By RECLAIM MIDTOWN
For anyone paying attention over the last 10 months, it’s clear the Anchorage Assembly meetings have become an absurd caricature of democracy, a kabuki theater of progressive grandstanding, where the players had locked arms and were dancing quickly stage left toward their predetermined plot points, occasionally interrupted by the pleas of naive citizens full of rage and pathos.
The comically tragic behavior of the Assembly over the last 10 months have spawned a Superior Court lawsuit over Open Meetings violations. It has spawned expulsions and/or arrests, and a bi-weekly Bingo game in which the progressive Twitterati viciously mock members of the public who attend the meetings.
How’d we get here?
Was it because Felix Rivera, the Assembly chair with student loan liens who had never held a 9-5 job outside of a Mayor Ethan Berkowitz-appointed position, was in charge?
Or was it because a core group of hard-left politicians, many of whom were elected by less than a few thousand people, were dolling out $156 million dollars of federal money under the skin-color lens of “equity” to a slew of nonprofits and public projects that had nothing to do with stabilizing failing Anchorage industry?
Like many things in politics, the answer to that question is found in a witches’ brew of competing self interests. The summer cauldron, however, was being heated by a swamp of attorneys, apparatchiks, grifters, and unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.
It was also being stirred by both a local and national debate among the Woke Supremacists that view America as incapable of self-correcting its history of racism by any means other than dissolving a history of traditions, and customs.
The competing views of the “vocal minority” and their associated concerns of “liberty and freedom” were painted as selfish and mostly incompatible rhetoric, given the more pressing concerns of social justice, equality, and at least initially, sensible public health mandates.
By summer of 2020, that vocal minority had effectively rallied around three intricately intertwined three events : The Assembly shutting the Assembly chambers to the public during increasingly partisan legislation, diverting millions of CARES act funds to place transient shelters in Midtown, and a surprise end run around the the current protections found in the zoning laws.
The group also became more visible in the biweekly Assembly meetings, where the previously unchecked actions of the highly partisan, agenda-driven Assembly members (many who only gained office by the vote of less than 10,000 people) were undergoing increased public scrutiny.
That pushback from the Assembly majority was very public and plainly stated: If you don’t like “our reading of the law,” you’ll have to sue, according to Assemblyman Chris Constant, who had taken time off of making national news harassing a local rabbi, to proffer an interesting new take on inclusive public debate.
But also by that time, the radical core of progressives had shown their ace in their sleeve – the ever-renewing emergency mandates. They rigged the game with an effective quarantine of both Covid-19 and meaningful public involvement in the Assembly meetings.
Also, a cynical reading of municipal code allowed a Torquemada-level torturing of the word “shall,” as in “shall have a special election” into “may.”
That same group of Assembly members happy to divert millions in CARES Act funds suddenly became fiscal conservatives when the possibility of a $650,000 special election was floated.
Since the emergency mandates were the perfect cover for advancing that hard-left agenda, the proper, prompt vote to replace the empty mayoral seat would have been an unwelcome interruption.
It’s easy to see why. Added to that grievance was the consequences of District 3 voters lacking their lawful representation in the Assembly. This was because the acting mayor’s seat was not replaced.
Given the amount of rumors surrounding a possible Biden appointment awaiting the acting mayor, there is a real chance those same voters will not get a say in who represents their interests again, as the Assembly will likely appoint that replacement for Austin Quinn-Davidson as well.
In the meantime, the “vocal minority” persists. They are labeled racists. They are labeled homophobes. They are labeled anti-science.
The complicit local news media has begun the same twisting of the “facts” toward that group to swing the mayoral race, reminiscent of the recently outed Washington “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Post that fabricated the actual words spoken by the previous president in a headline-grabbing Georgia elections phone call.
Facts, meet fact check.
In the end, it’s likely that neither the actual platform of the mayoral candidates will drive the results of the pending election, nor will the facts be what decide the fate of Felix Rivera.
It is a fact, per the Superior Court of Alaska, that as Chair of the Assembly, Felix Rivera can face recall for his failure to address the violation of the COVID mandates during the August meeting.
Also a fact: Democrats Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel, Sen. Elvi-Gray Jackson, and Rep. Andy Josephson helped finance the court case that attempted to block 4,999 midtown residents from getting their complaints to the ballot.
It’s indisputable that angry demonstrators of the summer were loud and visible when it came to their racial justice cause. Many on the right were angry and quiet about what was going on in their city.
Now it appears that the roles have reversed. And that’s how we got here – one group of people attempting to silence the other.
Reclaim Midtown is a group that arose after the Anchorage Assembly locked the doors to the Assembly meetings and prevented participation by the public in 2020. Over 1,000 Anchorage residents are part of the group.