Anchorage Assembly gets nothing done, abruptly gavels out after passing another mask rule that few in room were obeying - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, December 4, 2021
HomePoliticsAnchorage Assembly gets nothing done, abruptly gavels out after passing another mask rule that few in room were obeying

Anchorage Assembly gets nothing done, abruptly gavels out after passing another mask rule that few in room were obeying

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After a late start for its meeting on Wednesday, the Anchorage Assembly was able to get through the Pledge of Allegiance, the land acknowledgement. Then it got hung up on the next item: Masks.

Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance tried and eventually succeeded in passing an in-house rule for the Assembly Chambers that demanded all in the Chamber wear a face mask — public and Assembly members included.

Hardly anyone in the audience was complying and it soon became evident the executive branch would not forcibly remove people from the room, regardless of the Assembly’s wishes.

The issue turned into a standoff with the Mayor’s Office, as the rule-making majority tried to assert control over the face attire of people, and as the City Manager Amy Demboski held firm that she would enforce the law the Assembly passed last week, but not this additional rule, which she said didn’t have the legal standing of the original ordinance.

The dispute took over an hour to resolve. People stayed in line at the podium for the audience participation portion of the meeting, but were thwarted from taking part by the ongoing dispute over masks.

Finally, Assemblyman Chris Constant said that if the city manager would not throw unmasked people out of the Assembly Chambers, then the Assembly should simply adjourn or continue the meeting to Thursday.

Quickly, the group passed the mask rule and gaveled out, over the objections of Assembly members Jamie Allard, Crystal Kennedy and John Weddleton. The meeting will start over again on Thursday at 5 pm. 1:30 pm, a time when most members of the public cannot attend.

Kennedy called the whole thing a childish power struggle between members of the Assembly and the Administration. Although she didn’t name them, she was referring to the seven majority members who were insisting on mask compliance, with no exceptions made, a complete dismissal of the law they had just passed last week.

Removing her own mask for a moment, Kennedy said on the record that the paper masks don’t do anything to prevent the spread of the virus and the disagreement over enforcement was embarrassing for the whole city.

Constant, however, said that people who attended the meetings in recent weeks are now dying of Covid and it is the Assembly’s job to set the place, time, and manner of the meetings. He said the Bronson Administration was overstepping the separation of powers by not allowing the Assembly to set more strict rules for its meetings than what was in the mask ordinance it passed last week.

Earlier in the Wednesday meeting, there were more than a dozen people standing outside the Chambers trying to gain entry. They were being blocked by security guards because they didn’t have masks on. City Manager Amy Demboski intervened and said anyone could come into the Chambers without a mask if they declared an exemption.

That infuriated Assemblyman Constant, who in a fit of pique called it “childish.”

A member of the audience soon yelled at Constant, accusing him of being childish for making the “Loser” sign at her. He yelled back. Others jeered and called the majority of the Assembly “cowards” for gaveling out.

A member of the public who sat through the meeting explained, “In other words, if the Assembly says everyone must wear a clown suit to the Assembly Chambers, the Assembly believes it has the right to enforce that.”

It was a separation of powers issue, with Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar repeatedly trying to get Demboski to say she would not enforce the mask ordinance. Demboski would not bite, and only replied that she would enforce the law. She said the law clearly allows for exemptions and it’s not proper to ask people to declare or explain their specific exemptions because those are medical or mental disabilities.

Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel, who just won a recall election by a wide margin, said there would be no exceptions to the mask ordinance — people can attend the meetings by phone or watch on YouTube if they can’t wear a mask or a face shield to the meeting.

Assemblywoman Allard pointed out that the whole thing was a set up to try to recall the mayor. She was warned by the chair for impugning the motives of others.

Assemblywoman Kennedy had, perhaps, the insight of the night: “I cannot believe how juvenile an action this is. I understand there is a power struggle going on. Everybody gets it. The more we keep doing this, the more vindictive things get, the more vengeful things get … At some point this has got to stop.”

And eventually it did stop. The Assembly returns Thursday auto continue the meeting, giving the majority on the Assembly time to figure out how to enforce a policy that most of the public was openly defying.

Left undone on the agenda were numerous important items, not the least of which is the first public hearing for the budget for next year.

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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

  • Christopher Constant

    You should be ashamed of yourself for the words you spoke of William Topel & Paul D Kendall.

    Personal attacks? Constantly verbally abusing your fellow Anchorites Constant. Sullying a two man’s names after they are dead? Where is your humanity?

    You should be ashamed of yourself Christopher Constant. Resign now.

    By the way, You’re going to jail!

  • My house is a house of order saith the Lord. Satan, and his servants create massive disorder to further their evil agenda.

    Eventually the Lord will take control.
    Remember Noah. No one listened.

    • Nature listened.
      Maybe we should get back in touch with nature over words.

  • All of this to make people wear paper on their faces. Incredible.

  • HA!!!!!!

    Well done, citizens!!!

    Well done, Administration!!!!

    Well done, adult Assembly members!!!

    Poorly done, but expected, unbelievably childish Assembly members!!!

    What next?

    • It does seem like the bar gets lower at every meeting.

      • Agreed, ERDee…

        I once worked with an individual by the name of Singing Sam…and what a great individual he was….

        His signature tune, and album, and please forgive me, as it has been decades, was, ‘When you think you have hit bottom, just look down.”

        That describes exactly this assembly…they ‘Constant’ly attempt to further the downward tract of their representation of the citizenry within general, versus the representation of themselves, and their personal ideology…

        They do not see a bottom, because they do not care how negatively what they do affects the citizenry so long as they feel justified within their own actions…

        The Marianas Trench is not a low enough bar for them, so long as they feel themselves within some type of power, which they do not themselves possess, no matter what they believe…

        The citizenry holds the power, should they choose to enforce it, within a single word, and that word is NO.

        No, we shall not comply.

        No, we shall not be compliant.

        No, we shall not be complacent.

        No, you do not rule us.

        No, you do not decide for us.

        No, you do not dictate unto us our freedoms.

        No, your edicts do not hold power over us.

        No, you are our public servants, we are not yours….

        You hold NO power without the allowance of the governed, and as such, you hold no power at all whilst said governed hold contempt unto the supposed representatives that pretend to govern all, but only represent the few that agree with them…

  • Very inept. Next time they abandon their positions replace them immediately with anyone from their part of town who is willing. I personally couldn’t believe the infringement regarding tonality. I have had my tonsils out. My tonal qualities were permanently torn to shreds in 1962. So based on that infringing stricture I am unable to testify. I would like to reduce the budget by permanently removing catering services from assembly feeding lines. It doesn’t help to feed them. They are inclined to remove Anchorage’s Constitutional rights. They will do less if they don’t receive meals.

    • There are several options for you to testify that don’t include going to the in person meeting.

      • There are several options that are often ignored by the Assembly. Have you ever submitted written testimony? I have. I get a response from AQD that clearly demonstrates she has not read what I wrote. This is not a one off occurrence either.
        .
        If you are not there in person, you are not testifying.

      • It is our right to testify in person. Being forced to testify online is a form of control. We have a right to be present and to voice our thoughts in a society that we are a part of.

        • Common Peasant: testifying online is not control, its a convenient option.

          • convenient for the authoritarian assembly to shut people up

          • Not everyone has internet. The internet is a service, a product. It should not be required to purchase a product in order to attend to assembly matters.
            If you are required to have a service that take money to pay for to be able to participate in society, it IS control.

          • In a live meeting we get to see each other. I get to face our “leaders” and judge their actions and where they take us.
            On the internet, the view is limited and our voice is muted.
            At that point we could all be ruled by what is said from screen.
            Eventually the assembly could be greenscreened in while still in their sweatpants.

            Yeah, no.

