Balls of steel: Mayor Bronson is denied his library director, but shocks Assembly when he makes Sami Graham his new chief of staff - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, December 9, 2021
HomePoliticsBalls of steel: Mayor Bronson is denied his library director, but shocks Assembly when he makes Sami Graham his new chief of staff

Balls of steel: Mayor Bronson is denied his library director, but shocks Assembly when he makes Sami Graham his new chief of staff

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After an hour of debate, the Anchorage Assembly voted down Sami Graham as the city librarian. But then, Mayor Dave Bronson asked for a point of privilege and announced Graham as his new chief of staff.

After the applause from the audience at the Assembly died down, Bronson announced that Graham’s office will be located at the Loussac Library.

The look on Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance’s face was priceless. Her face went into a look of shock.

The audience would not settle down. The applause and cheering continued. LaFrance cut the mic so the applause could not be heard by those online or on TV. She had lost control of the meeting.

The drama came after the Bronson Administration made a valiant effort to get the liberal wing of the Anchorage Assembly to change its mind and accept Graham’s impressive qualifications.

City Manager Amy Demboski pointed out that she had never been a city manager, but they confirmed her. She pointed out all the people who had been confirmed for positions they had never held before, such as Human Resources Director Niki Tshibaka, who is a civil rights lawyer.

But the Assembly had made up its mind a week earlier and would not yield: Graham may have two master’s degrees but neither are in library science, which they think is a requirement for the job.

LaFrance quickly ordered the Assembly into its dinner break.

Graham replaces Craig Campbell as chief of staff. Campbell came out of retirement to help Bronson during his transition and was co-chair of his transition team.

The denial of Sami Graham as library director was seen as largely political.

She is the former principal of Grace Christian School. She will also have an office on the eighth floor, next to the mayor, but she will also be overseeing the library, which is her passion, sources said.

Campbell will be the program and policy director for the mayor’s office.

“Sami Graham will join the Mayor’s team as Chief of Staff where she will manage the day to day administrative operations of the Mayor’s office. In her capacity as Chief of Staff, Mayor Bronson has also delegated his authority to oversee the Anchorage Public Library to Mrs. Graham. Mrs. Graham will hold physical offices in both the Mayor’s Office and the ZJ Loussac Library,” the mayor said in a statement.

“Sadly, the Assembly acted exactly how we thought they would — blinded by partisanship and driven to obstruct our administration from moving forward,” Bronson said. “Sami Graham was exceptionally qualified to serve as the Library Director and she should have been confirmed this evening. However, over these many weeks, I’ve grown increasingly impressed with Sami Graham’s political insight, organizational leadership and ability to navigate complex challenges. For many of the same reasons Sami was qualified to run the Library and more, she will be a great addition to help lead Mayor’s office operations.”

Read: Assembly prepares for the kill of Sami Graham, library director

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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

  • Are you paying attention Dunleavy?

    This is what fighting back looks like. You don’t necessarily win, but you don’t roll into the political fetal system.

    Imagine if you had behaved like this, Dunleavy? Instead of hiding behind Ben Stevens desk. We might have a PFD, some cuts in government, and you might have respect.

    We’ll never know, will we?

    • Exactly!

    • 100%! We must learn to fight as they do if we have any chance of saving this state and country. Fight outside the box.

    • It seems as if Dunleavy is behaving like Joe Biden re Afghanistan.

    • Exactly ditto!

  • I prefer Craig Campbell as the chief of staff with an office near the mayor in city hall.

    • I will still be Mayor’s wingman as Director for Policy and Programs. Sami will be a great add to our executive team.

      • It’s a brilliant move. Now let’s do away with the chief librarian job.

      • Sir, you are a blessing to this City, State, and the USA, regardless of your current “title.”

  • We felt the Mayor was smarter than all of the Libs on the Assembly put together and his actions tonight proved it.
    WAY TO GO MAYOR DAVE!!!

  • Hurrah! The Mayor is setting the right precedent, the assembly needs a good comeuppance! Now if we could get the Governor to throw a little Testosterone around we would all be better for it! Sock it to them Mayor Bronson!

  • If you can’t beat them with kindness, smother them with sh*t. 😂

    • Huge LMFAO!!!!!

  • Me thinks that Bronson should be destined for higher office!

  • 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
    Eat it LaFrance!

  • No holds barred knock down match and the Assembly got TKO’d by Bronson.

  • Priceless…!!

  • Anchorage’s new mayor Dave Bronson is on a roll!!!! If the Democrats in the assembly can skirt and ignore municipal code, the new mayor can definitely look into ways to skirt around their tyranny.

  • See what integrity looks like,see what an oath taker brings forth for the people of the people by the people, see what a good politician looks like all. Congratulations to all anchorage voters for our mayor. Mayor Bronson tell the citizens how we can help you we will stand right beside all the way sir. voters once more congratulations we now have a fighter Bronson Bronson Bronson save our city save our state vote wise citizens

  • Are you paying attention Mark A. Milley, this is how a proper military man takes charge of a bad situation! #nosurrender #standbehindyourpeople

  • Excellent job mayor, the leftist socialist anti-Anchorage assembly is a disgrace.

  • This is the difference between a former military officer and a former schoolmaster.

    • Storming Norman Schwartzkopf.
      Ichabod Crane.
      LOL …

  • If Berkowitz pulled this, y’all would’ve been livid calling him a little dictator, napoleon, and all the other favorite nicknames you had for him.

    • Berkowitz, just like those on the Assembly, refused to act in good faith. They repeatedly rammed through things like mail-in voting, created an equity position in Anchorage which cannot be discharged by anyone but them, forced family owned dining establishments to close while Berkowitz’s own restaurants set up enclosed tents in parking lots defying the spirit of the law if not the letter. The list goes on. They showed a complete and utter disregard for the people of Anchorage. And we did call him a little dictator, though we may or may not have thrown in the ‘tator’ for the benefit of polite company.
      .
      We discovered in this process that leftists want to enforce rules on the rest of us that you refuse to follow yourselves. We wanted everyone to act in good faith. That ship has sailed. We decided to start playing by your rules. You don’t like it? Tough. You guys chose the rules, we’re just choosing not to give you the benefit of the doubt anymore.

    • In all honesty, politics is a dirty game, a gladiator sport if you will sans the literal bloodshed. We can debate the conduct of candidates and how they should “be better” than the otherside. But one thing is for sure, they need to fight and so far Bronson seems to be okay sticking his thumb into the eyes of the leftists.

  • Thanks for the info. Very smart move for the Mayor. The Assembly has become unnaturally territorial about the Loussac. If they could just see thumsel’s as ithers see thum. We should have nipped this sullen territorial behavior in the bud somehow before. It’s just so unexpectedly immature. It would be beneficial if at the meeting agenda a psychologist would give readings on territorialness, insane group behaviors to help this city out this mental fog…Perhaps I can go to the libary again if it has been liberated.

  • I am sure the title, “Balls of steel” will also ruffle some more feathers. I am OK with that.

  • Booyah!

  • Kick their ass, Seabass…they need it…especially Rivera ans Dumpbar. Dunleavy needs to watch and learn!

  • Mayor Bronson is the man! Way to stick it to the assembly, Mayor! Thats why the people elected him….to out put an end to the Assembly’s destruction of Anchorage.

  • Mayor Bronson,
    Congratulations for a simple win in putting your team together! Folks, what you are witnessing is a real wise, fearless leader from the private sector with military experience – leading! Personally, I’m looking forward to watching Mayor Bronson turn this city into a vibrant, functioning diverse community with a healthy economy, and a great work ethic. And I’ll have a smile on my face for the next 3 years 🙂

  • Good job Mayor Bronson! This town and the entire State need a full forensic audit of at least the past two elections. Mail in voting is a sad joke and we must get a handle on just how much cheating has been going on by the liberals before they perfect their craft and we lose it all permanently. This mayor and this governor are perfectly poised to call for audits – someone who had to cheat to get elected would never shine a spotlight on the process. They have the moral high ground – use it!

  • Nothing funnier than to whack a squad of left-wing wackos across the face and then introduce the new thief of staff. God, Lefties have no sense of humour at all.

    • It couldn’t have been done better.. I love the way he did it..This assembly has been trying to “kill” every suggestion, every new plan that Dave has pushed through and it’s about time they realized, they’re not on the throne any longer and WE THE PEOPLE have gotten sick and tired of their antics of domination and we are not going to put up with their antics any longer.

  • Alaskans are seeing the biggest difference between a man who is standing correctly before the Lord vs. other Alaskan leaders, who want the prayers but still don’t know how to pray, and want the wisdom but still don’t understand God’s Word, and who wants courage but don’t know who provides the strength and protection.

