Friday, September 22, 2023
HomePoliticsAnchorage Assembly may crack down on political speech by labeling it 'hate'

Anchorage Assembly may crack down on political speech by labeling it ‘hate’

A resolution to be considered at Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting appears to give the Assembly the ability to end public comment at meetings if the members of the body deem the comments to be hateful.

It also may give the Assembly authority to crack down on political speech in general in the city, by labeling it “disinformation,” “misinformation,” or informed by QAnon, a conspiracy subset. It could even go farther, and tacitly give the Assembly permission to sanction or punish speech. If someone challenges the municipal election methods or results, that person may have his or her microphone cut during a meeting, or the Assembly chair could order them arrested for fomenting hate or violence.

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The resolution is mainly summarized by saying that members condemn hate speech and political violence of any sort. But it calls out QAnon speech by name. QAnon originated as conspiracy theories in a forum on the 4chan website in 2017. It’s difficult to say what QAnon-inspired speech is exactly, and the resolution does not attempt a definition.

The Wall Street Journal does attempt a definition in a story in 2021:

“QAnon is a far right-wing, loosely organized network and community of believers who embrace a range of unsubstantiated beliefs. These views center on the idea that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles—mainly consisting of what they see as elitist Democrats, politicians, journalists, entertainment moguls and other institutional figures—have long controlled much of the so-called deep state government, which they say sought to undermine Mr. Trump, mostly with aid of media and entertainment outlets.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, “QAnon conspiracy theory alleges that there is a battle between good and evil in which the Republican Mr. Trump is allied with the former. QAnon followers are awaiting two major events: the Storm and the Great Awakening. The Storm is the mass arrest of people in high-power positions who will face a long-awaited reckoning. The Great Awakening involves a single event in which everyone will attain the epiphany that QAnon theory was accurate the whole time. This realization will allow society to enter an age of utopia.”

The “conspiracy theorists” in Anchorage may think the Assembly is trying to sneak one past the public. After all, the resolution is not any sort of emergency, but has been “laid on the table,” which means it’s a last-minute addition to the Assembly’s Tuesday agenda.

Those “laid on the table” items are supposed to be for matters that simply cannot wait to be included on the agenda in a timely way, which would have been last week. Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance has said many times that the “laid on the table” items must have some compelling reason for being put on the agenda so late.

Not only is it “laid on the table,” but it’s done so in a special meeting that was called to curb the authority of the Mayor’s Office and give that authority to the Assembly:

Ordinance No. AO 2023-45, an ordinance of the Anchorage Assembly amending Anchorage Municipal Code Section (AMC) 2.30.020 to recognize the decision making authority of the assembly with respect to uncodified mayoral directives, policies and procedures, and other uncodified policies and administrative practices as applied to the legislative branch, and amending AMC section 3.50.010 accordingly, Assembly Vice- Chair Constant.

The last-minute anti-speech resolution condemns the threat or use of politics violence and promotes civil discourse in the community, all seemingly acceptable standards for law-abiding citizens. But it goes farther. It specifically mentions election integrity and public buildings where the citizens have traditionally served as watchdogs for democracy. The resolution condemns bigotry and hate, and harassment based on race, ethnicity national origin, religion, gender, gender ideology, tribal status, and more.

It condemns white supremacy, but does not condemn any other racial supremacy. The resolution says that “disinformation, misinformation, and online conspiracy theories such as Q-Anon are spreading and inspiring real-world political violence” and further denounces “extremist conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation designed to cultivate an alienated and mistrustful electorate, undermine democratic institutions and processes, and increase the likelihood of political violence.”

The resolution, offered by Robin Dern, the temporary Assembly member who the Assembly appointed to fill out the final weeks of Rep. Jamie Allard’s term in office (after she was elected to the Legislature), gives the Assembly cover to label people who disagree with Assembly members as spreading misinformation, disinformation, or dangerous conspiracies.

The resolution will be among others on the agenda and is likely to be missed even by Assembly watchdogs because of the way is is being slipped into the agenda at the last minute, and the fact that the meeting is not a normal meeting.

The Assembly packet for the Tuesday meeting, which starts at 5 pm, is at this link.

The Assembly meetings are held on the ground floor of the Loussac Library, at the corner of 36th Ave. and Denali St.

Read the anti-speech resolution being offered by Assemblywoman Dern of Eagle River:

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. If they can’t Handle the heat then quit. They need laws to protect themselves from their bosses. What a bunch of low life anti American crybaby’s. We need a resolution that calls for the assembly to listen to everybody and no cops to throw people out.

    • “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

  2. When are the citizens of Anchorage going to wake up?
    Then again, you deserve these assembly members. You’re too lazy to take five minutes and vote them out of office.
    I am so glad that I moved to the MatSu some years ago.

    • Matsu is trailing not far behind anchorage. It has work to do protecting that region’s values and history

      • Almost half of the Matsu assembly are of the same mindset. Voting public be dxxxd. Excuse my language inference. Personal, friend, or familial gain trump looking out for the valley’s best interests. Thank goodness for term limits.

    • It should be pointed out that Mrs. Dern was NOT elected by her district, but was appointed by the assembly. She also did not have the guts to stand for election here in Eagle River. We ELECTED a conservative in Scott Myers, so please complain to the districts, who re-elected Felix and Chris….

  3. So what’s new? That’s old scare tactics. Anyway, they have no power to tell us, their employers, what we can say. They are incorporated with DUNS numbers just like all the rest of these governmental service providers.

  4. Wondering who is going to lead the pack on the 1st Amendment violation lawsuit?

  5. I may be wrong (and I’m sure someone will correct me) but wasn’t the whole Q-Anon thing proven to be only a couple of computer hackers and there never was a real group? The leftists would have us think that anyone on the other side politically are conspiracy theorists. Well, I believe this is a “leftist conspiracy theory”. The guys who did it are probably laughing hysterically at our stupidity on this one. They are confusing some religious rhetoric of …”will allow society to enter an age of utopia” along with political comments by far right politicians. I AM a conspiracy theorist in many ways and I think Q-Anon is a crock.

    • 1) There is and never was a Q – Anon.
      2) There is no public answer to who Q is or was.
      3) Most at this point believe Q was a psy-Op to keep Americans from practicing their god given rights to overthrow a government who no longer serves its people.

      Q gave everyone false hope that someone was aware of our governments treachery – and was taking steps to save our nation from being destroyed. Millions of peaceful people were duped into staying at home while our nation burned, our elections were stolen, and Soro’s backed leftist’s infiltrated our nations highest ranks and then turned our systems against those who dare to speak or rise against it.

  6. The only person I’ve seen in town talking about Qanon and spreading misinformation about it is Forrest Dunbar

  7. Well, Anchorage, looks like you are becoming under the power of the Marxist Assembly of yours that you elected. Want to re-think that act?

  8. Why not just declare themselves rulers of all? It would be more honest.

    Gotta give them credit for audacity. They can’t be bothered by little things like the Constitution.

    But you deserve this, Anchorage. You keep returning these Bolsheviks to office and can’t be bothered to vote. This IS the government you deserve.

  9. If there is no “Hate Speech” there is no Freedom to speak..
    This is idiotic.. like they have no clue who George Orwell even is.
    If we had a riot.. the Assembly would allow it, say it is freedom of expression.. and those apposed.. are guilty of wrong-think.

  10. Now-now. Don’t lose focus by a small-minded assembly
    body, we got bigger projects and no time to waste arguing with a critical spirit.

    • Clearly, there will be no arguing. The public will not even be able to express opposing view points the direction things are going.

  11. They can just come out and admit they hate the Constitution and anyone who doesn’t think like they do.

    First class seats on some bush flights for all of them.

  12. Masked Avenger, where do you live? My guess is you’re an out of stater that can’t be bothered with the challenges of residence in Anchorage or Alaska!! There are plenty of us here who DID VOTE and resent the nonresidents constantly impugning us!! Move here or shut up!! 7800 Evander Dr in so Anch.

    • Juneau. Any other stupid questions?

      I lived in Anchorage off and on for some time before bailing out for the sanity of SE. I saw all this coming, from the hard turn left to the effective collapse of the GOP, and got the hell out of that craphole.

      I was also born in the bush and have worked everywhere below the Arctic Circle.

      Plus, I predate statehood.

      As I said, any other stupid questions?

      I’m wondering if you went to Alaska public schools since you clearly can’t count, can’t debate, and don’t understand our political system.

      I’ll type very, very, very slowly for you. Feel free to move your lips as you read:

      More people in Anchorage voted for the current Politburo than voted for their opponents. Over several elections. Therefore, the will of the people was they wanted increased Socialism the Politburo brings.

      The losing party, candidates, etc (except when they are Democrats and the rules strangely reverse) do not carry the day.

      That is math, democracy, and common sense. As I often say, common sense is not common, so it’s no surprise this eludes you.

      You may chose to hide behind a number of overtired, inaccurate whiny cliches. Most people didn’t vote, stolen elections, the dog ate your homework. And all are wrong.

      You may choose to join the homeless crowd across from the Dimond Mall/Walmart. You can wear a diaper, carry a sign that states Anchorage is a conservative community, stomp your feet until they hurt. You may make a few bucks along with the homeless, but it won’t change reality.

      Alaska is a light blue state turning bluer daily. Anchorage is a solid blue city, turning deeper blue every day.

      Facts, as John Adams (heard of him) famously said are stubborn things.
      Admitting the problem is the first step towards resolution.

      John, do yourself a favor. You are not smart enough to attempt to debate me. Save yourself the embarrassment and don’t try again.

  13. Fascinating. “If someone challenges the municipal election methods or results, that person may have his or her microphone cut during a meeting, or the Assembly chair could order them arrested for fomenting hate or violence.”
    Anchorage’s Imperial Assembly members should read the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1, the part which says, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
    Anchorage’s Imperial Assembly members should have a look at 18 U.S. Code § 242 “Deprivation of rights under color of law”: “Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
    Peoples Imperial Assembly Person Robin Dern might want to think about what those two things mean together, then either stop her inane chatter about abridging First Amendment rights or… channel her passive-aggressive behavioral disorder into a powerful new law to silence Americans, whose loathing and contempt for Assembly members generally, and this one particularly, are almost palpable.
    Robin’s Law: Make Americans shut up on pain of losing their stuff, or their lives if they resist. Has a certain ring to it, no?
    To hell with Constitutionally protected robust debate in a democratic society, Robin’s Law seeks to bury robust debate in arbitrary, vague, “woke” rules because it’s obvious the law’s author severely lacks knowledge, skillset, and character to debate anything in public, much less anything concerning potentially anti-woke constituents.
    So Robin, how does it play out? Americans worthy of the name can’t let you win. Graceful exit’s still an option.

  14. Stalin started his reign of terror by labeling those who spoke against him as people who were against the common people and made those who disagreed with him unable to communicate. The assembly has started to do this very thing. They imply that anyone who would disagree with them are creating a hateful group. This is simply to keep control of their agenda which is to rob the citizens of anchorage of the right of free speech and to disagree with a bigoted groupe of politicians. First they take your free speech and then you will find a cascade of decreasing rights as citizens in Anchorage. They are doing this because they just got re-elected and if you look back they have been trying since 2018 to accomplish total control of your right to disagree with them at assembly meetings.

    • M Moore, I think invoking Stalin is appropriate, however I believe that the Assembly’s actions are more closely aligned to the Chinese model, that being one Sun in the Heavens and one Ruler on Earth. Accordingly, until ALL peoples think in concert with the Emperor, there can never be PEACE on Earth. Therefore it is imperative that all dissenting speech and even thought be eradicated.
      Chaiman Mao would be so proud.

  15. The truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth. I’m thinking I have read this somewhere before…

  16. We knew this move against the citizenry was just a matter of time given the election results and the continued duplicity of some Assembly members and their handler(s). This is another step in their march to assure their supremacy in all matters without true regard for diversity or inclusion despite their tiresome and repeated pronouncements. Their bullying and disregard for what governance really ought to be comes to the front again!

  17. They do not revere George Washington or James Madison and are very hostile toward Anchorage taxpayers. Intristting.

  18. Maybe the Assembly should just read the US Constitution and also the Alaska Constitution. Then they would understand the laws they operate under. Of course, the name “Anchorage Comintern” comes to mind.

