Mayor wants his powers extended to November 15 - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, November 27, 2020
HomePoliticsMayor wants his powers extended to November 15

Mayor wants his powers extended to November 15

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ emergency order expires on April 14 unless the Anchorage Assembly extends them.

Berkowitz has asked the Assembly to do so, allowing him extensive control over budgets and other major decisions until Nov. 15. It would allow Berkowitz to keep all businesses closed, and extend the “hunker down” order for seven months.

Not all Assembly members are comfortable with giving Berkowitz a blank check until after the General Election. But most who were up for reelection retained their seats. It’s uncertain how they’ll view such sweeping powers, but their decision comes after the municipal election is over, rather than while the public was still voting.

The Wuhan coronavirus has created a de facto lockdown Anchorage and many parts of the country, resulting in the arrest of citizens simply going about their family lives without the risk of putting others in harm’s way.

Meanwhile, the technology, medical knowledge and government recommendations have changed on nearly a daily basis since the coronavirus came to America.

Three weeks ago, Alaskans were told by officials that face coverings were not effective and needed to be preserved for medical professionals battling the coronavirus. Last week, the State of Alaska recommended face coverings be worn whenever people are out in public. Three weeks ago, the State didn’t have enough swab tests or hospital beds. Now, the testing kits are being developed in-state and the lab machines are more available. So are hospital beds.

The Assembly could, if it wants, review the emergency orders every week or every month because the Assembly meets every other week, unlike the Legislature, which has a more difficult time convening to approve emergency powers for the governor. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has had his emergency powers extended to Nov. 15 by the Alaska Legislature, which left Juneau last month. Legislators are now scattered across the state, hunkered down in their districts and subject to local and state travel quarantines.

Due to concerns over large gatherings amid the COVID-19 outbreak, community members are strongly encouraged by the Anchorage Assembly to provide testimony via email or by telephone. Because of the federal, state, and local health department guidance and emergency measures, the number of people allowed in the Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library will be limited. 

[Link to streaming meeting is here]

The Assembly encourages anyone wishing to provide Public Testimony to email written comments to [email protected] by 2 p.m. the day of the meeting. Comments will become part of the meeting record.  In the subject line of the email, describe which agenda item you are providing testimony for (Example: “Emergency Powers of the Mayor.”)

To provide testimony on the phone, email [email protected] by 2 p.m. the day of the meeting with your name, phone number, agenda item number/title for which you wish to provide testimony. The subject line should read “Phone Testimony.” When the Assembly reaches your agenda item, the clerk will call you at the number you have provided. You will have 3 minutes to provide testimony on each item you wish to speak on.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting is at this link, with the extension of the mayor’s powers at item 14v.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • What will happen on Nov. 15, when the “emergency” may or may not be over? Does the little fella want to be ‘crowned’? Maybe extend the “emergency”, complete with powers, until, say, April, 2025? Monthly extensions should be more than enough to update and extend or remove those “powers” if the “emergency” continues or has ended. Of course that won’t set well with leftist goals. I think folks already had a substantial taste of “powers”, mandates and new, unending taxes that are ridiculous, unconstitutional and decidedly leftist, thrown at them by little Ethan, mostly just because he could. One thing you can be certain of. The little guy will fight for that unwarranted power. Anchorage has the potential to become a world class hell hole under his “leadership”. The sought after “powers” extension could accelerate that. I don’t think the best interests of Anchorage citizens are at the fore here.

  • Right on…the whole of the United States will be back to normal and we’ll be shipping and flying to all parts of the world as the little fella is ranting and raving for additional powers. Maybe he will want to muzzle the APD again on his behavior, seen and unseen, or whatever comes next to give him a stand out situation. Does the Anchorage Borough need this request? NO!!! President Trump is planning on opening the economy May 1, 2020 if all goes well with plans and what he sees in the charts on infections. Time to get back to business of life and living.

  • Too much power for a mayor. Can’t see many small businesses surviving this. Too much conflicting news and reports from many news and government sources. Stop the insanity. Recommend masks be worn by everyone, and get them made to be available for everyone.

  • Interested to see what the sheeple of anchorage will do, I’m living and doing now, if you believe the narrative then stay home and cower until your instructed to get on the cattle cars. Anyone who gives up freedom for safety deserves nether, Sounds familiar and true.

    • Cower is a derogatory term. Best to stay home knowing you are not getting sick, nor spreading the illness.

  • Maybe he wants to seize control of a few airplanes?

  • There isn’t enough money to bribe me to live in his district. Not where they dig up guys like Berkey.

  • Never let a “crisis” slip away without furthering your political agenda! A Democrat maxim. This guy is eating this up! Social Engineering at it’s finest moment. So much to do and get accomplished, if only those Criminals would cooperate…

  • This needs to stop and business needs to begin to get back to work. After a season without tourism, commercial fishing, oil field work ,transportation restaurants and the hundreds of that support them Alaska will be like the rust belt or any other area that has had its economy gutted. It will take decades to recover from this and many people and businesses won’t ever be able to.

    • Not decades. It was already in the trash can. No fiscally responsible house. People at each others throats. More like 2-3 years if you get a balanced budget.