    We got to continue praying for Mayor Bronson, for First Lady, for his team, and maybe even for this Assembly and other leaders that just maybe at the end of this term, maybe some of them will get right before the Lord.

    • Yes!

  • Furthermore I thought the Assembly’s reaction to the New news was Interesting… they couldnt Welcome Mrs. Graham has library director while they can welcome her as chief of staff. Interesting. They probably had gone home complaining and grumbling about the outcome of the Assembly’s own decision without wanting to admit they tipped over their own king piece on the chess board ready to set-up for a new game.

  • Ah, local politics is so much fun! Please stop the ideological in-fighting and get on with the proper business of the City.

    • Shut up…you’re the queen of infighting and divisive rhetoric.

      • Madame Editor – Please restate (and apply!) your posting guidelines, as apparently Mr. Smog is not aware of them.

    • Whidbey the Cur, you can and should be addressing your comment to the nine hyper-partisan, far left radical obstructionists on the Assembly.

      • Mr. Jefferson, your presumption of bias on my behalf is incorrect. My comment was aimed at the entire bunch – both the Assembly and the Mayor. Their infantile behavior is unproductive, embarrassing, and not in keeping with the high standards we should expect of our elected leaders.

        And by the way, the whole Cur thing is getting a little old. It wasn’t even very clever to begin with.

  • This is how it’s done!!!! We are sick and tired of the status quo!!!

  • Finally some heads-up ball. He’s got game. Bronson might have a chance.

  • I watched the Video I watched the non verbal communication of assembly members as they supposedly listened to the speaker present Sami Graham. Such disrespect by Constant and Rivera. They were on their cell phones. Constant sat with his arms folded as he prepared for the kill. My message to these members: Grow up . Evidently you don’t respect yourself because as it is evident to me you don’t respect others.

    • Um, Constant voted for her. Little biased are we?

      • A little blind are we? Constant’s vote for her was just a political move, knowing that she didn’t have the votes to be confirmed. People need to learn the games these politicians play, because your just a gullible, ignorant voter being played if not.

  • Like a boss! Unfortunately Mayor Broson has to expend time and energy playing the Assembly members’ petty games.

  • What a fantastic move by Bronson. Liberals are some of the stupidest and most short-sighted strategic people in politics and society overall. I have a feeling Bronson will be dancing over them this entire administration even though they control the board. This is just a taste of what his leadership has in store.

    To paraphrase an old saying “Bronson is playing chess while liberals are arguing how racist the red checkers pieces are.”

  • Use Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals against the Left. That is how you win. Thanks, Mayor Bronson. Keep the pressure on and the people will follow.

  • Now that is execution!

  • Awesome. Simply awesome.

  • This just in – 1st time in history Charlie Brown beats Lucy in game of kick the football,.

  • Go Mayor Bronson!!! you’re the best

  • That move just got him reelected! Just brilliant! Must Read – next time you interview LaFrance, could you ask her how it feels to get her ass handed to her?

  • Epic!

  • Bravo Mayor!!!!! A true leader finally.

  • Best event in city government since Berky fled the state in utter embarrassment and spared himself from questions that might have been the real reason for his demise and catastrophic downfall….that continue to be not researched or asked of him asked by our daily rags.

  • Sami…let me know when you are in your new office and I will bring you a nice latte of choice.

  • This takes a copy out of the lefts playbook. Good job. Dunleavy, this is how you do it. Now time to ban the mandates.

  • Like a BOSS! More cowbell please.

  • As I have already posted to FB, Our Governor should take a look at Mayor Bronson’s playbook.

    • Bronson’s playbook is God’s Word. When Alaskan men open up the Word and get on their knees, then they can be effective changing their families and communities, and even for the single guy changing his preference and choosing a good woman over one that just looks good looking.
      If Dunleavy can lower his tall self on his knees and start praying and studying the Word, he’ll have more than just his own strength and his astute political insight that we seen and I been impressed by so far.

  • If Ms. Graham doesn’t already have a good grip on Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” she’d best get one quickly; cue the guerilla theater. 3-2-1 – the employees are being abused and discriminated against, the, the homeless and the perverts that hang out are being harassed and abused, of course gays will be discriminated against, they’ll have polls of “library users” telling us how poorly run the library is and how insensitive to the “community” the book selection is, and on, and on.

