Watch: Anchorage Assembly Chair LaFrance tries to stop 'People's Filibuster' but draws chaos as mayor directs removal of Plexiglas - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
HomePoliticsWatch: Anchorage Assembly Chair LaFrance tries to stop ‘People’s Filibuster’ but draws chaos as mayor directs removal of Plexiglas

Watch: Anchorage Assembly Chair LaFrance tries to stop ‘People’s Filibuster’ but draws chaos as mayor directs removal of Plexiglas

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To loud jeering from the public in a packed room at the Loussac Library, Anchorage Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance decided that Assemblywoman Jamie Allard and Mayor Dave Bronson ask too many questions of testifiers against the proposed mask ordinance.

From now on, Allard and Bronson (and all other members of the body) will are banned from asking questions because their questions, she has ruled, are merely a delay tactic.

That is, Allard and Bronson were trying to delay the Assembly from moving forward to approve a compulsory mask ordinance that is desired by the majority of the leftist Assembly, but not desired by many in the audience.

“A pattern of dilatory questions has been established,” LaFrance said.

People have lined up for the sixth night to continue to tell the Assembly just how compulsory masks affect them, their businesses, their lives, and the quality of life in Anchorage.

Regarding the five days of testimony heard already, nearly all of it against the proposed ordinance, “at this point we are not likely to hear new facets” of the proposed ordinance, LaFrance said.

Therefore, since the Assembly wasn’t likely to hear anything new, she said she would appreciate members of the public moving along to suggest amendments to the ordinance, rather than just rehashing the same points others had made.

LaFrance said that “folks who testify are asked to remain on topic.” But she also said, “it is not my intent to restrict the content. To be most effective, if you actually suggest amendments and address ways in which you’d like to see this changed or not, that can be helpful.”

“For the remainder of the public hearing on AO 2021-91, questions from the members of the body or the mayor will not be entertained,” LaFrance said.

Assemblywoman Crystal Kennedy moved to override the ruling, which was clearly targeted at muzzling the mayor and Allard.

“I do have significant legal concerns about whether or not you can keep the members of from engaging with the public during their testimony,” Kennedy said.

Assemblywoman Allard said the chair’s ruling is setting a precedent that would prohibit elected officials from engaging with the public.

But LaFrance said her ruling was specific to this particular ordinance.

Municipal Manager Amy Demboski, speaking for the Administration, said there are multiple Supreme Court opinions on freedom of speech, and “it is clear that stifling the free speech of elected officials has a much higher bar. I believe the actions you are engaging in are illegal. Just because you don’t like members asking questions doesn’t mean you can stop it. If this motion goes forward, I anticipate legal action on behalf of the administration.”

Assemblymen Chris Constant and Felix Rivera argued that if Roberts Rules of Order don’t specifically say that Assembly members can ask questions, then the Assembly chair can forbid them.

Amy Demboski argued “rules protecting the basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended.”

She said,”you cannot stifle a dissenting member just because you don’t like the questions they’re asking.”

Constant, who was leaving town for vacation on Thursday night, appeared by phone, while Felix Rivera, who has been missing for several meetings, attended in person. Missing from the room was Meg Zaletel and Pete Petersen, the makers of the ordinance.

Dean Gates, the Assembly’s attorney who reports to LaFrance, said he had reviewed her ruling before the meeting and that she was within her rights to stop testimony since testimony is in its unprecedented sixth day.

If the ruling to squelch speech was proposed last week at the beginning of the hearing, he said he would not have agreed with this ruling, but since the public testimony has gone on so long, he now agrees that Allard and Bronson can be muzzled by the chair.

He also said that Demboski is not an attorney and so she should not be listened to when it comes to the constitutional questions she raised.

“I do believe this ruling will be upheld in the court of law,” he said.

Allard noted that in 2020, the chair allowed people to lie down in front of the dais and roll around on the floor during the meeting, but because it fit the political agenda of the liberal majority, it was allowed, even though it was distracting.

Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar argued against applying the First Amendment to members of the Assembly, and then argued that because people in the room kept clapping, and it seems impossible to stop them, the ruling is appropriate.

The ruling passed 8-3, and the crowd booed, leading LaFrance to point out a member of the crowd to security for removal, should that citizen make another disruption.

The effort to squelch questioning took a full hour of the Assembly’s time that had been set aside for public testimony. A few minutes into testimony, Adam Trombley, who works for the Administration as the director of economic and community development, walked to the public’s podium and removed the sneeze guard Plexiglas barrier, sending the crowd into wild cheering.