  • Bozo and a car full of Clowns would be an improvement over your Assembly Anchorage residents. Tell me again how Meg survived her recall?

    • Easily. The freaks showing up at the meetings don’t represent the majority of anchorage voters. This isn’t hard.

      • We are citizens. Just because we have concerns and complaints, does not make us freaks.
        We have a voice that is not being listened to. Just because you agree with the narrative, does not mean you are on the right side of this.
        We see the rights of the people being trampled on on a daily basis and you are justifying it by saying being in agreement with thr narrative. You justify this because what the politicians are doing is selling you the illusion of public safety.

        Some of us do not want to give up our rights for safety we are not asking for.

        We are people.

        • You guys are loud, you are heard.

          • Thanks man. I try.

          • Evan do we or do we NOT have an epidemic of FAS right here in Anchorage right now! Why doesn’t the public health sector beat the drums about those poor harmed individuals who may never think well enough to be trusted in a ballot havesting scheme!

      • “Freaks” indeed. Disparaging people with whom you disagree only makes you look weak. And moronic. And lots more adjectives.
        .
        Is District 4 “the majority of Anchorage voters”? Simple question.
        Does Zaletel represent anyone outside District 4? Simple question.
        .
        This isn’t hard. OOPS! Was that plagiarism?

        • A lot of District 4 YES voters had their ballots rejected because of “signature match” issues. Interestingly, the only ones I know who got their ballots rejected were YES voters. This was a corrupt system. I’ve seen one yard sign for voting No. The rest were in the rights-of-way near the roads. Far more yard signs for voting YES. There was no enthusiasm for Zaletel in the neighborhoods. People are generally disgusted. Even if you factor in all the obedient union members who did what they were told, it should have been much closer.
          .
          What we need it a detail of ALL the ballots received. How many were rejected for signature issues, which way did those votes break. How many registered Republicans in D-4 did not get ballots at all? What happened to the 200 ballots sent to voters who reside Outside?
          .
          Some sunlight on this process where Babs has crowned her self gate-keeper and Queen is needed. Badly. That she answers to the person being recalled and has ultimate authority over the votes and little to no oversight is a huge problem. None of this gets fixed until mail in balloting goes away and there are more integrity checks in the system.
          .

          • I completely agree! It would be interesting to see how many YES ballot signatures were questioned vs. how many NO ballot signatures were questioned. Also, I saw a post questioning the Clerk’s training and expertise on verifying signatures. It seems that people who testify in court cases regarding whether or not signatures are forged or authentic are required to have some specialized training in this area. I would also like to know what her training or expertise is in this area.

      • Easily. The “Anchorage residents” living in Portland for the winter tipped the scales for Meg.

  • VERY SQUALID.

  • Awww….poor little Constant and Zaletel… It must really suck, when as a bully, you are simply ignored, is it not?

    No payback unto those that ‘bullied’ you during your pathetic lives…how can that be?

    Your ‘position’ allows you no ‘retribution’, unto those that you perceive as having tormented you that are no longer present, nor even exist within the citizenry of Anchorage, except within your own delusional minds, but yet you are going to ‘pay them back, somehow, someway, no matter what it takes…sigh….

    Perhaps the both of you, along with several others of your pathetic brethren, could simply grow up, and attend unto the issues that affect the citizens of Anchorage, rather than your individual grievances as to how you were subjected to said such supposed offences, within your upbringing, within your own memories of neglect and torment….

    Afterall, when the ‘bullied’ becomes the ‘bully’, is the pain distributed any less?

  • At tonight’s aborted meeting, I believe Assembly Member Constant stated that people who attended Assembly meetings had died of Covid. I would ask that he provide accurate information to back up his statement.

    Tonight’s meeting is indicative once again of arrogant and belittling displays by the majority faction. Maybe Sowell is right: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.”

    • Agree totally. I want names. Maybe not full names, but “Robert S. died from COVID three weeks after attending the Assembly meeting on…”
      .
      Otherwise, it is fiction created to justify his actions.

