Assembly snubs protestors and passes controversial 'homeless hotel' measure - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, September 29, 2020
HomePoliticsAssembly snubs protestors and passes controversial ‘homeless hotel’ measure

Assembly snubs protestors and passes controversial ‘homeless hotel’ measure

By SCOTT LEVESQUE

As protesters lined the library grounds, chants of “Open up,” and “Let us in” rang through the crowd on Tuesday night.

Assembly member Jamie Allard, who entered through the library building’s side doors, was met with thunderous applause, but most notable was the absence of every other Assembly member, including Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

Word quickly spread that many of the Assembly members had entered through the back doors, including the mayor, who was swiftly ushered in under guard, while wearing a black mask.

The protest immediately moved to the library’s back entrance as the doorway closed shut. When questioned, library staff refused to allow access into the building, citing capacity limits.

Undeterred, the crowd let out a chorus of “Let us in! Let us in! Let us in!” which reverberated throughout the shallow back entry. Vehicles parked around the library began honking their horns as if orchestrated by legendary composer Howard Shore. Meanwhile, things were heating up in the Assembly Chambers. 

Assembly Members Christopher Constant and Suzanne LaFrance introduced floor amendments to AR 2020-296, a resolution introduced by Assembly Member Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy to open the Assembly Chambers to public testimony and participation.

The changes made by Constant and LaFrance essentially hijacked the resolution and relegated all public participation to email or telephone, a death blow to the public’s right to testify in front of the Assembly. 

The protest settled on the lawn in front of 36th Street, where the crowd waved signs, flags, and hands at oncoming vehicles. Many were showing their support by honking while they drove past the large group, which numbers in the several hundreds.

Speeches by a few, including Dave Bronson, electrified the crowd as calls for liberty and freedom rang true among the protesters. But inside the Assembly Chambers, deliberations around AO 2020-66 intensified.

Many Assembly Members thanked those who publicly testified, but in the end, those testimonies fell on deaf ears.

In what can only be considered a landslide, the Assembly voted 9-2 to approve AO 2020-66. Assembly Members Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy of Eagle River were the two “no” votes. 

With tonight’s approval, the municipality can move forward in acquiring four properties with CARES Act funds for homeless services. The only roadblock left for the Berkowitz Administration is a call with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which the Treasury’s Inspector General has requested due to the number of complaints received about the use of the CARES Act funds. 

By 11:15 pm, there were still dozens of protesters outside, some of them in their vehicles driving in circles in front of the building and honking their horns. Police came by and told them to tone it down. The meeting was set to end at midnight, and protestors appeared determined to stay until the Assembly members gaveled out and were heading to their cars.

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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

  • “The only roadblock left for the Berkowitz Administration is a call with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which the Treasury’s Inspector General has requested due to the number of complaints received about the use of the CARES Act funds. “

    Not the only roadblock. Legal opposition commences now.

  • Recall them ALL!!

  • Reset Day is coming. It be coming for those that think “public servant” means “public master”.

  • I think the mayor and assembly are gonna have a real hard time persuading the Treasury Dept, that the Anchorage homeless problem sprung up out of no where during the pandemic. Have a good time trying to sell that whopper jerkowitz

    • Besides, the CARES Act specifically uses the term “temporary”

      Good luck convincing the Feds that purchase of buildings and establishing homeless shelters/treatment centers is temporary.

    • Thank you Eagle River assembly members, now can we EXIT Anchorage?

  • After several days of appeasing the public by letting them think their testimony will make a difference, the assembly goes ahead and approves purchase of properties for homeless with CARES funding. Might as well have been honest and skipped the drama and approved it the first night of hearing on the matter since “the fix was in”. Inspector General is the last one that will give the thumbs down or thumbs up on their intent to spend CARES Act funds for properties for homeless. As for the cowards that did not want to face their public and sneak through the back door of the Library, their actions speak louder than words could. One person’s observations.

    • If what they were doing was so good and upstanding, and was supported by the public, why hide and sneak around?

      If your cause is righteous and just, why sneak around and prevent debate?

  • I can’t believe those thieves think they can get away with this! Are they all smoking dope? It’s time for a class-action lawsuit against every one of them that voted yes, and time to get them out of office (and out of the state if at all possible).

  • Who is going to organize the legal opposition and donate funds to support it? Where are the local councils who should be voicing their opposition to their assembly reps?
    What can be done to initiate recalls on the Berkowitz Nine?

    • Time for action…..Draining the Swamp
      Needs local, state & federal effort
      ..
      To pink slip the looters. Vote for No Democrats or Independents ( community organizers *)
      ***
      They are the elite, entitled to turn on citizen tax payers..& craft dirty deals with left – self serving looters

  • This is a travesty. No wonder real estate and construction are continuing to boom in the Matsu valley. People are fleeing Anchorage. I just pray none of the bad politics come with them.

