Winter is coming - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Winter is coming

By ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

Well, so much for all that nonsense about getting along. It did not take long for the Anchorage Assembly to show newly elected Mayor Dave Bronson its “our way or the highway” colors.

Bronson had sought $15 million from that august body to construct a temporary, huge tent-like structure to serve as a large-scale homeless shelter/navigation center near the intersection of Tudor and Elmore roads, in the shadow of the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Bronson’s idea was to move about 380 homeless out of the Sullivan Arena and again use the structure for public events and hockey.

At the last-minute, during Tuesday night’s meeting, Assembly members Meg Zaletel and failed mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar tossed a monkey wrench into the machinery. They linked Bronson’s plan with a plan by former, and disgraced, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to buy an Alaska Club structure on Tudor Road for $5.4 million – with an added $2 million for remodeling – something rejected only Friday by Bronson. The two also wanted to limit such a facility to 150-beds.

Mind you, the Berkowitz plan included using millions in COVID-19 relief money to buy the Alaska Club building and three others to house and treat the homeless in or near neighborhoods, which stirred heated opposition.

While refusing to deal with Bronson’s proposal, the Assembly also tabled the Zaletel-Dunbar proposal.

With Bronson’s project kaput – and he still says he still will not buy the Alaska Club building – there is no place for the 380 homeless people living in the Sullivan Arena to go for shelter. Court opinions bar the city from abating or clearing green belt homeless camps unless the city has a safe place to house people.

Add to all that: Games for the Anchorage Wolverines, the city’s new junior hockey team, are slated to begin in October at the Sullivan Arena.

The mayor has voiced his willingness, even eagerness, to work with the Assembly on such matters, and the Assembly says it wants to work with him, too, blah-blah-blah, but here we are back at Square One.

If nothing else, perhaps each Assembly member could just step up and take 30 or 40 of the homeless into their homes and the problem would go away. At this point, that seems as likely as the Assembly ever working in good faith with this mayor to solve the homelessness problem.

And winter is coming.

Read more at the Anchorage Daily Planet.

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Latest comments

  • Has the Marxist Assembly show the public the annual operations and maintenance costs to house these addicts? Didn’t think so.

  • I am shocked, shocked that the assembly would undermine the new mayor and back stab him. As mentioned on these pages earlier, deep investigation into connections between assembly members and the Alaska Club deal should be done and exposed. In the mean time, it is only the citizens, the Anchorage infrastructure and the homeless themselves who suffer. Perhaps good citizens can set up free food and booze distribution in front of recalcitrant assembly members’ homes.

    • Good idea. Local tyrants are easy to find.

  • The woke left claims moral high ground in their empathy and concern for the homeless, the victims of racism, the poor, etc.
    The fact is they create the socio economic “root” causes themselves and then exploit the “victims” their policies and systems created.
    The left woke rabble are extremely cruel and hypocritical people. They consider themselves “essential” and insure their own comforts and positions. This is what socialism actually is.

  • Disadvantaged minorities, the homeless, the mentally ill, those suffering chemical dependency…the pawns of the far left. They use them as bargaining chips to enrichen themselves with taxpayer dollars. So sad, so wrong.

  • The goal of the majority of the assembly is to move money into the pockets of their supporters, not to solve or imporve the homeless problem. The continuation of the last 3 years of BS is glaring and anybody can see what is going on.

  • As hard as the leftists on the Assembly are pushing the city to buy some specific empty buildings, one might surmise they have a financial interest in said buildings.

  • Tens of millions to construct, or buy and remodel … vs. about 500 to 700 thousand per month, to put the homeless up in hotels and motels for the harshest winter months.
    Who knows, maybe some of the chronic homeless might get spoiled, having a roof over their heads, one without a ton of stupid rules, and decide to get jobs to keep a real place to live.
    From what I understand, 3 or 4 homeless together, can actually panhandle enough to afford rent. They may even decide to volunteer for drug and alcohol treatment.
    If you’ve been homeless for a while, you become familiar with all the food banks and assistance programs. It makes it harder to persuade them to go back to their own roof over their heads.

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