Dear John: Mediators up and quit the homelessness negotiations between mayor and Anchorage Assembly

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The year-long debate between the Bronson Administration and the Anchorage Assembly over mitigating homelessness in Anchorage took another turn on Friday when the hired mediators quit, saying that the two sides were just not working well together.

In a letter, retired Admiral Tom Barrett and Belinda Breaux, who were the mediators, said they’re done. The letter was vague and did not cast all the blame on one side or the other.

“We want to inform you we are concluding our work facilitating efforts by the Municipality and the Anchorage Assembly to improve the homeless situation in our community. We do not believe at this point we can add value implementing the client and community focused strategy the Assembly and Municipality have agreed to,” the two wrote.

“Homelessness is a complex, multifaceted issue impacting some of the most vulnerable members of our community and the quality of life of our community itself. Successfully addressing it takes proactive engaged, transparent collaboration among multiple government, philanthropic, service, business and religious organizations willing to rise above differences and partner with each other in positive, creative ways to achieve common goals, Barrett and Breaux wrote. The Mayor’s Office and the Assembly had brought in community partners such as Weidner Apartments and the Rasmuson Foundation to solve the complexities of homelessness in Anchorage.

At the end of the month, the Sullivan Arena is closing as a temporary shelter, after having been used as such for two-and-a-half years.

“Much progress has been made over the past year in Anchorage because of extraordinary work by many dedicated individuals and organizations. The Anchorage community can be proud of this progress, and we are proud of helping advance that work. We thank the Assembly and Mayor Bronson for the opportunity,” the mediators wrote.

“However, the transparency, candor and ‘we are all in this together’ attitude that enabled that earlier progress has in our opinion broken down in recent months. The decision framework approach we apply to support issue resolution depends on willingness to engage on tough issues with transparency, candor, accurate data, and credible information. We are no longer in such an environment and are thus unable to add value supporting decision-making needed to successfully exit mass care at Sullivan arena and implement agreed to planks of the client and community centered homeless strategy. We encourage the Administration to continue working together with the Assembly and community partners over coming weeks as Sullivan Arena is closed, operating plans for a navigation center are developed, and for the long term given that gaps remain in supportive low-cost housing availability in Anchorage,” they wrote.

A major component of the homelessness plan was the mayor’s hope for a navigation center, where people who are down on their luck could begin a journey back to productivity and a stable life. That has been met with a lot of resistance from the Assembly, as has his desire to work more closely with the faith-based nonprofits who are already providing services to homeless and vagrants in Anchorage.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Hope the districts that voted for the assembly get exactly what they voted for. Put all the homeless in the 4 liberal assembly members districts and tax them for the cost. Leave the rest of us alone. Go Bronson keep the little ones guessing.

    • The best suggestion I heard from the listening sessions came from a Midtown businessman, someone known to me as very much a “boots on the ground” person on this issue. He suggested six shelters, one in each Assembly district. Why should that be determined by your false dichotomy instead? I’ve already pointed out that redlining doesn’t work to curb homelessness, no matter how hard the Muni may try. Several years ago, Channel 2 News ran a story on the pop-up shelters run out of local churches. The story focused on St. John United Methodist Church, which is on lower O’Malley Road. I used to see tents alongside the Scooter Avenue ramps at a time when the Sullivan Arena had vacant beds. So what’s wrong with a shelter in the Dimond Boulevard area? People who want to work have a much better chance there than in Fairview. People who want to get sober have easy access to the Dry Dock Club. So on and so forth.

      • am
        Again – we are creating a protected sub class of people by “accommodating” illegal behavior. We didn’t have the depth of these issues when law enforcement enforced the very laws that were put in place to control and manage this issue – vagrancy, loitering, public intoxication, littering, trespassing, etc.
        Bronson, instead of pulling a “Guliani” and cracking g down on illegal public behavior is instead encouraging this behavior with PROVEN failed policies that only encourage and exacerbate this public eyesore.
        Bronson – grow a spine and enforce the laws. Maybe take the 10 patrol cars that are hassling hard working, tax paying commuters on the Glenn Hiway every day and clean up this dirty, filthy, unsafe city.

      • “……..People who want to get sober have easy access to the Dry Dock Club……..”
        I suppose we can continue this experiment of allowing people to be dregs on society until “they want” to get their acts straight, but history proves that doesn’t work. China suffered a 200 year opium crisis, including two wars against the foreign powers smuggling that garbage in, until Mao finally put an end to it in less than a decade. How did he do it?:
        1) Mandatory sobriety for users. If you didn’t succeed, you went to prison, and there was no release, tv, weight room, law library, etc. It was a place you really didn’t want to go.
        2) A death sentence for opium sellers. Period. No mercy.
        3) Borders closed to smugglers. See #2 for violators.
        4) Support for alternative cash crops for domestic growers. No further production. See #2 for violators.
        If this society “wants to”, we can cure our problems. All it takes is determination and a rejection of the bleating sheep. Eventually, it’s going to happen. I suggest that sooner is better than later.
        This is easily researchable. Hopefully it won’t require a complete Maoist Revolution to do it, but if it does, I’m actually looking forward to it, because what we’re growing now looks worse. At least the Chinese stuffed their opium abusers into dens so citizens didn’t have to walk over and around them as they lay in their vomit on the streets.

    • Well, I informed my assembly members that every homeless person I see within a mile of my house is getting a bottle of booze, a sandwich, and a ride to their house. If having the homeless spread throughout the city is such a great idea, they can start with them in their neighborhood.
      .
      During the testimony against buying buildings to house the homeless Constant kept trying to invalidate testimony by saying it was NIMBYism. So, let’s start putting the homeless in Constant’s backyard. If you are represented by LaFrance, AQD, Rivera, Dunbar, and the rest of the marxists do the same thing.

        • Sweeney: ok. I’ll unwisely bite. what part is a lie? I’ll be honest, I find that people that just shout “LIE” without explaining to the audience what is a lie and why tend to not be the most level headed people. But I’m genuinely curious what part of this is considered a lie. If you say “all of it”, then you are just hysterical and spinning your wheels.

  2. What progress? It’s as much a cluster as it’s ever been. Nothings changed and no one feels any safer about going downtown with their families. Start arresting vagrants and giving them the option of treatment or jail and after 3 strikes no more options. Problem solved. All this navel gazing and virtue signaling is naive at best and just a way to bilk more money from the tax payers at worst. It’s a scam. Get serious or get out. Enforce the daggone laws. That’s what you get paid to do.

  3. Lots of natives in The homeless community. Why aren’t the corporations taking care of them? They have the federal money to do so.

  4. The Assembly just wants to keep spending Millions or Billions on the mess. Get our tax dollar out of the billion dollar homeless business. It is a cash cow on our dime.

  5. Oh to have been a fly on the wall while the Mediators where discussing their resignation. It would be nice if they dispensed with the polite vagaries and named names and actual instances of Road Blocking. Then we citizens would have more to act on.

  6. The Navigation Center seems to be the best starting point because it provides an array of help. Just like the downtown Hope Center. Anything else is housing alone will not help one participant change.

  7. It seems the assembly consensus is to keep enablement in place and nothing less will do. Enabling gives control to the enabler, and it is all about control and power for the left. Logic, reason, encouraging autonomy, self sufficiency and productivity reduces the control. Can’t have that.

  8. One wonders if there was an effort to relocate the homeless/bums to the exact addresses of the Anchorage Assembly members- how long it would be before the liberal assembly addressed this problem like adults.

    In Seattle, KOMO Anchor Eric Johnson took an in-depth look at the impact of the drug and homelessness problem- its a one hour video. It shows in stark detail what happens when liberals coddle criminals/homeless. Google it. Its well worth watching.

  9. The mediators comment’s, “However, the transparency, candor and ‘we are all in this together’ attitude that enabled that earlier progress has in our opinion broken down in recent months. Appears to sum up the fact that, we are all in this together, only applies to corrupt assembly members wishes. “Their” policies during covid scamdemic proved beyond a shadow of doubt these assembly members are sock puppets for the Great Reset. The ultimate goal of Klause Schwab, “you will own nothing and be happy.” The corrupt assembly and acting mayor wasted money on frivolous crap that more than likely won’t be reimbursed under federal grants. This leaves all of us taxpayers left with paying their bills and no MOA general fund reserves. Homelessness in Anchorage is NOT the sole responsibility of Anchorage taxpayers. It is the shared responsibility of the State of Alaska. Mayor Bronson is right, just like the signs now posted on street corners, “We need real change”, not more homeless shelters (old hotels) that are self-enriching corrupt politicians. Real change assesses the causes of homelessness. Homelessness issues due to mental illness and addiction must be addressed differently than families, teenagers, single parents with children where an event or a string of events created the homelessness situation. It is my understanding the Acting Mayor and Assembly handed out gift cards during covid. Giving gift cards to those with addiction wasted tax payer funds and fueled the issues. Families, teenagers, and single parents with children are the most vulnerable and would be best served by the Mayor’s initiative to provide resources for these groups to escape from permanent homelessness. Again this must be a comprehensive statewide initiative and NOT the narrow minded wishes of the corrupt assembly members and their even more corrupt sock puppets.