    • At this point protesting is useless, the left only respects violence. Until people like Berkowitz are afraid to pass BS laws this will only continue.

  • Ethan Berkowitz: “PUBLIC ?? We don’t need no STINKEN public…”

  • Rather upset in the arrogance of the Mayor and Assembly doing as they dam well please. The people of Anchorage elected to you to office. The people who voted for you the citizen of the city oppose a strongly oppose a program you should do as they say not as you want.

  • Who are the wackos who voted for these people. What did you think liberals would do, they don’t care about what the people want, only their own self serving interests.

    • We can only hope that those wackos that did vote these people into office, will reap what they have sown, aka the homeless pooping and setting up tents in their back yards!

      • Seriously, none of the people voting yes live close enough to any of these properties to be impacted. That’s why they voted yes. Both of the assembly members from South Anchorage voted yes. A safe vote for them because none of the homeless will be within walking distance of their homes.

  • Anchorage elections traditionally have a very low voter turnout.
    Will the little dictator’s open hostility towards hard working taxpayers coupled with his love of homeless people, manifested by his working diligently to create more of them……finally get people to the polls?
    .
    If the coming election sees another low voter turnout, then y’all have only yourselves to blame…..

    • With respect, Tim, the Anchorage Assembly forced an easily corruptible mail-in ballot scam on residents to make sure no bond, tax, incumbent, or corruption like this gets left behind.
      .
      Scam worked, looks like productive residents can’t get rid of it. Best of all Anchorage’s Assemblymembers know they got away with it.

    • Could not agree more Tim, conservative Alaskans living in Anchorage not getting out to vote caused this problem, now it’s time for them to get their butts off the couch and vote these commies out of office.

      I’m also hoping that EaglExit comes to fruition and we can kill 2 birds with 2 stone.

    • Could not agree more.

      Yes, caring about who gets into national office, or who is in the White House is important, but the President can do very little to screw up your day to day life. On the other hand, your mayor and assembly can destroy your living standards practically overnight.

      Pay attention to your local elections people. From the first day Berkowitz ran for Mayor, he made it clear that the homeless will take priority over the taxpayers. If you voted for him anyway, or chose not to vote, you earned this.

    • Tim you are 110% correct.

  • They did as predicted. It can be punished at the ballot box but will it? History says Anchorage voters like liberal regimes. We can hope history is wrong. Yeah. Hope.

    But without leadership and a SINGLE opposition candidate for each of the big spenders? Not much chance. Beware the trick of multiple false-flag “conservatives” the liberals will set up to split the vote and keep a firm grip on the whip.

  • Banana republik.

    Good job, tiny E.

  • Surely there is an upstanding attorney in Anchorage who will take the case and file a class action lawsuit against Berkowitz. I will gladly contribute !

    This a is shameful display of power-grabbing and disrespect toward We The People.

    Vote out the tyrants !!!!!!🇺🇸

  • Is changing the resolution to make public comment via email or phone even allowed at the time of the Assembly meeting? If so, the agenda item should have been tabled to allow the public to receive notice and call in. What is clear is that the Assembly was charged with passing this item regardless with the wishes of the public. Dirty dirty dirty!

  • So use millions in funding that was meant to provide relief to those hit the hardest by a “pandemic” to purchase housing for people that most of whom don’t desire to live in. Remember the Red Nose Inn at 5/Karluk? Yeah, the place that was going to eradicate the drunks on the streets. Today, there are exponentially more drunks and druggies on the streets. So, now we’re told that these new 4 Red Nose Inn’s will solve the problems.

    Honestly, I don’t have a dog in this fight. What is sad is that our elected officials were given a pot of money for a specific issue that they sat on, distributing a palsy 11 million out of 157 million. ALL of this money should have went to grants to businesses that have suffered due to C19, not to purchase 4 buildings. Makes you wonder how friendly the owners of these buildings are with Berkowitz.

  • It always boils down to “US”, the voters, to blame.

  • Congratulations Mayor Burkowitz.

    What do you expect from mayor who wasted $100K of our money because he thinks a man in a nightgown is a woman.

    And don’t forget he said a man should be able to marry his son.

  • Is there a single member of the Assembly that has to work for a living? Do any of them own a business?

    • This comment really demonstrated the dedication to research that Must Read Alaska readers have lol.

  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. That and voting Democrat.

  • This is in the preamble of the 2030 agenda. There is 9 years to give everyone a place to live, Healthcare, and $$$

  • Let’s see…perhaps a couple hundred protesters out of a population of nearly 300,000. Not even close to a majority. Just a bunch of loud-mouthed troublemakers, many of whom may join the homeless soon thanks to total lack of responsible state and federal leadership.

  • The voters put these miscreants into office. Now they must live with their poorly made decisions.

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