He walked off with the podium as LaFrance became confused, without her “Sergeant of Arms” Chris Constant next to her to tell her what to do. So she called a recess and the official camera went dead.

After the break, LaFrance announced that the mayor had also dismissed the security guards from the room so they would not be able to remove people that she singled out. She said this is a separation of powers issue but that she would proceed with the meeting.

Read: the People’s filibuster continues Thursday.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Occupy the Assembly!!!!

  • Oh my God. These people need to go!!

  • Keep fighting Anchorage. Your fight has National attention.

    • Yeah, but not in a good way.

      • No, in a good way. The rational thinkers are seeing that it is worth fighting. It isn’t futile. And the whole star of david causing liberals to fake being offended is really easy to see right through by any independent thinkers that can’t ignore the glaring double standards that liberals like yourself have. Good luck. I suggest hopping off the mindless train before it reaches its end.

      • I have witnessed you having a rational independent thought and posting a more thoughtful and meaningful comment. I also suggest you tap into that more often.

    • Absolutely. This is incredible. I can feel the vibe changing around the city. And the longer this “super spreader” event goes on, the more the numbers might continue to drop; really making a big point to everyone that is watching. But I still see maskless parents with their young kids wearing masks because the school environment is teaching kids to have anxiety and feel insecure despite the obvious science that we all have known for at least 15 months. Seeing kids like that makes me so concerned for the future. I’m so glad we are creating this event that can be recorded into history and show the future how ridiculous the handling of this pandemic has been. But we should not stop this momentum until Fauci’s feet is held to the fire, and he is prosecuted by the world. And we should still not stop until all of the truths are revealed so the rest of the dominoes can fall and everyone that was involved with this debacle can be exposed for who they are. The new vulnerabilities of the world that technology has created has been exposed and we need to set a president so this isn’t repeated. Keep going Anchorage. I think this is the right tactic and it is creating traction for the rest of the world. Truth is uniting.

  • Thank you for the updates for those of us missing out on the desperate attempts by an Assembly to make “rules for thee, but not for me.”
    I am glad Allard reminded the assembly that they had to ENDURE adults rolling and lying down on the floor of the Assembly last year because it perfectly fit the Left’s agenda. And toleration? YES. Allard and others who easily could have expressed the desire to have them tossed out for not acting even “human,” did NOT. They sat there and tolerated the childish behavior.
    Who are the INtolerant ones? The Left…again, all the while screeching that the Right is intolerant.

  • Best show in town! Don’t miss the next episode.

    • “Assembly Death Wish Vl — Rise of The Queens.”
      Staring Dave Bronson as Paul Kersey.
      .
      (ok, this post just got deep-sixed, lol)

  • It appears that Anchorage has finally rediscovered its backbone. I hope it is not too late.

  • Still think this has any damn thing to do with Covid?

    • Hey, questions are disallowed. The practice of medicine by our silly assembly persons is having a delirious effect upon my personality. Thine assembly members have neither personal nor subject matter jurisdiction over an illness. If you do have personal and subject matter jurisdiction over an illness please show me where you got the authority. Hint: we are independent people. We do not submit to your imagined health sovereignty.

    • Jamie Allard (God bless her) said this morning on Fagan’s show, they’re all nuts on the assembly, and get ready to roll your sleeves up, just like California, because that’s the end goal here. #mandatoryjabs

  • Hey, questions are disallowed.

    • Hey, questions are disallowed. The practice of medicine by our silly assembly persons is having a delirious effect upon my personality. Thine assembly members have neither personal nor subject matter jurisdiction over an illness. If you do have personal and subject matter jurisdiction over an illness please show me where you got the authority. Hint: Roberts Rules has no authority to deliver to you you. Hint: we are independent people. We do not submit to your imagined health sovereignty.

      • Lmao I hear you! After six nights of this I’m getting goofy too! Tonight was actually fun. We sang a few songs, stood in silence, clapped and basically told them where they could go and what they could do when they got there.

        • I loved the exercise lady. You know, type A, if I’ve gotta be here in support of the Constitution I’m not gonna miss my workout! Very Conquistador!

  • The Chair and the Security were to lay a hand on me then I would consitute that as an attack on me and would let them know in uncertain terms I will defend myself against any person that lays a hand on me.

  • Is everyone just being polite? Get rid of all cowards on the Assembly who are proposing ideas that affect many thousands of people , and then those instigators don’t have the courage to ATTEND MEETINGS!!!!!! Get rid of them and let’s all get back to BUSINESS!

  • Sorry. This ain’t a quorum.

  • I pray for your families. May you not be impacted by Covid.

    • My family member had it now has antibodies.

  • As the PFD dies and Alaska reverts back to a working economy rather than a region of oil rich prosperity that funds every delicate little flower with a special interest, we’ll see fewer and fewer of these counterproductive bureaucratic parasites infesting our Assembly and our state.
    .
    They’ll move to wherever a blend of woke BLM scaredy cats can comfortably call home and hopefully they won’t worry too much about the rest of us; we’ll get by.

  • Take a minute to write your objections to this ordinance AO 2021-91(S) and send in tomorrow or over the weekend.

    Overwhelm them with NO on this AO!

    Send to: [email protected]

    Keep in mind, you and everyone working outside would also be required to wear a mask all day. All students and anyone over the age of 2 years old would have to wear a mask all day. Also, if anyone sees someone outside without a mask, it would be law to report that person and get muni law and all law enforcement called in. Also, in Section 5, there are orders to “Not allow admittance” and “shall require or compel removal of such individuals from the premises.”

    Submitted by: Assembly Members
    Zaletel and Petersen
    Prepared by: Assembly Counsel’s Office
    For reading: September 28, 2021
    ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
    AO No. 2021-91(S)
    1 AN ORDINANCE OF THE ANCHORAGE MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY REGARDING
    2 PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES FOR THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

    Note – there are 4 pages of “whereas” that are cherrypicked reports from various points in time. The proposed laws start on page 4 with :

    THE ANCHORAGE ASSEMBLY ORDAINS:

    https://meetings.muni.org/AgendaOnline/Documents/ViewDocument/AO%202021-91(S)_1_MASKING%20IN%20MOA.FINAL.DOCX.pdf?meetingId=4107&documentType=Agenda&itemId=30360&publishId=21176&isSection=false

    You can send your take on this by email and I strongly encourage you to do so – in fact all of your friends and others you work with should send in their testimony like how would this impact you while you work, etc. Concerns about people working heavy equipment should also be a concern.

    Send to: [email protected]

  • We will prevail. This is our town, our state, our country. We govern, not the assembly.

  • Clowntown!

  • Keep this up and before you know it……..
    Mail in ballot stuffing could AND SHOULD go by the wayside…..

  • LaFrance is right about one thing. Debate is pointless. They will do this no matter what.

    Just get on with it already. Stop the farce the Assembly cares what people think.

    • Nah. I think you are missing the point. I think everyone knows they will do what they set out to do regardless of anything meaningful and logical that could be said. And that is precisely why the public isn’t letting them do whatever they want. “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty”

  • That specific plexiglass was the stupidest thing ever. Whoever decided to put it up in the first place is an idiot! It just shows how scared the people in charge really are.

    • I know right? Because no covid germs could possibly travel to the left, right, or above. These germs are such thinking germs. Lol. Honestly, the ridiculosity (I know, it’s not a real word, I made it up) of the insane people who make these bizarre rules is off the charts.

    • The Plexiglas on the testimony podium was(is) not in place as a safety measure or a show of ‘people in charge being scared’.
      It is CLEARLY divisional – the shield designates separation of power.
      People vs. dictators.

  • Based on the more non partisan ADN reporting te first two days of testimony were evenly split between pro mask ordinance and anti-mask ordinance. The over 1500 written comments support the ordinance by over a 2-1 margin. Political theatre does not win elections, voter turnout does. The Assembly members are pretty good at counting votes.

    • “Non partisan ADN reporting”
      .
      Frank, you are a hoot! Do you do standup comedy as well?
      .
      Face it, Frank: the Marxist Nine on the municipal ass-embly have already lost his battle (which THEY initiated), even if they do not recognize it yet. Even if they do manage to pass the draconian, authoritarian and idiotic mask mandate, and override the mayor’s veto of it, rest assured that the administration and its lawyers will either find a legal means, according to the municipal charter, to nullify this mandate, or else we the people, the majority of whom do NOT support this absurd and divisive proposed mandate, will nullify it by mass non-compliance.
      .
      Your radical extremist political agenda is dying, Frank. Accept that fact, and move on, and leave the rest of us alone already!

    • ADN non partisan lulz. they also showed no evidence of former anchorage dictator AQD’s claims they just took her word for it cause it backs the adn\assembly agenda.

    • Do you think those were written by real people?? Hahahahaha
      Those comments were written by BOTS. They are sophisticated artificial intelligence programs that can sound and interact like real humans. I’m not even close to joking. Open your eyes, Frank and stop being a chump.

    • “Non Partisan ADN”, hahahahaha!

    • Are they good at counting votes for the mayor? Are you? They have shown to us all that emailing the most heartfelt, thoughtful, logical, factual and meaningful emails won’t sway them at all. They showed that as soon as they decided to ignore the majority that voted for Bronson and create an ordinance that is maybe the most heavy handed mask laws in the nation. So emailing has seemed futile straight out of the gate. Counting emails to get a vibe from the public when they have proven time and time again that they will ignore any of the public doesn’t agree with them, is shallow and weak and just more self serving bullcrap that is typical with this assembly. They have zero self awareness and it seems like you are subscribing to that as well. Get a clue Frank.

  • I am wondering how these people got elected? Every district in Anchorage outside of Chugiak and Eagle River has an assembly representative that is so out of touch with reality and so leftist, it is stunning. How the heck did they get there? Yet the assembly chambers have been filled daily with conservatives from across Anchorage in large numbers. To each of those that have faithfully attended, did you vote? To all that are witnessing your elected officials in action, will you please carry your knowledge to the polls in the elections to come?

    The standard norm of low voter turnout is reprehensible and if you ignore that civic responsibility then you get what you deserve. The cliche ‘freedom isn’t free’ is as true as the sun rising snd setting each day. It takes at least some effort to listen, pay attention, and then vote. At the polls! Please let these events be a wake up to the apathetic.

    I know my soapbox is only speaking to the proverbial choir as likely all who follow Must Read are dedicated in voting.

    • Here here, Elizabeth!

    • I agree. It only takes about an hour or two, at most, out of your schedule to go vote or you can spend hours and days in a public filibuster because you failed to do your civic duty and allowed tyranny to ruin your lives. And if you are worried about cheating at the voting booth, then volunteer to help. The only people volunteering now are the ones who want knuckle dragging, communist, libtards in office.

    • I agree, but a bigger issue or the first issue, at least in my district of Austin Quinn-Davidson, is that no one runs for office. This is a problem throughout the country. Most rationally minded people don’t want to wrestle pigs that are willing to organize on everything, especially if it involves a lie. Local politicians are perhaps even more scandalous and ruthless then higher level politicians. But I think we are seeing what happens when we don’t make a sacrifice and inspire ourselves or others to run for office to fulfill the toughest civic duty, which is trying to chase out these destructive pigs. My fear with mail in ballots and slanted media and liberal high level city employees, we might be too late.

  • “LaFrance said that “folks who testify are asked to remain on topic.” But she also said, “it is not my intent to restrict the content. To be most effective, if you actually suggest amendments and address ways in which you’d like to see this changed or not, that can be helpful.””
    .
    Do not gloss over the point made here.
    .
    This ordinance is going to pass. End of story. LaFrance said as much. It is about offering amendments, not squashing it totally. The Assembly is just not interested in hearing anything in opposition to passing a masking ordinance. They will entertain amendments to it, but not opposition to it.

  • If you thought this testimony was going to change the minds of this assembly, you were disillusioned. This is as Suzanne titled it, a public filibuster. It is the only tool the public has to fight their tyrannical assembly. Giving this assembly anything they want easily is a failure of public oversight. So good job people of Anchorage. Keep it up. You are an example of what the rest of the country should be following.

  • You’ll know how petty and tyrannical the Assembly really are, when you find an improved 2.0 version of that COVID shield has been built, and BOLTED IN-PLACE, in the dead-of-night, ready for tonight’s meeting. #itswhattheydobestpettyfokkery

  • More evidence of the Anchorage Assembly minions of the Delaware Dummy and his socialist agendas …

  • Mayor you are in charge of facilities, send someone over to unbolt and remove. Also if a new plexiglass was put into place, find out who did it and fire them for unauthorized work.

  • Didnt the assembly recently give themselves a raise. They should have to attend every assembly meeting. Any meeting not personally attended should be deducted from there pay.

  • Is everyone just being polite? Get rid of all cowards on the Assembly who are proposing ideas that negatively affect many thousands of people , and then those instigators don’t have the courage to ATTEND MEETINGS!!!!!! Get rid of them and let’s all get back to BUSINESS!

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