  19. What Robin Dern looks like without her mask, since she always covers her face with one, which is nonsense according to the peer reviewed science — unless she’s hiding so she can draft tyrannical ordinances and not be recognized in public:


  20. TWO Fabulous sentences:

    The “conspiracy theorists” in Anchorage may think the Assembly is trying to sneak one past the public.”
    Barbara Landi April 17, 2023 At 1:01 pm
    I suggest they play that soviet communist anthem at the beginning of their meetings.
    Enough said.
    Anchorage slithers deeper into the abyss where sun light is rare.

  21. The First Amendment takes another hit by the Anchorage Assemby.

    By virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment’s constitutional right of free speech and intellectual freedom also applies to state and local governments. Government agencies and government officials are forbidden from regulating or restricting speech or other expression based on its content or viewpoint. Criticism of the government, political dissatisfaction, and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy are nearly always protected by the First Amendment.

    The First Amendment prevents government from requiring you to say something you don’t want to, or keeping you from hearing or reading the words of others (even if you never speak out yourself, you have the right to receive information).

  22. A resolution by Anchorage public servants is not equivalent to the US Constitution. Do you have a written oath to defend the US Constitution? If you plan to conflict with the US Constitution the US Constitution wins. Reneging on defense of the US Constitutional rights to political speech should result in a loss of your emolument stipends.

  23. Hate is a human emotion. Emotions are God-given. “Lovers of God hate what is bad”. One set of people may not negate emotive speech. We have Italians and Irishmen in this community. Get used to it. We aren’t running political speech through your church idioms review board. You have in error alotted only three minutes per item while you yourselves have endless solliloquies at OUR Assembly meetings. Legal principles preceding the US Constitution stated (for your edification which you have not yet been edified by evidently) “A belligerant man has his rights”. Without such belligerance the tyranny of the European monarches would not have been so ably tossed off so deftly in the American Revolution by the independent, freedom lovers in America. You will not be re applying your brand of tyranny in Anchorage either. Shaloam.

  24. “But if the laws are to be so trampled with impunity, and a minority is to dictate, there is an end put at one stroke to republican government and nothing but anarchy and confusion is to be expected thereafter”. George Washington

  25. The people have been denied their right to speak for some time in Anchorage. It is just being solidified now. Unless you a cheerleader for their causes. Can’t prove anything about election integrity, since a recount, if it were to be permitted, would be done by the same methods used for the election. A sharp 16 year old can spoil a computer, and keep his mouth shut all the way to the bank. Matsu does a hand vote, and they have to deal with as many actual votes as Anchorage with our low turnout. And now that Covid is played out, why are we using a more expensive system of voting. And why are all of the services solicited from out of our state. And why is it that now there’s no primary, that our not so private voter information includes party affiliations. Is it for ease of sorting? Maybe nothing is up, but there sure is reason for suspicion. Personally I will not consider respecting any ordinance put forth by this body who doesn’t even respect the US Constitution. This body has no legitimate authority over any of us.

  26. “Affirms its ongoing commitment to cultivating an inclusive, welcoming, safe,
    and just society and culture – including within MOA operations and
    institutions – that values the diversity of our community, works to ensure
    equitable opportunities in all major facets of society, and celebrates both our
    individuality and commonality.”

    What a crock!
    Not a single thing in this entire ordinance is “inclusive, diverse or welcoming”. It is a finger in your face telling you to agree or else. It also gives another wedge to the folk working in the executive side of the house, to go running to the assembly, if the mayor so much as thinks contrarian thoughts.
    We have gone from respecting and treasuring individuality and spirited debate and opinions to denying the right of individuality at its face. All because our “dear leaders” can’t handle the truth.

  27. Elections have consequences. Extremely poor voter turnout for this last election. If you don’t vote , this is what you get. We are under assault. “we”= conservatives. “We” are all labeled “Qanon”, “white supremacist”, ‘fascist”, “trans phobes”, etc. All because of a different point of view.
    The discrimination they speak of is against US.
    I will not abide by their “fake” resolution.

  28. I liked it better when “Coercive conversion” was not a requirement to comment at publicly funded public assembly places; didn’t you?

