Should the mayor get extended emergency powers until January? Assembly to decide on Tuesday - Must Read Alaska
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Should the mayor get extended emergency powers until January? Assembly to decide on Tuesday

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By SCOTT LEVESQUE

The Anchorage Assembly will vote Tuesday on whether to extend Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s executive powers through Dec. 31.

The request, AR 2020-379, is the fifth time since March 12 the Assembly will have voted to lengthen the Declaration of Emergency. 

Read the Assembly Resolution extending the mayor’s emergency powers here.

Assembly Members Jamie Allard, Crystal Kennedy, and John Weddelton are the only three who voted in favor of a public hearing. The rest of the Assembly — Forrest Dunbar, Suzanne LaFrance, Felix Rivera, Meg Zalatel, Austin Quinn-Davidson, and Kameron Perez-Verdia — refused to allow public testimony, indicating that no public hearing is planned for Tuesday.

If the public is denied the opportunity to testify, will residents continue to abide by shutdowns? Can the Anchorage economy withstand another hunker down in Anchor-town?

Tuesday’s vote comes at a pivotal point for Anchorage residents and businesses. The city’s economy, public health, and the Mayor’s moral authority are all in crisis mode heading into tomorrow’s Assembly meeting.

It’s unclear whether the city’s economy, which teeters on the brink of possible collapse, can sustain another lockdown. Small businesses, like Momma O’s, CampoBello Bistro, Marco T’s Pizzeria, and Red Chair Cafe are closing their doors daily. With little financial assistance available from the Municipality, more are sure to follow suit. 

The Assembly allotted just $6 million to the CARES Act’s small business stabilization program while allocating over double the amount, $12.5 million, to purchase homeless facilities.

Assembly Members Dunbar, LaFrance, and Quinn-Davidson will propose adding $10 million to the small business relief program, but many contend the gesture is still not enough to stabilize the city’s fragile economy. 

Tourism and hospitality programs and some nonprofits received a separate allocation.

Adding to the crisis is the sudden rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases around the state. Epidemiologists have estimated that Alaska’s total case count will double in roughly 20 days, based on current modeling. 

Tuesday’s vote will play an essential role in Anchorage’s economic outlook as the mayor may call for another citywide lockdown.

Yet, Berkowitz has more than rising COVID-19 cases on his mind.

On Friday, Mayor Berkowitz was at the center of an explosive story by former FOX News reporter Maria Athens. A video posted to Athen’s Facebook page claimed the Mayor exposed his genitalia on an underage girl’s website. Athens reported having photographs and “reliable sources” on the matter. To this point, the post is still up on her Facebook page, garnering over 1,000 comments, and nearly 1,000 shares. 

That afternoon, the Mayor’s office released a brief statement calling the story defamatory and false, citing Athens as hostile and unwell.

Assembly member Forrest Dunbar and former member Eric Croft, both members of the Mayor’s inner circle, have come to the Mayor’s defense over the weekend, releasing separate statements vouching for his unquestionable character.

Today at 4:30 pm, Mayor Berkowitz released a statement admitting to having, what he called, an inappropriate messaging relationship with Maria Athens several years ago. Since his initial statement on Friday, the Mayor’s office had been silent on the matter, until he announced today a previously secret relationship with Athens.

Now, many residents are questioning the Mayor’s moral authority to retain his emergency powers, which give him nearly absolute control over city functions.

In his statement, Berkowitz said, “It takes time to rebuild trust, and I hope you afford me the opportunity to do so. During the remaining months of my term, I will continue working on the important issues we face.”

Today’s bombshell will have a ripple effect on the mayor’s political clout moving forward. As protesters line the Loussac Library tomorrow night, Mayor Berkowitz may be forced to do the “walk of shame” in front of critics who do not wish to see his executive powers extended. 

Will the Assembly continue to entrust Anchorage’s future to this administration and relinquish their authority, with the city’s economy on the brink, or will they vote to maintain a separation of powers and begin the slow process towards economic recovery?

Tuesday promises to be a dynamic day in the Municipality of Anchorage.

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  • I was in Anchorage today for doctor appointments and was astounded at how many businesses have closed. Looking like a skeleton city

  • He knew he was guilty and he acted the part exactly by screaming “call the palace guards draw up the bridge over the moat ARREST THE WENCH and throw her in the dungeon! The peasants are coming for me!” Its typical paranoid behavior,,,, Yeah, by all means give the King with no clothes more power.

  • What emergency??? The Casedemic? Pretext for tyranny.

  • Just say “no.”. No more lies on Covid metrics, no more over-reaching Mayoral declarations. No more fraudulent Mayoral condescension. No more wars against businesses and people that work for a living. No. Just no.

  • What a piece of garbage our mayor is. He should resign in disgrace immediately but of course, he is among the thieves in the assembly who make great bedfellows for this despicable, miscreant mayor.

