Today the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce held a candidate forum for the upcoming Anchorage mayoral election. There are nine candidates declared, seven were part of the forum. In reality, there are two viable candidates, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Rebecca Logan.
The forum was something else. Perennial candidate Dustin Darden started things off by offering a prayer in response to a question about crime. In his prayer he addressed turning to God, ending abortion, eliminating fluoride in our water, and stopping George Soros. The reactions in the audience ranged from total bewilderment to suppressed laughter.
Later, Timothy Huit suggested a $5,000 dividend will boost the economy. I’m sure it would, Tim. However, the mayor of Anchorage has absolutely noting to do with the permanent fund or the dividend.
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Darden came in again with a real gem when he suggested we build a zip line between Anchorage and Point Mackenzie to get people back and forth. Mayor Berkowitz, and others, in a moment of levity, seemed agreeable to that. An engineer friend of mine estimated the zip line would need to start at an elevation of 3,000 feet.
Another candidate could not answer many of the questions because he said he was not prepared.
There were many other bizarre moments. It was definitely entertaining but also a bit of a waste of time. The room was nearly full and everyone paid to be there. When I contacted the Chamber to ask why so many of the fringe candidates were allowed to participate, and not just Berkowitz and Logan, I was told their policy is that all candidates are invited. By that logic, a candidate who supports segregation and is a member of the Ku Klux Klan would be allowed to participate.
I like the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and think they play an important role in our city. I hope they reconsider their policies about who can participate in candidate forums in the future. While the characters make it entertaining, they take away from discussion about the serious issues facing our city.