By CRAIG E. CAMPBELL
In what can only be described as a transparent attempt to salvage a crumbling campaign to elect the most liberal mayor in Anchorage‘s history, just two weeks out from the run-off election the Assembly voted to repeal most restrictions in Emergency Order 20 that have had Anchorage locked down for over a year.
On May 11, Anchorage voters will decide if the city is to continue down the road to self-destruction or turn back the west coast advancement of urban ruin.
The choice could not be more stark. Forrest Dunbar is the most liberal candidate to ever be on the final ballot for mayor. He is opposed by a fresh new face in politics, Dave Bronson, a more conservative candidate who has a clear plan for the economic recovery of Anchorage and establishing budget discipline for the local government.
The Anchorage mayor’s race has been contentious. Dunbar is the sweetheart of the unions and progressive organizations. He is heavily funded by out-of-state organizations that see Anchorage ripe for becoming the new progressive metro area, in the image of such failed cities as Portland and Seattle.
Bronson, on the other hand, stands for rebuilding the private sector, empowering individuals to make responsible decisions in their lives, confronting the rising violent crime in Anchorage, and making Anchorage a vibrant center of economic activity for the state. Bronson’s message is resonating with a community tired of the year-long lockdown, questionable mask mandates, and constant government intrusion.
Knowing that Anchorage voters are sick and tired of the unnecessary Covid mandates, the liberal Anchorage Assembly unashamedly executed a political bait-and-switch maneuver on Tuesday designed to mislead voters into thinking Forrest Dunbar was opposed to the emergency mandates that he has consistently championed and voted for this past year.
It was such a childish and transparent trick. The Assembly has had ample opportunity — every other week, in fact — to roll back the draconian mandates, but instead they waited until the last minute, designed to make it a political “win” for Dunbar.
So here’s how they may intend the game to play out:
On April 27, 2021 the Anchorage Assembly voted to repeal most requirements of EO-20, except for the wearing of masks. Restaurants and bars can go back to full capacity. Public gathering with food and beverage have no limits. All restrictions on organized sports and fitness are repealed. Basically, it’s back to normal, but wearing masks.
After voting to support every emergency order this past year, including the extension vote just a few weeks ago, Dunbar suddenly supported repealing EO-20. The repeal is effective Monday, May 3.
Everybody celebrates and Dunbar makes a big deal in his campaign that he has voted to repeal the extremely unpopular EO-20.
This is nothing but political theater. Two weeks before the mayoral run-off, when it became clear Dunbar was falling behind Bronson, Dunbar supports repealing EO-20?
But will that vote actually result in the repeal? Five members of the Anchorage Assembly voted not to repeal EO-20 and Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson signed the latest version just two weeks ago, proclaiming that Anchorage was not yet near the herd immunity threshold necessary to remove the restrictions.
At that time Dunbar publicly agreed with Quinn-Davidson. He wanted 70 percent vaccination rate before things could be normalized.
This charade will play out in one of two ways. Quinn-Davidson has seven days from passage in which she may veto the repeal action. Her veto would keep EO-20 in place. It would then go back to the Assembly for over-ride consideration. The Assembly has up to 21 days to consider a veto over-ride from the time they receive a mayor’s veto.
In that case, the Assembly doesn’t have to take any action until after the mayoral run-off, at which time the Assembly simply will not over-ride the veto, thereby causing EO-20 to remain in effect. That may be exactly what Dunbar is banking on happening.
If Quinn-Davidson does not veto the resolution by May 3, it goes into effect. But, the Assembly can take action on May 12 to reinstate EO-20 by a simple majority vote.
Whether Dunbar or Bronson wins, you can bet this scenario is actively being considered by the Assembly. Make no mistake about it, the Anchorage Assembly does not want to relinquish control over our lives which they created with EO-20.
So, voters must not be fooled by the bogus vote to repeal EO-20. That vote was a set-up, orchestrated by progressives to make Dunbar appear to be supporting the repeal of the repressive emergency order that he has always supported. All done in the 11th hour in order to sway uniformed voters.
When a magician performs a sleight-of-hand trick, we are easily fooled because we are concentrating on the distraction while the real trick is being played out of view. So it is with the crafty game being played by the Assembly to make it appear Forrest Dunbar supports the re-opening of Anchorage, while never really intending to re-open Anchorage.
The mystical illusion being puffed by the liberals should never convince anybody Forrest Dunbar is ready to relinquish control over our lives. It’s all been a sham, which shows just how low progressive politics has been played to mislead voters into supporting Dunbar and installing the most liberal government in the history of this great municipality.
Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor. He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF).