Anchorage parade official prohibited campaign entries in downtown Fourth of July parade

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The Anchorage Fourth of July parade hadn’t yet begun on Monday morning, and it was already controversial. Kelly Tshibaka, running for U.S. Senate, was abruptly told by the nonprofit that runs the parade that campaigns like hers would not be allowed to be in the Fourth of July Parade, even though her entry form had been approved and her entry fee accepted weeks prior. She is running against Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The Kelly Tshibaka for Senate entry had a decked-out truck and float, and campaign volunteers walking alongside. (The one pictured above is from the 2021 Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River.) The truck had her campaign logo on it. The group had filled out the entry paperwork by the deadline and spoken to the organizer on several occasions before today’s parade to nail down the requirements. The group understood they were not to pass out campaign literature along the downtown parade route. But they were wearing campaign shirts, and that may have been the ultimate offense.

Anchorage Fairs and Festivals, which used to put on the main Independence Day parade in the city, dissolved last year and another group took over. The parade in Anchorage remains a private event and the municipality has no say in the matter.

A man from the parade organizing group, who identified himself as Bill Ross with the Veterans Fourth of July Parade Council, was adamant. The Tshibaka group finally headed their parade entry to Wasilla, where they planned to be in another parade.

Because the Anchorage parade is being run by a private organization, infringement on First Amendment free-speech rights is unlikely to apply. Private organizations can get permits to use government-owned streets for parades, just as the LGBTQ community has in the past held parades during June, which they designate as Pride Month. An LGBTQ group could just as easily prohibit an entry in their parade that referred to Bible verses. And the Veterans Fourth of July Council can prohibit whatever form of speech they like. Evidently, the vets don’t like political campaigns in the parade.

In other communities, where the cities are actually in charge of the annual parade, the ACLU has gotten involved.

In 2011, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on three cities to remove free speech restrictions during their Independence Day parades. Each of the cities prohibited candidates running for office from participating in the community parade and distributing campaign literature. The cities included Cleveland-area suburbs of Bedford and Shaker Heights and Dublin, a Columbus suburb.

“Independence Day is supposed to be a celebration of freedom and democracy, yet these policies restrict our most basic First Amendment rights,” said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James L. Hardiman at the time. “Free speech is the foundation of our political system, and political speech must be strongly protected. Candidates and the public rely on a free exchange of ideas so voters are informed when they cast their ballot.”

The Anchorage Veterans 4th of July Parade entry form spells out the details, which include absolutely no throwing of candy, no items of a social or political nature, and no performing in front of the grandstand:

39 COMMENTS

  1. Happy Independence Day to you Suzanne and all the readers! Fly our US Flag proudly and enjoy!

  2. Not much of a veteran if they are quashing free speech. Sounds like leftist hogwash to me.

    • The veteran’s group is not quashing free speech. The sponsor of a properly permitted event on public property is allowed to control the content of said event; just like a wedding at a public venue. The terms of the parade clearly prohibit political displays. As to the 1st Amendment, it is only intended to limit the government controlling behavior of private citizens (which is always done under the threat of force). There is no forced behavior or censorship involved in this private event. The Tshibaka campaign is free to obtain their own permit to conduct their own parade.

    • I talked with this particular person.. and HE WANTED NO POLITICS in the parade.. He was very specific that NO POLITICS.. OF ANY KIND WAS PERMITTED. NOTHING AGAINST KELLY. Just no political statements.. and since she was running for office..it would seem like politics.

  3. so did anybody else in the parade display anything of a political nature … sounds like the form was pretty damn clear … don’t misunderstand me … i support kelly 1,000% … but sounds to me like somebody in her campaign blew it – they had no business entering that parade and displaying politics

    • Good points Tom. There seems to be more to this than meets the eye. When the Tshibaka campaign submitted its application, what did the veterans envision? That the campaign’s float would be nonpolitical? That sounds quite incredible. Then we have the clear written prohibition of political content… which is also incredible considering even a cup of coffee is political. In fact everything under the sun can be construed as political. Isn’t the American flag a political symbol?

      • The American flag a political symbol? Coogan, give me a break. You are clearly a leftist nut bag.

        • “Political” Definition 1: adjective “relating to the government or the public affairs of a country.” Ergo, every nation’s flag is an international political symbol. Nothing communist (leftist) about stating that simple fact.

  4. Very surprised by this development and its doesn’t sound like a “ normal” veterans organization or function. politics is an everyday event in the US 365 days a year wether in the home or on the street. More information on this “veterans” function and who their leadership is would be most desirable. Most veterans I know ( including myself) would say that unhindered political expression is one of the reasons we served!!

    • Johnslone, your well-made comment makes far too much sense for our current political climate.

  5. Team Kelly congratulations you have the evil empire running scared and of you. The cry babies union is what the left should be called. cowardly acts of shameless small minded clowns how can you live with yourselves how evil.

    • Oath, I will vote for Tshibaka but I predict Murkowski will win. Her pipeline of free stuff from DC to Alaskan voters gives her the advantage. Ours is a culture of greed.

  6. Do not know Bill Ross and now really do not care too….he certainly does not represent this veteran nor display any of the spirit of July 4th….An approved application is just that ..there are bad apples in every barrel and it appears we have all found one this 4th of July….I know Kelly and her folks will get a good reception in Wasilla and I hope Bill Ross finds a way to over come his ill feelings and manage to have a good 4th of July in spite of those dark feelings….

    • Got news for you Skippy. The parade application/contract expressly (in writing) prohibits politics. Honoring a contract is an act of integrity. Dishonoring a contract reveals “dark feelings.” The only claim the Tshibaka campaign could have would be a civil tort if other political expressions were allowed.

      • Coogan, you are a troll. All of a sudden posting comment after comment. Go away, you leftist nut case. Go scream at the sky and worship Brandon. You are not fooling anyone.

        • Hey Larry, seen Moe or Curley lately?
          Coogan isn’t a leftist Troll but are you a Stooge?

        • Pretty funny here Larry as you clearly know little about Wayne by calling him a leftist. He is usually to the right of Attila the Hun. How did you get so fooled? Heheh!

          • Bill, the fact is, I consider myself neither left nor right; neither liberal nor conservative. My goal is to pursue truth, no matter how difficult it may be to digest. The reason I appear to be on the right is that is primarily where the truth resides.

      • W Coogan, while you are correct, my problem lies with the parade organizers, who apparently took payment and accepted the application. You must live under a rock to not know that Kelly is running against Lisa and that her float will express that. The correct way would have been to return application and fees with a note that political signs etc. are not allowed OR asked more questions of the float builders to ascertain IF it was a private float not in conjunction with her campaign. To dump her with very little notice is at the very least disingenuous.

  7. No religion, no politics, no sex, no commercials, no laughing, no crying, no loud voices, no cheering, no sneering.
    Have fun, everybody!

    • Maybe you could dox him here on MRAK! Get the Save Anchorage folks to rally around and protest outside his house. Or, maybe you could get a permit and organize your own July 4 parade next year–you can let whoever and whatever be in it.

  8. Hmmm, seems to me Bill Ross may have a friend in the Anchorage Assembly? What a bunch of crap to turn them away like that after approving their application. Something stinks Kelly, maybe he supports Lisa.

  9. I will never support or go to the parade again. This is supposed to be our “city parade” and we are supposed to see politicians so we can get a look at them in person. They should be on the park strip so we can talk to them and this is just a bunch of hog wash. I don’t care who the candidate is, I want to see them all in the parade. There should be as much diversity, non-profits, religious groups, shriners, etc that want to participate. This is our hometown get-together and anyone who wants to participate should be able to do so.

    • “I will never support or go to the parade again………”
      I stopped going to social functions decades ago, and now is clearly not the time to sound the ‘all clear’ with kooks on the rooftops shooting at innocent parade attendees. Sorry, but this society is fully fubar. I remember the 60’s, and this makes the 60’s look like a garden party. There will be no coming back from this that looks anything more peaceful than the Battle of Shiloh.

      • Winning comment, Reggie–the only mention in MRAK about the mass murder in the Chicago suburb committed with another legally purchased semi-automatic rifle. I’m surprised the comment was approved for posting.

  10. We were happy that she came out for the real 4th of July parade, held in Chugiak nonstop for over 60 years. You know, the one not even mentioned in the media ( thank God) that all required is to get a number and you can participate, riding your pet goat if you want. Or just walking with the flag of our great country. But you best have candy for the kids. Our little parade is the best in the country and is true to the tradition. Even Kelly Merick joined in, blasting “YMCA” from a boom box, but not loud enough to overwhelm the booing crowd. Noteworthy, they also forgot the candy. Like I said, anybody is allowed. But the Chugiak crowd will let you know how we feel, and we all love our country. Nick received applause, as did Mc carty. No sign of Sara.

    • Thank you Trig for keeping the best 4th of July parade around! I saw pictures of our kids and grandkids as we are out of town, but thank you for continuing a family event that supports the love for our country.

  11. What a shame! Took a nice community event and sour it! With political crap!
    I remember in the days that all parties could be involved in parades! And they would have banners on side of trucks that volunteered!

    What a crock of shit!

    Go Kelly

  12. Am I missing something here? The last group in the Anchorage parade was a gaggle of pro-choice-to-kill crones, screeching about their “rights.” It was a hideous thing. Did these people crash the parade or what? Did anyone else witness this?

  13. Other than this year’s candiates leftout, there was no color guard, no service personnel, no
    youth and anchorage symphony playing patriotic songs, no multiple floats for veterans and anchorage
    pioneers, no anchorage mayor, no fur rondy queens, no full line up of the alaska women and girls pagent, no indigenous people float, few small all american businesses, no porshe and covette classic and fancier newer sports cars showcase, fewer motorcyles serving as our rolling thunder. It was missing a lot of our all american spirit. It did include something
    new though as its protest march- the
    pro choice abortion protestors- which is inappropriate for
    the occasion. The 4th
    of july council probably need new leaders by next year as well make the parade 30 mins longer so the fire engines aren’t waiting for 20 mins at p st!

  14. Too bad political banners were not allowed in the parade. I think it is more fun if all of the candidates are there so people can talk to them and see them as individuals. Maybe the parade organizers were just trying to dodge sensitive issues. If so, it would appear that they did not succeed.I like what Peggy said – it’s a big get together for everyone, so why not have everyone participate? That was the thing that made it so much fun when I was a kid. But that was a long time ago and society has really changed.

  15. The Kelly campaign can organize their own parade to express their free speeech. By submitting an application in itself indicates that Kelly will not follow the rule of law if elected to Congress. I would be disappointed if the majority of Alaskans would vote for that

    • I will vote for Tshibaka because her main opponent is a reprehensible traitor to her own party. It would be virtually impossible for Tshibaka to be worse.

  16. Frank would a stupid remark stupid stupid only out of the lips of a liberal. Just like her! Daddy’s girl hmm seems she had big problems trying to pass the Bar Exam. And it shows

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