Anchorage Person of the Year: The Gun Owner - Must Read Alaska
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Anchorage Person of the Year: The Gun Owner

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The Anchorage Press this week named Mayor Ethan Berkowitz as Anchorage’s Person of the Year. Yes, that Ethan Berkowitz — the one who has presided over the highest murder rate the city has ever seen for two years in a row. The city where crime rates topple old records under his watch, where some neighborhoods are beginning to feel like war zones. Where, as he put it, so long as you are not out late at night, you’re safe.

“If you’re not engaged in drug trafficking and not out after midnight, it’s a very safe city,” he told the Anchorage Daily News. (And later apologized, after public outcry.)

The Ethan Berkowitz who said taxpayers could have either snow plows or cops, but not both. The one who has raised property taxes nearly 6 percent, pushed the budget over $526 million and, with the help of a liberally dominated Assembly, gave out $7 million in city raises last year.

The same Ethan Berkowitz gave raises of 10 percent to more than 30 municipal executives who were already making more than $100,000 a year.

Despite passing the biggest budget in Anchorage’s history, Mayor Berkowitz and his Assembly majority is borrowing millions of dollars to fund the public employee pension system, passing along that debt to future generations. And he’s using city-owned property as collateral.

Mayor Berkowitz also proposed and won a new 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax that will cost Anchorage families $11.7 million in the first year alone.

We’ll give him credit where it’s due: He’s brought the number of sworn officers up to 400 on the Anchorage Police force, an important goal during a crime wave unlike any Alaska has ever seen.

The Press says that Berkowitz can take credit that “Anchorage remains a beacon of growth and modernity.” It goes on with the unpaid campaign ad for his re-election:

“But more than all that, Berkowitz has an intangible quality that gives him an edge over any other nominee for this illustrious honor — he loves this [gratuitous F-bomb deleted] city more than you do.”

Conservatives might quibble with the characterization.

But who else has had such an impact on the well-being of Anchorage residents?

Andrew Halcro, who received a political plum job from Berkowitz and runs the Anchorage Community Development Authority, recently fathered the 5th Avenue parking garage rooftop ice skating rink that is, for the most part, a lonely little patch of novelty ice in a city full of wild ice skating opportunities.

(Andrew Halcro has objected to Must Read Alaska using this photo from the official publication, so we’ve replaced it with the entire official invitation.)

Or perhaps the Anchorage Person of the Year is Alice Rogoff, the somewhat rogue former publisher of the Anchorage Daily News, who stiffed dozens of Anchorage businesses and even her former employees, but now attends fundraisers for Gov. Bill Walker.

There’s a case to be made that by selling the newspaper, she had one of the more positive influences on Anchorage in 2017.

MUST READ ALASKA’S PERSON OF THE YEAR

We asked around to see what others thought would be appropriate for “Anchorage Person of the Year,” and here’s what the consensus is from conservative Anchorage residents who participated in this informal poll:

Anchorage Person of the Year is the gun-toting, law-abiding citizen who is now taking action to protect his [her] home, car, boat or snow machine, family dog, and children.

In a city that feels unsafe at any hour, citizens are arming themselves and joining social media and neighborhood watch groups in droves. They are engaged liked never before in being crime spotters and crime reporters.

It’s folks who run the Eagle River Crime Watch (7,800 members) and Stop Valley Thieves (16,000 members) and Wanted: Mat-Su and Anchorage (4,800 members) pages on Facebook. There are a dozen or more of these groups with active memberships. And they post pictures of stolen cars and thieves in action, like this one, where someone is caught on security camera trying the door of a truck in a Hillside neighborhood.

The Anchorage Person of the Year is also the certified firearms instructor and the legal gun dealer.

Amy Demboski, who serves on the Anchorage Assembly from Eagle River, said she is getting calls from women who need help finding the right firearm for personal protection. She’s known as someone who carries and who participates in her neighborhood watch.

She meets women at a local gun range in Palmer and lets them try one of her 9 mm guns — and she has several to choose from — so they can get the feel of these weapons and shoot one before purchasing.

These are women who have never thought they’d ever own a gun. They’re our Anchorage Person of the Year.

And although the Anchorage Press may call Ethan Berkowitz when mayhem breaks out on the street in front of their shop, the Anchorage Person of the Year is, first and foremost, the law enforcement professional.

It’s the man and woman in uniform who puts their life on the line every day by just walking out the front door to report for duty in a city where crime never sleeps.

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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

  • You forgot to mention the millions that the Muni continues to spend defending itself in the Tony Henry lawsuit. You remember Tony Henry, the former SRO for the Anchorage School District who, with the help of his former boss, APD Chief Mark Mew, turned a blind eye to credible reports of rape and sexual assault in the National Guard.

  • Would you expect anything different from the press? We know what they will do and who they will pick.

  • Mayor of Anchorage is just a step in the political ladder for Berky. Like Begich, he has his eyes continually set on something higher. Maybe his wife too.

  • So you do not entirely buy that Anchorage residents have nothing to fear so long as they are behind locked doors by midnight and they don’t sell drugs? What un-Alaskan and un-American advice!
    At the same time personal responsibility is a Republican and an independent trait while Alaska Democrats look to government in every instance so maybe Ethan B. is not the first place you go for advice. Possibly this is a good time to remind everyone to contact Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and ask that they do all that they can to pass the concealed carry reciprocity legislation that passed the House. And thank you Suzanne so much for recognizing personal responsibility in this way. Alaskans have every reason to be optimistic about 2018 – thanks in no small part to elected Republicans in Washington, DC – but November is sure a long time to wait for a new governor to be elected.

  • After living in Alaska for 57 years and if I had to live in the land of crime and cold I would be out of here. Obama, Walker, Berkowitz, Baggage, and the rest of the LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE SOCIALISTS have brought this all on, PERIOD!

    LET GLOCK RULE!!!

    • BTW When we lived in Anchorage in 1970 the worst thing that happened was a Spenard Divorce! Other than car accidents.

  • I would argue that more cops is fraud waste and abuse of taxpayer money. Unless criminals are punished properly, they just catch and release crooks at the cost of 100-200k a head in salery and benefits. I’d rather have my taxes back to pay for replacing what has been stolen.

  • What is to credit for the increased crime in Anc? Pot is legal so that can’t be it. The immigrants from 3rd world countries are members of the only religion in the world that has to advertise that it is peaceful, so that can’t be it, I’m really stumped, can anyone help me out here?

  • Los Anchorage, where Alaska is only an hour away. How progressive.

  • If Mayor Berkowitz loves Anchorage so much, why doesn’t he SCRAPE THE SNOW OFF THE F****** ROADS? I am persistently embarrassed by the horrible way the roads AREN’T plowed when it snows. Atlanta might be a cool town, but Anchorage using its snow removal plan is not a good idea.

  • Socialism is a philosophy of failure,
    the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.
    Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

    Winston Churchill

  • We held 4 police academies in my last two years and those are the majority of the new officers on the street today. UAA’s Justice Center recently released a report showing the number of officers is not directly correlated to crime rates. In other words, it’s not how many cops you have, it’s how effectively they are deployed. That comes from good leadership.

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