Berkowitz virtue signals as he destroys Anchorage - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Berkowitz virtue signals as he destroys Anchorage

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Virtue signaling politicians are destructive, dangerous, and deadly. For example, the Municipality of Anchorage looks the other way when it comes to hundreds of drug- and alcohol-addicted people living on the streets.

Dan Fagan

Some call them homeless. For most of them, a lack of housing is not their problem. They just want to get drunk or high. They want nothing of accountability. They beg, often steal, whatever it takes to get their next fix.

They’re trespassing and live in filth, surrounded by stolen stuff, used drug needles, and their own feces.

It’s a horrid existence, especially for the women living in these camps. Drug dealers are more than ready to swoop in and sell their illegal goods to these poor souls who live in a prison of their own making.

This petri dish of crime, extreme human suffering, and anarchy needs three components to continue to flourish:

  • The drug-addicted willing to steal and beg,
  • Dealers willing to accommodate, and
  • City leaders willing to look the other way.

All three have happened under the leadership of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. 

The compassionate thing to do is enforce the law. Lock up the lawbreakers for trespassing, stealing, public intoxication, and illegal drug use. Separate them from their addiction for at least 30 days. Give them a chance to get into their right mind. Get them help. But most of all, get them off the street. 

We’re told the courts won’t let us enforce the law. Bull.

Even if it was true, enforce the law anyway and fight it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. It’s time to stop cowering to the threats of the ACLU. Other than Planned Parenthood, there’s not an organization in America in recent memory that’s enabled more destructive behavior and human suffering than the ACLU.  

But the virtue signalers see it another way. I remember a debate on the subject of “homelessness” on my radio show with former Assembly member, the late Allan Teche. He loudly and piously proclaimed, “We don’t lock up the homeless in Anchorage.” He said it thinking it made him sound virtuous. Enabling bad behavior is not virtuous. It’s cruel. 

Berkowitz, too, is a virtue signaler, maybe chief among them. The useless plastic bag ban for instance. It did no good for anyone other than showing us the mayor is a good environmentalist who loves Mother Earth.  

After interviewing the mayor on my radio show recently about homelessness in Anchorage, listeners had the impression he viewed them as victims. They are not victims. They are lawbreakers who have made a mess of their lives. But it sounds more virtuous to call them victims.   

Berkowitz was in his full virtue signaling glory on Friday when he announced he’d continue to keep his boot on the neck of the private sector. 

“Our strategy is slow and steady,” he said.  

Gov. Mike Dunleavy removed most COVID-19 restrictions on Friday. Berkowitz said, not so fast. 

“If we are not safe, we are not free,” said Berkowitz. 

How virtuous of the mayor. Saving lives and all. But freedom is important too, right? Maybe Berkowitz will next lower the city’s speed limits to 5 miles per hour. Think of the lives our virtuous mayor could save.  

Friday, on my radio show we got a call from a medical professional who said he knew of five people who died of heart attacks in Alaska since the COVID-19 restrictions have been put in place. Fear and stress kill too.  Alaska Public Media reported this week some Anchorage hospital emergency rooms have seen visits drop as much as 50 percent because patients stayed away for fear of catching COVID-19. 

There’s mounting evidence harsh lockdown restrictions don’t work when it comes to protecting people from COVID-19. The state of New York earlier this month found 66 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations came from those sheltered at home. Another 18 percent of the hospitalized were previously nursing home patients.

“We were thinking that maybe we were going to find a higher percentage of essential employees who were getting sick because they were going to work, that these may be nurses, doctors, transit workers,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “That’s not the case, and they were predominantly at home.”  

Look at South Dakota, where Republican Gov. Kristi Noem imposed no restrictions. Her COVID-19 death rate per capita is lower than 41 other states. And yet Democrats run nine of the 10 states with the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita, employing the harshest stay at home restrictions. In contrast, Republicans run eight of the 10 states with the lowest fatality rates per capita. Alaska has the lowest number of COVID-19 fatalities per capita. 

And yet Berkowitz just can’t let go.

It reminds me of Sunday nights growing up as a kid when it started to get dark and my mother would call out for us to come inside. We’d beg for another 10 minutes. Berkowitz was having so much fun playing virtuous life saver, he just wants another 10 minutes of it.  

Dan Fagan hosts a radio show weekdays, on Newsradio 650 KENI, between 5:30 and 8 am.

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Latest comments

  • Wow. Mini-Ethan looks stoned in that picture!

    Could that be part of the problem?

    • Berkowitz needs to go back to California

    • Clearly you’ll never see it.

    • He has always been nuts!

  • You heard it here first: these Non-Profits catering to the faux homeless are the New Human Traffickers. These businesses can’t exist without elites of both parties funneling tax dollars to them, and they are commonly owned by or have board members who are in the Legislature or associated with the mayor. Like his wife and Catholic Charities, or Von Imhoff and her family’s Rasmuson Foundation.

    • I believe you hit a nerve there. Good shot!

  • Just got my property tax bill and I can tell you, Berkowitz and the assembly have no whatsoever. Their consistent inability to properly run the city without attempting to impoverish the property owners is a flashing testament to their complete inadequacy as stewards of the hard earned money of others. Berkowitz is overly impressed with the sound of his own voice and is doing nothing to make the city a better place to live. The city is descending into decay under his “leadership”.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with what Mr. Rubey just said. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that our beautiful city looks more like a slum area than a lively city. Camps everywhere, bus stop areas are now live-in shelters for the homeless. The City has to take responsibility for this.

  • Well stated. Dan. Give me just 10 more minutes of tyranny, mom!
    And I hadn’t thought about how effective the narrative has been “teaching” us all how homeless people are victims. The only truth to that is many “victimize” themselves (if that’s possible!) By ongoing bad choices that are never corrected or directed or punished by those virtue-waving folks we elect who claim they care.

  • Everyone opposed to the mayor’s political posturing and needless delay need to call him and every assembly member clearly telling them you are opposed and tired ? off him playing the little man dictator. He has no better predictions than the Governor. Just a Democratic ploy to claim he knows best. But he doesn’t!

  • Well stated.

  • Get ready Alaska, Miniature man Berky, the dictator, is preaching to his liberal base with his “great leadership skills” in order to position himself for Governor or US Senate. He is a train-wreck with two legs who has become the most destructive mayor in Anchorage history. Anchorage business needs to band together and totally ignore this little dictator. Thank you, Dan Fagan for this most accurate description of our Mayor who is exponentially more dangerous than Covid-19.

    • He doesn’t stand a chance in hell of ever becoming governor here and I don’t see him getting elected for any other office either, after all his ridiculous posturing and actions. I think he’s been smoking too much of that wacky tobaccy.

  • Wow. You really only look at the information that fits your agenda—which would be fine but for the fact you’re decrying the “audacity” of others doing the same. The only difference between you and them is you’re on the opposite side of the philosophical fence.

    • Absolute bullseye! I really dislike people who cry about shit that they do, just for different reasons.

  • Spot on comments. Show us the death rates by other means in Anchorage over the past four (4) months and let us evaluate whether we need to continue projected F.E.A.R. compared to realistic fears. And, where is the Assembly to over-ride the mayor and open up Anchorage too. A simple vote by the Assembly to accept the guideline directive of the chief medical provider and Governor should suffice.

  • “ If we are not safe, we cannot be Free.”
    Really since when?
    My wife working at home for six weeks ran in to her office.
    She came home talking about all the street bums. They stood out because of the light traffic. She was disgusted.
    Traveling a little north of Anchorage in Wasilla or Palmer one does not experience beggar Bums. But…. also in Palm Springs and the area around one does not witnesses what we have allowed to be “normal” in Anchorage.
    It is my recollection that the ACL of U said that as long as the AFD can pass the boot on Labor Day, Bums can beg.
    They have a point.
    AFD needs to come up with a different method of collecting money. Then the people of Anchorage can rid the streets of Beggar Bums. It is that simple.