  • “An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson (1813)

  • Cross Chris Constant was literally salivating over the prospect of watching security guards drag people bodily out of their seats. The toddler tantrum the tiny tyrants threw was absolutely pathetic and laughable.

  • Minutiae seems to be the only thing that the Assembly majority can grasp. It is obvious the majority is using these mask rules to chill any public participation in Assembly business. Even better if everyone just does Zooms meetings. Assembly member can then chill out at home in their slippers, turn the volume down and not have to hear anything they don’t want to hear. All the while they are hammering out public policy without the bothersome public. What could be better?

  • Jim Winegarner for Governor?

  • You elected then re-elected these people Anchorage. Every time you’ve had a chance to remove them, you pass on it.

    You deserve to be lead by power hungry morons like Constant and Zalatel.

    The city is dysfunctional and embarrassing (if it had any sense of the word) on a national scale.

    This is what you wanted, Anchorage. Don’t complain now.

    • A corrupt system attracts corrupt players. The corrupt players feed off the ignorant masses. The ignorant masses have fed the system for so long that any change to it is considered a threat. This is where we are. There are no good choices when voting to give our power to well funded strangers.
      The only way out of this is to claim our power back for ourselves and disregard anything the political players have to say. The only reason government policy works is because the people give their power into it.
      Stop doing that.

      • I’m in agreement, but how?

        There comes a time when a sane person has to admit they’ve lost.

        Alaska is lost.

    • I gotta say I agree with you… They had a chance to vote all this garbage out and they kept them… Makes one wonder why

      • Three words:

        Mail In Voting

        Nobody can trust outcome of such “elections”

    • Alexander Tytler perhaps said it best.
      .
      “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy”
      .
      And as always, We, the People are too lazy or ignorant to learn from the mistakes made by those who went before us.

      • If one could find happiness with the presence of themselves, then one could learn to be free of the addictions of society.

  • There they are, stomping their little childish feet demanding their own way…..again. And using the same Marxist change the rules in the middle of the game / don’t follow their own rules tactics again.

    This bunch of deviant leftists must be removed at the first opportunity. They are an embarrassment to Anchorage. Sad…

    • “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
      Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
      To the last syllable of recorded time;
      And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
      The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
      Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.” -Macbeth (act 5 scene 5)

  • I’m still so darn happy that my tax dollars DO NOT support that stagnant, miserable city any longer. With Zalatel securing her seat by a wide margin, it shows that the majority of Anchorage desires this type of behavior of their law makers and condones their policies. Have I told you how I’ve perfected my popcorn recipe?

    • You do realize that is just her district, right? And, the integrity of these elections will always be suspect when it is done by mail-in only. The propensity for fraud is great, as pointed out by none other than Jimmy Carter around 15 years ago. On a positive note, the amount of public pushback on these mandates is extremely encouraging.

    • I too look forward to putting this miserable city in my rear view mirror.
      For now I do everything I can in the valley.

    • At least we have a nice bike trail system.

      • Can horse and buggies be far behind?

  • The truth is the mandates end when the public decides they are over. Our government relies on voluntary compliance. It is the natural tension between our representatives and us. Unwritten. Real. A good portion of the Assembly simply does not understand this although feels like Weddleton might. The rest? Authoritarians, there only answer will be to “write” more and more.

  • The Anchorage Assembly has gone rogue and needs to grow up. Their job is to listen to the people they represent which they simply refuse to do. Instead, they come across as power hungry Oligarchs who think they know best. Chris Constant acts like a baby who had his security blanket taken from him. Time to vote these people out Anchorage. They’re ineffective and have more interest in the homeless than taxpayers. That’s not okay.

    • But Paddy, the Assembly DID listen – how could they not? You guys yell and taunt and you had , what, four evenings to be heard. What I think you really mean is that the Assembly chose a different path and you don’t like it.

      • Evan, I think the consistently dismissive, intolerant and self-righteous arrogance of the Marxist Nine are clear to anyone who is willing to pay attention and be objective in their assessment. Which is clearly not you.

      • They can choose their path, but their decisions affect us. If we do not like what they are doing (which affects US) then it is our obligation to speak out and stand up against it. Not just be some pushover that allows others to dictate what is done for us.
        Freedom is not given to, it is claimed by the individual.
        Many people agree with what the assembly is doing, that is fine. I do not agree and I am not a subject to the assembly. Remember, these people work for us, not the other way around.

      • So you understand many more people wanted to comment on the absurd mask mandate and the Assembly specifically announced in a press release that the mask mandate would not be considered at the meeting in which Zaletel and Peterson presented and passed a (wait for it) … mask mandate.

        In other words they just openly and verifiably lied to the citizens they serve. Then in the next go round they spend an hour having tantrums because everyone won’t show obiedence to the rulers and ended up not even doing the business at hand.

        Can you honestly support that?

  • I watched the entire meeting. The one thing that struck me (other than Chris Constant hyperventilating behind his 2 masks), was the Meg Zalatel stated that people could not participate because others were not wearing masks. At the same time, she had no problem excluding those who refuse to wear a mask pointing to the accommodations made. Should the same not apply to the vulnerable she is trying to protect? Couldn’t they also chose to use the accommodations she hailed as adequate. Why is it that Constant and Zalatel think that people are incapable to decide for themselves if attending an assembly meeting is the right thing for them to do? This has nothing to do with health and safety, but everything to do with getting rid of the uncomfortable public attendance.

  • Complete breakdown of government across America.

  • Demand a forensic audit or anarchy will ensue.

    • Anarchy would be much more ideal than what is going on now. At least with anarchy, there is an understanding that no body is in charge.

    • I’ve asked my State Senator, Lora Reinbold, to sign Wendy Roger’s Letter to Americans calling for the forensic audit of all 50 states and she signed. Get your Senator and Representative to do the same.

  • Gosh, if people who attend these meetings are dying of Covid, maybe we should get rid of the super-spreaders who sit behind those desks and instead enlist folks who have natural immunity and can’t spread the disease.

  • Elect a clown, expect a circus!

  • At the next MOA assembly meeting we need to chain the doors closed from the outside and burn the building down.

    • That statement may come back to haunt you. A peaceful community doesn’t like to be threatened.

      • Evan. It is people like Bucket that come in who claim to be on one side, but only to say and do things that make the one side look bad.

        I do not condone of any of what Bucket wants to do.

    • This is NOT the way.
      Bucket, you reek of Fed. Are you Ray Epps?
      We don’t need agent provocateurs here causing trouble.

    • Thank you for exposing for us all in blatant terms how the Left again desires to infiltrate and poison the Right. Believe me, the Right (conservatives) already have a few frustrated outbursting members that we actually try and keep in check (unlike the Left that celebrates blatant property and human destruction). Thus, we don’t need any help in darkening our perception. Go back to your side, and don’t think you’re so clever.

  • The people who attended these meetings in recent weeks are now dying of COVID, eh? Is that why they keep showing up, Chrissy? My daughters, when they were teenagers, were less dramatic and hyperbolic.
    .
    Outside of two that we know of, Constant needs to quantify his statement. Or is it like ZERO COVID LAS VEGAS? Like most of his assertions lately, especially surrounding COVID, that sounds more like it’s completely arbitrary and made up. People can contract COVID anywhere, and the vast majority of people who have COVID in the Anchorage area were not at the Assembly meeting, nor are they dying. There’s nothing Chrissy won’t twist and distort to keep people he finds unacceptable away from the public process.

  • That’s odd.
    .
    Zalatel, who is so afraid of catching COVID that she avoid 100% of the public testimony on the mask mandate is on the dais? I guess the emergency must be over, and we can remove our masks.

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