As Assembly begins to curb free speech, Anchorage newspaper joins ‘racist’ fray, and university professor suggests ‘people’s brains have been polluted’

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A man who told the Anchorage Assembly that the homeless problem in Anchorage is primarily among Natives, and that Native villages and corporations need to help solve the problem, has prompted members of the Assembly to ponder how to censor the public’s free speech at the Assembly.

The Assembly has already taken its first steps toward censorship by eliminating the first half hour of public participation that was a standard of the meetings until this month. The reason stated was that the Assembly didn’t want to hear from the public so much. The Assembly leadership also enforces its speech rules in an uneven manner, singling out those it disagrees with for harsh treatment; punishment includes being forcibly ejected from the meetings. The Assembly has created rules for what constitutes an “actual disturbance” (clapping when the Assembly leaders don’t want to hear clapping), and has limited signs in the Assembly Chambers to letter-sized pieces of paper.

The leadership of the Assembly on Tuesday sent out a press release condemning the man for his statements, which the leadership said was racist. The Anchorage Daily News has also labeled the man’s statement as racist.

Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance and Vice Chair Christopher Constant wrote, “As the Assembly Leadership, we want to speak out against the racist and offensive statements made by the member of the public. Unfortunately, this is not the first time racist views have been expressed in the Assembly Chambers. The First Amendment gives wide latitude to members of the public to express opinions, even hateful ones, and this latitude extends to the Assembly Chambers.”

In that statement, the chair and vice chair appear to realize that there is only so much they can do, but they can at least call the man’s remarks “racist.”
 
“We are saddened by the pain the statements have caused to our friends, neighbors and community members who are Alaska Native. We want everyone in our community to feel welcome, safe and valued. Our community is full of rich and diverse cultures that should be celebrated and acknowledged for their important contributions to our society, culture, government, schools, and economy. We recognize that there is much work to be done to end racism and ensure that everyone is treated with respect,” the two wrote.

The Assembly is majority white, with two Hispanics on the 12-member body — Jamie Allard and Felix Rivera. There are no Alaska Natives who serve on the Anchorage Assembly.
 
“As to the comments the member of the public made pertaining to housing and homelessness, the Assembly will continue to work diligently with the community and the Administration to solve this complex issue until everyone who resides in the Municipality of Anchorage feels welcome and has a place to call home,” LaFrance and Constant wrote.

The Anchorage Daily News described it in the expected fashion: “A man’s racist testimony about Alaska Natives during an Assembly meeting last week ignited a larger conversation about how city officials and residents should respond when people make false or derogatory statements, especially during public meetings.”

The newspaper, in describing the testimony, gave the verdict that the man’s comments were “generalizations, stereotypes and untrue.”

After the man had finished speaking during his three minutes allowed at the podium, a visibly angry Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar began to argue with him, in violation of the rules of the Assembly that prohibit sitting members from badgering the public who is speaking.

Dunbar asked the man, “Where did you learn all this false nonsense?”

That’s when Assemblywoman Jamie Allard called for a point of order and said, “Let’s just not debate. I understand both perspectives and I just hope we can move on and not debate.” She was trying to calm the tension that Dunbar had created by harassing a witness who expressed a point of view that was not in alignment with the Assembly. Although she is Hispanic (one of two on the Assembly), the Left has called her racist and a Nazi, and she was interested in stopping the acceleration of the dispute started by Dunbar with the man at the podium.

The largest newspaper in Alaska wrote: “Many said that Lazer’s blatant statements laid bare often-repeated misinformation and the anti-Indigenous ideology at play in Alaska’s communities — and further exposed how testimony during the public meetings has been used to spread messages of bigotry and misinformation.”

Now, a professor emeritus from the University of Alaska has weighed in with a letter to the Assembly about how to handle speech that is racist, hateful, or not welcome. He wants the public censored.

According to Steven Aufrecht, professor emeritus of Public Administration at the University of Alaska Anchorage, some speech just pollutes the public discourse. And, he says in his recommendations to the Assembly, some people should just be banned from speaking at the Assembly, although the rules must be tightened up in order for that to work.

“Charles Fox and Hugh Miller, two public administration scholars, many years ago suggested some conditions for participation in a public discourse.  Without these, democracy cannot thrive,” Aufrecht wrote to the Assembly.

The professor’s recommendations to the Assembly continued. According to his letter, some people just pollute the public discourse because their brains are polluted with misinformation:

Pollution of Public Discourse

“What’s that? If toxic chemicals get into the water system, the whole system has to be cleaned out before people can drink the water again.

“When people come to the public forum, but insult their fellow citizens, spout half truths and complete lies, don’t learn the complexity of issues, they are really civic outlaws who pollute the public forum. 