  • Cease the emergency powers mandate of the mayor. There is no need to extend these powers. To extend as he desires to Nov 15th is ridiculous. We did not elect a dictator to rule unchecked. If you must, then allow no longer than May 15th, or sooner if dictated by the President Trump or Governor Dunleavy. Any extension allowed should be addressed bi-weekly by the assembly for termination.

    Additionally, move sporting goods retailers from the non-essential list and to the essential list. This is Alaska, we do subsistence hunting and fishing which we need to purchase tools and equipment from these retailers. The Alaska Constitution guarantees our right to access the fish and wildlife resources for subsistence purposes. Denying access to these retailers effectively denies our constitutional guarantee to provide for our families.

    A city/borough ordinance or declaration, nor State law, declaration or mandate can supersede neither the Alaska nor U.S. Constitutions. Did you take an oath to uphold these constitutions? Marshal Law has not been declared. Declaring an emergency does not circumvent the Constitutional guarantees.

    Thanks for your time,

    • The Governor will take care of this small man.

  • I mean this in the nicest possible way but I think the little fella can get stuffed.

    Those of us that are inclined to avoid transmission will and those of us that aren’t, won’t.

    If I’ve learned anything in living here since the pre-pipe days it’s that many Alaskans are here in part because they don’t fit well elsewhere… and they don’t give a rip what a straw boss might have to say about much of anything. Leave it to Dunleavy and let’s let the little guy figure out some really good sandwiches for the bold new menu once it’s ok to go out and have one.

  • Doing a monthly recap and to see where we are as a State is one thing going until November is just can’t even find the words for it! The state will
    Be crippled ! Socal distancing and the hankering down until May 1 . Then look at things and go from
    There .

  • It’s not reasonable to extend his powers another week, let alone another month!!!

  • Not just No, but hell no! Let’s just do 30 day time periods, at the most, if any.

  • At least we don’t have to pay for ankle monitors yet.

  • “….until Nov. 15. It would allow Berkowitz to keep all businesses closed….”
    Some are never going to learn not to vote for the one’s who most resemble themselves.

  • Are there only two options?

    Let the EO expire; or extend it until November 15 (7 months!)?

  • Six more months is way too long to milk this crisis. 30 days at a time is reasonable and for this crisis only.
    Humbly submitted.

  • Mayor Berkowitz is a progressive -minded politician who wants to have control over our city much the same way many democrats want to gain control of the entire U.S. ,for the sake of taking away more of our American freedoms. I am probably negligent at having had no say in the instituting of the 5G network in Anchorage, where the mayor has worked with the Swedish tech company to put Anchorage on the map as being one of the top 22 cities in the world to install 5G. That insanely unhealthy move preceded the Covid-19 Hunker Down event that has tested all of our grit. I do not see the necessity of an extension that extreme, which would assure that our economy would not survive, the health of our citizens would be compromised because of the lack of much needed vitamin D, families and marriages would be even more stressed, just to mention a few negatives that come to mind. The length of Berkowitz’s proposed extension is preposterous. I agree with the others who have commented…one month assessments is enough. Would any of the motivation for the extension be part of the plan to push vaccinations on the citizens? Just thinking ahead to what others in the government are pushing already.

  • Super powers? Magical powers? Power rangers?

  • If all the hair salons are supposed to be shut down why is hair looking all neat and tidy? Unless his wife is a hairdresser I think us out of work no paycheck getting hairdressers deserve an explanation.

    • I’m sure he used the new “Flowbee 19” ordered from Amazon 🙂 and he or his wife cut his hair with it. Joking of course. I can’t imagine Smerkowitz suffering the same as us common folk.

  • This is based on admittedly flawed graphs! We have flattened the curve and we need to go forward responsibly and get our economy going. The IGG antibody testing is at 100% rate in city it has been testing in and should be available ASAP it uses common lab equipment so it will be easily completed at local labs. Research real facts people H1N1 killed over 12k people worldwide Covid19 count thus far is less than 6k worldwide!!! Difference is we have instant media coverage so mass panic is easy to spread. We will force this country into another depression and we will lose our houses and cars on and on and on. If you let this go until November you are starting a new “flu” season. We can not stop the world every time a new virus comes about. We need to be self reliant with our medical supplies, equipment , medication ect ect. We need Medical vetting of incoming Visitors not sure how this would look. This is absolutely not acceptable

  • Any shutdown is insanity. This is Martial Law 101 folks. Run this Mayor out of Alaska!!!!! Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  • The end game is playing for a mail ballot General Election so the Democrats can steal it.

  • Alaska should follow what the country does under president Trump and the medical professionals. Berkowitz has made it clear he cares more about the homeless than the residents of Anchorage. Big mistake to give him that power.

  • Power and control are addictive … He doesn’t get it = snivel; He gets it and we will be in worse trouble

  • No extension , we need to get back to work ,small buisness are hit real hard ,we need to gradually get back to work do not give him power to keep us shut down , as sole proprietor of a small buisness of my own their is no help , I have no employees , and yes I did file on line for all the help under the guide lines , their is nothing their , the ten thousand that was allowed on the grant for small buisness and sole proprietor buisness , they changed the wording on it , that employees will each get one thousand a peace , and I do not have employees being sole proprietor , so I will only get one thousand for my self , penny’s is what we will get under their guide lines , much less of the ten thousand we where filing for , when they gave the announcement in the news from or government , very shameful , after they said or small businesses is what keeps or economy going in the U.S. , shameful and very said ning for small buisness and for all of us that are sole proprietors of a small buisness , do something for as you say we keep the economy going small buisness and buisness with sole proprietor .

  • Wonder what would happen if everybody just said no, re-opened stores, went back to work.
    .
    Arrest ’em all? Where you gonna put ’em, Mr. Mayor?
    .
    What happens when everybody demands a jury trial and prospective jurors tell the judge they’ll invoke jury nullification?
    .
    Maybe that’s an extreme scenario, but it does seem reasonable to speculate what might happen when falling business income no longer supports property-tax bills, whether a 1980’s recession redux is inevitable after the Mayor’s very own version of martial law causes Anchorage’s Great Leap Forward to fall flat on its face.

  • Do I hear a recall coming for the little guy? He is drunk with power and will have a war on his hands.

    • Not likely with Anchorage’s easily corrupted mail-in ballot system…
      .
      And you can bet the Dear Leaders know it…

  • A leftist wants more power?

    Say it isn’t so..

  • No. We are not New York. We shouldn’t have shut down in the first place. We as a state have 178 (cumulative – 98 recovered – 9 deaths) current confirmed cases with the lowest population density in America. Anchorage itself has 103 cumulative cases. Using this as an opportunity to take power is disgusting.

  • Standing Small for Anchorage.

    Go lay down by your dish, Berkowitz.

  • Remarks of Steve Agni to Anchorage Assembly 4/14/2020

    Tonight we are in Civil Emergency not due to fire or earthquake, all experienced throughout history, but due to the corona virus sickness, easily spread and sadly fatal to some.
    Civil Emergencies while uncommon are not unknown. We have laws and precedent to guide our response. Alaska like most states may grant the executive branch extraordinary powers to take necessary actions to curtail the harm consistent with our structure of shared government powers and constitutional rights.
    This Assembly must carefully design the powers to cure the ill without harming our citizens and impairing their individual rights. However, at this time this Ordinance as presented exceeds the proper boundary of powers that are necessary to do the job in the least invasive manner.
    The proposed period of time for the exercise of these powers Nov 15 is far too excessive.
    This Assembly meets twice per month. In these exigent times this Assembly must hold that schedule and vote to continue or cease the grant of emergency powers every two weeks.
    The most oppressive emergency order to date is the “hunker Down” or shut down order. This Order which prevents people from working and confines them to their homes is an abuse of the police power and violates a plethora of constitutional rights. This shut down order is stopping people from obtaining health care is encouraging alcohol and drug abuse, contributing to spousal abuse and destroying our economy and the tax base supporting the City. A twice monthly review of the necessity for the “Hunker down” order or other order restricting the right to work must be retained by this Assembly and added to the ordinance.
    We must not kill our productive capacity and surrender our constitutional rights in a panicked effort to suppress one nasty disease. We cannot and I will not be part of the generation that burns down our structure of constitutional rights and free enterprise in a misguided effort to kill one virus pest.
    We also must confront an unpleasant FACT because if ignored it will corrode confidence in our government and continuance of a civil society. The Shut down order imposes a disproportionate burden not share by all. The decision makers imposing these burdens the city executive branch, our highest paid public servants have not felt the economic pain and burden like small business and their employees have.
    Sadly despite the slogans, we are Not all in this together,
    As many Wall street executives have,
    I NOW call on Mayor Berkowitz to suspend his salary and the salaries of his executive team for the duration of the emergency order. These are not ordinary times.
    Only by walking in the shoes of decimated small business Owners and their laid off employees can the framers of emergency order and policies truly understand the impact and pain of their orders.

    Its simply the right and fair thing to do.

    • Excellent, Steve Agni. Leaders lead by example. That is probably why there is a true lack of leadership in Anchorage.

  • Emphasis of Comments to MOA Assembly here: SA

    We also must confront an unpleasant FACT because if ignored it will corrode confidence in our government and continuance of a civil society. The Shut down order imposes a disproportionate burden not share by all. The decision makers imposing these burdens the city executive branch, our highest paid public servants have not felt the economic pain and burden like small business and their employees have.
    Sadly despite the slogans, we are Not all in this together,
    As many Wall street executives have,
    I NOW call on Mayor Burkowitz to suspend his salary and the salaries of his executive team for the duration of the emergency order. These are not ordinary times.
    Only by walking in the shoes of decimated small business Owners and their laid off employees can the framers of emergency order and policies truly understand the impact and pain of their orders.

    Its simply the right and fair thing to do.

    • Add in the stoppage of all legislators pay and per diem payments and all state employees that are considered ‘non essential’ that are sitting home, getting paid to watch Netflix. I know not a Muni problem, but none of them feel what the rest of us are feeling.

  • Aren’t they playing their trump a bit early? We suspected it was all about the November election but his request proves it to me.

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