  29. We’re a blue state turning bluer daily. Anchorage is so dark blue in places it’s almost black.

    Acknowledging the reality of the situation is the first step in fixing it. If it’s not too late.

    • Less than 21% of the eligible population in Anchorage voted for the Assembly. the problem is caused by a failure to pass a ballot. If we stood strong the results would differ greatly!

  30. ‘We must crack down on hate speech’ Sounds like a reasonable thing to stand for, right? But this assembly becomes the judge that decides exactly WHAT constitutes hate speech AND, to add further insult, they also get to decide the punishment. Notice how this is never allowed in actual court rooms? The investigation, conviction, and sentencing are always separate events with separate rules.

  31. I assert that this resolution is riddled with flaws which will further divide our community, increasing bigotry and hate, even increase harassment in the years ahead.

    Within, you mandate that elected official must “celebrate diversity” and “ensure equitable opportunities” yet fail to define or explain either.

    You reference “Extremism” numerous times, calling out one element, and yet fail to identify the multitude of elements which have committed acts of domestic terrorism as defined within the Public Law 56 of the 107th Congress, better known as the Patriot Act. This is not inclusivity, but rather blatant discriminatory animus.

    You call out “systemic inequities” mandating the advancement of “equitable outcomes”, yet fail to define or explain either.

    You mandate the denouncement of “misinformation” and “disinformation”. Whom then would decide what is true, false, right, wrong, legal, or illegal? What is the definition of these terms? What liability does this assembly assume in determining the validity of such information when later deemed to be incorrect? If this body was to mandate actions due to false information which leads to a loss of personal property, serious harm, or even death would the assembly be negligent for such loss or harm if said information and mandates were later determined to be unfounded?

    You call out “political violence” numerous times, suggesting that defiance on any stage, over any topic may well fall within such term yet fail to define “Political violence”.

    Lastly you call out “white supremacy” and yet fail to address other fringe entities which resort to acts of hatred and bigotry to impose or expand their racial supremacist beliefs. This is not inclusivity, but rather blatant discriminatory animus.

    In essence, this resolution is itself divisive, it may likely fall within the definition of bigoted and racist, by promoting hatred and harassment.

    I leave you with an open question. Does this Assembly seek equality or equity, and does this Assembly truly understand the difference between these two terms?

  32. The denial being practiced by some in this thread is staggering. Refusal to accept reality doesn’t change it.

    The irony is many denying the fact Anchorage is deep blue and have as an apathetic voter base are the same I’ve seen decry the Alphabet gang for claiming you can pick your own gender.

    Just wait until you have to deal with the reality Fox News admitted they lied about rigged elections and Dominion voting machines.

  33. OK, so let me see if I have this right…
    The Assembly is a representative body. People are elected to the Assembly to represent the will of the public.
    Which means, listening to the public, even the public you disagree with, is part of your job. If someone is providing “misinformation/disinformation” as testimony, the correct response is to provide the correct information, provide the facts. The WRONG response is to silence them.
    And, when hate speech is so loosely defined that it can mean “anything I do not like” than no testimony that even remotely disagrees with what the assembly has already decided to do will be allowed.
    If the Assembly just cut out public testimony entirely, it would be more honest than this move.

  34. And when it becomes a crime-it will only apply to conservatives. We must take our country back from these phychos.

  35. This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    We listened for how long the talking heads and those supporting the Biden camp about how the Hunter Laptop story was all “Russian dis-information” Yet low and behold when the truth finally sees the light of day we find out that opps, it was true all along, it is his laptop and yes there is some pretty nasty inconvenient for the Biden Family information on that laptop.

    Seriously, it’s time to drop this non-sense. How is anyone supposed to take any of this mis / dis information crap seriously when every time it is used by the talking heads and politicians the facts end up coming out in the long run and prove them wrong.

    It’s time for this Assembly to get over themselves and their hurt feelings when the people don’t agree with them. You are PUBLIC SERVANTS, you are here to serve the people, the people don’t serve you.

  36. The only thing hateful is that this assembly stays in power through a corrupt election process and oppresses the people of Anchorage with dictator like policies. Alaska is doomed until we get rid of mail-in-voting and RCV. The left is using these corrupt election practices to stay in power!

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