Berkowitz on junket to Japan, Camp Berky moves back toward downtown - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 23, 2019
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Berkowitz on junket to Japan, Camp Berky moves back toward downtown

VALLEY OF THE MOON PARK TENT-A-THON
It’s off to Japan for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz for sister-city meet-and-greets.
Back at home, Camp Berkowitz, the Whack-a-Mole tent encampment that moves from city park to city park, has returned to Valley of the Moon Park, within eye-shot of the children’s playground. The 30-or-so tent city is a project of the Poor People’s Campaign, a couple of local churches, and various political activists.
A couple of weeks ago, the campers were forced to move from that very Valley of the Moon location; camp organizers chose Cuddy Park, until the police department’s 10-day abatement notices were tacked on trees.
Earlier this summer, the campers had laid claim to a large swath of the Delaney Park Strip in downtown Anchorage until they were shooed off after two weeks of occupation.
The roving tent city is one part home-brewed solution for those without housing, and one part protest movement to call attention for the need for more services for a population of wanderers, some of whom can’t afford housing, and some of whom are making homelessness a hobo lifestyle for all sorts of reasons.
Remarkably, no fights, crimes, or disturbances have been associated with the self-policing, loosely knit community. And a tour of the Cuddy Park encampment area revealed that the area had been cleaned up after campers left, and city crews have cleared the brush that had hidden the encampment from the road.
The mayor on July 24 declared this situation a civil emergency. The Assembly extended the emergency until Aug. 6. Then, on Aug. 6, the Assembly again extended the emergency until Sept. 24 at 11:59 pm.
But where’s the mayor, and where are the reports he was asked to give to the Assembly?
Berkowitz, along with a posse of other city officials are in Japan, on a friendship mission to Chitose. Traveling with him are Assembly members Christopher Constant and Forrest Dunbar, both who are understudies for the role of mayor, once Berkowitz is retired in 2021.
Why Chitose, Japan? It’s Anchorage’s sister city, located on the island of Hokkaido.
When Berkowitz declared the emergency back in July, he said it was to “address the impacts of state budget cuts that pose dire and imminent public health and safety risks.”
His declaration continued: “Municipal Code 3.80.060 allows the mayor to make use of all available resources of the municipal government, including municipal personnel, as may be reasonably necessary to cope with an emergency. Actions may include alternate deployment of current MOA employees and the swift reallocation of resources necessary to preserve and protect the public safety, health, and welfare.”
“This is an unprecedented decision for an unprecedented situation. Existing shelters have lost funding at a time when demand for their services is projected to skyrocket. First responders and health care professionals are anticipating a massive surge in 911 and emergency room calls, and it is imperative that we meet this impending humanitarian crisis with the resources that we deploy when responding to all emergencies.”
[Read: Berkowitz declares a civil emergency on homelessness]
And yet, the encampment is still doing its 10-day abatement rotation.
Assembly member Felix Rivera had toured the nomadic colony  late last month and noted that a sense of community had started to develop and he saw merit in creating sanctioned permanent tent cities.
Meanwhile, the junket to Japan has been kept largely under wraps, although Assemblyman Christopher Constant has been posting cryptic messages about it on social media.
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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

  • If only they took all their energy that is expended moving the camp around, into getting a paying job they wouldn’t need public funded services. But for the lazy Commie, I suppose its more fruitful to work at not working.

    • The ironic thing is that those types of people who push the “why don’t you go out and get a job” narrative are the same types of people who work at the corporate and governmental level to create policies which cause barriers to employment and housing. What’s also ironic: while “Camp Berkowitz” does has a certain ring to it, one of the SJWs from the Poor People’s Campaign informed the group that she was bowing out of the project because “the mayor won’t talk to me anymore”. Unmentioned here is the splinter group, which broke off expressly because their focus is on employment and housing leading to a self-sufficient lifestyle, rather than on more social services or a political protest or whatever else. I spoke to the organizers of that group at church on Sunday. They hinted that it’s probably for the better they’re not being acknowledged by MRAK if this issue in general is going to continue to receive nothing but negative coverage.

  • I believe that the term “Homeless” has been replaced within certain enlightened and deeply caring circles with a new moniker, Unhomed. Certainly the term “Hobo” is derisive and personally I am appalled that the author of the story would link Hobo and lifestyle together. The Hobo’s of the 1930’s would doubtless be offended by this juxtaposition.

    Hopefully the Mayor is not just on a Junket but instead is working out a citizen exchange program with the Japanese, one where we send them our unhomed and they send us students to study at UAA?

  • Camp Bezerky sounds like a shangra-la for homeless in Anchorage. Has Princess Tours, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, etc included this destination site on its itinerary for must sees in Alaska? To Lefties, this is a qualifier for All American City status.

  • Funny thing about this is that most Lefties and enviro-wackies will go to premium sporting stores like REI to buy $$thousands of dollars worth of camping goods and supplies. They would be better off just setting up a camp site and joining the homeless on weekends at Camp Ethan Berkowitz at the downtown wilderness location.

    • Will there be singing and roasting marshmallows around the campfire at Camp Berky? Will Ethan show up as honorary campmaster?

  • Going to the airport via Minnesota the other day I saw vagrants squatting in the park just before Spenard and on the side of Minnesota just after Spenard. It seems the leftists that now have total power in Anchorage are bound and determined to turn this town into another Seattle/Portland/Frisco/LA. Pretty soon Anchorage will have its own poop app so residents and visitors will know where not to step. Nice going, leftists. You are destroying America one city at a time.

    • Poop App? Innovative. Might not work at night, unless Bezerkowitz puts up lighting. Why not just install poop stations with baggies. Put together some weekend seminars and re-education workshops on how to bag poop. Ethan could become adjunct professor at the camp named after him. Poopmaster-in-Charge.

  • Hmmm. Even with a declaration of civil emergency and a resolution from the MOA Assembly for weekly reports, Mayor Berkowitz has NOTHING TO REPORT! It must be hard to explain.
    https://youtu.be/op-kxP0wwpI

  • Here is mayor’s answer to problem: Anchorage mayor joining movement to end nuclear weapons.

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