from UAS and all the rural campuses. As long as the legislature wants a race to the bottom, let UAF and UAA stand on their own and let them compete with all the other campuses around the state. I don’t support this, it would devestate educational opportunities in the rest of the state, but if efficiency is the goal as the governor claims then….

    • What a strange,
      How about you spend more time researching why there are 22 legislators in Wasilla rather than complaining and hurling insults? https://www.adn.com/opinions/2019/06/28/legislators-are-flouting-the-law-on-session-location/

      Your heroes in Juneau are breaking the law and will soon be rounded up and transported to Wasilla to do their jobs.

    • Their scholarships were not “canceled”. They are on hold. Some may be canceled, some not and possibly none canceled — this can happen even without a budget cut for various reasons. But of course “canceled” is what they want you to believe! How handy! Read the whole story. It’s been in ADN, KTUU, etc. if you read carefully there are parts and pieces real story. UA is playing this up for all it’s worth and using athletes as well. As pawns. Mis-information is being dished out like ice cream to stir up the students hence appeal to the emotions of all of us. Mis-information is dishonest. It is not truth. But alas in the new world of relativism why would truth matter if it doesn’t get you what you want? I already responded below to your incomplete list so won’t belabor again.

      • The only emotion it stirs up in me is disgust. I hope it does “cancel” their scholarships – their scholarships to their bogus degree in Medieval Cooking in the Modern Lesbian Kitchen for which they could never get a job in the degree in which they studied. Or ever pay back the student loans they had to take out to supplement said scholarships because they are unemployable because they have a criminal record for being disruptive punks on top of a bogus degree. Future employers will see this. Who wants to hire them? Vince Beltrami maybe. They can sit in their mom’s basement and plan their next attack with their lips on a bong. Our future. Lovely.

  • It is very simple. you arrest anyone that is causing a disturbance. If they are employes of the school district, give them their PINK slips.

    What are they teaching our kids? Bad behavior should be punished.

    • That would be the normal law abiding and sensible thing to do but we seem to live in a strange new world.

    • Alaska and USA Constitution be damned! Conform or be imprisoned.

  • You do have to give it to Pruitt, he has succeed.

    Why was he trying to look like an ass?

    • “he has succeed”?
      Take a deep breath and chill. May I suggest you take a page from Pruitt. He looks pretty chill in that pic, unlike the individual next to him.

      Advocate away. It does look better if you have a little class when you do so. Screaming really doesn’t bring people to your side of an argument.

      • How old do you guess that kid is? 17? 16? And a high elected official and a putative adult is trying to embarrass him. So yeah, it would be nice to see Pruitt play show some class and play by the rules that other adults do — you treat kids with kid gloves, when you have power over others you exercise that power as gently as possible.
        ***
        I hope Pruitt isn’t a father. What an embarrassment.

  • Thanks, now I feel better about the cuts. Think they should have been greater.

  • Bill Yankee assured me that the veto override would happen today, Bill where are you and what happened to the override? I guess 37 isn’t greater than 45 after all?

    • Steve-O, will you join me in letting go of Mr. Bill? Engaging with him is a futile exercise in composition. Maybe you are still finding joy in scorching him. I can’t stomach it anymore. Maybe he just changed his handle? Who knows. Just yesterday I swallowed the last “heheh” of his prose. You are a better man than I. Good luck!

    • Steve-O, you must have dreamed that as I nowhere made such an assurance.

  • Michael Dunleavy, November 8, 2018: “Alaska is open for business. It’s going to be my goal that when folks think about where they’re going to invest in the future that Alaska’s not a laughing stock.” Governor Dunleavy’s approach for attracting investors is to have the legislature conducting business in a middle school gymnasium while sitting at portable tables with basketball goals behind them and bleachers for a spectator gallery, and then providing so little security that a bunch of kooks can come and take over the proceedings. That is the image of Alaska that he wants projected to the rest of the country. While the “22 strong” in Wasilla may think this is visionary leadership, I think it is pretty solidly in “laughing stock” territory.

    • Really??!?? Do they need fancy desks to get the job done?? The desks didnt help them for the first 5 months of the year!! Who cares where thier butts sit… get your job done!!!

      • Well said!

    • You have taken an extraordinarily myopic view of national and international business with your comment.

  • Protestors sent by Poison Ivy. Imagine that.

  • I miss Rick (Green) Rydel on 650 am KENI … he would be ballistic over what is going o !!!

  • I notice that while the ADN reported on this protest, it was buried way down towards the bottom of a story compiling reports from both sessions. I’ve also noticed various places are reflecting that Mia Costello was replaced by Lyman Hoffman, with little or no coverage explaining exactly why or whether it’s even going to stick given this split.

  • A lot of the “elderly” payments are less than $100 a month. With a $3000 dividend they will be ahead of the game. Good job… cut the budget and give the people more for the economy!!!

    • Math isn’t a strong suit of these folks, they thought they could get 45 votes to override the vetoes with 38 legislators in attendance.

    • You’d think that but the math is more complex than it seems at first glance. Because the PFD counts as income, seniors that are on the margins for services like food stamps might might too much money to qualify and thus a high PFD. If you wanted to make this point — we should trade the payment for PFD you would need to convince the feds to stop counting PFD as income.
      ****
      But the PFD is a distraction. Even if the vetoes aren’t reversed the “veto” budget only gets you somewhere between 1/3rd to 1/2 the paying for a PFD. When he was running the governor said he had no plans to cut education — he either lied or reality hit him the face.
      ***
      If you want a 3K PFD, a decent safety net, federal matching funds *and* functioning university you need to 1) eliminate the payouts to the oil companies or 2) institute a .05 to 1 percent income tax or 3) have a statewide property tax. Promises of “efficiency” are snake oil. You’ve been tricked.

  • The police or State Troopers should have put a stop to this nonsense. And if they have to use a taser, that’s OK.

  • This is an occupation. It’s an actionable offense but they now know they can do anything and the Wasilla police won’t stop them. In the end, they did more damage to their cause. Alaskans are turned off by this kind of “occupy” business.

  • You spelled her name wrong…

  • Good work to Law Enforcement for their cool and patient response with careful resolution to the disturbance at hand…disturbing to think that “staffers” of Democratic representatives drove to Wasilla for this “JV” performance?
    Especially after Democrats made a stink claiming Wasilla “was not safe”… this smells of conspiracy.

  • Right On!

  • Write up a police report and bring charges against each and every person who is a part of the legislative body’s staff and have behaved like this.

  • Why weren’t these antifa type “protestors” arrested? All they needed were the masks. Because there were recent legislative staffers involved in this shameful circus? Do they have elite privilege because of “connections”? The average Joe/Jane would have been arrested. Sends the message that if you are of the privileged well connected class you are exempt from responsibility for bad conduct.

  • If you listen close enough and follow the echo of the screaming, you can probably trace it back to the office of Vince Beltrami.

  • UNBELIEVABLE….These vicious Neanderthals should be ashamed of themselves and should have been arrested. How dare they pretend to be Alaskans. Disgraceful!

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