“Our progress to finding alternatives that we can all reasonably live with is thwarted. Instead, the public forum is cluttered with rhetorical litter – lies, falsehoods, innuendo and clear cut slanders – that have to be cleaned up before we can go on. 

“But it’s not as simple as picking up trash. People’s brains have been polluted, misinformation has been planted, and people have lost trust in others, healthy debate dissolves into hostile conflict.    

“The point of civic debate, theoretically, is to work out our disagreements. We:

“1.  share ideas about the problem, the possible solutions 

“2. identify facts, 

“3. forecast consequences and costs. 

“That’s the ideal. Separating the objective from the emotional is never easy. We want to allow for emotion in testimony, but we also must draw a line when emotion becomes polluting of the discourse and derails sincere attempts to deal with issues.

Recommendations

“Point of the Assembly having the public speak is:

  1. “Hear their preferences
  2. “Hear the reasons for supporting one action/path over another
  3. “Gain additional facts about the costs (financial or other), impacts, etc. about one option versus another
  4. “Identify options that meet the needs of the most people, or minimally inconvenience the fewest people 
  5. “Get a sense of how many people support a position (though good polling would be more accurate than counting people at meetings)

Actions that pollute the public discourse:

  1. “Repetition of the same information
  2. “Addressing unrelated issues
  3. “Intentional misinformation 
  4. “Personal insults and attacks
  5. “Trying to get one’s preferred outcome through physical or verbal abuse and intimidation rather than reason and information

Strategies to encourage good public discourse and to discourage pollution of public discourse.  

  1. “Clarifying what is expected of speakers
    1. “Written guidelines for oral testimony
    2. “Video guidelines
    3. “Written public testimony form to help people focus their presentation
      1. “State your preference – A, B, C etc.
      2. “Facts supporting your preference
      3. “Reasons for your preference 
        1. “How does it affect you?
        2. “How does it affect others?
        3. “Costs/Savings it might entail
      4. “Additional facts/points that have not been raised
  2. “Offer the public a summary of the basic options, supporting data, costs, and impacts and ask speakers to address those points – particularly if they have something to add or refute
  3. “Assembly chair or members ask questions guiding the speaker toward answering the questions on the public testimony form – “Do you have any new facts to add to the discussion?”  
  4. “Use of technology to get the public’s views
    1. “Electronic surveys people can take live at meetings to show support for one or another option or point – these can be done via cell phones and can show results on the screen.  People watching from home should also be able to participate.  
    2. “Online written, possibly audio and video, options that people can use to submit their testimony.  The Alaska Redistricting Board had this option on their website which allowed people to submit written testimony online.  The testimony was then made available for all to see online.  Board members got packets of the testimony.
    3. “Investigate what other participation technology options are already in use in classrooms, in government public hearings, in  business settings
  5. “Consequences for people who violate the Assembly ground rules
    1. “There’s a difference between people who genuinely have trouble organizing their thoughts and those who are intentionally trying to disrupt the meetings.  The former should be encouraged and given help.  The latter should be given alternative ways to submit their input other than oral testimony at Assembly meetings.
    2. “There can be a hierarchy of offenses.
      1. “Level 1: Worst
        1. “Intimidation – name calling, insults, slurs directed at other members of the public or at Assembly members or administration representatives.  This includes physical and verbal threats that occur inside and outside the chamber.
        2. “Intentional disruptions that unnecessarily delay the proceedings.  This is trickier, however the Assembly needs the power to keep order at meetings and to eject people who regularly disrupt meetings and do not stop when asked to, 
      2. “Level 2:  Bad
        1. “Regular harangues that are disruptive rather than sincere attempts at resolving an issue
      3. “Level 3:  Minor 
        1. “Repetition of things already said (this can be handled with electronic polls)
        2. “Difficulty organizing one’s thoughts – this needs understanding, unless it is something that happens repeatedly from the same person, in which case, moving to written testimony or referral to Public Testimony Guidelines
    3. “Hierarchy of penalties  – should be appropriate to the offense
      1. “Banning from public meetings (online access is available and ability to make online written testimony means the person can still hear what is happening and can still participate, but without disrupting the public discourse.)
      2. “Banning from making oral testimony at public meetings. Again, they can still submit written testimony, all of which should be available to the public.

“This is a start.  Obviously there are legal issues to be resolved.  But I believe that the ability to watch the Assembly meetings online and to submit written testimony means that people who are banned from giving public oral testimony or even from attending meetings because of disruptive behavior, can still have access to their First Amendment rights. The rules, warning steps, and penalties have to be clearly stated, and even handedly meted out for this to work,” the professor concluded.

