Craig Campbell: This is our city, so let’s vote like we’re saving its life

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By CRAIG CAMPBELL

On July 1, 2021, Dave Bronson was sworn in as our Anchorage mayor.  He brought with him a vision of smaller government, budget discipline, revitalizing our depressed economy, streamlining the development process, reducing homelessness, and tackling crime. It was a positive message focused on reversing the negative trends of the previous six years. I was proud to be one of the first to join his administration.

The honeymoon with the Anchorage Assembly was short lived. Friction between two very different visions for Anchorage collided almost immediately. I watched as initiatives presented by the mayor were dismissed by the Assembly. Theatrics usurped the public’s business.  Tensions grew and each side became more polarized. In fact, never in my almost 40 years of public service, to include nearly a decade on the Anchorage Assembly, have I witnessed such a bitter relationship.

I departed the Bronson Administration in late October to assist a new chief executive officer at my old company, Alaska Aerospace.  It provided me an opportunity to view the interactions between the Administration and Assembly from outside the organizations. I watched, as most did, as tensions continued to fester.  

While I believe Assembly members and Mayor Bronson share a passion for serving our municipality, we have seen a wee bit too much passion these past few months. Truth is, at least nine members of the Assembly have a drastically different view of Anchorage than does Mayor Bronson and they have been anything but cooperative with the Administration. Elections will sort out that situation.

Tension between the legislative and executive branches of government is healthy in a democratic society. However, when tension becomes destructive, and sometimes even personal, representative government fails. I do not believe any of our elected officials seriously desire that outcome, despite some of the recent harsh rhetoric, but this constant fighting is causing a breakdown in good governance for Anchorage.  It’s time to lower the temperature. While the Administration cannot control how the Assembly acts, it can provide the leadership Anchorage residents expect to guide our city towards a bright future.

You would never know it from the media, but Mayor Bronson is making some significant achievements. Inheriting an $18.9 Million deficit from the previous administration, Bronson proposed a reduction in the size of government and submitted a FY2022 budget $7.5 Million below the Tax Cap. Unfortunately, the Assembly increased the budget back to just under the tax cap. 

The tax and spend mentality of the Assembly majority of nine, with an objective of more government control over our lives, is one of the primary reasons Anchorage has been in decline.  

Bronson is right: “Spending in the Municipality ballooned 20% from 2016 to 2021, while our population declined by nearly 15,000 residents.  We must reign in spending and put taxpayers first.”

Mayor Bronson’s vison for Anchorage is a vibrant, safe community where individuals control their own lives, not subservient to government regulations and mandates, such as the useless and oppressive mask mandates.   

To accomplish this, he recently obtained Assembly approval for the ground lease between the Anchorage Community Development Authority and the 6th Avenue Center LLC to build a new multi-purpose structure that will include a hotel, apartments, a restaurant, and retail space in downtown Anchorage.  Renovation of the downtown Key Bank building damaged in 2018 continues, with completion expected this year, which will further stimulate increased business activities in downtown.  

Bronson is also moving forward with establishing a new downtown library, a priority of the Anchorage Library Foundation. A long overdue renaissance for downtown is underway. These projects are just the beginning to revitalizing the Anchorage economy. 

He is on track to repair and modernize the deteriorating Port of Alaska dock, winning the lawsuit against the US Maritime Administration and working with state and federal agencies to secure the needed funding. After years of mismanagement by the previous administration, Bronson is making the Port of Alaska a world-class port that will serve nearly 90% of Alaskans for decades to come.  

We are seeing an improvement in the homeless situation. Winter homeless camp clearings are making a difference. Closing the Sullivan Arena Homeless shelter this summer should be another positive step in developing a long-term program to assist the homeless in addressing each individuals underlying issues, rather than warehousing them or leaving them in the woods or on the streets.  

Despite the continuous friction between the executive and legislative bodies, exacerbated by a liberal media that highlights the theater but mostly ignores the successes, Mayor Bronson is accomplishing the goals he established when elected mayor.  It would be good if he had more support from the Assembly.  

The next municipal election is April 5.  Ballots will be mailed out soon — March 15.  Every vote matters. 

To bring more balance to the Assembly, I highly recommend voting for Kevin Cross, Stephanie Taylor, Kathy Henslee, Randy Sulte, and Liz Vazquez for the Anchorage Assembly. These fresh faces would put the brakes on the Assembly’s progressive agenda of blocking Mayor Bronson’s efforts to reduce the size and cost of government, reduce government control over our lives, and bringing back a vibrant Anchorage economy. 

When government gets out of the way, society can flourish. Let’s bring back some balance to the Assembly, stop the Tuesday Night Fights, and make Anchorage an “All American City” again.

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).

