By MIKE ROBBINS
I, too, was surprised at the tone the Anchorage Daily News took toward Mayor-elect Dave Bronson this weekend, telling him that he doesn’t have the support of half of the people of Anchorage, so he’d better learn to get along with the leftist Assembly.
A great city needs a great newspaper. The newspaper even in today’s world of declining readership and alternative sources of news is critical to a city’s sense of who it is. Clearly based on the writing this weekend, our local paper has decided to take the same approach as many of the national media: Caustic, divisive, and out of touch.
What ever happened to respecting the wisdom of the electorate? What ever happened to the idea that Anchorage residents really do wish success for their next mayor, because the success of the entire city depends on it? Regardless of party or beliefs we are all Alaskans. We have always prided ourselves on being able to have a good political dust-up, shake hands, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.
My hope is that our Assembly will realize and understand that is their charge as leaders in our city, a fact that has obviously escaped the Anchorage Daily News.
The voters in Anchorage decided in April that they wanted a clear choice for the runoff, and they got one. They created a May election that posed two very different philosophies:
- Forrest Dunbar represents a Marxist vision for Anchorage, where work and self-reliance isn’t valued, and where critical race theory is the driving force. He represents a vision of a community where the Constitution is diminished because the founders of the nation were imperfect people. Most of the Anchorage Assembly represents this vision for Anchorage, and it’s terribly sad that they have been put in positions of power.
- Dave Bronson brings a different vision and a new direction after six years of progressive politics: A return to personal freedom and responsibility, smaller government, getting and keeping this town open for business; no more hard-hearted shutdowns. Most importantly, a town that welcomes and supports its small businesses, and has an environment that encourages development and growth.
The voters – more than half of them – remember former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz standing with the protesters last June, declaring, “I look out and I see a crowd full of revolutionaries, and it makes my heart glad.”
They remember him as the bathroom nude-selfie mayor, and they remember his enabler Forrest Dunbar, who rose quickly to defend Berkowitz against the accusations of a television anchorwoman, whose accusations — some of them — were quickly proven.
Anchorage has seen where so-called progressive policies have taken this community – empty storefronts, homeless cities within our city, with people literally defecating on our streets, a school district that’s not educating our children, and all of this causing more and more Anchorageites to migrate to the valley. Progressivism is, at least in Anchorage, regressivism.
The Anchorage Daily News clearly didn’t get the memo: Anchorage wanted to balance out the Assembly with a mayor who displays common sense and compassion.
It’s telling that a person such as Dave Bronson, with literally no name ID among the people at this time last year, could overcome the household name of Forrest Dunbar: We want to go in a different direction. We expect better of our community.
What the editorial writers at the Anchorage Daily News also missed was the deep pain experienced by so many people in Anchorage, and how they felt dismissed by their local government this past year.
The ADN mentioned a woman who burned her mask at the Assembly, evidently missing the point she was making: The woman is deaf, and she was giving clueless Assembly members a real demonstration of the pain and isolation she experienced while unable to read lips, with everyone in the city forced behind a mask.
People came and wept in front of the Assembly about their lives being ruined by the policies of the mayor, approved every other week for nearly a year by the Assembly.
The public spoke about businesses going under, children depressed and suicidal, and they rightfully objected to a wrongheaded policy to develop a poorly planned homeless industry in Anchorage.
What so many of them told me, while I was campaigning this winter for mayor, is that they want more certainty, less seesaw. I listened and I heard: They felt whiplashed by government telling them one thing one week, and going in a different direction the next.
Even now, restaurant owners are worried about ordering inventory, because they have been burned by government policies that led to spoilage and losses in 2020, which they hope and pray they can recover from.
I wish this mayor-elect well. He has an enormous job turning our economy around and giving the business community confidence again.
Unlike the Daily News, I believe Dave Bronson gets it, he understands that he is Mayor elect of all of Anchorage, that he needs to listen to all voices and work to make life better for all of us. It will benefit the newspaper if he is able to do so. They ought to not only give him a chance, but they should give the voters a pat on the back for voting for change.
Mike Robbins is a businessman in Anchorage, owner of the Robbins Agency, who ran for mayor this year.