    • Look who most of the homeless are in Anchorage. I would say it’s a State of Alaska problem. Over the past forty years it has gotten progressively worse. Maybe you should start with your indigenous people that have been kicked out of the villages. Then all the illegals and other immigrants showing up for handouts. You guys in Anchorage are just too easy.

  • Well said. I’ve often thought that if the “homeless” were moved to camp out in front of the ACLU office things might be different. Also, when camps are closed down, their “personal” items should be take to ACLU for safekeeping. I rarely to go Anchorage anymore and when I do I never go downtown. Anchorage has some beautiful parks that are not safe to use. So glad I fled the city years ago.

  • I’m better off being homeless and getting assistance from Ethan, rather than being a small business owner and near bankruptcy. Ethan’s priorities are really screwed up.

  • The homeless population is compromised of all types of people, drug and alcohol addicts, people who choose to be homeless, people who fall through the cracks in society by no fault of there own, and the mentally impaired. There is no one simple answer for the homeless problem, some deserve our compassion and our help. Some need a kick in the pants and to be told to either get off our streets or move on. Many need and deserve a drug treatment facility that always has an open door, and no waiting list to enter when they feel compelled to seek help. And yes, the criminal element within the homeless population can and should be incarcerated.
    As a society we must face this issue and create solutions, solutions that fit the individual. We cannot continue to talk about it. All problems have solutions, political posturing and lip service don’t make problems disappear. Action does.

    • Stephan,
      Au contraire, my friend. The huge majority of “homeless” are homeless by choice. Try convincing most any of them to seek drug or alcohol treatment. Try giving them free apartments and/or hotel rooms at taxpayer expense. They will not accept. There may be few, here and there, that legitimately are homeless. Why don’t they fix the situation themselves? With all the liberal programs available, there should be no one homeless that doesn’t want to be. Period. This is not society’s fault. The situation is like any parasite living off a host, at everyone else’s expense. Pity and compassion are useless. It’s human nature to want to help everyone in need. A little different when those in need are in need of their next fix or drink. They should be treated like they treat us. No respect, no anything except a hand in your pocket because they are too lazy to work or look for work. I hear there are farm jobs available in the valley. A free ride out of town would be in order. Maybe even a plane ticket back where they came from. Alaska isn’t geared for their type of “independence”.

  • Give them a free apartment but still allow them to get stoned and drunk, oh wait, they already did that. I say expand the program. Reward the lawbreakers and penalize the law abiding. Empty the jails and prisons to make room for shut down small business owners that attempt to open shop. Exempt the homeless from social distance and mask rules, oh wait, they already did that.

  • What bothers me is that the arm chair assembly doesn’t take the time to speak with these people that are “homeless.” We gather twice a year at the parks to feed them, also gives us an opportunity to speak to them –when asked “Why do you choose this life?” The answer is “Because we want to.” And yet we see the Assembly providing a place for them to live at the cost of tax payers-those places haven’t changed lives–in fact people have died while in residence–Thank you Dan for seeing thing the way they actually are.

  • You’re all haters. Go complain somewhere else and then also let me know if you think you can do a better job

    • Start by removing these people off the streets and don’t release them back onto the streets.
      If they won’t go into treatment programs, ship them out of Alaska
      If they break the law, put them in jail. If they break the law again, ship them out of Ak or put them back in jail.
      Get them off our streets and quit the BS programs that don’t work and only make the Virtue Signal people like out mayor feel better about themselves. Ship the bums out and vote the mayor and assembly out of office. Anything is better than what you have to offer. Socialism does not work! Go back to wherever you came from Bill because it is people like you who have no solutions except to throw taxpayer money at the problem.

  • Why anyone pays any attention to Dan is a mystery to me. Nothing but easily refuted magical thinking.

    • Everything that is rational must be a mystery to you. Liberalism is a mental disorder….you have it!

  • One of the biggest problems is people handing out cash at the intersections. Fine the fool donating do gooders several hundred dollars and it will stop. The police can set up speed traps, why not cash traps?

  • Great to see so much compassion for our fellow Alaskans! Warms the heart.

  • The fact is most of the so called ” unhomed” are suffering from mental illness. We have the resources within this State to put these folks in a place where they can receive care. Mental Health Land Trusts, didn’t they just sell some valuable property? It only takes political will and leadership.

    • WIth very few exceptions , Willing Substance Abuse is NOT Mental Illness and it is time people stop using that crutch in social discourse to provide ever increasing funding on failed Not for Profits. Its time to start putting people who break the law in Jail. Plain and simple It only takes Political Will and Leadership. Every major city with a major homeless problem has a democratic led leadership with soft on crime policies.

  • Dan Fagan, how long have Native Alaskans had to suffer the wasp-nest people like you call a ‘heart’? I have lived here 20 years longer than you, all my life. I have known better more altruistic Alaskans, now passed on many years before there ever was a need for a ‘homeless ‘ problem or social services. How dare any of the Lower 48 ‘whiners’ complain when they ponce around not paying a single sue for money towards state income, living like they are parasites all of them on the backs of the true hospitality of the mineral and land rights of the Natives of this land.

    I am so fed up with chiggers like this ‘so-called’ big mouth who thinks their ethnocentric arrogance and will ever be making this great land a better place with the injustice they create in the perpetual peddling of drink or vice for profit! Is it justice to create evil and punish for it? Those words come from an even better American than any alive today James Fenimore Cooper 1822. Think about it.Think about the evil you create and how you punish from that evil before you speak a holier than thou attitude to me.

  • Hi Dan. A long time ago we were sent out to Oregon on a fire. One arm of the fire had been stopped by using a county or township road and the adjoining fields/orchards as a firebreak. The fire had come from the north and so some of the farms on the north side had been damaged or lost. Initially our job was to search the south side of the road for any embers that may have gotten behind the original firefighters. We were just about to start on this picture perfect 160 acre farm, when the previously evacuated owner showed up. He didn’t want us wandering around on his property and he gave the boss man many reasons why we should just move along. I remember one reason was that he was the smart farmer and firewise…unlike that ignorant guy to the north who had lost almost everything. Hadn’t he warned him that all of that junk was a fire hazard? Finally the boss told me to patrol from the road and let the landowner take care of his own property. Well you guessed it, a week or so later we were back mopping up hot spots on what used to be this guys’ farm. Just one ember…and his place wasn’t the only place to suffer loss because of his mistake. The lesson here, Dan, is that the fire ain’t over! Which makes your statements/comparisons between states a bit nonsensical. Also, didn’t your mama teach you that it’s not nice, or polite, or kosher, or Christian, or humane to make fun of other peoples misfortunes? Which brings us to the homeless. Yes, undoubtedly there are a lot of them that need some ‘tough love’, but I don’t think you’re really willing to pay the price for doing so. I know of a 2008 marijuana possession case where an AK Public Defender was assigned. The case should have been dismissed in the early stages, but…at one point the Judge threatened to find the PD in contempt for not doing his job. The PD responded “I’m an overworked public defender, what are you going to do to me?” Because of this, the case lasted 11 YEARS, including over 50 hearings, a rural 3 day trial, an appeal, followed by Supreme Court motions, arguments, back to the lower court, 10 more hearings and ultimately dismissal. The State of Alaska paying for all sides, including the judges and all support staff…that’s north of a million dollars! Are you willing to pay this kind of money Dan? And what about the ones that can be helped? You know, the Conservatives HAVE the moral high ground, we don’t need you getting into the ditch to fight with the Liberals. If the Republicans are not the “party of God”then you’re no better than the Dems. So show at least a little compassion.

    • Good Lord! I stopped reading about half way through…. all of that to say “show a little compassion?”

