By CRAIG CAMPBELL
The current Anchorage Assembly majority is the perfect definition of an oligarchy in lock-step with Mayor Berkowitz.
I like Webster’s definition of an oligarchy – “a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.”
Think I’m wrong? The normal checks and balance between the legislative and executive branches in Anchorage has all but been erased by an elitist group of liberal warriors intent on imposing their radical construct of government on all of us so they can retain political power.
They want to silence conservative views and replace civil discourse with autocratic authority that lacks diversity of thought. Their actions are not about making Anchorage a more inclusive, diverse, safe, and prosperous society. Not at all.
The sad part is, unless some of the current liberals are recalled, which is highly doubtful, no assembly member is up for re-election until 2022. They can do a lot of damage to our community over the next eighteen months.
I am not trying to be an alarmist. But I am sounding a warning that this assembly majority is hell bent on implementing their own monocratic agenda, which will result in the loss of representative government and an erosion of public input by an assembly that continually shows their disdain for the public that elected them to office.
Let me offer a few recent examples to confirm my allegation. Assembly member Meg Zaletel, while serving the Presiding Officer at an Assembly meeting illegally closed to the public, selectively invites just one member of the public to testify on Mayor Berkowitz’s very controversial proposal to purchase four buildings to address homelessness in Anchorage. Your thoughts really aren’t important.
This caused a recall effort against Assembly member Zaletel. But as with any oligarchy, the inner circle must protect their power, so the Clerk rejects the recall based on advice from the Municipal Attorney. Let me connect the dots.
The Clerk, who works for the Assembly, and the Municipal Attorney, who works for Mayor Berkowitz, cannot afford to have the nine member majority assembly disrupted. Regardless that the recall statement was legally sufficient, the bureaucrats must protect their bosses; the law be damned.
Usurping public testimony 5 to 1 against purchasing the buildings, the assembly majority approves the purchases, just as their ideological leader, Mayor Berkowitz, demanded. Then to replicate the Zaletel recall petition denial, the Clerk and Municipal Attorney denied a citizens petition request to repeal the ordinances to purchase buildings to house and treat the homeless. You have to give the ruling class credit for consistency.
Concurrently, the Assembly-Mayor Cabal is intentionally attacking the private sector to ensure we remain dependent on their munificent generosity. Look no further than their allocations under the CARES Act funding. Anchorage received $156.7 Million in CARES funding.
Of that, the Assembly only appropriated $33.0 Million for economic stimulus, while allocating $57.0 Million for homelessness, housing and family support. Of the economic stimulus funds, only $6.0 Million will be spent on small business and non-profit support, two of the sectors most negatively impacted by this pandemic.
That’s less than Kenai and Fairbanks provided to small business. This assembly should be ashamed. Instead, to address one of our city’s more serious problems, they carved out $3.0 Million to build trails, money that could have been used to help restaurants survive, but why should they do that?
Need I say more? Man, I’m going to miss the Perfect Cup Café.
Need more? OK, I will. To show us their blatant contempt of the law, they reserved $49,000 for the Assembly to retain consultant services for which Chair Rivera secretly and unethically solicited hiring on the Young Democrats Facebook, in violation of the Anchorage Municipal Code. This stuff has the makings of a Keystone Cops skit.
One last example of our elitist’s leaders arrogance. Ignoring public testimony against (again by almost a 5 to 1 margin) an ordinance that prevents “licensed professionals – such as therapists or school counselors – from engaging in efforts to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” the oligarchy passed the ordinance.
Those opposed cited concerns about the ban encroaching on freedoms of speech and religion and parental rights. Some called it overreach of the Assembly’s powers.
Freedom of Speech? Civil liberties? Parental rights? Doesn’t matter to this assembly majority, they really believe they are smarter than you and me.
On Oct. 16, the current Anchorage COVID Emergency Order expires. I will wager with anyone that the Assembly will extend it yet again.
Why? Because that is what we all expect Mayor Berkowitz to request, they have the power, and continuing to cripple the Anchorage economy may just be enough for voters to put more radicals in office at the Nov. 3 election. Anybody want to challenge me on this one?
The Leftist Cabal is pushing to radically change our community into an ultra-liberal monocratic society based on their radical view of humanity. Remember, Assembly member Forrest Dunbar tells us the U.S. Constitution is filled with racism, while Assembly member Chris Constant says that Anchorage is a systemically racist city.
Dunbar is the same guy who is proud his sister and cousin are out in the Portland riots participating with the “Wall of Moms” to shield rioters against the police.
This is the Cabal working to take control of our city. Opposing viewpoints, shut up and color. Trust them, for they will lead us to a better place.
Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor. He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF).