The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night decided to back away from a resolution from Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel reprimanding Assemblywoman Jamie Allard for her social media posts.
The Assembly also backed away from taking the emergency order mask mandate and putting it into law as an ordinance.
Public testimony went heavily against the mask law for over two and a half hours, with just one member of the public speaking in favor of the proposed mask ordinance, which civic leader Bernadette Wilson said was being ramrodded through so that when a new mayor is elected, he or she would not be able to undo the ordinance. The next mayor could, however, undo the current mask rules under the mayor’s emergency powers.
More than 200 people were watching the meeting online, while the maximum-allowed 128 people filled the Assembly chambers, and another maximum-allowed 60 people were next door in the Wilda Marston Theater.
More than 75 percent of the testimony — written and verbal — was against the mask law plan. Testimony was often emotional and some tragic personal stories were relayed, along with one person calling the ordinance a “shit sandwich,” and another person giving the Assembly the finger. But toward the end of the testimony, Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar dismissed it as based on “misinformation.”
Many of the people showing up at the meetings have been attending regularly for nearly a year, and in the summer were protesting the shuttering of the meetings and the economic shutdowns. Some have been testifying for months, but others last night were new to the process.
One new person was not allowed to testify, even though she pleaded with Chairman Felix Rivera, explaining that she had hired a babysitter so she could come down to the Loussac Library and testify. Much later in the evening, she finally was able to be heard.
Another testifier who was not a regular at the meetings used American Sign Language, with her mouth taped shut, to make the point that many people cannot hear others due to hearing loss, and masks prevent them from reading lips.
After creating a lot of confusion among the Assembly liberals, she then lit a mask on fire.
Yet another testifier used much of his time to stand silently, waiting for a response from Assemblyman Dunbar. With no response, and just silence filling the room, someone in the audience started playing the tune from the show “Jeopardy” on her cell phone, creating a lot of mirth throughout the room. Dunbar was not present, but had phoned it in, as he usually does.
Watch some of the testimony at this montage: