Anchorage Assembly chair says CARES Act money must address racial inequality - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Anchorage Assembly chair says CARES Act money must address racial inequality

Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera says that CARES Act funds that the city will be doling out to businesses and nonprofits cannot be color blind, but must take racial inequality into account and must seek to reverse that inequality created by systemic racism.

“I think that’s something that I stated at a meeting where we had people of color, communities of color, um, asking questions about what we were doing with the small business nonprofit relief program, what about PPP, what about all these things.

“And I stated emphatically that we must not be color blind in our policies, and we must not be color blind in how we distribute this money. Because if we are color blind, then these systems of racism, these systems of oppression will continue to perpetuate.” – Felix Rivera, Anchorage Assembly

“This next tranche of money, if there is one, that comes for the small business and nonprofit relief program, must have some type of equity measure built into it … or I will make sure it is defeated on this floor.” Rivera said he hoped the Berkowitz Administration was listening to him.

The next tranche of funds from the federal government, which is coming through the State treasury, is expected to be released in October. Two previous tranches have already been sent to the municipality. The restrictions on the use of the funds are at this state link.

Roll tape:

Rivera was echoing the words of Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, who said the CARES Act money and the recently approved alcohol tax were unique moments to redistribute wealth and address historic injustices.

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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

  • Goes without saying. Trying to jump on a train that has left the station.

  • Way to go, Anchorage voters. Why do you keep electing council members who are intellectually and morally unfit for ANY position of authority?

  • Let’s see if I have this right. We have to be racist, to get rid of racism?

    Who voted for this moron? The 1964 Civil Rights Act says we’re EQUAL. So does the Constitution. So quit picking winners and losers and treat us EQUALLY.

  • This is the guy who was pretty much gone his whole last term? Total lefty plant. A bought vote. Plain and simple. And wasn’t there a good conservative running against him? Someone who would rightly laugh off the ridiculousness this idiot espouses from his seat with a straight face? Where do you get these crooks and kooks Anchortown? Good grief.

  • Just to be clear in order to equally distribute the money that is designed to assist during a global pandemic we need to do so based upon skin color? How exactly is that not racist? Shouldn’t this money go to those who are impacted by this global pandemic like it is intended for?

  • Guess working hard and being able to take care of your family means nothing unless your skin is the right color. The entire situation is so confusing I am between mad and sad all the time.

  • What a couple of patronizing, partisan whiners trying to further divide Anchorage. It’s shameful, and ignorant. I see no “widespread systemic racism.” I see liberal politicians using taxpayer dollars to buy votes, not help all Anchorage working citizens.

  • Buy ammo.

  • Well they ARE a special kind of stupid, aren’t they? They are so greedy, they cut the food stamps of needy families that haven’t been called back to work yet so they could get their CARES act money that was supposed to be to take care of ALL Alaskans. Greedy, greedy greedy special interest pals.

  • Systemic racism does not exist, and we are all color blind because we do not attribute a person’s value to the color of their skin.

    Vote this liberal hack out of office, please.

    • Actually, Felix is right, but not in the way he thinks.

      Rivera WANTS systemic racism implemented and executed by the Assembly he leads to dole out the CARES money. He’s not fixing the problem. He and his majority are CREATING the problem.

      Fun part of this will be the Governor, the congressional delegation and the Trump administration, all of which wrote the rules under which this money will be disbursed. I expect some (all?) of them will not appreciate the Assembly turning this into a racial (and in turn democrat campaign donation) slush fund. Cheers –

  • I can remember when George Sullivan was the Mayor. Conservatives like Rick Mystrom, Don Smith and John Wood were on the assembly along with lefties like Heather Flynn and Jane Angvik.

    Compared to the current assembly members, Flynn and Angvik would be considered right wing Limbaugh acolytes.

  • You don’t have to read far down the C.A.R.E.S. Act guidelines to realize that tying this to a racial equality component could have some legal ramifications. Curious what will be purposed if those funds do become available

    “The requirement that expenditures be incurred “due to” the public health emergency means that expenditures must be used for actions taken to respond to the public health emergency.”

    “The CARES Act also requires that payments be used only to cover costs that were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020”

  • How was this guy re-elected? The systemic racism is a joke. When we make laws or take actions that put one race over another, that is is racism. I don’t care what color or sexual orientation you are, as that does not define the person that you are. Anchorage voters are getting what they deserve, idiots ruling idiots.

    • Affirmative Action in hiring, college admissions, college scholarship grants, housing, etc. etc. has been around for more than 50 years, and I see it as racism. But whether or not it is racism it has not worked, obviously. Handing a group of people something based upon their race, and taking away from other races in order to do it, seems to be the best way to put that favored race further and further behind. Telling some group of people they are owed something merely by their very existence will never bring equality. But President Johnson didn’t know that and President Obama doesn’t know it. I am not surprised to learn that Anchorage muni government doesn’t know it.

  • What he calls color blind is the most damning statement of being racist in his duties. The municipality has many laws and policies that states clearly they can not favor or benefit one race over another. Either he is ignorant of the laws on the use of public funds or his racist bias is on the record for all to see and use in lawsuits to stop or undo the assemblies actions. Proceed at your own peril for you will suffer what you deserve. A black business has no greater right to the Cares Act funds as does any other business of any race. For years government has tried to eliminate your racist actions. Do you think you could say that the majority of the money you allocate will only go to white owned businesses? Do you think that your use of weasel words such as “Color Blind” does not change your intent to act in a racist manner under the law.

