Clown World: Anchorage Assembly surprise meeting melts down into ‘rage,’ accusations, chest-pounding

49
604


An emergency Anchorage Assembly meeting on homelessness concerns was scheduled, rescheduled, and rescheduled again by the Assembly leadership over the weekend. It finally took place midday Monday.

But Assembly leaders didn’t release the related documents — resolutions, lease agreements, operating agreements, and proposed ordinance changes — to the public until 20 minutes before the meeting began. With millions of dollars on the line, even the Assembly members and Mayor’s Office did not get the agenda and documents until the last minute.

It was an inauspicious start to a meeting that struggled to be serious, with most members calling into the meeting from their jobs rather than appearing in person for something that had been changed three times over three days.

Only Assembly President Suzanne LaFrance, and members Forrest Dunbar, Kevin Cross, and Pete Petersen were present in the room. The assemblyman who called for the meeting to be held in the first place — Felix Rivera — didn’t even show up at all. Instead, he sent in a statement that was read aloud by Chairwoman LaFrance.

LaFrance had no control of the meeting, and the motion to “lay on the table” all items under deliberation was postponed by hours of grandstanding by the progressive Assembly members who veered off topic. Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, who tried to call for an end to the out-of-order debating, was ignored by LaFrance.

Much of the Monday grandstanding was from members such as Dunbar, Constant, and Quinn Davidson, who badgered the mayor’s staff about whether the administration would ever use the Golden Lion Hotel, if the Assembly voted to make it legally possible.

Documents for the meeting can be found at this link.

Notably, Assemblyman Chris Constant had a meltdown, saying he was enraged at the mayor — and shaking — he was so mad. Yelling through the phone in a Shakespearean-like soliloquy, Constant said the mayor had not delivered a plan for dealing with the homeless. Assemblywoman Quinn Davidson, also calling in, said there was no plan.

Mayor Dave Bronson had, in fact, negotiated with the Assembly for a year and the Assembly has approved the negotiated plan, but has refused to fund it.

Subsequently, with delays created by the contrary Assembly, the mayor used Centennial Campground over the summer to provide camping spots for homeless people, get them out of the greenbelts and forested areas, where earlier in the summer a wildfire originated in a homeless encampment, raising concerns about public safety.

In the last couple of weeks, it appears the Assembly has spent over $30 million on homelessness response.

The mayor closed the Centennial Campground on Oct. 1 and helped over 100 people living there for free this summer move into the Sullivan Arena, where there are empty cots, blankets, and storage totes for them.

The remaining people at the campground are, so far, refusing to go to the Sullivan, but may change their minds as winter approaches. Nighttime temperatures in Anchorage are approaching 40 degrees.

The purpose of the meeting was to enter items into the agenda for Oct. 11 so the Assembly can rush through the legal process that involves paying for 50 or more homeless people to stay at the Alex Hotel on Spenard Blvd, the designation of the Golden Lion Hotel as an official emergency shelter, and some budget cleanup items related to using the Sullivan Arena as an emergency shelter. Millions of dollars are being discussed for this effort, which would only extend until the end of December.

Earlier, the Assembly was stymied in its efforts to push the Golden Lion, because the city lawyer pointed out that the Assembly had passed an ordinance in 2020 forbidding the use of the Golden Lion as a homeless shelter.

The issues will appear again on Oct. 11 at the Assembly’s regular meeting.

The Assembly is attempting a takeover of the homelessness response from the Mayor’s Office, and the meeting was one in a dozen meetings held lately to advance that agenda. The meeting went on for over two and a half hours but in the end nothing of substance was accomplished.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Meanwhile taxpayers are still wondering when Mayor Bronson will do his job to prepare a responsible shelter plan.?

    • No we’re not. The mayor tried to implement the navigation center plan, the assembly shut it down. Now the assembly wants to go against the wishes of the constituency and use the golden lion for a bum shelter. When Berkowitz wasted our money on the hotel, the assembly stated and passed legislation that the location would never be used to house chronic inebriates. Pretty simple.

