At the first meeting of the year of the Anchorage Election Commission, the first order of business on the agenda was to elect a new chair. Two new members had joined the commission and the previous chairwoman’s term had expired.
Commission member Glennis Ireland was nominated, and so was former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, who was recently appointed to the commission by Mayor Dave Bronson. Even Ireland agreed that Leman should be chair.
But Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones, could not contain herself. Although she is merely staff to the commission, which oversees her work in the Election Office and is tasked with ensuring the public’s confidence in free and fair elections, Jones interrupted the commission meeting and said that Leman does not have the experience to chair the commission.
Leman, an Alaska Native and graduate of Stanford University with a master’s degree in civil engineering and a professional certification known as a P.E., was lieutenant governor of Alaska between 2002 and 2006. The lieutenant governor has oversight for the Division of Elections, which runs state elections, and also local elections for unorganized regions of the state called REAAs, and it manages services such as voter registration. The division keeps voting statistics, maintains candidate registration and eligibility lists, and trains hundreds of workers across the state on the rules for in-person, absentee, and special needs voting. The division develops information in many languages, provides audits of elections, and creates transparency.
Leman was the first person of Alaska Native ancestry to be elected to statewide office in Alaska, and he also was elected to represent Anchorage in both the House and the Senate, where he served as majority leader. He has taught the U.S. Constitution to youth through the Boys and Girls Club. For over 40 years he has worked in the private sector on transporation and engineering projects of great complexity across the entire state.
But Jones didn’t want him to chair the commission and she made it known on the record.
“I’m gonna, as a staffer, Mr. Leman has never served on the election commission and has not worked in an Anchorage election. He has worked for the State of Alaska. I think it will be a huge disadvantage to the election workers and election officials. We have a new commissioner who does not know what the commission is doing,” she said.
Former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, also new on the Election Commission, had just nominated Leman to be the chair of the commission, and he registered his objection to what Jones had just said.
“That statement where you said you believe Loren is disqualified. You’re the City Clerk and you work for all of us and I hope you don’t believe that Loren is disqualified. I’ve worked with him and have known him for almost 40 years. And I’ve worked with him at the local, state, and national level on different issues.”
Treadwell pointed out that Mayor Bronson is attempting to change the Clerk’s position to one that would be voted on by the people, rather than appointed by the Assembly. And that she had now disqualified a nominee to chair the commission.
“That doesn’t feel right to me,” Treadwell said in the meeting.
Leman also commented: “Barbara, I didn’t come to cross swords with you but frankly I am appalled at you stepping in … and I consider you and others here to be staff to the commission. I have served on other commissions for the Municipality of Anchorage and I have never seen somebody step in and try to dominate a commission. The commissioners are responsible for commission business and I respect your years of service, and your experience, but for you to do what you did, I consider it to be out of order. Quite frankly, I’m offended by it.”
The audio on this incident is at this link.
In the end, the vote was taken, and the members who had been appointed by prior liberal mayoral administrations chose Ireland to chair the commission, with Treadwell and Leman voting in the minority.
Missing from the meeting was Bee Hanson, who had been nominated by Mayor Bronson but rejected by the Anchorage Assembly majority because she had challenged Clerk Jones over an incident that occurred in the most recent election of May, 2021. Jones had lied to Hanson on election night, telling her that all observers were to leave the building as all the staff work was done for the night. Hanson later returned to the building to discover that the workers had stayed long after the observers had gone home under Jones’ instruction.
Bee Hanson’s account to the Anchorage Assembly at this link.
The Anchorage Election Office, run by Jones, has come under scrutiny since the Anchorage Assembly voted to create all mail-in elections, which operate in very different ways than traditional in-person and absentee voted elections.
Numerous people are finding their votes disqualified in this new system because their signatures do not match the ones that Jones has on file, which are primarily provided by drivers license signatures from state records. When the Anchorage Election Office managed the October election for Juneau, which was an all-mail-in election, one out of every 12.5 votes was thrown out for various reasons.
Jones runs the elections office yet she is appointed by and works for the assembly. This just sounds like the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse. Also, by her ‘standards’ it seems no one is qualified to serve on the elections commission, and she should simply run the whole show. Of course at the behest of the assembly. What a mess. Kudos to Mr. Leman for so politely but firmly standing up to her.
Loren has alway been a gentleman.
Except when he was corrupting the electoral process by refusing to place on the ballot initiatives which had met every legal requirement, but which HE just happened to not favor.
More evidence that bureaucrats believe they are in charge. Forget the military-industrial complex, the tech-media mandarins, and the elitist legal-educational crowd; the core threat to democracy is bureaucracy.
