Mayor Dave Bronson vetoed an ordinance passed by the leftist members of the Anchorage Assembly that infringes upon the public’s right to free speech, and also suppresses the public’s right to carry a firearm.
Anchorage Ordinance 2020-117 is the leftist Assembly’s way of trying to control public dissent in its meetings. In the past year of conservative activism, some members of the public have used their three minutes at the Assembly podium to conduct a silent protest during public testimony. The ordinance says that they may protest in silence all they like, but the next speaker will be heard during that silent protest. They don’t get to burn up the clock with their silence.
The mayor cited the Bill of Rights and said that the freedom to not speak or provide expression through a non-verbal means was protected. “The ordinance infringes upon a speaker’s ability to choose his or her own method of self-expression,” he wrote, defending the First Amendment.
Bronson also said that giving the chair of the Assembly the authority to prohibit the public from bringing their knives or guns into the Assembly chamber is an overreach of the Assembly’s authority. That authority is reserved to the State of Alaska, and is also protected by the U.S. Constitution, he said.
He also said that the Assembly was taking power from the Executive branch by grabbing for itself the contact with the private security company that keeps watch over Assembly meetings. That contract is with the Mayor’s Office, and “any attempt by the Assembly to exercise control over the contractor is inappropriate. Therefore, I must veto the ordinance,” Bronson said.
The Assembly will likely override the mayor’s veto, since there are only two conservative members out of the 11, and since the leftist nine have opposed the conservative mayor consistently since he took office.