    • Looks like Christmas came early!

  • #ResignMayorBerkowitz

  • Extended powers? Berko needs to resign………..NOW. The real emergency is that the people of Anchorage are under an assault by Berkowitz.

  • The guy can’t manage his own life, why should I be willing to let him manage mine? No. The emergency is long over.

  • Should be interesting

  • No Way! If the Assembly joins this Mayor in this quest for another extension of his emergency powers at this time, when he has further violated the public trust, they should all be booted. This Mayor and his minions have done enough damage already. Good that he has only a few months left to inflict his policies; sad the bulk of the Assembly will be around for a while.

  • How can there be so many Chinese virus cases in anchorage? Anchorage had had the mask requirement since what, June? Why have the masks caused such a chinee virus surge?

    The mayor is a a–.

  • What has been the net result of the emergency powers extended him?
    – economic disaster
    – postponement of the inevitable
    – collapse of the restaurant industry as we knew it
    – weekly ramblings on a pet subject he’s not qualified to address
    …and rules concerning dancing?

    Definitely not. No extension for the diminutive one. Let him focus on dodging his wife’s car and hiding assets while Mara cleans his financial house.
    Maybe let him shoot off a few p*cker texts. Stuff like that.
    It’s the right thing to do.

    • Trouser, good comment, I might add , “power corrupts and ABSOLUTE power corrupts absolutely”

  • No more extensions and please stop wearing masks!

  • The thought of Felix Rivera sliding into the Mayoral slot just nauseates me, but at this point Berkowitz has no choice but to resign. This “thing” has blown to epic proportions and it isn’t over yet. You can run, but you can’t hide. The truth always wins. With the release of the phone message Ms. Athens left for Berkowitz, it is clear this relationship was more than texting. That plants Berkowitz smack into another lie. His time as King is way too distracting at this point. He needs to go. If he and the assembly want to save face at all, they need to stop the restrictions on business owners and not give this man one sliver of “emergency powers”. Let the people get on with their lives. It is the least they can do for all the sh*t we’ve put up with and it is only Monday! The only emergency now is Berkowitz trying to save what’s left of his life and family.

  • HE IS the epidemic… and it’s obvious he has no power over himself.. so why should the city give him more, over them?

  • Why not? He had the woman who he had sexted with arrested and jailed!

  • Apology NOT accepted Berkowitz !

    Berkowitz and this Assembly has done all their damage ” WILFULLY” , with eyes wide-open…

    Just look at all the damage done to our local restaurants and the business owners.

    Step down now.

  • Hasn’t it been just magnificent how he’s had the power to put many restaurants that directly competed with the ones he’s part owner of out of business?! Covid19 has been quite the blessing for him and since his assembly (yes, his) will do his bidding, I bet they’ll extend his “powers” till April.

  • We welcome a resignation and NO more Emergency

  • The biggest beneficiary of Berkowitz’s Covid nonsense has been Valley restaurants… where Anchorage now goes to dinner. Prior to the shrimp’s edicts none of us knew any of the Valley restaurants. Let him go back to playing naked movie star with newscasters and leave us alone.

  • He’s the one that needs too be apologizing! too the people and their lives that he has harmed in so many ways.

  • Sad, truly sad

  • No more emergency declaration. Full stop.

    End of story.

    There is a difference between testing positive for the virus, and being sick. There are currently 26 people in the hospital with the virus. Not because of the virus, with it. Go in for a scheduled procedure and get tested on admission. If you test positive, it becomes a COVID hospitalization which is total BS.

    The testing and contact tracing is only a scheme to drive up “case” numbers. Not every positive is a “case.” If you have no symptoms (per the CDC), your likelihood of infecting others is close to zero. Even the people who get symptoms are no where near as infectious as first thought.

    Go the the Muni web site. Read the study that said the hospitals would be overloaded already. It does not take a statistics genius to poke holes in the assumptions made, and the conclusions reached.

    There is no emergency.

    End the Berkowitz dictatorship.
    End the political careers of every Assembly member who voted to exclude the public from this meeting. One of them is running for State House, and her behavior through this panicdemic has been nothing short of embarassing.

  • Alaskans are too stupid to be free of pervert Berkowitz’s unconstitutional mandates. The most important ruling in a State Supreme Court is precedence for all states and has now been ruled in two states to cease and desist of all civil rights violations with the unconstitutional violation lockdown mandates.

    This mayor is now open to civil liberties violations and anyone that has been affected by his mandates and has lost economically and financially can win in the state Supreme Court and sue his perverted butt off along with the governor.

    The argument that was used in the Michigan State Supreme Court by Katherine Henry, Attorney at Law, Michigan was written by a private investigator who has read the Alaska State Constitution and knows the U.S, Constitution has offered his help free of charge to help the state of Alaska people right a wrong.

  • The assembly should not extend mayoral emergency powers.

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