Do you understand who bureaucrats are? They are not elected officials.
Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones has proven on multiple occasions that she is neither ethical or impartial and she should immediately resign. The fact that she is trying to totally control the Anchorage Municipal elections proves she is a tyrant. Ms Jones, you have the opportunity to resign now before We the People pursue criminal charges of election fraud.
By the way, it is my understanding there is an Alaska election reform bill that includes elimination of statewide mail in ballots except for those requested by absentee voters!
You are howling at the wind.
We the people have no way to pursue criminal charges.
The State has authority to look into political corruption at the local level but I don’t think it has the resources to do so. Violations of the fair meetings act are obvious but it’s doubtful that there is anyone in the State that monitors or investigates.
That leaves us with FBI/DOJ…Which pretty much guarantees violations are well know and documented via electronic communications monitoring. Still, no charges will come of it until it conflicts with what the DOJ wants. Another dead end.
The only recourse left is the voters…but that too is being taken care of.
It should come as no surprise that the Clerk would have the presence-of-mind to try and direct any kind of meeting that requires only support from the position.
Leman has served Alaska on many different levels and who is she to even think to have an opinion in this forum?!
His credentials alone say that he is quite capable of serving in the capacity that he has been nominated for.
This is an outrage!
The Clerk obviously thinks that the Assembly has given her some kind of position of authority.
Wake Up Anchorage!
So the city clerk feels she is above the elections board now? Time to put that public service job up to the vote of the people, not a lap dog of the assembly. I want to know exactlywhat her and her staffs, professional training is to be able to disavow votes on signatures comparison.
Rather than change the structure of the clerks position, encourage the Assembly members charged with oversight of that clerk to reprimand the clerk for her unacceptable behavior. This is how any other employees would be dealt with, except their supervisor would handle it.
Email your assembly member asking for this clerk to be properly admonished according to her contract or Human Resources policies.
I 100% agree except that this assembly has proven time and time again that they don’t listen to anybody but the people that would possibly vote for them. It’s despotism and they have created a fortress. The only fix is to vote out the assembly members, but that’s hard to do if Barb is doing everything she can to make sure the people that protect her win. I really hope people observe the next elections and keep making Barb feel uncomfortable and make her feel the years and grow old fast. She needs to go. And the assembly that doesn’t hold her accountable needs to go too. I just hope some good people with integrity, right or left, run against them.
Jones needs to be fired. She thinks she’s an elected leader instead of an employee.
She is an employee, with no more say in the matter than you or I. She doesn’t want him interrupting her little fiefdom. He might actually look into the mail in voting process and how the votes are counted. Can’t have that now can we. My vote is she is given her two week notice, she, as I said earlier is an employee.
Barbara Jones should be elected by the people. What’s she trying to hide? This is happening nationwide. Wake up America? Anchorage is not the city it once was. Why? Look at the Assembly! Only a couple speak up for us!
That’s because nobody in Anchorage bothers to vote. And the ones who do, don’t research the candidates. On my side of the river, we participate. Or else we would have Forest as mayor. Another reason to separate from the Muni.
Looking forward to her next report to the Assembly of “unprecedented harassment” because this was leaked to the media.
I find that I reluctantly have to agree with Bab Jones here (and in this one instance only), but not for the reasons that she gives.
Let us not forget that as Lt. Governor under the widely-reviled Frank Murkowski, Mr. Leman repeatedly used his office in an unambiguously corrupt manner to keep off the ballot certain initiatives which he personally did not favor, even though they met all the legal requirements for being placed on the ballot. I will NEVER forgive, or forget, his corrupt and unethical actions in those matters.
The deviant Marxist left asserts themselves again. They are Godless and arrogant. The Bible book of Isaiah comes to mind with an appropriate thought that concludes with the analogy of a potter and the clay. It says:
“Woe to those who dig deep to hide their plans from the LORD. In darkness they do their works and say, “Who sees us, and who will know?” You have turned things upside down, as if the potter were regarded as clay. Shall what is formed say to him that formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pottery say of the potter, “He has no understanding”? ”
These deviant leftists attempt to hide their works from the public eye so as to miraculously arrive at the conclusion they desire.
What Barbara Jones has done with the support of the deviant Marxist 9 has escaped into the light for all to see. Now in her presumptuous narcissism, she as an employee impertinently speaks out as if to self-determinately guide the very commission that is put in to place to guide her serving in her position. The gall!!
But then, with the full support of the Marxist 9, why wouldn’t she? She is empowered as the “Vote Counter” and does their leftist and twisted bidding.