112 COMMENTS

    • I had to go back East for a family event. I was visiting with a family member and an old friend. Our pleasant conversation went sideways when they both began talking about race and how white people are the problem (both of them are white fwiw). I let them vent a bit, tried to get back to a conversation, and when that didn’t work I asked them a question. (I find the Aristotelian method the best one when dealing with these type of minds.) I said it seems like they were taking disparagingly about “white people”. They heartily agreed. I said it is hard for me to understand how an Irish person is similar to a Ukrainian person in culture, history, or customs. They did not have a ready response and the conversation had a pregnant pause. I then said that I do not see freedom or connection here. I see the new boss as same as the old boss. That hate is hate. That the people who obsess about race and see race first are racist. I am not sure if I changed any minds, but it did provide an exit back to a conversation.

      Reading the whole “Strategies to encourage good public discourse and to discourage pollution of public discourse” made my hair stand on end. That is the play book to your oppression good people of Anchorage. The question is will you bend the knee and kiss the ring? You have my prayers and attention that you would be courageous and stand up against your oppressors. You may not be interested in history, but history is definitely interested in you.

      Ty Suzanne for this reporting.

  1. How’s your Socialist utopia Anchorage?

    You voted these people in, kept them in, and hid in the basement as they pillaged your rights.

    Self inflicted wound.

    • Not me. I voted against Constant. It’s liberals and union members, whose paychecks literally depend on their vote, who are electing these Marxists.

      • Dan:
        The correct statement is “I think I voted against Constant.”
        You have no idea whatsoever if your vote was actually counted, or received for that matter. Thanks to mail in voting.

    • Actually the vote is so tainted we can not trust it. Nothing stopping ballot harvesting or electioneering with ballots sent all over the world and only a small percentage being cast.

  2. What is racist about telling the truth? The radical lefties are abundantly aware of the truth about the racial component of homelessness. They are just too afraid to admit and say it like it is. Why aren’t the ultra wealthy Alaska Native corporations stepping up and taking care of their people? Shouldn’t Mary Peltola be asking this question out loud on her campaign trail? After all, these are “her people.”

    • You have shown yourself to be racist I think. Mary Peltola represents all of us Alaskans not just natives. If you were the congressperson, I’ll bet you’d say that you represent all Alaskans, not just white christians conservatives.

      • Terry,
        YOU appear to be the bigoted, mindless racist. Why are you so quick to assume that ChrissyB is a White Christian Conservative? Where did you get that idea?
        And a racist? The people who call out others for racism tend to have racism in their hearts. And what’s wrong with the Native Corporations stepping up and taking care of their own people? Native Alaskans always refer to other Native Alaskans as their people. Native Corporations we’re set up exclusively to help their own people.
        You have shown yourself to be intolerant and unable to have sensible dialogue. You sound like a truly ignorant person with an incapability to digest truth or reason.

          • Thus, digging your own hole deeper within presumption and not only racist, but denomination and localization bigotry, Terry.

            See how that works?

            I shall take said bet.

      • @Terry Stires
        Mary Peltola does not represent me and I am mixed-blood Native. Further, Mary Peltola got into office with 39% of the vote. She does not represent the other 61% who voted for much more conservative Republicans. Mary Peltola will be gone in November. She doesn’t represent the majority of Alaskans. Period.

        • Their people. Our people. My people.
          That’s pure racist talk. How many White people have ever used those phrases in discussions? I’ve never heard one White person ever use those phrases. But these phrases are used regularly amongst Native people. I thought we were all the same people.

      • Mary Peltola may hold a seat where she is supposed to represent all Alaskans. But, holding the seat, and actually representing all Alaskans are two very different things.
        Actions, and time will tell.

    • Alaska Native Corporations do donate loads of money to support nonprofits that address homelessness. The majority of homeless individuals are NOT Alaska Native.

  3. The guy who spoke said the homeless issue was a “native problem” and not a white problem. He’s the one that made it a racial issue.

    That being said, this kind of ignorant and potentially offensive speech most be provided the most protection and should not be silenced because without hearing speech that you find potentially horrible, then you have no standard from which to judge your own viewpoints. Not only do I not want to be censored, more importantly, I refuse to be a censor.

      • Nope. Not when he starts off with:
        “But it’s not as simple as picking up trash. People’s brains have been polluted, misinformation has been planted, and people have lost trust in others, healthy debate dissolves into hostile conflict.”
        .
        People’s brains are not a municipal water system, they do not need to be emptied and re-filled to get rid of a false narrative. And the entirety of his argument is based on a false analogy.
        .
        Free speech, and the 1st Amendment is to protect EXACTLY the speech that the professor is trying to squash. It is the words you do not want to hear that require protection, not those you agree with.
        .
        As a scientist, or so you claim, you should understand that challenging the narrative IS science. It IS required. It is impossible to better understand the world if you do not allow those that disagree to speak.
        .
        If they are misinformed, correct them with facts and information. Allow them to argue their side. What is the worst that can happen? You might find out the person you did not want to hear from had a point? That makes the outcome better, not worse.

