By ANCHORAGE ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAMIE ALLARD
I oppose Anchorage Emergency Ordinance 3, the mask ordinance. It is a gross overreach of this Assembly not only into the lives of our constituents, but also into the executive branch.
We have a duty to safeguard the separation of powers and to work with the mayor that the people elected. As intended and defined in the charter, the authority to make decisions in an emergency lies with the mayor.
The mayor has clearly communicated the multifaceted steps the Administration is taking to protect public health and address this endemic.
There is no emergency declaration at the state or city levels.
After this Assembly spent millions of Covid disaster relief money on issues not even remotely related to protecting public health, it is an embarrassment that our healthcare system is so fragile as to not be able to handle an inevitable Covid surge.
Where did that money go if not to prepare our hospitals for an increase in patients? Why are qualified healthcare workers being terminated for refusing a shot if we are in crisis mode?
Like those poor policy decisions, this mask ordinance is mixing politics with medicine, setting a dangerous precedent for medical totalitarianism, robbing the people of bodily autonomy, and turning our constituents against each other.
Furthermore, it is not even based on sound science, but rather on a false sense of security that you are “doing something” about Covid. But what the Assembly is doing is ignoring the will of the people, their right to informed consent to wear a medical device on their face, parental rights to make medical decisions for their children, and ignoring science that shows mandates are ineffective at best, and harmful at worst, not only to Covid outcomes in a community, but to overall physical, mental, and emotional health.
Mask mandates do not work, or else Covid would be a thing of the past. But what a mask mandate does do is tear our community apart. The evidence of that has been apparent the last two weeks, as we have listened to testimony after testimony about the real-world consequences these sweeping mandates cause.
It’s wielding a sledgehammer to kill a fly. It shreds the fabric of individual freedom upon which this country was built. As we have clearly seen, there are people in our community who cannot and will not comply with this ordinance. Which means it will require force. Force and coercion are the opposite of public health. It will not move anyone to kindness, will not inspire personal responsibility, and will not heal a very divided city. It won’t even stop Covid.
And let me remind the Assembly that when it was politically convenient this Assembly voted to remove all emergency powers and orders (May, 2021, prior to the mayoral runoff).
This is not science. This is politics. And half of the community sees right through it.
This ordinance is nonsensical, unenforceable, unrealistic, and divisive. It violates my rights as a hearing-impaired American, forcing me to live in a world where I cannot read lips and cannot communicate effectively.
It robs our children of critical developmental processes such as learning to talk, building emotional intelligence and empathy, and socializing.
It creates embarrassing situations for our exempted neighbors with special needs or medical conditions, forcing them to explain themselves to strangers.
This ordinance places unfair and unenforceable pressure on businesses to police their patrons, and to provide masks for their employees. Will the assembly foot that bill? It welcomes discrimination and creates hostile work environments. It fails to acknowledge natural immunity in those who have recovered from Covid-19. And most egregiously, it fails to acknowledge that we are a free people, with inalienable rights that shall not be infringed.
As a veteran and a public servant, I am dedicated to fighting for the rights of my constituents. We are a diverse people, with different beliefs and opinions, and that makes us the vibrant community we all love. This ordinance turns that diversity against each other.
It is not our duty to micromanage the daily lives of our constituents. It is our duty to create policy that safeguards liberty, and the right to informed consent. If we really wanted to protect the public health, we would emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and its significant impact on Covid-19 outcomes.
Our best strategy to minimize the Covid threat is public education on immunity and healthy bodies, vaccines, hand washing, staying home when symptomatic, and providing early treatment.
There is no emergency. Covid is here to stay. We cannot mask it away. We must live with it. This ordinance is a violation of our most valued American beliefs, and a pathetic political power move to usurp authority from a mayor who opposes the leftist nine.
It is a distraction from the homeless crisis, the border crisis, the Afghanistan crisis, and a recall election. I stand for individual responsibility and liberty first and foremost, as the foundation of our nation, the pillar of our policy, and the heritage for our children.
Jamie Allard, a veteran, is one of two Assembly members representing Chugiak and Eagle River.