    I played this game with the communists at the Alaska State Employees Association for years; their specialty was “mau-mauing” supervisors with grievance and discrimination complaint campaigns, safety complaints, and endless singing songs and carrying signs outside our buildings. Mostly we ignored them, so they kept doing ever crazier things until they’d finally do something indefensible and we’d whack somebody. That would calm things down for awhile. It takes a lot of patience to deal with it methodically rather than just swatting them, but you have to understand that “swatting them” is what the organizers want, and the first rule for a manager dealing with “Rules” tactics is never give them what they want.

    • As usual, great advice.

  • OUTSTANDING!!!! How soon until I can I vote for you again, Mayor?

    Maybe our esteemed Senator Sullivan and Governor Dunleavy will watch and take notice. That metallic clanking sound you hear? It’s what we expect when our conservative leaders stand up for their principles.

    • Too funny! Thanks for the laugh AV.

  • Congratulations Mr. Mayor and Ms. Graham. I had written to the assembly. It was clear to those who wrote back that yet again they were not listening to what the majority want and what is best for Anchorage.

  • Absolutely awesome, way to go Mayor Branson!!!

  • What the dark ones will soon realize, is we see them clearly now. We know their game. We will not be enslaved to their madness.

    Fear destroys.

    We do not fear the children of darkness, but they do fear the light.

    God always wins.

  • Way to go Bronson! I wish Juneau had a mayor like you but I doubt that will ever happen. I like the way Bronson used their tactics against them. Use Liberal tactics on Liberals and they go nuts. Can’t handle one swallow of their own medicine.

  • Berkowitz didn’t have to, as almost all Democrat appointees are approved by most Republicans. Most Republicans cave to unqualified candidates constantly in order to be a team player while Democrats are always a my way or the highway type of people driven by agendas.

  • Score for Team Bronson!! Brilliant move. Wish I could have been there for this priceless moment!

  • Thanks to you Dave for your response to this Assembly’s obnoxious antics. They thought they could play games with you and “roll” you over.. ha.. ha.. I think they are “starting” to see that you mean “business!!..NOW!.. Just maybe they might think twice before “scuffing” you again.

  • Great Chess move Mr. Mayor. You are delivering what the voters want and need.

  • DANG!
    I just might have to make it to an assembly meeting. When are they?

  • Brass.
    Brass doesn’t rust and shines better.

  • Dunleavy needs to announce that he is not running for reelection so we can find a conservative with balls to run.

  • Way to go, Mr. Mayor! With utmost respect – and – applause!

  • Oh sweet Jesus. Thank you Mayor. What a man!

  • Along Came Bronson:

    No Dave, you can’t have your way
    Your library pick just cannot stay
    I’ll go around whatever you choose
    This is a round you’re going to lose
    You see Assembly, I’ll show how I play

    You can’t have it all, I was voted in
    In spite of all your electoral din
    You’re one-sided rule is about to end
    I’ll get the city back on the mend
    Let’s get down to business, for I play to win

    I’ve got the assembly tight in my sights
    You’ll have your share of sleepless nights
    If you want to play poker, then put on your face
    Or I’ll make sure you’re put in your place
    You’ll feel like a deer caught in my headlights

    Keep thinking you own the city’s halls
    Frontrunning me with your stunts and stalls
    Keep trying to thwart my every move
    Showing the power you’re trying to prove
    You’ll find out just how big are my balls

    • This needs a good catchy tune to go with it. Nice going JP.

    • Amen

  • Well done sir! Glad to have you as Mayor.

  • First of all, your article’s title, or “headline”, is totally inappropriate and unprofessional. Don’t you realize you have children reading this? Secondly, you republicans are such squishes you WOULD tout this small procedural move, that doesn’t cut government in the least, as a major victory. Cut the budget 50%, or bring the Juneau legislative sessions to Anchorage, THEN you could say he has “guts of iron”.

  • Balls of Steel is right! This is EXACTLY what is needed throughout government: delivery of pure Hell, still smoking hot, and with a grimace of resolve. This fighter pilot is putting it on target!

  • what’s so great ? smacks of cronyism. And no surprise miserable Mayor tightwad blaring mendacity for being alike? For what? so you can push the agenda to dump the hardest decisions on the poorest in this city. miserable dirtbags..

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