The Anchorage Assembly on Friday buckled to pressure, but in the end, they showed their political hand.
Dr. Fauci, the White House, Congress, the Department of Defense, and even the Alaska Legislature had revoked mask mandates. Had the Assembly not acted to do the same, it would have had a revolt on its hands.
“It’s time to end the mask mandate, it’s time to end it now,” said Assemblyman Kameron Perez-Verdia, who has voted in favor of the mask mandate for months.
Originally, Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson had kept in place the mandate, which former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz had put in place last June. She said the mandate would stay until 70 percent of the population was vaccinated against Covid-19. While many are vaccinated, it’s only about 50 percent of the population in Anchorage at this point.
But after Friday’s special meeting, Assemblyman Chris Constant quickly moved that the Assembly remove the mandate.
Constant was preempting Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, who already had an amendment on the table to do just that. Allard has fought the mask mandate for many months, as the lone champion for opening Anchorage’s economy.
Constant, who has been busy working on the Forrest Dunbar for Mayor campaign, made the procedural move to ensure Allard could not take credit for it.
Constant was caught on a hot mic saying, “I just didn’t want to give Jamie the power.”
“I thought this wasn’t about political posturing, I thought this was about doing what’s right for our community,” Allard said later.
Assembly members and the public must still wear a mask in Assembly chambers until Tuesday, when that order is expected to be lifted.
Louis Imbriani, a citizen activist who attends many meetings of the Assembly, taped Constant in his “hot-mic moment,” and then played it back to the Assembly at the end of the meeting, expressing outrage that the liberal assemblyman had politicized the mask mandate.