    • now you are thinking like James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to visit orphans and widows (single mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, the lonely aged, low income, disabled) in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted (uncorrupted, defiled, taking advantage of the poor) from the world.” NKJV

  10. The homeless will be a problem UNTIL they start camping in the neighborhoods where the people that occupy the Anchorage Assembly live!!! I will personally help them set up camp!

  11. Citizens of anchorage if you see a homeless person be sure to give them the address for Felix Rivera, Chris constant, Meg Zaletel or forrest Dunbar, and let the homeless know they can go to any one of these houses for comfort, food, bedding. Mayor Bronson has more class more brains and the citizens support. So boooooo to the assembly, thank you mayor for you guts brains and integrity sir. Oath breakers so help you GOD.

  12. Dunbar and Peterson voted against the Navigation Center. They are not about helping the homeless. Dunbar is only about advancing his political career. He can be very divisive. Having seen his anger and pettiness I’m sure he’s a major part of the problem.

  13. Their resistence to our bronson’s closely working with faith based non profits is hopeful, because by inaction they admit christ breaks bondage and shackles. Here is something from billy graham ‘angels’ book, pg 101 ‘…unless world leaders and statesman understand the true nature of the warfare, they will continue to be blind leaders of the blind. They can only patch here and patch
    a little there. We will find no final solution to the
    world’s great problems until this spirit warfare has been settled.’ as zalatel’s midtown
    signs say ‘give real change.’ yes give the one a slave to sin -jesus- the one who breaks strongholds of mind, body, and spirit. Jesus conquers more than what non profits can’t do. Even then. There
    still be struggles at least our homeless would be in a better situation learning God’s word. Prayfully the mature christians are manning the non profits. Some christians are in name-only and their sins are a hinderance to a faith based non profit mission like achan from joshua.

  14. John Weddleton lost his 2022 re-election bid.
    John as a member of homeless work group tried to produce useful results for the Muni.
    His departure removed his positive solution driven input.

    • Randy… Weddleton lost because he voted wrong 98% of the time. He was great opining and voting to extend testimonial time in the chambers. Then, he’d end up voting with the libs almost EVERY time. He’s gone for a reason and no amount go good intentions regarding the homeless situation would have helped him. The libs want to enable a majority of the homeless while Bronson wants a solution. If any party is belligerent, it’s been proven to be Constant, Dunbar and they’re buds – the ones Weddleton enjoyed voting with.

  15. Their resistence to our bronson’s closely working with faith based non profits is hopeful, because by inaction they admit christ breaks bondage and shackles. Here is something from billy graham ‘angels’ book, pg 101 ‘…unless world leaders and statesman understand the true nature of the warfare, they will continue to be blind leaders of the blind. They can only patch here and patch
    a little there. We will find no final solution to the
    world’s great problems until this spirit warfare has been settled.’ as zalatel’s midtown
    signs say ‘give real change.’ yes give the one a slave to sin -jesus- the one who breaks strongholds of mind, body, and spirit. Jesus conquers more than what non profits can’t do. Even then. There
    still be struggles at least our homeless would be in a better situation learning God’s word. Prayfully the mature christians are manning the non profits. Some christians are in name-only and their sins are a hinderance to a faith based non profit mission like achan from joshua, as well immature christians put
    stumbling blocks in front of the homeless from seeing jesus in the christian volunteers or employees live: provoking them to anger ,yelling at them, belittling, and gossiping and slandering
    them behind their back just because the homeless person is behaving sinful unkind to the worker.

  16. I assume there’s some hand ringing and frustration by those not been able to funnel monies spent to the ones planning to reap big financial gains.
    Cough Meg cough 😷

  17. There is no homelessness problem. It’s a choice. It’s a drug use problem. Watch “Seattle is Dying”on YT. Also, the issue has been solved! Check out CODAC drug rehab in Providence RI. The comments that point out that politicians don’t want to solve this problem because there’s money to be made are correct.