    • There is nothing “racist” about the truth, and the truth is that the homeless population in Anchorage IS primarily Native. That is simply a fact; it cannot be denied. So your non sequitorial bleating about “racism” only highlights your own disingenuousness and lack of critical thinking.

      • So I guess you haven’t noticed the hundreds of white homeless folks tearing up the greenbelt trails with their illegal camps, rolling around (or pushing or carrying) stolen bicycles? Convenient for you.

      • Sorry Jefferson, but statistically, The homeless population is 46% are White, 43% Native Alaskan, 11.5% Black, 6% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 2.5% Asian American and 5% did not answer.

        That looks like the primary population is White.

        Furthermore, when asked where they are from, most of the respondents said they were from Anchorage or out of the state

        • Pablo, rational thought, reason, evidence, statistics – anything that smudges the polished granite of Jefferson’s worldview – will upset him and cause an untold litany of comma-separated vitriol.

        • Your statistics are bogus, and only demonstrate your lack of knowledge of the local Anchorage homeless situation, as well as your blind reliance on the self-serving and twisted claims of “experts”.

  4. It seems like the bad and disruptive behavior is coming from the radical Left on the Assembly. The anti-democratic, censorship speech dog -whistle is from the newspaper editor and publisher, and the woke demagoguery is coming from some obscure academic instructor who is probably angling for tenure and a pat on the back by his radical lefty colleagues at UAA. Nothing new here except to get out more Conservatives on Election Day.

      • So Dave, he just sits around and collects his fat university retirement checks while fomenting a bunch of woke jibberish? The only poison that has been administered in our society is the academic poison that is used to condition and brainwash young minds for future use by the Lefties. This professor did not teach critical, independent thought and reasoning skills to his students. That’s rather obvious. And I doubt he exercises much of it himself.

    • Please, the radical left? Maybe real different from your point of view, sure, but that doesn’t make them radical. Even if you think you have a middle of the road view.

      Do you want to attract folks to your point of view, or just call people names? PS callingpeople names generally causes those people to be disinterested in other things you have to say.

      Way to keep conflict going neighbor.

      • Maureen, its people like you that will create the further divide and spark a real, physical conflict. The radical Democrat agenda has been to inflict name-calling and ad hominem attacks for the past three decades. The tables have turned, neighbor. The approaching conflict is on YOU.

      • Physician, heal thyself.
        Radical leftists have no problem calling me a right wing extremist, racist, transphobe, or any other number of insults. And, instead of crying and acting all offended, I choose to return the debate back to the issue at hand, instead of talking about racism, or whatever.
        .
        Sincerely;
        Maury Suttman.

  5. Same problem exists up in Fairbanks. Homeless are camping out near the river and pestering the tourists for cash all summer long. The City has a detox program to run around and pick up the abusers and take them to a safe dry-out facility. A standard White man would be arrested for vagrancy and harrassment. Meanwhile, across the river, sits a very large Native Corporation building with all of it’s elite members driving premium cars and getting their medical and dental needs fixed for free. Yes, there are two different Alaskas.

    • Please remind me what law says we as Alaskans must live in a home, and must have a job. Please read thelegal definition of vagrancy. Heck-look up why we have vagrancy laws inthe first place.

      • Huh? Are you an evening pot smoker, or do you get your alcohol fix early in the day? If you live in a Bush Village, then go to your Native Corporation and ask for an early corporate dividend payment. If you visit Fairbanks or Anchorage from the Bush, go visit one of the large corporation offices and sleep in the lobby. But don’t come into town and squat, or use the potty on the bike path. And quit hassling the tourists for handouts. The big fat Native Corporations should be exercising a little more humanity amongst their own, instead of relying on the State to take care of the indigence problem.

      • We also have laws against littering, loitering, public intoxication, petty theft, trespassing, drug use, indecent exposure, etc. We have those laws because they make for a better more civil society.

    • Because we actually want people to think for themselves, not stand at a mic and shout ridiculous things about subjects they actually don’t understand.

      • So you’re saying that unless you go to University you can’t think for yourself? I think it’s just the opposite. Universities these days are indoctrination centers not educational. If you think someone doesn’t understand then explaining it to them is far more productive than telling them they’re stupid and need their brains checked. That’s not a winning argument, that’s belittling and acting superior even though the “superior” have been wrong on numerous things the last few years.

        • How do you know that “Universities these days are indoctrination centers not educational”? Have you ever been to a university? Bob, anti-intellectualism is a real thing.

      • Same sentiment for the Assembly.
        Whenever someone rejects testimony without a valid reason, and “RACIST!!!!” is not a valid reason, they are demonstrating they do not actually understand the topic.
        .
        If there is testimony delivered that is incorrect, the appropriate action is to correct the mistake. To demonstrate your knowledge of the situation. The WRONG action is to shut down the person providing incorrect testimony.
        .
        Take a browse through the comments on this article. There are plenty of them providing statistics on the makeup of the homeless. That is the right way to react to someone who has it wrong. Shutting down testimony, or limiting what can be said is wrong.

