By DANIEL SMITH
The majority of the Anchorage Assembly is drunk with power. Like a chronic inebriate panhandling on the corner any given major Anchorage midtown intersection these days, they do not want to do the hard work. They do not want to do the honest work. They do not want to do the peoples work. The tyrants on the Assembly instead want to deny the citizens of Anchorage their right to choose their own mayor.
The sponsors of the latest ordinance to overthrow the mayor need another fix or another shot of the hard stuff or maybe both, to quench their thirst for power. It is not enough to have a veto-proof majority that can override Mayor Dave Bronson and his quest for freedom. The sponsors of AO 2022-60 and those who will vote for it are once again choosing force over the citizens of Anchorage.
These members of the Assembly are very aware of the power their majority gives them, but do not want to be restricted by the will of the people or the friction that another separate and equal branch of government may offer. The hard work of discussion and debate on an issue is too much for them. They want complete control and they will not stop until they gain it.
In spite of overwhelming public testimony against their drunken quest for power, they will push and exceed the limits of a sober-minded body. They will claim to have received many emails in support of their mayoral overthrow ordinance. These emails, if they exist, will not be verified as having come from actual Anchorage voters. The mere proclamation of a consenting view is good enough for them. They will claim their use of force is for the good of our city. They will claim a heavy hand is necessary to remedy the homeless, mental health and drug abuse issues that plague our city. They will make myriad excuses for their behavior, just as the alcoholic does before and after beating their children and spouse.
The eight socialists on the Anchorage Assembly are seemingly unaware of the damage they do. They will wake up the next day and have a vague recollection of a struggle that they believe was noble and necessary. In reality, the voice of Anchorage residents at the June 1 special Assembly meeting was an outcry from their constituents. Citizens pointed out the bad judgment by the Assembly tyrants and pleaded for them to stop before the damage is irreversible. The abusers on the Assembly will carry on with their abusive behavior until everything they have touched is broken. They are abusers in the most literal sense of the word. They abuse their power to the extent that they intend to ordain themselves with more power.
The honest work begins with admitting that all nearly of the Assembly-generated policies and programs have failed. The Covid lock downs were extremely destructive to our city. Only those people and business deemed essential by our Assembly emerged whole or in some cases better. Imagine being declared an “unessential business” or “unessential worker” by someone in elected office. No imagination is actually necessary — it happened and many suffered. If this was not a breach of public trust, what is?
The problems and attempted solutions associated with the homeless population continue to grow and require an honest assessment. The actions of our Assembly have only helped to enable and grow the homeless population as more and more individuals are attracted by the gifts our Assembly gives: Free housing, free food, and the freedom to deny contributing members of our community the use of our public spaces are the gifts our Assembly offers, all funded by those that actually work to pay the bill.
Anchorage does not have the luxury of waiting this out and hoping the eight remaining tyrants will free themselves from their addiction to power. After the Assembly votes to approve their own power grab, immediate legal action must be taken. The bond that protects them and their actions must be used as a method of self-defense by Anchorage residents. This Assembly has for many years broken and abused the power of their office. The Assembly is too powerful in its current form. They themselves are the ones that have breached the public trust, not the mayor.
With a hobbled executive branch of government that AO 2022-60 delivers, the reigning assembly tyrants will be free to award themselves an ever increasing amount of wealth through their homeless industrial complex businesses and other discretionary spending. They will buy favor from any group or individual that they can influence or for whom they can purchase another expensive house. They will continue to do this with our property tax dollars and federal income taxes monies collected and passed back to them.
The Anchorage Assembly needs an intervention. Where the assistance comes from is still uncertain. No doubt, the recipients of Assembly abuse will resolve to continue the push back but more will be necessary.
There are three branches of government for a reason, one of which is to avoid the consolidation of power in the hands of a few radicals or even the majority. AO 2022-60 allows the legislative branch to break through the intended barrier between the branches and seize control of the executive branch.
Specifically, language has been added by the author(s) of AO 2022-60 which allows removal of the Mayor from office for a list of 12 things but are “not limited” to those 12 things.
In other words, there is no limit to the list of things that could constitute a breach of trust. This is clear legal language and despite the opinion of Assembly’s legal counsel, translates simply to “any reason.” Any reason at all is a good one to remove the mayor, if you don’t agree with the mayor’s position, under this ordinance.
A very good question has been raised: Why now? Why not when the previous pants-free mayor or illegally appointed and unelected eight-month mayor held office? Better yet, why not when this issue was considered and yet not drafted in 1993? The answer to the last question is because the Assembly at that time knew that it was illegal and violated the city charter.
This proposed ordinance is not a simple clean-up of some old unfinished business from roughly 30 years ago. This is new stuff. This is a very transparent grab at complete political power. Voters of Anchorage did not want the other candidates for mayor. The majority of Anchorage voters like Mayor Bronson and the direction he is going. The thing that probably keeps eight of the Assembly members up at night is knowing that they are wrong. Yet they keep going down this dark totalitarian path anyway. They need to stop doing things that they know are illegal.
People who knowingly commit crimes are called criminals. Criminals get to live in a special place called jail.
The very act of an Assembly member voting in favor of this ordinance is probably a greater breach of public trust than failing to hold a special election when Berkowitz resigned in disgrace and left a vacancy in the mayor’s office. AO 2022-60 is a structural breach of trust and not a one-time willful act of negligence.
The people already have ways to remove elected officials from office if they choose. This is not the business of the Anchorage assembly. We have many more pressing issues to tackle.
Dan Smith is a lifelong Alaskan and Anchorage resident who writes for Must Read Alaska.