    Both the Assembly and the Mayor should get some better legal advice before you illegally spend Federal money for the purposes not authorized or on a racist basis. You are only fanning the flames and further imbedding racism in your actions and words. Resign if you can not do the public’s business without corruption or racism.

  • Mr. Rivera apparently is a racist. He appears to have moved well beyond the precept advanced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that we should judge people not on the color or their skin but by the content of their character. We hear so very little about Dr. King these days. I guess his ideas are not appropriate to many these days.

    • No they are not. It’s like him trying to join the black Panthers. Wouldn’t work.

  • I never did consolidate, with all the facts available, an acceptable answer to my question. If one is “half black, half white”, which color should be espousing racism against the other? That would be a tough decision. So much racism everywhere you look, it is getting harder to pick a winner. At least, as the leftists see it. For them, it’s everyone against white folks and the horse they rode in on (unless said ‘white folks’ and their horses are on their knees). The entire scheme wouldn’t be an attempt at a communist ‘take-over’ of America, would it? The idiots can’t seem to realize that they can only push so hard, then it will be time to pay the consequences. I’ll guarantee you they won’t like it.

  • How cool is our Mr. Felix?
    .
    Maybe we’ll get to see what happens when productive residents decide they’ve had enough of Mr. Felix’s cr(whoops!) and call-800-359-3898, the Treasury’s Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline or report facts and allegations to:
    .
    Brian D. Miller, Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), United States Treasury, Office of Inspector General 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Room 4436, Washington, DC 20220.
    .
    Might even be a qui tam lawsuit in the making… make somebody rich and get to watch Mr. Felix in the barrel explaining the situation.
    .
    Could happen… Mr. Felix’s incredible arrogance rather persuades one to hope it happens.

  • Echoing Dr. Deena Bishop as well when she said….
    “As a person on this earth, I must see race. Otherwise I will be incapable of listening, learning, and leading…..
    Race is a social construct we are taught from birth. It matters to all of us. Race influences how we live, who our friends are, the quality of our health, the schools we attend, the careers we have, and all too often, how much money we make. The white experience I was given at my birth is not a universal experience. Therefore, I must see race as I lead in ASD.”

    You heard her….. race is influencing her. That is wrong. I think these people believe what they are saying is noble. They are filling the air.
    Instead, they reveal their preconceived opinions about, “how we live, who our friends are, the quality of our health, the schools we attend, the careers we have, and all too often, how much money we make.”

    Leadership in ASD AND in our City needs to change.

    • I have not seen the full quote from the school superintendent for myself but it sounds like some sort of cult programming. I am concerned for her mental health.

  • How is this related to the pandemic?

    • Jack,
      I think it’s contagious. This Bishop character is one racist herself. Dr. is a misnomer. Annie may need some psychiatric help too, if she’s going for this line. Too many of these real racists are poisoning the minds of our youth. Too many of our youth are listening to the leftist, racist garbage. Every single one of these “experts” are up to their ‘rainbow’ eyebrows in it.

      • My comment is point out that Mr. Rivera is echoing Anchorage’s District superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop with what she publicly stated to all parents. Yes you heard her-“I must see race.” Race is influencing her as Superintendent. Yes this is the PIC- she leads our children.
        Further, her words reveal her preconceived opinion about me, my children, you and your children and grandchildren….all she needs is to see my race, or what she perceives as my race.
        NO I don’t want her influencing OUR children. I believe this leadership need to change. Our Anchorage School Board hires this position.

        • Annie,
          My apologies to you for my misunderstanding your comment. Not enough citizens are seeing the true light of the leftists, their goals and methods of achieving them. Maybe more concerned Alaskan Americans will take action. Writing is effective at times when action is undeliverable. Words can be very powerful. “All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing”.

          • Ben, like you and I know many others-I have a difficult time doing nothing. I am pleased you took the time to re-read my comment aimed at raising awareness for the Anchorage Alaskan public who may or may not even have children in schools, but still pay taxes that support this current leadership.

  • There are several of the group that are confused on their performance for the job they are elected to do. They dont know the law, including Dunbar….and they don’t understand their roles in the assembly and how they are to execute their performance. Look at the Mayor and his performance. What a mess and lack of leadership. They, in the assembly, keep trying to follow the sinking ship that Berkowitz put together. Seems they keep sinking into the quick sand and can’t pull themselves out. They have no idea from meeting to meeting what is next, what is the plan and if they are afloat. Pandemic left the station and not one of the idiots on the assembly know if they caught the train.. Where are they? La-La_La Land of course….

  • Lets not forget racism was encouraged by democrats such as LBJ and the KKK, supported by Gov Orville Foubus and Senator Richard Byrd, among many others. Democrats like this illiterate are fanning the flames of hate and discontent while attempting to transfer their guilt and failures to others. People like this sicko can only make things worse. I guess its still true, the voters get the government they deserve!

  • You all are preaching to the choir. We need to be getting these statements out to the public. We must take public stances. I’m not sure how–go to assembly meetings, write/send these statements and feelings to the newspaper, look for public meetings where we can be heard?

  • I’m so disgusted. They all make me sick! And the leader at the helm is our mayor!

  • Elect new assembly members is the only answer to this continual rain of BS about homeless and every other body being more important than the taxpayers that are paying the bills. This crap has gotten out of hand.Allowing these idiots to continue to make fiscal decisions for our town will result in a town nobody will want to live in.

  • Should Assembly Chair Rivera be successful it will be inviting a lawsuit.

  • How about if I get some t shirts made that say “Taxpayers are getting screwed” on them and sit next to these other protesters.

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