Meeting Tuesday: Second double-cross expected by Assembly majority on homeless navigation center

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The Anchorage Assembly will meet Tuesday evening at the Loussac Library’s Assembly Chambers. Based on the hostility the Assembly has shown to Mayor Dave Bronson since he took office in 2021, the liberal majority is expected to deny the funds needed for the homeless navigation center, which began construction last month after initial approvals were received by the Mayor’s Office. 

The Assembly had once appropriated $6.2 million for the project, and then approved $800,000 for design work. Assemblyman Felix Rivera directed the Alaska Community Foundation, a partner in the homeless project, to cut a check to buy the structure, made out to Roger Hickel Contracting, and the Assembly had made every indication that it would go through with it.

Must Read Alaska predicted the Assembly was engaged in a bad-faith negotiation in this news report in May, 2022:

As predicted in May, it appears the Assembly majority was only faking cooperation so they could get the Mayor’s Office to approve the purchase of the Sockeye Inn, to house medically fragile homeless people. Once that purchase was complete, the Assembly leadership pulled its support for the navigation center, which is a “housing first” low-barrier service-enriched shelter to help chronically homeless people get back on their feet.

At today’s meeting, the Assembly, after stalling the project for 18 months, is going to likely deny the funds to pay the bill, which will trigger a lawsuit from Roger Hickel Contracting to get paid for the work that has been done on the foundation.

Assembly hardliners who oppose the mayor may want to postpone the work so there can be no navigation center this winter, and to embarrass the mayor and use it as a weapon against him in the event he decides to run for reelection in 2023. Since the Assembly has delayed the work, the mayor has been forced to reopen the Sullivan Arena for housing of the homeless population during the winter months.

The Assembly meeting starts at 5 pm; the agenda is at this link.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Set up temp housing next to all the left assembly member houses. Use Rv,s or whatever the homeless want as long as it is in their Neighborhood to live Preferably next door

  2. The Mayor has made this a financial fiasco and more about politics than fiscal conservatism. Stop the bleeding now and get the project under budget

  3. It’s hard to reconcile this story with the one reported in the Anchorage Daily News. According to the ADN, mayor Bronson’s administration signed a $4.9 million contract with Hickel Construction when it did not have the required approval from the legislature to do so. Since Bronson must have known that such approval was required, he seems to have signed the contract to put the assembly in the position or either going along with the contract or risking a lawsuit from Hickel Construction. It seems dubious that such a lawsuit would succeed, since Hickel Construction must have known that assembly approval of the contract was required. Another interesting wrinkle is that the Hickel family contributed a lot of money to Bronson’s campaign for mayor. Yet another problem is that the navigation center is going to end up costing millions more to complete than Bronson claimed when he pitched the idea to the Assembly. So it seems that Bronson sign an unauthorized contract to steer millions of dollars to one of his financial supporters, for a project that will costs millions more to complete than Bronson claimed when he proposed the project. Seems like there are plenty of reasons why the assembly might decide it’s better to pull the plug on this mess created by the gross incompetence and dishonesty of Bronson and his staff.

  4. I’m sure they will all be laying low and hiding away with Berkowitz under a rock in a cave soon. Oath breakers of team evil mockers of GOD so help you GOD you all swore. Exposed by must read Suzanne Suzanne Suzanne thank you ma’am

  5. No surprise. The far leftists use the same strategy against Trump, Dunleavy, and Bronson. They attempt to destroy those they can’t use or don’t like.

  6. Those 9 liberal assembly members are acting like high school bullies, they need to be out in their place post haste.

  7. It would seem the Mayor could have avoided this whole fiasco had he taken the amended contract (greater than $50,000) to the Assembly for approval, as required by law. That might have stopped the work–which I get would be considered a betrayal by some–but it also would have prevented a potential law suit or local contractor (and associated subcontractors) from getting stiffed on the bill.

      • Gotta give credit where credit is due.

        The mayor decided to amend the contract and didn’t seek assembly approval. The mayor does not control the purse strings, that is the assembly’s job.

        Whether the assembly would have approved the new contract and price is another question.

  8. Disingenuous reporting at best. Try again Suzanne.
    The mayor’s office has provided no plan and never had authority to grant contract to Hickelz

  9. Let’s play a game. Imagine if you will, if the Mayor was Ethan Berkowitz and he’d let a multimillion dollar contract to one of his political donors without the proper legal oversight, as Mayor Bronson did in this case. There would be howls from every corner calling for his recall, and maybe even worse. Let’s face it, the Mayor and his minions have been less than forthright with Assembly and the citizens of this community. There is good reason not to trust anything that comes from Demboski anymore. And make no mistake, this clearly falls in her lane, and her inability to recognize that there was a problem is a big problem in and of itself. Following the Joe Gerace fiasco there is good reason not to trust this administration, even Schulte and Cross are beginning to realize this. Dave Bronson is good for photo shoots and meet and greets but has done little to no heavy lifting when it comes to solving the homeless crisis. How can he, he doesn’t even show up for the committee meetings. As a taxpayer, and as someone who voted for Mayor Bronso , I am sorely disappointed in this administration, he is costing the hardworking citizens of this community a lot of money.

    This isn’t a small oopsy daisy, this is a big deal. As a veteran, the handling of Joe Gerace by the HR guy was disgraceful, why does that man still have a job ? And now this. There are a lot of reasons why Bronson and Demboski should not be trusted.

    • Thank you for your service, sorry you experienced severe brain damage. It must be tough living of disabled. We understand.

    • Seriously…. Every single time the Mayor does ANYTHING the combative assembly aggressively counters. Seriously… if the ass embly were to have gone along with the Mayors plan, the homeless of the city would be in a hugely better place. When, and I mean when, someone is harmed from the current way thing are going, it will be the ass embly that are culpable, not the Mayor.