    • According to the Alaska Homeless Management Information System, in 2018, Alaskan Natives comprise 30.24% of the homeless population. White Alaskans comprise 38.8%.

      • Lucinda, your statistics are bogus and laughable, and only demonstrate your lack of knowledge of the local Anchorage homeless situation, as well as your blind reliance on the self-serving and twisted claims of “experts”.

    • Yes, just what is the racial breakdown of the 94 Alaskan veterans who are homeless? Why can’t the Military Industrial Complex take care of their people?

      • Actually, Steve, within actuality, there is no ‘majority’ of race regarding homelessness within Anchorage.

        White, and Native hold unto nearly identical percentages, and have done for the past many decades, with a few other based ‘races’ thrown in.

        Of course, the issue is the observation within the public eye that makes a difference, that is, those most observed within public spaces, and that is, within reality those perceived as those of the Alaskan Native populace, such as those groups most likely seen at various public intersections, such as Benson and ‘A’ Street, 13th and Gambell, etc.

        That said, there are many, many more that do not present themselves publicly within such fashion, and exist outside of the public view, but yet reap the benefits of taxpayer support to exist as they so wish, and their origin, per se, has nothing to do with it.

        They all of them have something in common, though arrived from various, individual circumstances.

        I fully agree within the “build it and they will come” philosophy, and the first step unto to the ‘solution’ is to end governmental funding of anything to do with homelessness.

        Instead, relegate said funding, or solutions, unto the family, the neighborhood, the community, the church, the jails, and the individual.

        Enable them the choice of seeking the myriad of private supportive entities that are so available from any number of said such, as that is their choice, as individuals.

        Let them live free, within their own existence, without the encumbrance of Governmental numeration or support, and if and when they break the law, encompass them within lawful confinement based upon their individual breaking of said laws.

        Should they wish to live as they do, and die as they do, allow them that freedom, and to rot within their own self perceived freedom, within their own self-described home, and have their recovered corpses buried without the recognition that they themselves have determined unto themselves within life.

        Some may say that this macabre point of view is not warranted, unto which I say yes, it is.

        Individuals make choices in life, and towards death, unto them, and those they supposedly support.

        Individuals can seek help that is available or choose not to seek help of any kind.

        That is the individual’s choice, and their choice alone, whether it represents only them, or others affected by their choices in life. Or death, as the case may be.

        Agreed, Maureen.

        They should be housed at the barracks of JBER as advisors or instructors.

      • Maureen, because they took care of you so you could be free to opine here at MRAK.
        You really don’t see this?

      • A rational person would question: why is the “racial breakdown of 94 Alaskan veterans who are homeless” even relevant?. The only thing that should matter is that those 94 Alaskans are human beings created in the image of Yahweh.

    • I think the city does a homeless survey annually. I’m sure sex, race, and all that sort of stuff is noted. I wonder what the statistics reveal.

    • Nothing.

      Homeless is homeless, race has nothing to do with it, only individual issues, unto which the ‘Government’ never gets….

      • Homelessness is a mental illness, just as is Liberalism. Just as is being a woke Democrat. The difference is that the homeless don’t have enough money to pay for a shrink, after unloading what they panhandled for more booze. Woke Democrats are clustered in line at the local shrink’s office, using state assistance or Medicare to pay for it. And the line is long.

        • Medicare and social security only is available for people who worked. Medicaid is the one “free” for all. It not enough to pay for a lifelong free-loader’s assisted living expenses. The homeless must start working or die on the streets at 55.

        • Sorry, Larry. Medicare won’t cover “woke” mental issues. We tried and kept getting turned down. In my practice we try various ways to find appropriate billing. Psychiatric care used to be considered a luxury that only
          the rich could afford. In many ways it still is.
          I tell my patients to set some reserves aside for further “consultation” services. After the mid-terms, they are going to need it.

  6. The citizen has a point, and if he was wrong the Assembly and the professor could cite statistics to prove him wrong. But they cannot, because the majority of the so-called “homeless” are Alaska Natives who have left villages and regional centers for Anchorage because it provides infrastructure for them to drink and do drugs without any repercussions. Sad, but true, and getting worse. In the famous line from “Field of Dreams”, “build it and they will come.” They have taken Anchorage up on the open invitation.

    • Steve, if you’re OK with statistics, here’s one: “According to the Alaska Homeless Management Information System, in 2018, Alaskan Natives comprised 30.24% of the homeless population. White Alaskans comprised 38.8%”. It doesn’t fit your narrative so you may have to set your anchor a bit to starboard.

      • Figures lie and liars figure.
        Go make your own observations and report back to me. My family is native. Some of my extended family members have left their home village to do just what I said, and some have died as a result.
        This is an inconvenient truth for liberals to deal with, but it is nonetheless true. Again, go look for yourself.

        • Typical response in comments on here–commenter asks for statistics, someone provides them and then the original commenter dismisses the statistics as lies. This is the exact problem being cited in the article! No sense of irony around here…

      • I wonder why your stats and Pablos stats are different? Maybe because they don’t really know what the actual makeup is? I mean who’s counting these people and how did they find all of them? It’s not like they have an address to go to.

        • My thinking is different years or different sources.

          My numbers came from the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness website.

          ‘https://aceh.org/data/

    • Actually, Steve, within actuality, there is no ‘majority’ of race regarding homelessness within Anchorage.

      White, and Native hold unto nearly identical percentages, and have done for the past many decades, with a few other based ‘races’ thrown in.

      Of course, the issue is the observation within the public eye that makes a difference, that is, those most observed within public spaces, and that is, within reality those perceived as those of the Alaskan Native populace, such as those groups most likely seen at various public intersections, such as Benson and ‘A’ Street, 13th and Gambell, etc.

      That said, there are many, many more that do not present themselves publicly within such fashion, and exist outside of the public view, but yet reap the benefits of taxpayer support to exist as they so wish, and their origin, per se, has nothing to do with it.

      They all of them have something in common, though arrived from various, individual circumstances.

      I fully agree within the “build it and they will come” philosophy, and the first step unto to the ‘solution’ is to end governmental funding of anything to do with homelessness.

      Instead, relegate said funding, or solutions, unto the family, the neighborhood, the community, the church, the jails, and the individual.

      Enable them the choice of seeking the myriad of private supportive entities that are so available from any number of said such, as that is their choice, as individuals.

      Let them live free, within their own existence, without the encumbrance of Governmental numeration or support, and if and when they break the law, encompass them within lawful confinement based upon their individual breaking of said laws.

      Should they wish to live as they do, and die as they do, allow them that freedom, and to rot within their own self perceived freedom, within their own self-described home, and have their recovered corpses buried without the recognition that they themselves have determined unto themselves within life.

      Some may say that this macabre point of view is not warranted, unto which I say yes, it is.

      Individuals make choices in life, and towards death, unto them, and those they supposedly support.

      Individuals can seek help that is available or choose not to seek help of any kind.

      That is the individual’s choice, and their choice alone, whether it represents only them, or others affected by their choices in life. Or death, as the case may be.

  7. RACIST!
    I hear it so often, it no longer holds any meaning to me.
    .
    At this point, it is nothing but an attempt to close the argument, and shut down debate. Don’t say what the Assembly wants to hear, and you are given an undesirable label. Which is then used to dismiss whatever you were saying.
    .
    Oh, this guy thinks that a lot of the homeless are AK Natives. So? Who cares what he thinks. Are they natives? Most of the homeless I see around town are, but I do not have any stats to back it up.
    .
    And, what is wrong with saying the native corporations should be taking more of an interested in their people? I cannot see how it is racist to say the native corporations that have more money than they know what to do with should take some action. I listen to the radio ads from Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and you would think they are one big happy family that is looking out for the next generation. But, are they? How many of their members are among the Anchorage homeless? The number would be zero if you believed their radio ads.
    .
    Finally, it is absolutely unacceptable that the Assembly is considering limiting free speech, or even giving this Professor’s letter the time of day. Unless it is clearly a threat of violence, libel, slanderous, or outright dangerous, anyone should be allowed to say anything they want. And, no… “hate speech” is not dangerous, it is just something you do not want to hear.

    • This:
      “The Anchorage Daily News described it in the expected fashion: “A man’s racist testimony about Alaska Natives during an Assembly meeting last week ignited a larger conversation about how city officials and residents should respond when people make false or derogatory statements, especially during public meetings.””
      .
      Turning the discussion from the homeless to what can or cannot be said at Assembly meetings.
      .
      It is not about false statements, it is about stifling public discourse.

  8. A crowd of white leaders who think they know brown people. Meh. They have a hard time understanding and defending whites. Furthermore, The only Natives dunbar knows are college-educated Natives, and they don’t know as much as they think, they don’t know the ‘streets’.

  9. It’s obvious. The Assembly is not interested in solving this problem. They just want to push their “woke” (ignorant) agenda.

  10. There is enough wrongdoing and blame to go around. We should all think what we can do to make things better. There are genuine blocks to opportunity based upon race in Anchorage. Perfectly eager people of the land experience a lag in offered opportunity to this day. When one is excoriated publicly often it contributes to discouragement. Such discouragement can contribute to ill will and social striations. It is what Anchorage newcombers have desired from inception to date. But don’t throw the US Constitution out. The guy has a right to express his opinion. What have native corporations done to help their fellow man lately. A lot. I can go into true, dirty detail about how drugs and licentiousness which when scattered through Alaska exponentially increases these economic harms. Have you ever been homeless in Alaska? It will change you and harm you. Being literally drug behind this lackluster economy will damage someone with loss of self respect, loss of health, hopes and dreams. The native corporations and corporate entities can do more. They are already doing a lot and perhaps they can make it a goal to envision more they can do. Perhaps the street people can get educated, improve their health and resolutely seek non-existent opportunities. We can all do better. I think Safeway should save the white people though. It’s OK to suggest stupid things but stupidity is not persuasive. Try to be kind. A maxim of law which came before the US Constitution is: “A belligerent man has his rights.”. Native people should buck up, show up and never give up. And don’t even try to toss out the US Constitution in Anchorage.

    • So who are these “perfectly eager people of the land” you refer to, GG?

      Are there also people who aren’t “of the land” in your mind and who would they be if so?

      Would you suggest that these imaginary “people of the land” you refer to are owed anything at all by people who aren’t “of the land” and if so, what exactly is owed?

      And might it be the case that some of those “people of the land” you refer to are imperfectly or even less than eager?

      And if you imagine a debt of some sort exists between the non-“people of the land” and the “people of the land”, would you also imagine that the imperfectly or less than eager “people of the land” are owed less by the non-“people of the land”?

      Explain yourself, Sonny.

  11. Headline: Man’s racist testimony to Assembly sparks calls for changes at meetings

    Wouldn’t it be great if we made simple changes to the City Council procedures? All that has to be done is to require every speaker to submit an outline of their three minute testimony to the leadership of the council for subject matter approval beforehand? Since the council wants to control and run everything anyway and only their way, this could save time. Only pre-approved topics and opinions would be allowed, therefore no controversy. And peace would rein supreme throughout Anchorage.

    • See me standing and singing the old USSR national anthem comrade kommissar…..not!
      I sure hope this is satire!
      Why bother having meetings? Aren’t assembly meetings supposed to be a place for our “public servants” to ascertain the will of the public? These self-appointed demi-god wannabees give me the creeps. It is of note that a considerable amount of rude behavior, disdain and hate flows from the dais, but I am certain that “the rules” will not apply to that.

  12. The Anchorage residents created this assembly, their lack of involvement in government allowed the socialist democrats to take over Anchorage. There’s a reason that freedom of speech is ammendment #1. Anchorage has a substance and drug problem, not a huge homeless problem.

  13. If I had a 1/4 million a year salary to run a “not for profit” wink wink.
    I’d do exactly what they are doing.
    Offer a couple days fix and a free ride to the valley. Pretty safe bet that how the trespassers are getting out there.
    After a few months you could sachet into the grant office, greet all your friends and receive millions of dollars to expand your franchise into the valley.

  14. Anyone uttering obviously false statements is generally discredited by doing so. Anyone offended by obviiously false statements is generally insecure; if lies are so obvious why allow yourself to be offended?

  15. Forrest, I find people passed out on the sidewalk offensive, I find hypodermic needles in public parks offensive, I find people doing private things in public offensive, I find piles of trash and excrement along walkways offensive, and I find being forced to contribute to this barbarity offensive. Not everybody is noble and has something uplifting and meaningful to offer society.

  16. So, that professor emeritus must be ignorant of the Bill of Rights and thus the 1st amendment authored by James Madison and influenced by Thomas Jefferson. I think Stalin called people like that useful idiots.

    • No,no he is aware. He just doesn’t like it and believes himself to be so much smarter, more evolved and sophisticated. He therefore is entitled to force his wisdom on the great unwashed. Luckily he found willing enforcers in our “my way or the highway” assembly members, who while small minded, think of themselves as gifts to the citizens, who should gratefully just pay up and shut up.

      • “…and believes himself to be so much smarter, more evolved and sophisticated.”
        That is why calls to squash disinformation/misinformation must be ridiculed. They are nothing but censorship disguised as an attempt to solve problems.
        .
        Who determines what is mis/disinformation? It is funny how the people who assume they are perfect for the leadership job always seem to be the ones deciding what is mis/disinformation, and not the public. People can be wrong, that does not mean they are spreading misinformation. it also does not mean their voice should not be heard. Correct them, or don’t.
        .
        Oh… maybe it will pollute the public’s mind. So? Advertising is designed EXACTLY for that reason.
        .
        Anyone who advocates for shutting people down because of “misinformation” is not doing it for the public good. They are doing it to secure their position of power.

  17. BTW. It’s not ” homelessness ” that’s just a liberal buzzword.
    There are people that have fell in hard times. They deserve a hand up.
    What Anchorage is seeing in droves are bums.
    There’s a difference that is camouflaged by the media to enforce the narrative.

  18. It is a well known fact that a large percentage of Alaska natives are unable use alcohol in moderation. Coming to Anchorage from the bush is overwhelming in many ways, just one of them being the many bars and liquor stores where all you need is a little money to get endless amounts of alcohol. The availability of much alcohol to a native population results in irresponsible lifestyle choices which leads to homelessness. Simple observation is the best form of data collection as I doubt that the nonprofits are allowed to monitor racial information.

    • ‘https://icalliances.org/alaska-communities-dashboard filtering out all data except for ANCHORAGE, AK states that Anchorage homeless clients self-identified as:

      – American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous at 45% and
      – identified themselves as White at 38% (A snapshot in time for 2022-sure to change daily, weekly, yearly). They can identify as more than one race (i.e. mixed race AK Native/White) and get counted in each.

      I am sure that there is other data out there – I just found one source. No racist agenda/narrative here just reporting what ICA has compiled from other monitored sources.

      “Institute for Community Alliances (ICA) is a not-for-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. ICA functions as the HMIS Lead Agency and/or HMIS System Administrator in 14 states, providing technical assistance and training support for more than 4,000 database users.”

      ICA supports data-driven solutions and community information systems that help communities address housing instability, homelessness, food insecurity and related issues.”

  19. All of the assembly are agenda driven truth deniers that appear to view almost every situation through a distorted agenda driven lens. Homelessness is a huge problem mostly in our cities and now spreading into our smaller communities, such as Palmer. There has been ample research that most homelessness is closely tied to addiction and mental illness. Much research also has shown the vast struggles in our villages and small towns across Alaska with addiction and mental illness. Many residents from these communities end up in the cities. Then if one were to interview each homeless person on the streets of Anchorage what would you find? The comments made regarding ethnicity were true. It is heart wrenching but can’t be denied, except for by truth deniers such as the assembly and their blind followers. Dealing with mental health and addiction need to be a huge part of the homelessness solution, regardless of racial origin. There will never be complete elimination of homelessness but much can be done by focusing on the cause and not the symptom.

    Native corporations, to be fair, have been involved in addiction and mental health treatment. It would be very nice if they could bring also ideas and assistance to the homelessness discussion.

  20. Maybe we should consult with the Mat-su and how they handle the homeless issue. It is not a racist issue, despite the fact that many villages still use banishment as a way to rid themselves of undesirable individuals. We will never know the real numbers and it should not matter. Enabling drug abuse will never solve this problem, regardless.

  21. If Mary Peltola wasn’t a Native, would it make a difference to Whites?
    .
    NO.
    .
    She’s a liberal Democrat and wants more government, less resource development, and she rolls with Brandon and Pelosi.
    .
    Peltola is probably a nicer person than Sarah Palin.
    .
    But I don’t like Peltola’s politics or her policies.

  22. Seems to me we just need to find a place for everybody. Natives should be able to get help from their corporations. Vets should be able to get help from the Feds. Addicts should be able to get help from rehabs. Mentally ill should be able to get help from mental hospitals. Criminals should be in jail. People with monetary issues should be able to get a hand in getting into a home. Given what’s already been spent on the homeless, would this be feasible or not? If there are not enough homes, perhaps it would be feasible to build some rather than try to set up places like the Golden Lion and Sullivan Arena.

    Of course, I have no numbers in front of me, but what else can we do? Just making suggestions here and am open to more suggestions.

  23. The comments made by the speakers should not be condemned, but taken into account the possibility that there is a problem. Unfortunately the liberal assembly doesn’t want to look into it, just condemn the opposing side.

      • It is overused way too often. There are not that many racists on the planet.
        .
        AND, if race is not the subject, it is not a good response. Keep it on topic, do not resort to name calling.

  24. Fact check moment:
    1. Alaska Native Corporations do donate loads of money to support nonprofits that address homelessness.

    2. The majority of homeless individuals are NOT Alaska Native.

    3. Comments such as “send them back where they came from” are racist.

    I ain’t some woke liberal but this racist garbage is too much.

  25. “3. Comments such as “send them back where they came from” are racist.”
    Not sure I see it. Why should Anchorage, or any big city for that matter, be forced to take on the burden of caring for people who were forced out of their village?
    .
    But, I do think that is not a real solution. It is moving the problem around. However, it should be among the first things considered. Why is a Native Alaskan living on the streets in Anchorage? Answer that question first, and a much better outcome will happen.

    • Why does it matter where someone came from? Why are we singling our Natives. I wonder how many Anchorage residents arrived here from somewhere else.

      • Does not matter where they come from.
        If they are homeless and expecting to live off of my taxpayer dollars, it matters why they left. Or, in the case of a measurable percentage of the Natives, why they were forced out.

  26. LaFrance and constant are the worst.
    I’ll never forget the first time I saw them. They POINTED at me and said,
    “arrest that man!”
    Ignorant tyrants.

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