9 COMMENTS

  1. Two words: Barb Jones.

    Until you resolve that issue, who you vote for is almost pointless. She controls the counting

  2. If Anchorage voters get out to vote like they did for Bronson, we could have hope for our city. It takes a lot of legitimate votes to overcome this ponzie system that seems to have taken root. But all the dead people and the nonexistent people can’t overcome a good turnout. How do we reach the people who choose to not participate? They won’t be reading this. Our voter turnout is disgusting. If the nasty nine remains in power, which they seem very confident will happen, we will become California on Ice. Everyone needs to talk to their likeminded friends and convince them of how important it is to participate or all is lost. Drop by and give them a ride to the polling place followed by a beer.

  3. OK. Very good. Also does the candidate know one thing about: The US Constitution? If yes? How shown; when? Nada? Nein. Does the candidate feel good about defending the 1776 US Constitution and all liberty? How proven?

  4. Thank you for your voice of reason, Mr.Campbell. I remember when Anchorage was an All American City. Get out and vote Anchorage. Let’s make our city great again!!

  5. ‘Hallelujah thine the glory. Hallelujah Amen! Hallelujah thine the glory. Revive Anchorage again.’

  6. I’ll vote for Sulte if the first thing he does is bring something to the floor demanding an investigation on why the cares act money wasn’t spent on expanding ICU bed, Hiring medical professionals and giving more relief to small business instead of buying crumbling real estate, Giving money to thinly vailed democrat organization’s, building trails around town and hiring a bunch of thug enforcers to carry out the orders of some installed Californian authoritarian to go intermediate small businesses into following her orders no matter what the cost.

    These action demand answers the city has to have answers until such a time I’ll personally sit on my hands because if these questions are not answered than what good does it do to bring in a few conservative. I just want to live in the city in which I was born in which my mother was born and the city my grandparents immigrated to from the villages looking for more opportunities for their children and have the ability to be left alone by these by these thugs with the monopoly on violence.

    I’d like to decide whether I wear a mask outside of my home, Id like to decide on how I operate my bussiness Id like to decide how to get my groceries home and for the love of all thing holy id like to decide how many guest I’m allowed to have in my own home!!! I’m not to interested in having conservatives run the assembly I’m much more interested in having the assembly dissolved or if that is to far of a step right now having it completely defanged along with the executive branch down to about the only power either have is approving budgets and other such things related to the basic operation of a city. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that governments and their institutions can not be trusted.

  7. Serious question. Craig you said the Assembly has a “drastically different view”. All red-baiting aside, given what these people say about equity, equal outcomes and role of government why not just call them what they are: Socialists? Is that too divisive? Why pussyfoot with these people?

  8. General, Anchorage has an election-integrity problem which has to be solved before any balance can be brought to its Assembly.
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    Anchorage’s easily corruptible mail-in ballot scheme, which the Assembly forced on voters, seems quite capable technologically, administratively, and procedurally, of assuring whatever outcome its sponsors choose.
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    Voters have no idea whether the integrity of their mail-in ballot scheme is equal to, or better than the traditional paper balloting system it replaced.
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    Voters don’t know whether voter rolls are accurate, more than a little evidence suggests they are not; nor do they know whether inaccuracies are statistically sufficient to prejudice close elections.
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    Voters do know election observers aren’t allowed to observe anything meaningful, no election observers are experts on protocol analysis of proprietary Dominion tabulating machine software which means nobody outside the Clerk’s office can observe vote tabulation with any degree of effectiveness.
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    Not everyone has Bronson’s resources to park an RV outside Election Central and watch ’em 24/7.
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    Then there’s voter roll accuracy, checked of course by the very folks with the most to lose if the Assembly accidentally gets “balanced”.
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    Then there’s the Clerk’s amateur handwriting analysts, not forensic document examiners, empowered to disenfranchise voters arbitrarily if they opine the voter’s signature doesn’t match something in some way known only to the inner sanctum of who else but the Clerk’s amateur handwriting analysts.
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    Then there’s old-school ballot harvesting, alive and well because labor unions can use it so effectively to help their folks get into public office and stay there.
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    Then there’s the ballot chain of custody problem, which is a problem because the chain of custody from when the ballot was cast to when the ballot was counted… doesn’t exist any more; ballots can be changed, altered, lost; no “observer” is allowed close enough, long enough to make sure that doesn’t happen.
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    Remember, the Assembly hires its Clerk. The Clerk uses Dominion vote-tabulation gear, running on proprietary software, free from meaningful outside observation, to “count” votes for her Assembly employers. What could possibly go wrong?
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    Throw in a few overpriced bonds to grease the right palms, and it’s business as usual, no surprises, might one daresay the perfect crime, no?
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    With respect, General, any hope of balancing the Assembly seems dependent on fixing these problems first.
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    Your thoughts?

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