    • They are the only ones that can be trusted in our corrupt local government. You obviously have a stake in the game and your dishonest viewpoint is motivated by money, not a solution. Don’t piss in the wind.

    • I agree with your comments about Joe Gerace. I am a veteran, too, and I am HIGHY offended that this guy (an E-4) had the temerity to tell everybody that he was an O-5, lieutenant colonel, and that people should call him “Colonel Joe”. A quick Google search reveals that the guy was behind in his child support payments and his excuse was that he couldn’t find a job.

      The Muni HR Director who allowed this hire was none other than Nikki TSCHIBAKA, the husband of Kelly. Nikki was given this position at the Muni although he had NO EXPERIENCE in HR. And the same goes for his previous state employment in the Department of Education. Dunleavy gave Kelly a job paying her $36,000.00 more than the person previously in that position and then as a package deal gave Nikki a job for which he was not qualified. AND THEN this “bad penny” turned up as the HR Director at the Muni.

      I am completely done with all of the Tschibakas! ALL OF THEM. DON’T VOTE FOR KELLY. SEND THEM PACKING!

  10. Seems the comment section is being taken over by the trolls here. Anybody that has ever built anything Alaska knows you don’t wait until August or later to start anything to do with building anything. Unless that is you want to add another 30% to the cost for temporary heat and cover. The well intended big hearted generosity of Hickel construction to get a jump on the inevitable coming winter is a great move if there weren’t children at the helm of the pursestrings.

  11. I have absolutely no problem with what Mayor Bronson is trying to get accomplished. One would have to be blind “and” deaf not to know what he’s had to put up with since he took office. If those complaining about wasteful spending or increased costs as a result of action taken to-date on the Navigation Center, consider the many millions spent by the virtue-signaling liberals on the assembly as they “love to death” the burgeoning homeless population in Anchorage thus, enabling their demise. Zalatel is a direct recipient of said expenditures by the governing body that she sits on! Who else has benefited? Speaking of former mayors…why none other than Mark Begich, co-owner of the Aviator Hotel. Gee, I wonder if he’s penned a contract to house homeless in that building? And, whatta’ you know, Mark’s involved in the Guesthouse Inn on 5th and Cordova too (MASH LLC. Henning, Inc.). Oh, and I think his consulting company did quite well (after he left office) dabbling in the Port of Anchorage debacle (Northern Compass Group). If the naysayers here do the least bit of “Googling” they’ll find all they need in their liberal rag, the ADN (9/21/22). So, when people posting in here complain about Mayor Bronson, nepotism, greasing the palm of an ally and/or sweetheart contracts, one doesn’t have to look far to uncover the hypocrisy. For my money, I’m supporting – and trusting – Mayor Bronson.

    • Yep, well said. The people propagating the homeless problem are the ones financially benefiting from it. I really feel for the mayor and his very good administration for trying to do the right thing to help these supposedly homeless people, many of them are truly in need. I bought a property years ago that had a DOT easement through it. The seller was desperate, since he had knowledge of a coming road project. Nobody would touch it, but I purchased it with the knowledge that the easement was not valid and have had to prove that legally. The “Red Lion “ purchase was a case where the owners were aware of pending DOT action making the property unusable for commercial purposes and would have had to dump the property had it not been for the purchase by the assembly. And the easement would be required by law to be disclosed, yet they purchased it with our tax money. It smells fishy to me. Especially since the local community did not want this place to house the vagrants, and made it well known at the assembly meetings when the people were allowed to participate. This is just an example of how this assembly is using the sentiments of a very heart full city to turn it into monetary and political gain for themselves. They need to realize that their own lack of voter participation is allowing this to continue. 30% voter turnout is unacceptable, and this is exactly what happened in Germany in 1939, and we know the rest of the story. If you read this, you probably vote. But what about your friends and associates that do not? How do we convince them that it’s not only their privilege, but their duty. Or we can expect more of the same.

  12. Just keeping working away. Change for anchorage begins at flipping neighborhood councils. Maybe! if the people work hard and fast Every neighborhood council be conservative controlled by 2024. Though! Political changes are as slow as weight gain/loss. You have to keep at it!

  13. A navigation center is a good idea and essential. There are many variables with homelessness and those with addiction and mental illness need to be provided direction for help, those that simply cannot afford housing need another direction, and those needing to finish education and pursue further training yet another direction. What is wrong with the assembly that they cannot grasp this and only want to politicize and pander to entitlement for votes? Misplaced compassion albeit I would venture no compassion at all, only agenda.

  14. The democratic people wanted to get over with it, so they would be happy. The republicans just want the homeless people to have a good life while the democratic people ruined it for the homeless people.

  15. People don’t care enough. When their taxes are say 50% then they might care enough to vote the money eating assembly out on their butts.

  16. So, the local news is reporting that the assembly never approved funding of any sort for the navigation center. And the trolls are all saying the same. Suzanne, can you help us out?

    • There is a difference between the appropriation back in April, which was made by the Assembly and they were supposed to sign off on the contract, which they didn’t and that was an error by the mayor’s office. But Trig, they had appropriated all the money and that is the main piece. So, yes, they did approve the funding, some $9 million toward construction and design of navigation center. I have the three documents. One is AR116S $2.8 million toward design and manufacture of a navigation center structure. AR 2022-72, was for $800,000 to be used for design or design manufacture for adult or navigation center, and AR 2022-111, appropriated another $4.9 million for maintenance and operation of navigation center, another $1.3 for construction of navigation center, another $2 million for navigation center. Add them all up and have appropriated about $9 million in three different documents for this project. This is Lucy and the football. – sd

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