Immediately after the Anchorage Assembly voted to override the mayor’s veto of the Assembly’s mask ordinance, a man stepped to the podium to address the body. He said he has created a new religion, and all who sign his roster can be part of that religion, and thus, since religious assemblies are exempted from having to adhere to the emergency ordinance mask mandate, all could be exempted from the law.
Jordan (we could not catch his last name) said the new religion is “The Assembly Doesn’t Speak for Anchorage” religion.
“One of our tenets is our church is the entire city. And you’ve made exceptions for religious assemblies. Anyone who wants to sign up can. I am the president of this new religion. Your masks are now moot.”
Directly after his remarks, Assemblywoman Jamie Allard moved to extend public testimony until 7:30 pm, since the Assembly majority had only set aside a half hour for the meeting. But that vote failed, with Pete Person, Felix Rivera, Chris Constant, Meg Zaletel, Forrest Dunbar, Austin Quinn-Davidson, and Kameron Perez-Verdia voting to curtail the public comment period.
Four members were present in the Assembly chambers during the half-hour meeting. Allard and Crystal Kennedy were quarantining, and several others rarely attend meetings in person anymore. Someone had placed numerous roses on the desk where Allard sits.
One of the final comments made by the public was from a woman who stood before the Assembly and showed people how to vote to recall Meg Zaletel, the Assembly member who gave birth to the mask ordinance last month during a semi-secretive Assembly meeting.
Mayor Dave Bronson issued a statement after his veto was overridden 9-2:
“The Assembly’s override of my veto on their misleading mask mandate that was done without public notice or testimony is deceitful and wrong. The nine members who voted for this mask mandate ignored the public process, shut down public testimony, shut out the people, and decided that they (not you or your healthcare provider) will make decisions about your personal health. It’s just another effort by our Assembly to force the citizens of Anchorage to do their will and silence those who desire to exercise their right to petition their government. The Anchorage Assembly continues to break the public’s trust.”