Blame-shift: Assembly chair says federal government is now responsible for saving Anchorage's economy - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, January 21, 2021
HomePoliticsBlame-shift: Assembly chair says federal government is now responsible for saving Anchorage’s economy

Blame-shift: Assembly chair says federal government is now responsible for saving Anchorage’s economy


The Anchorage Assembly chairman issued a press release on Wednesday afternoon, dubbed a “call to action to federal partners.”

It was a request for more federal stimulus funds.

Assembly Chair Felix Rivera and Vice Chair John Weddleton’s press release pleaded with the federal delegation — naming Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young — to find the money needed to help businesses and individuals in Anchorage.

The press release came hours after Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson shut down the Anchorage economy once again with a lockdown she calls a “modified hunker down” order. The lockdown is in effect for the entire month of December.

“Without additional federal stimulus, businesses and individuals within the Municipality of Anchorage will be left in limbo. We’re close to running out of money for rental and mortgage relief. We will be releasing the final round of small business grants soon. The well is running dry and people’s livelihoods are on the line.” – Felix Rivera

This fall the Assembly liberal majority passed a $22 million ordinance, AO66, to use CARES Act funds to purchase hotels and other buildings for vagrant services, and spent $3 million of its $156 million in CARES Act funds on trail building, ostensibly as a job training program. Those jobs are now gone and many of the workers have departed the state.

“I know that Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Young are fully aware of the challenges we are facing,” said Assembly Vice Chair John Weddleton. “I have full faith in Alaska’s Congressional Delegation to get the job done and to work with all of their colleagues to keep Alaska’s economy strong.”

In August, Rivera said that the allocation of the CARES Act funds was probably going to fall short of the need:

“While it isn’t enough to help everyone and meet all of the need, it is going to help keep people in their homes, keep people employed, alleviate the burden of some parents by helping out with child care, allow better distribution of food to those in need and more,” he said in August.

The allocation for the CARES Act funds received this summer, which must be spent by Dec. 31, include:

  • Small Business Stabilization (Hospitality and Tourism): $14,000,000
  • Small Business and Non-profit Grants: $6,000,000
  • Outdoor Public Lands program: $3,000,000
  • Child Care Assistance Program: $10,000,000
  • Child Care Assistance Program for Parents/Guardians: $5,000,000
  • Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program: $3,000,000
  • Rental and Mortgage Assistance and Support: $20,000,000
  • Administration Flexibility Fund: $1,500,000
  • FEMA 25% Match: $12,000,000
  • Anchorage Health Department: $2,300,000
  • Library: $260,000
  • First Responder Payroll Reserve: $21,000,000
  • Mental Health Clinicians (ASD): $1,000,000
  • Mental Health First Responders: $3,000,000
  • Pre-K Funding: $250,000
  • RuralCap Job Program Weatherization and Mobile home Repair: $2,500,000
  • Girdwood Health Clinic: $5,000,000
  • Visit Anchorage Remarketing Convention Facilities: $2,000,000
  • Contingency Fund: $15,000,000
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Written by

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

  • Why? They’d just give the funds to the homeless. Not exactly a way to stimulate the economy unless you sell substances to the homeless.

    Assembly, if you want the economy to recover then stop the job-killing lockdowns and tell everyone you’ll never do them again. Take the possibility of mercurial government dictats out of the equation for businesspeople trying to make decisions and plan for the future..

    • The Assembly still has around 20,000,000 they haven’t accounted for and the rest has been mostly misused.

  • I will be writing an email to the Congressional Delegation voicing my opinion that the Assembly mismanaged the CARES Act funds and that they should instruct the Municipality to sell property especially the ones that were improperly bought using the funds. The Assembly is culpable for the misuse of funds.

  • What’s the contingency fund for??

    • Mail in ballots !

  • There was just under $157 million made available to do this via CARES Act funding. The Assembly and Berky grabbed about 60% of the total for government and sat on most of the rest. Worse, they extended the Mayor’s Emergency Powers thru January. If ANC isn’t shut down, businesses will respond. But AQD just issued another lockdown order, one that will work just as well as Berky’s didn’t.

    Now they want more federal money? Classic. Cheers –

  • Typical leftist move. Screw things up, then expect Uncle Sam to step in and fix your mistakes! Morons.

    • Exactly!
      But not just Uncle Sam- the tax payers. Lefties really don’t understand where wealth comes from.

  • The criminal jackasses responsible for decimating our economy are now demanding someone else repair the damage, most of which is irreparable. Typical activities of feckless leaders, that have no idea how to perform that duty.

  • Two things ( among many others)
    Mail-in anointments need to be stop now.
    Credit scores if asked for need to be published for every he, she or it running for office

  • What, why worry? Who cares about jobs, businesses, rent or mortgage. We have 22 million for homeless buildings, 3 million for 1 new trail and Girdwood gets a brand new 5 million dollar clinic in the future. So what’s all the crying about look what our glorious leaders have given us.

  • You stuck a fork in yourself and all of Anchorage when you elected a wild-eyed liberal assembly.
    Lie down.
    You’re done.
    You did it yourself.
    Now kick back in rapt anticipation of your new and enhanced property tax bill.
    I challenge you to prove me wrong in the next election.
    I’m feeling certain you won’t.

  • And people will still vote these fools on and be happy about getting fleeced. I think the education system has failed us badly as those voting for the current politicians are not the sharpest crayons in the box.

  • Omg.. Are the people of Anchorage going to do anything about this, or are they just going to sit there and allow a handful of people to continue burying their community.

  • behold the power of god
    summary judgment
    get out of anchorage while you can
    do not look back
    take what you can
    it is very near

  • I didn’t realize how bad things have gotten there, wow. I know this will trickle down to Juneau as well.

  • This is going to hurt, but I hope the Feds say no.

    This assembly has done NOTHING except knowingly pass ordinance after ordinance that has severe negative impacts to tens of thousands of Anchorage residents. Until the city really has to suffer the consequences of these actions, the assembly members will continue to get re-elected.

    People, take 2020 as the clear indication it is. The politicians that you elect are not interested in representing you. They ran for office because they want to impose their ideals on you. They want to put the wants of the homeless above the needs of the taxpayers. They want Anchorage to clean up all the plastic in the oceans one bag at a time. They are too busy passing laws because of scary headlines and not asking questions to care whether the public is adequately represented.

    Until the city fails, the average voter will continue to re-elect these self important individuals. As much as it is going to hurt, I hope the feds say no more funds for Anchorage.

  • Sounds like another case of Flint, Michigan. local blue (communist) government screws something up, expects the feds to step in and clean the mess up after millions are shoveled into the project to fix it in the first place.

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