The Anchorage Assembly will hold its regular meeting on Tuesday at 5 pm, but will not continue the hearing for the compulsory mask ordinance, AO 2021-91, during that meeting.
That protracted hearing, which has continued for six days, was postponed on Friday after some people in the Administration and on the Assembly came down with Covid. It was supposed to continue on Tuesday.
But on Monday, Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance changed the continuation of the mask ordinance hearing to Wednesday at 5 pm, with a possibility of allowing it to fold into Thursday for more testimony.
That could be a ploy. With a supermajority, LaFrance could call a halt to the hearing tomorrow and bring the matter to a vote, hoping that she can succeed in doing so without many members of the public present. The chambers has been filled with protesting public for over a week on this item.
The emergency order has been requested by Kameron Perez-Verdia, and there appears to be enough votes to pass the ordinance.
The public has been eager to talk about the impacts the past mask mandate, put in place by emergency order of former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz by executive order. They have come out by the hundreds to protest the new ordinance being pushed by the liberal majority.
The three agenda items on the old agenda included the mask ordinance, and two other ordinances to usurp the mayor’s authority.
One ordinance would force the mayor to bring his appointees up for confirmation immediately before the Assembly.
The other would take away the authority of the mayor’s office to control the physical space of the Assembly meetings — in other words, the Assembly would be able to limit participation by creating crowd control measures.
That proposed ordinance was a shot over the mayor’s bow last week by the nine Assembly members who oppose him on every front, but he showed the Assembly that they might run into trouble: He controls the contract for the security staff, and last Wednesday, he dismissed them so the Assembly chair could not forcibly remove people from the Assembly hearings. This sent her meeting into chaos as the entire auditorium of public attendees broke into song and sang the first verse of the National Anthem.
Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, who is quarantining at home, said she hopes members of the public are not discouraged from coming to Tuesday’s meeting, because there’s no telling what the Assembly majority will do.
Others who are quarantining are Crystal Kennedy, Felix Rivera, Suzanne LaFrance, Forrest Dunbar, and Kameron Perez-Verdia. Sources say that Vice Chair Chris Constant will return from Las Vegas to conduct the meeting, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Sources also report that a compromise was crafted between Mayor Dave Bronson and the Assembly on the mask ordinance, but that it fell apart when the Assembly demanded that Mayor Dave Bronson wear a mask when he announced the compromise to the media. That was a deal-killer, and likely was the poison pill intended by the Assembly to quash the compromise.