  18. Jesus said “You have the poor always with you”…certainly true. “As you have done it unto the least of these my brothers you have done it unto me”. Happy are the merciful. When I had an illness in November I was amazed at the grace of the Anchorage Assembly for our brothers and sisters of limited funds. I hope we continue to assist in these difficult moments when other countries are wishing harm on big brother.

    • A. Galeutian: I see no compassion in enabling people with destructive lifestyles. My father was an alcoholic. If my mother would have given him shelter and bread and not held him accountable for anything while giving him pity (sometimes confused as “grace”), as if he was just a “bother or sister of limited funds” or treated him as a helpless victim of a mental disease he would have never quit. Thankfully, my mother finally reached her end and my father realized he either needed to quit drinking or he was going to lose the “grace” of his wife and family. That was finally enough to motivate him to emerge out of the fog of addiction as a better man than most.

  19. I don’t see what the problem is. both side think the people of Anchorage have unlimited resources and think they can spend their way out of the homeless problem they should be getting along swimmingly

    • It’s because Bronson wants to kick people out of homeless camps and the assembly believes that’s inhumane and a disaster based on their estimates of how many people are “unsheltered”. So the assembly thinks it wouldn’t be a disaster or inhumane to let people live in homeless camps??

  20. For those of us who have eyes to see, ears to hear and mouths to use it is time to start shouting the truth louder and louder. We are witnessing the destruction of Anchorage, Alaska and American first hand. OBiden’s open border policy has increased human trafficking, illegal drugs and criminals marching across without any interference. Anyone who attempts to stop the abomination is victim of Nancy Pelosi’s wrap up smears or worse. OBiden’s just a puppet or squatter and has implemented illegal executive orders that have destroyed the oil and gas industry, farming, food supply chains. The impact of OBiden’s illegal mandates have crippled airlines as so many pilots and on-board crews are now grounded, it doesn’t matter about the fuel prices or fuel shortages. No more illegal immigrants or so called asylum seekers should be allowed in any American city. Anchorage can’t fix the homeless situation without state support and we certainly can’t deal with supporting more illegal immigrants. And if the mandates were ever about our health, then why are illegal immigrants not subject to covid screening, covid jabs, or other covid shelter in place requirements? Why was American cell phone geospatial activity illegally obtained and analyzed for compliance with covid mandates; when our government won’t do anything about criminal activity, protests aka riots, smash and grabs, etc.? Again this is not about health this is about destruction and control. Everyone must shout, no more! Anchorage, Alaska and America must restore law and order! Stop uncontrolled government spending and give always. Stop uncontrolled immigration. Repeal all of OBiden’s illegal executive orders which violate separation of duties between the three branches of government. Why isn’t Dunleavy doing more to push back against OBiden’s illegal executive orders? Ranked choice voting and mail in voting is a disaster and we all know it. Anchorage’s mail in voting is a disaster too. When folks accuse Anchorage voters of getting what you voted for, it makes one wonder how secure is our voting when the clerk and her minions get to decide who, when and how observers will be allowed to observe. If there is nothing to see then why are they hiding? Too many coinkydinks during ballot counting in Anchorage for me to feel like it is a secure process. Anchorage must return to in person voting, paper ballots with voter ID and hand counting which is observed by legitimate observers. Only by this process will Anchorage be able to have election integrity. Again if there is nothing to hide; then why is the corrupt assembly and clerk trying so hard to “control” the voting processes and outcome?

  21. Looking at other sources that side with the assembly (which there are far too many of), their claim is that Bronson doesn’t accept the assembly’s estimates of “unsheltered” and Bronson’s administration isn’t providing more accurate estimates in response. But it’s clear to me that the assembly wants to build as many shelters as they can get away with, knowing they won’t get all that they want and then estimate that there are more “unsheltered” than we can provide housing for, therefore it is brutal to force people out of homeless camps. That’s the side they always have to take because if they ever admit there is enough shelters, then they lose their identity and their enemies and their political standing. It’s an endless political game and more proof that liberals confuse pity and pandering and self righteousness with compassion.

    They pretend all of these people don’t have options, but if you talk to firemen that actually have to pick up these people intoxicated on the streets at panhandler corners, or in homeless camps, you’ll find out that many times these people have places they can go to, if not an actual personal apartment, they just choose to hang out on the streets and socialize with other people that want to bum around. But in a liberals mind everybody is a victim of the flaws and brutality of society and others, and therefore we all need to be protected and controlled, most importantly, by them because they are the only ones that “understand” and “care”.

    So frustrating…

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