Remember what Stalin said: “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”
In a municipality the size of Anchorage, Barbara Jones’ position should either be serving at the pleasure of the municipality’s chief executive, or as a duly elected official as is the case in many other large cities.
She should tender her resignation immediately or be summarily fired for her presumptuousness.
It’s time to take back control of our city. These far left tyrants think that we (voting public) are not paying attention. People are really starting to get angry about what is happening.
Why let Leman mess up a good thing?
People vote for an elected municipal clerk, their votes’ll be counted by the unelected municipal clerk.
Majority vote for an elected clerk, but the unelected clerk, who tabulates votes, could be out of a job if that happens; what could possibly go wrong?
The unelected municipal clerk hired by, and working for Assembly members, counts votes when her Assembly bosses run for re-election, counts votes when her Assembly bosses put more bond propositions on the ballot, has the last word on who watches vote-counting and how it’s watched.
An elected clerk or a Leman, proactive about election integrity, could be a major problem for Assembly members’ job security, the unelected municipal clerk’s job security, and for the virtually automatic passage of the Assembly’s bond propositions.
The unelected municipal clerk, hired by the Anchorage Assembly, also tabulates votes for Juneau municipal elections.
The same easily corruptible mail-in process and the same unobservable Dominion vote-tabulation equipment seem to be producing the same results in Juneau, possibly because they’re controlled by the same unelected Anchorage municipal clerk.
An elected clerk or a Leman, proactive about election integrity, could jeopardize that cozy contract, so it seems reasonable neither can be allowed into the process.
Bottom line is an elected clerk -and- a Leman (plus a presumptive 10-year sentence for ballot harvesting and voter fraud) might be just what Anchorage voters need to begin restoring some semblance of integrity to their election system.
Anchorage elections under Barbara Jones has risen to the highest level of political partisanship and voter corruption in the history of our state. I appreciate Lt Gov Leman for his willingness to serve as the Elections Commission Chair, and commend Lt Gov Treadwell’s nomination and vocal defense of Lt Gov Leman for this position. Conservatives can no longer remain quite sheep. Barbara Jones injection into this decision is the latest blatant example of how hostile and partisan local politics has become. It is time for the silent majority to become vocal. Stop accepting the authoritarian rule of the Anchorage Assembly despots and their bureaucratic shrills, like Barbara Jones. Ms. Jones needs vacate this position ASAP and Anchorage needs to elect representatives who will represent everyone, not just uber-liberal assembly members who want to change us into San Francisco. Thank you Loren and Mead for your tremendous leadership to our state. With your leadership on the Elections Commission we should be able to move Anchorage back to an open, fair, and democratic election process not manipulated by the likes of Barbara Jones. Probably a good time to support Mayor Bronson’s initiative to have an elected Municipal Clerk, like is done in many other cities.
Of course he would be a huge disadvantage. He is a religious/ right-wing, political ideologue who has no business messing around in free and fair elections.
Behold the much-vaunted (but illusory) “liberal tolerance”.
So we should tolerate intolerable positions. Tried that with Trump. Let’s hope we don’t try it again.
So, let me get this straight, Homo: any opinion with which you (highly intolerant) radical leftists disagree is by definition “intolerable” and automatically deserves to be attacked and censored. Got it.
Well, actually, the truth should enter into the equation somewhere. You might not agree, but if democracy and freedom are to prevail, we must call out the mountebanks, such as Mr. Lehman, who espouses a distinctly religiously bent to his every expressed comment.
He’s entitled to his opinion, but he isn’t entitled to foist it upon the rest of us.
The problem with your simplistic and erroneous interpretation of the situation, Homo, is that you believe that YOU, and only you (along with those who believe exactly as you do), alone possess and speak the truth. Not just that, but that you and only you are the sole arbiter of what is true, and what is not, when the truth is often hidden, muddled, or just too nuanced to fit a particular political agenda.
Your attitude towards freedom of speech is as frightening as it is malevolent.
He is a man of moral ethics, which is almost totally non existant on the Anchorage Assembly. He has a heart for the people, believes in God, and isn’t afraid to say so, has a good brain and skills to offer the public in a highly visable position.
Some of us see it differently.
Outrageous. For that to even come out of her mouth should disqualify her from her supporting role. It is painfully clear that she is a saboteur and provocateur.
Thank God the white liberal Karen spoke up to save Anchorage from an overqualified Native.
No one is more bigoted than white liberals.
Jones needs to go! Who is starting the petition to put the election of the Clerk on the ballot? The traitors on the assembly will do everything they can to stop it. START THE PETITION DRIVE!!! Republican party where are you? Get off your behinds and get something meaningful done. Until then quit asking me for money, none is coming until you get to work!
You could start all of the tasks you suggested. Why demand someone else do it? Be a change maker!! Call the Republican Party office. Tell them you are ready to step in to action and they will guide you. I’m excited to see your results. Go get’em!!!
Burn the witches, burn the witches!
It’s so inappropriate for Jones to make any remarks. Bring out a gigantic organization chart and leave it up. With Anchorage residents at the top! It will help these and all to visualize where they are on the chart. I hope this visual aid is explained in detail. We did not vote MS. Marxist to be our superior, super administrator in lieu of the Mayor. We need a treatise on organization structure delivered kindly but firmly by our HR guy.
So Leman and Bronson and such can comment as much as they like, but the clerk of court has a gag order?
Care to elaborate on your theory of freedom of speech?
You all talk a bunch. But we have nine assembly members that you evidently voted in. You need to activate your neighbors and friends and get them to participate in the vote. I don’t think that Anchorage has really turned left, I do think nobody bothers to vote except for the left. Do something!
The Anchorage assembly and their appointees shows their hate for everyone not on their socialist anti-American list.
I do believe that Jones may be bundled out of office in disgrace. She should be anyway. What chutzpah!
Since many are pointing to the Assembly as the root cause of all this, here’s something to think about. I’m reading the wording of Prop 12, the charter amendment passed in 2020.
Based on that wording, the Assembly consists of 12 members, with two members each from six districts, as of November 10, 2021. As I’m reading it, that’s irrespective of its applicability to the redistricting process, which is addressed in the language. I don’t see that seat up for election this year, even for a short term. What’s going to happen there? Is this going to be ignored or are we going to see another interim appointee?
When the Marxist leaning assembly members vote in lockstep, I wonder if they are without heart like the tin woodsman in The Wizard of Oz. Alternately, could there be an agreement which binds them to obey a wizard behind a curtain? Who’s running Anchorage? This incident is reminiscent of an assembly meeting when Assemblywoman Allard asked a question of a Muni attorney. Clerk Jones cut in and said, “when I was in law school, my professor said, ‘the dog will limp'” signaling the attorney to not answer the question. The lawyer laughed, said “I like that”, and did not give Ms. Allard an answer. Does Ms. Jones think this lawyer, like a scarecrow, doesn’t have enough brains to answer for herself or has Jones been put in charge? Now Barbara Jones feels free to insult a distinguished Native Alaskan leader, strongly implying that he is not qualified for the job which is very offensive. It’s also concerning that three of five commissioners felt they had to obey Ms. Jones, including the nominee who had voiced support for our former Lt. Governor in that role. Were Barbara Jones’ words scary and intimidating when she said “huge disadvantage” and “does not know what the commission is doing”? Are the commissioners, like the lion, still looking for their courage? I’m confident both former Lt. Governors joined the commission because they hope to help guide a fair and honest election.
Suzanne, I support you and applaud you for all of the wonderful work you accomplish with Must Read Alaska. That said, I wonder why we need to know that Mr. Leman is part or mostly Alaska Native. I have met Mr. Lehman numerous times over the years, I know some of his cousins also. I can tell you that in every conversation I’ve had with Mr. Leman his ethnic background was the furthest thing of importance. I guess I am saying here is why would we allow ourselves to judge someone by their ethnic background as it relates to qualifications for a particular position? This is the type of issue that leftist exploit. We should not allow ourselves to fall for the silly traps set by our leftist foe’s.
I welcome comments from you and others in regards to my thoughts above.
I totally agree with you Bobby! I was wondering why it was pointed out as well. For whatever it’s worth, I had no idea of his ethnic background. Thanks for saying what I was also wondering.
This seems like an exercise in beheading someone.
No, Suzie, you have to get the usual order straight — first the demonization, then the internment camps, THEN the beheadings. We are still in Stage 1, and just about ready tio head into Stage 2.
Jones should resign or be fired from her position immediately! She doesn’t have the brains or common sense to run any elections in the city of Anchorage or the State of Alaska! What a sad pathetic Liberal Moron.
I have been involved with and an active observer of Alaskan politics since the late 70’s. During that time I have come to expect very little from many of our elected politicians. Loren Leman is a notable exception. A more honest and decent man would be hard to find. Barb Jones should stay in her lane.
Why waste the time & money running an election when there is an overtly political Municipal clerk overseeing the process?
When you have something to hide of course you would’nt want Loren Leman in there because HE WILL FIND IT! Mayor Bronson keep up the good work.
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