CRIME WAS ON THEIR MINDS AT THE LOUSSAC LIBRARY
When candidate Mark Begich held a crime-focused town hall meeting on Monday in Anchorage, five people attended to speak to the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee. It was a disappointing night for the state’s top Democrat.
But on Tuesday, more than 115 people came through the town hall meeting held by Mike Dunleavy, who is clearly the leading candidate for governor.
The crime victims in Anchorage have figured out who the next governor is going to be and came to tell him their stories directly, without the filter of a controlling moderator. This was raw heartache being spoken into the microphone.
Anchorage residents told their stories for two hours at the Wilda Marston Theater in the Loussac Library — stories of how they don’t go to the mailbox anymore without a firearm. Stories about children sleeping in their beds, while drug-addled homeless people lingered 45 feet from their bedroom windows. The city tells parents that the homeless people “have rights too.”
The stories included one from a woman whose boyfriend was murdered, and then her son was later killed in cold blood in downtown Anchorage. She’s still waiting for the trial.
Another story came from a man who had his jet ski stolen in Big Lake, only to be told by law officers that these types of crimes are never solved, even though police know who is doing them.
Dunleavy listened, took notes, and occasionally responded to pointed questions, such as the one posed by Butch Moore, father of a young lady who was killed by her boyfriend, and whose name is now attached to a dating violence prevention law known as Bree’s Law.
Dunleavy said he is trying to understand how policies that sound good on paper affect real people in Alaska.
Laws like SB 91 may have been built on the smooth advice of Outside consultants, but Dunleavy wanted to hear from people who experience crime every day, and how unintended consequences of laws like SB 91 are changing the way they live.
There were no stilted forum questions, no “yes or no” paddles from moderators — just Dunleavy and the people.
One woman described how while having an alarm system installed in her house, thieves tried to steal the security company’s van that was parked in her driveway.
Don Jones, a former candidate for House, said that when he had been going door to door in his district, five out of 10 residents had had their cars stolen in the past few months.
Another woman described a detailed timeline of crime in her Muldoon neighborhood, and another described the devastation she felt as a mother when she was driving through a Muldoon business with her 15-year old daughter, who witnessed someone shooting up drugs in broad daylight.
The evening came to a close before the stories were all told. Dunleavy closed by saying that he wants immediate action when he becomes governor. Although he admitted not having all the answers, he said that after two years if the situation was not improved, he’d consider it a personal failure.