      • Your main comment shows you have some skill in writing. I do like that it was short and to the point AND I agree 100% . However, I’m sorry you find reading such a chore and missed two valid points. Only a fool would walk away from a fire that’s not out, while critiquing who was the most ‘firewise’! I used my personal experience to make this point because I didn’t want to accuse Dan of being a fool (generally!). I had no wish to alienate Dan. I want him to realize that his comparison of nonsensical numbers is dangerous and it’s not just his house that he’s putting at risk, but also yours and mine! His views on the homeless are not wrong, but he, and now you, miss an important point…once you start arresting people it costs money, BIG money. If you didn’t have the patience to read my comment, you’re going to lose it when your $8K property tax bill doubles! Respectfully as I can, I think you miss alot when you only read the beginning and the end.

        • Nice response, Anthony. I was surprised Garnet thought so well of her or himself that it was admitted that reading to understand was beyond possibilty if length came into play.
          In glad you took the time to help.

    • Dang. Look at all them words.

      Bummer that they’re damn near all inapplicable. Sheesh.

      • Feel free to not ‘apply’ the lessons I’ve learned in a long and eventful life. Feel free to keep pounding your head against the wall and wondering why you have a headache! You’re not going to ‘law enforcement’ your way out of the homeless problem anymore than you can ‘social service’ your way out. What’s needed is a comprehensive plan, but you would rather complain than come up with a plan. Sheesh.

  • Inside every Democrat is a totalitarian screaming to get out. The Little Corporal is Exhibit A.

  • Berkowitz said: “there can be not freedom without safety” this Memorial day as we remember all those who lost their lives so we can have freedom, ask yourself where was their safety? Freedom is given to us by men and women who risk and even give their lifes blood, not by some communist / marxist Mayor. Ethan must go!

    • Well Said Charles

  • As I drive around town, I always try to take in how fortunate we are to live in Anchorage with all of our greenbelts. What I have noticed that there are huge amounts of trash and unsightly camp sites in many of the areas I have observed. I have never seen so much garbage. I would have a little more sympathy to anyone who is illegally camping if they picked up after themselves and attempted to respect Mother Earth.

    It is the same where you see panhandlers or homeless sitting on the street corners. I see people giving them money and bags of food or drink sometimes. The panhandlers and homeless at these corners just leave their garbage strewn about. No respect. If they will not even pick up after themselves why would or should taxpayers give them free housing or anything else. The Muni has to hire a business to come in and clean up after these people no matter where they are. How many have come out to help clean up the city with taxpayers? If some people feel compelled that the Muni should provide housing and services to these homeless or less fortunate, I would ask those same people to open up their spare bedrooms or their yards to some of these homeless. Let them use one of bathrooms as well. Do this before pushing for every taxpayer to foot a bill so you can feel good about yourself. I think we should concentrate on only those families with kids or others who truly want to get out of their bad situation. The others need a game of hardball. Learn that either shape up or ship out, go somewhere else but you are not staying here in our woods to trash as you please.

  • Good for you, Dan Fagan. I left Anchorage, in part, because of the huge homeless problem–unfortunately went to Paradise, CA (was a conservative little town–completely burned and I lost everything there). Now living in Chico, CA — an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous little cityl–BUT exactly the same problem as Anchorage is having: We are all up in arms, voting to get those “do-gooder” liberals off the Chico Assembly. And we are all in agreement: If they do Not get booted out, it has to be due to voter fraud, which is easy to accomplish with mail-in ballots which the liberals have managed to put into place here.
    They are being given free hypodermic needles so they can shoot up without getting disease and carte blanche in the citie’s parks and public places. Word of mouth is spreading and they are coming from everywhere else in CA. My water bill quadrupled because they get over my 8′ fence at night, run the hose full blast to try to get me to come outdoors so they can rob me for their drug money.
    The homeless that want to better themselves, do so–these, as in Anchorage, do not want rehab, just the next fix, and they are very dangerous. Chico is on its way to becoming San Francisco, and it was a drop-dead gorgeous little city just two years ago. These homeless follow fires in CA to get the freebies–and unfortunately Chico (8 miles from Paradise) has welcomed they with open arms. The Democrats are bending over backwards to make everybody equal (excepting themselves–who are way above others, they think). How can they be soooo stupid. Rosemary Redmond, former and 4 gen. Alaskan and artist

  • Wow, to generalize all homeless as criminals tells me you’re wither sick or Democrat, I’m homeless, on oxygen, and Social Security disability. I don’t make enough to qualify for even a studio apartment. My wife had just had a stroke and the city made the apartments I was grandfathered in a completely moldy and dangerous porch that when drywall was removed the joists collapsed.

    Came to find out Social Security doesn’t have lawyers to help citizens. They will only give us one if I commit a crime, and I won’t do it.

    So my wife had to go with family that only could take just one of us due to their lease. I’m homeless. I have no where to go, so what crime did I commit? Was it breaking my neck at work? Paying my taxes? Or letting the city use my name to force repairs on a building to be safe because they didn’t evict us — they just refused to re-sign a lease. People like you need a life and a wake up call.

  • Alaska is heading for the poor house quick. Our oil based economy is done. With it will go the majority of the free programs that beggars, thieves, addicts, and the otherwise recreationally homeless have enjoyed for a long time.

    I landed here in the ’60s and at that time there were miscreants but of a different kind. They were often natives that would come to town and get ripped and stay ripped until they were collected and flown back from whence they came. I always thought that was a bummer but it was a dramatic improvement over what Anchorage has become and I’d welcome the old version’s return.

    The funny thing is that almost anyone with a ‘hard on crime’ perspective will win the next mayoral election. I picture some ex-military guy that likes an orderly ambiance. I would vote for that guy.

    • “Recreationally homeless”…that just sounds wrong…and yet I can’t seem to find a way to argue against it! As for your mythical Colonel…once you start arresting people it becomes very expensive. In my main comment I mentioned a specific case to try express the cold hard fact: fighting crime is very expensive! Especially when the State or the City are paying for it all. The homeless will get an overworked public defender. As a result even the simplest case will drag on for months, clogging the courts. Well that’s good right? At least they’re someplace where they presumably can’t get any drugs. Until the overcrowding quickly causes the unions and the prisoners to rightfully file suit to correct the situation. Inevitably there are going to be a high number of appeals, and once you get to this point it’s impossible for the State or City to stop…the show must go on. Actually you might not even need a living defendant! And the appeals is where the big money is. So if you’re going to vote for a ex-military hard *ss, you better make him a Marine Corps Drill Sargent who can eat dirt and…um…extrude gold!

  • Got my property tax bill in the mail. Over $8K. If I had my place paid off, and was on a fixed income, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. All of this for what? Ridiculous bond packages? Muni flowers? Homeless abatement that never happens? It’s out of control!

    • But @Garnet were you not thusly impressed with the heart felt note on the laminated card stock paper signed by Ethan like we are bestest friends.

      What a marketing fail to send me a $9,000 bill and put in an absolute waste of time and money note on very expensive paper.
      Then again, that is why our tax dollars are so high. Wonder which cronie of Ethan benefited from this printing.

  • Just got my bill. Over $16k and far too much.

    As an interesting aside our buddy that’s all about plastic film shopping bags apparently approves of plastic used to laminate his name in thousands of “I want to thank Anchorage for the strong response to the COVID” blah blah blah notes.

    100% of those are going straight to the dump. I wonder what the plastic bag equivalent might be?

  • Berkowitz and his assembly are guilty of taxation without representation, that is what is happening to the taxpayer in Anchorage. Stealing my life to support the idiots that choose to not help themselves.

  • Regarding the new COVID19 testing requirement vs two week quarantine for visitors to Alaska: The COVID19 test must be negative within 72 hours of boarding. Assuming a passenger is even able to be tested, Alaska Airlines refunds for COVID19 were for tickets purchased by May 31. Who would even consider coming to Alaska if their ticket cannot be refunded if their test is positive for the virus and they can’t be tested before purchasing their ticket?!

  • Great point and the Governor’s team should be on this ASAP to fix. They also should try to require all Airlines flying to Alaska to do this and require they refund customers in cash not in a future promise to travel. If Airlines want to hold and use customers money, they should pay a fee and interest like they charge customers to change a ticket ?.

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