Surprise: Anchorage Assembly sets phantom meeting(s) to reverse ordinance banning homeless in controversial hotel

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The public could be confused, and it could be what is intended by the Anchorage Assembly. The Assembly scheduled a surprise meeting for 5 pm Sunday. There is no agenda, no location posted, and no transparent notification that could remotely be seen as adequate to meet requirements of the Alaska Open Meetings Act. It’s a phantom meeting.

The Assembly also has posted a special meeting for Monday, from 1-2 pm, at City Hall Room 155, also with no agenda, but describing it as a “Meeting for Emergency Shelter Plan Items for Action and Appropriation.” That’s the real meeting.

It appears the Assembly leadership is aiming for maximum confusion and minimum participation by the Anchorage public. Last week, it passed an ordinance that called a halt to the most important part of public participation in its meetings — the initial audience participation half hour. Now, it is publishing confusing, conflicting, and inadequate meeting announcements, some of which are arguably illegal.

The Assembly, faced with a legal opinion by the Bronson Administration that the Assembly itself had passed an ordinance forbidding the use of the Golden Lion Hotel as a homeless shelter, is going to reverse that ordinance.

Last week, the Assembly approved its own expansive plan for homeless shelters, which included the Sullivan Arena and the Golden Lion Hotel. The appropriating body is making a play to take over the duties of the executive branch because Assembly leadership disagrees with the direction the mayor has taken, which is to set up a navigation center to provide help for the homeless, including temporary shelter, hot meals, and social services.

The Golden Lion Hotel is controversial, however, and people in midtown Anchorage particularly object to the city taking that private property and turning it into what will most certainly become an danger to children in the nearby neighborhoods and at a preschool two blocks away. The Golden Lion Hotel is so controversial, that some say the reason Mayor Dave Bronson won election as mayor is because of the push by the Assembly and previous mayor to create a homeless industrial complex in Anchorage.

The Assembly majority is still trying to force the Berkowitz plan as it seeks to eventually spread homeless services and shelters throughout every neighborhood the city.

The hotel, at the corner of 36th Ave. and New Seward Highway, was purchased by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz with funds that cam from the sale of Municipal Light & Power to Chugach Electric. It was taken off the property tax rolls and has been sitting vacant ever since. The Golden Lion was initially intended to be used as a treatment center for addicts, also a use that the neighbors fought. That’s when the Assembly amended its controversial ordinance to reassure the public that the drug treatment center would never devolve into a homeless shelter. Meanwhile, the State of Alaska says it will be taking the building through eminent domain processes to use for the improvement of the intersection.

On Monday at 5 pm, the Assembly plans to reverse its ordinance from 2020, going back on its word to the public, and attempt to force the mayor to use the Golden Lion Hotel.

24 COMMENTS

  1. This conflicts with the Anchorage Chapter of LGBTQ Rights meeting at 5pm today. What?
    Constant, Dunbar and Rivera are going to miss this one?

  2. Why not just declare a coup and seize power?
    It would be more honest.

    And once again, the citizens of Anchorage will do nothing except complain.

    • Conservatives lost this battle long ago. But conservatives also play the long game. BLM is no longer something a lot of people take pride in. The left is now pretending they never supported “defund the police”. The Covid reaction by the media and the left is no longer something too many people even want to discuss because they aren’t too proud of it anymore. It’s pretty clear, at the very least, that everyone agrees that shutting down the schools was a severe overreaction. And this whole gender pronoun stuff is only causing them to lose people within their base.

      And it is getting pretty clear this homeless problem that is all over the nation falls at the feet of ‘liberals’ and the aclu and their policies or lack thereof and their self righteous pity that most people, including themselves, can see now is just virtue signaling that shouldn’t be maintained.

  3. Well! October is an appropriate month for spooks. Hahaha. You people, book smarter than I, no thanks to my shoddy ak k-12 public education 1988-2001, these spooks ought to propel more anchorage residents to their neighborhood councils and serve as officers.

  4. I left voicemail for the Assembly chairwoman about this. As always, she called me back soon thereafter. *

    The meeting will take place on Monday at 1:00 p.m. in City Hall, Room 155. There will be no meeting today (Sunday). Please attend!

    * I do not live in Suzanne LaFrance’s district, but she always returns my calls. The two assembly members who live in our district (Dunbar and Peterson) never respond to topics that we consider important. These two men are both worthless.

  5. You have to be a long time Anchorage resident to know that NEITHER location is appropriate. I remember when they first built the Brother Francis. Since then, the homeless population has grown and grown and grown. Now we need a Sullivan or Golden Lion to house this segment of our society? How many trillions have been spent on “helping” thru the years? Doesn’t seem like any of it has worked. Jail can be a good place for someone who has broken the law. They get 3 hots and a cot, showers, health care, and access to church services and substance abuse programs and finally community resources to help once they are released. They are safer there than on the streets. For those with mental health issues, they need to be in a facility so they are not a danger to themselves or someone else.

    • There are two men mentally ill needing an instution who are regular neighborhood features is going blind. The other has outbursts. Both don’t drink nor use drugs. they aren’t bums, but we do need our nation’s permanent mental institutions as the past
      provided.

    • Who is paying for this.
      We all know.
      When I went to Boise Idaho, it was the cleanest city I ever visited.,
      Homelessness is against the law there.
      No Vagrants allowed.
      Same as Bozeman, Montana.

        • Very true. So is Boise. Boise has a population of remote workers that have come from Silicon Valley. It’s actually cheaper for a Californian to rent a tiny apartment with roommates in the Bay Area, have their family live in Boise, and commute back and forth every weekend with first class airfare. And now they don’t even have to do that commute very often thanks to covid.

          The funny thing is that the people that work in Silicon Valley live and/or work south of San Francisco and don’t want to live in San Francisco where crime and vagrants are out of control. They are still very ‘liberal’ but want to live in nicer neighborhoods that are safer for their families. The politicians and police forces know they need to make sure they don’t allow the problems of San Francisco to trickle down or they will have a lot of grief on their hands from the local parents asking them to do something about a guy peeing in the park. So they covertly have a very low tolerance for that stuff and that makes everyone happy. It allows them to be very liberal in a very liberal community with no homelessness so they can talk about how heartless conservatives’ are because conservatives think it should be illegal to camp on public property. “Look at our neighborhood. We have a liberal city council and we have no problems because we take care of the less fortunate.” But in reality, they don’t have a homeless shelter anywhere near their community.

      • I thought the aclu stopped any city from banning vagrants. The city where the aclu first stood in the way was Boise. Curious how they got around that if what you say is true. Very curious.

    • Ya no kidding. Driving into town on the Glenn, many tourists’ first impression, you can see little shanties speckled along the road and boarded up strip clubs and a condemned shady motel they should be torn down. What a dump. Downtown they just poor more money into for fancy heated sidewalks and street lights while the homeless completely take it over. There are literally more homeless people on the streets then tourists. Anchorage assembly and the media that protects them is 100% to blame.

  6. Anchorage will have a clear choice in the next Mayoral election. Bronson does not believe public health and homeless is an Anchorage responsibility, other than coordinating NGO’s. The Assembly wants lower density congregate shelters that do not impact neighborhoods as much as congregate shelters. Someone on the majority Assembly will likely be Anchorage’s other choice

    • You call the Sully a “low density” shelter? The news reports they may have up to 300 folk this winter. Personally I would be really interested in how many millions of dollars our assembly has spent over the many years on this ” homeless issue”, yet we are still looking like nothing has been done. If the assembly would get of their “our guy lost and we want revenge” kick, we could actually solve this, but I guess one can dream.

    • Good grief. You cram anything into your brain that might fit in there and stick based on your preconceived notions in order to maintain your predilection to dump on anything a conservative might do or say or think, regardless of any facts. I’m sure you feel very grateful to the ADN for feeding you bs to spew out, even though you should know better because you do actually read the opposition that provides more facts. For a conservative to say correctly that the sky is blue is a threat to your perspective apparently. The mayor has hit the ground running and has tried repeatedly to start building a navigation center, to only be met by the destructive override power of the assembly. Meanwhile the assembly has been at this for a long time and has only managed to spend a ton of money and quibble and come up with excuses for inaction and using inappropriate funds while they come up with ideas that have already been considered a bad idea. But hey, they did manage bring in an excellent Mexican singer to sing to them during an assembly meeting for Hispanic Heritage Month. That was delightful for them.

    • I have already made my choice.
      I do not believe homelessness is an Anchorage responsibility. The taxpayer should not be burdened with millions of dollars of wasted tax funds every year for a problem that only gets worse the more the government gets involved.
      I also know that spreading the homeless, most of who are addicts or criminals, around the city and into neighborhoods will make the situation worse.
      .
      if Mayor Bronson can wrestle some reason out of the assembly, we might find the homeless situation improving. He has my vote.

  7. For those that want homes, get them homes. For those that need mental help, get them institutionalized. For those that commit crimes, get them in jail. For those that were sent to Anchorage from villages because they were banished, send them back to their elders and tell them to deal with it differently.

  8. Were all assembly members invited to the secret meeting ? A list of attendees would be useful to understand the scope of the situation.

  9. Both people who represent those in Centennial Campground did not provide the number of campers at Centennial Today. Pete Petersen and Forrest Dunbar did not show up at the camp, they also did not have the numbers either. It is 71 who do not want treatment or shelter. Why did nt they have a scrap of info on remodeling or preparing the Sullivan ? What do they do all day long except laugh at Chris Constant’s sick jokes ? Fail! Their bad acting at shaming and prodding the mayor’s people is not working and neither are THEY ! They didn’t even know that the Alex hotel already has 50 people.

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