      Now when they break that promise we will have to spend millions in improvements for safety and security, not for the bums but for the people who work there. Plexiglass, magnetic locks, security cameras, security guards, extra maintenance and on and on and on…..in perpetuity. Some “plan”. This is one of the worst ideas yet, but I guess you consider it “responsible” eh Frank?

    • Can’t read, or can’t comprehend?

      Either way, a terrible way to go through life. Cue Dean Wormer to Flounder speech.

    • Bronson has already prepared a responsible shelter plan, it’s our assembly who has refused to comply with our Mayor. He has done his job. it’s the assembly who has shipwrecked ANY AND ALL OF THE PROPOSED PLANS THAT THEY AGREED WITH 9 MONTHS AGO.

    • What do you call the navigation center that started construction until the Assembly killed it after agreeing to it?

    • Give it a rest Frank! There is A PLAN. That the assembly members, who agreed and partially funded the plan, do not like it, isn’t the mayor’s problem. He took them at their word and they reneged, just to spite him. The navigation center would have solved all this, but that isn’t what your precious grandstanding assembly wants. How much money did we spend to renovate the Sully over the summer, only to have it trashed again this winter??? The assembly having spend $30 million on the small group of homeless without a result, could be construed as fiduciary malfeasance. At least 18 million are wasted (9 million for purchase of the Golden Lion and 9 million for the partial construction of the navigation center now unfinished).

    • Too bad you haven’t been paying attention. The mayor has a plan in place the assembly yanked the funding on. The assembly is enriching a segment of the population and NOT helping solve any segment of the “homeless” problem in the process.

    • There was a plan, but the assembly A-holes pitched a hissy fit over it. Not Bronson’s fault, not in his control. The assembly is having a tantrum over Dunbar losing.

    • He has.
      It was approved by the Assembly.
      Work was begun on schedule.
      Then, the Assembly pulled funding for the agreed-upon plan.

      Is anyone able to provide for us an itemized bill for the Ass’s 3 month plan? I want to know to whom/where the millions of dollars will actually, factually be going.

      I am able to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate 10 persons with a fraction of what it will cost to fund a single person on the Ass’s 3 month plan.

      Should we be asking Amy Demboski for an itemized bill? The Assembly? What services beyond a cot, a bathroom, and a storage tote will cost millions of dollars for 3 months? And, will any of the orgs sat upon by Assembly members stand to receive a piece of the multi million dollar pie?

      I want to see it all.
      In writing.

    • Hey Mr. Constant…. I mean Frank. Are you still shaking? This taxpayer is actually wondering why the assembly is so hell bent on throwing so much money of mine down the drain. Is LaFrances’ $200,000 salary to continue the homeless industrial complex not enough for her? Do you realize that we could pay each homeless person $50,000 cash per year to stay off the street and end up saving money? This isn’t about ending homelessness, it’s about supporting the number one industry in Anchorage. The LAST thing the assembly wants to do is actually decrease or end homelessness.

    • Sidewalk Margarita dispensaries are a real solution. Self regulated on the honor system you can rest assured the program will work. Proposed months are November and February. Fresh glass, my man. What do you say? Can we count on you, Frank?

    • He already did one. Three or four, to be accurate. Your Assembly decided that nothing he is doing is acceptable and refused to work with him to implement even though they came to a negotiated agreement. Imagine that. Perhaps you should give them a call. Cheers –

  2. Speak for yourself Frank. As a taxpayer I don’t want the mayor to do a Damn thing for the homeless except maybe haul them out of town. You must’ve done a wake’n’bake to post an asinine comment like that at 5:51 in the morning.

  3. Did Constant pound his chest and yell like George of the Jungle?

    Constant must be deeply attracted to Bronson to behave this way. Only unrequited love (lust?) makes someone this crazy.

    Still, don’t blame the Politburo Anchorage. The blame can be found in the mirror. You elected and re-elected this ship of fools.

    Proud of yourself?

    • As much as I want to agree with you about re-electing these fools, it is not really the fault of the voters. The leftists are running in districts that are solidly left. An inert carbon rod with a (D) after their name would get elected and re-elected in their district.
      .
      If the assembly was a city wide election, and the outcome remained the same, your statement would be perfectly accurate.

      • A historic less than 20% voter turnout disagrees.

        But your point highlights a point I make constantly most here disagree with. Anchorage is a blue city, and Alaska is a blue state.

        Gotta know when you’re in the minority, even if you’re right.

        • The Masked Avenger: It does have a very large coast and the ocean always seems to attract the left minded, even if it is too cold for those that don’t like to be hardy, independent, and self reliant. But I still think Anchorage is actually a purple city with extremes on both sides. The left in Anchorage is very presumptuous and outspoken and unashamed and trendy as hell and take every inch that people give them, whereas the people on the right in Anchorage most of the time go unnoticed because they are the opposite of all that and they have no representation in mainstream journalism. None. And CMBTTek is right. There are sections of town where a dog that could bark “equity” would win, whereas the rest of the town is probably 60/40 on the right (well and a lot of mush), but that 40 on the left has enough people that are really good about having book clubs and banning together to tell everybody what they need to do, which they do without a wasting a moment of thought.

          But if what you say is true, then it’s not “our” fault, the people you are speaking to.

        • Valid point on the turnout.
          If more people realized what the Assembly was doing with their taxes, they might get involved.

  4. It seems the assembly is milking the homeless problem to use against the mayor as best they can while also using it as a vehicle for gaining control. The mayor has had numerous excellent ideas, one in particular, the Navigation Center, yet no matter what his efforts are the assembly is determined to thwart them, and then say he has no plan, and of course do their best to give that impression to the public. The assembly does not appear to really care about the problem, only to the extent they can use it.

  5. The Holy Scriptures say a man must first give evidence he can control – himself – before he is qualified to take on additional group welfare (family, larger group) responsibility. The Mayor has credentials proving fitness in several areas. Those who have not got equivalent credentialing should take the lead in showing respect to their superior associates. That is what is needed here and normal masculine behavior. Sorry ladies.

  6. It is evident to me that Chris (the constant complainer ) and his group do not want to solve the homeless problem because they would not be making money. Money for themselves and those who control the situation.

    Look at the National Homeless problem, has anyone solved it in any way? Excuse me, Frank, the Mayor could solve the problem if the Assembly would work with him. You don’t speak for me as a taxpayer. Thank you.

  7. Frank,
    In case you haven’t been watching, the Assembly commie 9 have refused to work on a homeless solution, they want to force their plan (which a couple of them benefit from personally) upon us taxpayers (homeowners). When they finally agree on a solution, it is put on the assembly agenda, then shot down by the commie 9 unless it benefits them, not the homeless nor the city at large. They don’t want a solution, they want total control and to dictate a forever homeless shelter with no end in sight. They don’t want a navigation center to help keep people from becoming homeless, they want the sully packed with endless homeless.

    Can we recall all nine at once so that the remaining three can replace these oath breakers?

  8. How did homelessness become this big of an issue? We should be asking that question too. I’m not sure how to fix it at this point, so hopefully the political leaders find some sense and actually do something to resolve it.

    • Simple. The more money a municipality throws at the homeless, the more come to reap the benefits.

      The muni has a out of control homeless problem because they want it.

  9. Why is the Assembly so adamant that they Golden Lion be turned into a homeless shelter? Why that building?
    .
    They are literally causing themselves stress in an attempt to force that shelter into that building. Why? What is so special about it?

    • What is so special about the Golden Lion? The assembly paid 9 million for it to sit empty for 2 years. It was going to be a treatment center. Did this happen . NO. Now it would have to be renovated for the Homeless to move in. More Taxpayer money. So they need to do something with this empty building. As I have said before, Hold on to your pocket books, taxpayers there is more to come. These 9 couldn’t solve a problem if it slapped them in the face.

    • They don’t want to admit they wasted millions of dollars on a useless hulk. Just another example of millions in waste. Why don’t we demand an accounting for all the money the assembly has thrown away? They work for us, right?

    • The most confusing part to me is that they dilleberately signed into law that the Golden Lion would not become a homeless shelter, their own actions created this structure, so why are they trying so hard to eliminate that.

      I still keep coming back to, why not buy/lease/take over the Northway Mall and use it to house the homeless?

      Why the sullivan… why eliminate the great uses of an arena for the purpose of housing people, when there are many far better options out there. Hell, allocate all of the arena revenues to go towards the operations of the homeless business.

    • Building’s special, CBMTTek, first because it’s at a fixed street address where hundreds of brand new voters, alive or dead, can be registered to vote, helped to vote, and helped to mail in their ballots.
      .
      No? Who’ll check?
      .
      Second, the building can be turned into a permanent monument to Anchorage’s burgeoning homeless-industrial complex which will never go away unless by some catastrophic accident Anchorage voters regain control of their election system and make it go away.
      .
      Third, and probably best of all, who could say no to bonds and a ten or twelve percent sales tax to expand the building, buy others like it to help the hungry and homeless?

    • It’s because they purchased it and they purchased it at too high of a price. And they are never going to get to carry out their original plan that took them forever to develop. They spent tons of resources and went through tons of stress with the public trying to figure out any of their plans and NONE, nada, zilch have gone anywhere. It’s a cognitive dissonance thing. They don’t want anybody to see the egg on their face that they feel so much that it makes them shaking mad. They really want to throw good money at bad and put whip cream on their turd so people don’t smell that they crapped the city’s pants. Actually with the homeless, that metaphor is less of a metaphor and more of a reality.

  10. Why is so much energy wasted on this issue? The homeless are evidently ok with being homeless, because there are is inexhaustible stream of resources available if they want to get back on their feet. Why not enforce the laws on the books regarding loitering, trespassing, public defecating, etc. for those who don’t want to abide by public mores? As it is, the homeless are running the show getting catered to and chauffeured from place to place.

  11. These people are so bottom of the barrel incompetent it’s become funny.

    Bifurcate, you say? Yes, sane Anchorage needs to do that from these losers.

  12. Imagine … you are a new homeless person now returning back to the gutted Sullivan…a place made for 6, 000 spectators… every thing that was fabric or wood has been dragged out and burnt… we need to get some cameras over there… to film how in the world do these people sleep if there is construction noises going on… screw guns, hammering, doors slamming while people wander about again outside the neighborhood of midtown again … because the refurbishing is going on in a hurry hurry, spend that money … keep in mind we are also paying for their belongings that were put in the connexes. The 2 totes with lids are only the items they need each day, the rest in storage including stolen items

  13. Although Suzanne LaFrance announced that Meg Zaletel was excused from attending the special assembly meeting on Monday, Meg was present. She sat in the audience area with subordinates from her “Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness” non-profit. Since smart phone activity was “fast and furious” during the meeting, I wonder how many text interactions she had with assembly members in her coalition during the meeting.

    On this topic, it is clear to me that Pete Peterson would have nothing to say at assembly meetings, if others stopped sending him texts to second particular motions and, in some cases “Wake UP”. He introduced a motion yesterday and when Suzanne asked him to speak on it, he passed.

    Questions: 1) Can we make a public records request (that will be honored) to obtain text messaging between and among assembly members during assembly meetings? and 2) How much is Meg paid as the executive director of her non-profit group?

  14. They burned everything because it was probably infested -with lice, bedbugs, etc. unfortunate but it happens in homelessness. Making it appear “cool” you can extend the requirement for help-/

  15. Replying to Barbara-990’s (which are non profit tax filings are public records). You need to go
    To irs.gov and search the 990’s for that specific non profit and you will see quite a bit, But-they are required
    To produce information to anyone who asks -that’s law. No non profit
    Can have
    Closed books

    • I found the EIN for Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness and this at the IRS website provided me with the tax returns. However, I do not see what they pay Zaletel for her position there. I’ll continue to look because this seems like important information (in the greater scheme of things).

    • How? Please get your friends to vote. That would be a start, and if they could possibly inform themselves instead of looking at signs and Listening to the hate commercials that would help too.

  16. The Homeless industry is about taking care of the providers, and has little interest in the homeless other than to exploit them for government money. If you want it fixed, fund faith-based homeless programs. Otherwise, you are wasting the taxpayer’s money.

Comments are closed.