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Anchorage Assembly testimony does not reflect our city

In recent days, I have tuned in to watch the Anchorage Assembly meetings on YouTube. The endless stream of testimony and disruptions from anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers is shocking, childish, ugly, and most of all, extremely one-sided. I was born in Anchorage 55 years ago. I am a politically moderate, fiscally conservative, pro-resource development lifelong Alaskan. The Alaska I know is a help-thy-neighbor, pay-it-forward place. I cannot comprehend what is going on in the Assembly. It is important that Assembly Members know that the testimony they are receiving is not representative of Anchorage residents. It is not representative of conservatives. It is not even representative of many Bronson voters. It is only representative of people reckless enough to show up in person to Assembly meetings packed full of largely unmasked, unvaccinated, and often very angry and disruptive people.

It should go without saying that those who support the proposed mask mandate (or even those who oppose it but do not want to catch COVID-19 in the packed chambers) will not attend these meetings in person. On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 29, I went to the Municipality website and registered online to give phone testimony at the continued meeting. I received a confirmation email with instructions. I expected to wait through many hours of testimony before I would be able to speak. That’s fine. But on Thursday, those who signed up to speak by phone were not allowed to participate. Only in-person testimony was permitted starting Thursday. I was not informed that my testimony (and that of likely hundreds of others) would be excluded from the public process. Instead, I had to sit and watch person after person recite the same tired and bizarre anti-mask and anti-vaccine arguments.

The way those giving in-person testimony speak, you would think they are on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. Those opposed to the proposed mask mandate seem to believe that masks are harbingers of the downfall of civilization. Many of them came to meetings wearing yellow Stars of David, casting themselves in the role of Jews in a Nazi persecution fantasy. Many of them are screaming and yelling. Moreover, the nonsense about masking causing “health issues” is unbelievable. Anyone who has a medical issue so serious that they cannot wear a mask would be putting themselves in serious danger showing up to packed meetings like these, where transmission of COVID—which can cause extreme respiratory damage—is very likely occurring.

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Let’s be clear: none of us like wearing masks. They are annoying. But so what? They are a minor and easy thing we can all can do to help stop the spread of a deadly pandemic. They are comparable to public health measures like required seatbelts or smoking bans, which nobody seriously protests today. We have laws about mowing lawns, driving certain speeds, and handling food safely in restaurants. Vaccinations have been with us for centuries now, too. Schools have required vaccinations since the 1850s, and George Washington required that his army get vaccinated before the United States even existed. None of this is new. But if you tune into the Assembly meetings, you’d think we were on the brink of some new totalitarian apocalypse.

Some Assembly Members are calling into these meetings because they are unwilling to show up due to the same concerns that I have. The Assembly is presiding over an unsafe situation in its own chambers and should make an effort to collect testimony that is more representative of Anchorage. As citizens of Anchorage, we should have the same right to testify as anyone there in person. Even though it is possible to write in testimony, this situation still creates optics that make Anchorage look like a place full of childish, selfish, and aggressive people who have little no understanding of public health or history. I strongly urge the Assembly to create a safer environment in its own chambers—and in Anchorage—and support a democratic process that is more representative of and fair to Anchorage as a whole.

Ella Ede is a lifelong Alaskan and 33-year resident of Anchorage. She has raised her four children in Anchorage and has been involved in the community through both her professional career and as a volunteer for many organizations. 

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Carl Oswald
21 days ago

Yeah, it was a bit unfair on Jeff’s part to call out Meg and Pete for not attending in person when their very chambers are filed with a bunch of insurrectionists solely in attendance to threateningly grandstand with intimidation, ignorance, and stupidity. These people are unhinged and cannot be trusted to remain civil in such emotionally charged times. Have we forgotten what happened back in January so soon. Why should anyone be compelled to put themselves within close proximity to a mob for any reason?

Richie Romero
20 days ago
Reply to  Carl Oswald

Have we forgotten about antifa and BLM riots. This assembly does not represent my Anchorage. These insurrectionist do.

Dirt Diggler
20 days ago
Reply to  Richie Romero

How many Biden hats, Hoodies, flags etc did you see adorned by ANTIFA? No doubt where the allegiance lies this pathetic cast of characters.

Janie
16 days ago
Reply to  Richie Romero

Seriously, we are in a public health crisis and all you have is to spout off ANTIFa BS.

Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  Janie

Brought to you by your government. It’s only a health crisis because they say so.

Chris
20 days ago

Deadly pandemic…. I agree with you that many of the testimonies have been frustrating to listen to. Some of the arguments being made are fabricated by themselves with not much to back it up. But here’s where the mistake has been made…. We are spending billions and billions to stop a virus with a fatality rate of .2 percent. Now before you get all up in arms think about that number; .2% We are trying to stop something that is going to be around forever now. FOREVER. This isn’t Ebola or the Black Plague. This is Sars2. Remember SARS1? We… Read more »

Pete
20 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Well said!

Lynn Willis
19 days ago
Reply to  Chris

So you find comfort mocking all the efforts to stem this virus mutant this time with an extremely high R-Naught value (spreads to many others before disabling the originally infected person) whose “cousins” MERS CO-V (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS Co-V (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are also very dangerous . How about on emergence of the next Avian or Swine Flu Influenza variant like that of 1918 we take the Dunleavy/Bronson approach? Like those over capacity hospitals? Like increased Medicaid costs and personal bankruptcies? Do you notice the shortages in the stores now? Wonder why? Want it to get… Read more »

Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

And Biden will make it all better. This is not a end of world. All your ideas have not helped.

Ella Ede
19 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Fair enough Chris, but our hospitals are in crisis and getting vaccinated and masking can help take the pressure off our hospitals. Most of those hospitalized with Covid are unvaccinated. Our health care workers are begging for our help.

Emily Creely
19 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris, this one is a big deal for several reasons. These reasons have been shared ad nauseum throughout the pandemic. First, this virus is new and the unknowns with it are through the roof. We still don’t know exactly how it works and why people’s response to it range from no symptoms to death with a lot in between. Second, we have an estimated 10-20 percent of infected experiencing long-term, debilitating illness that no one clearly understands. Third – because it’s new and because it’s a virus in a new host, it’s going to mutate. Alot. So we could be… Read more »

Emily Creely
19 days ago
Reply to  Chris
Gerry Maneelson
18 days ago
Reply to  Chris

“There hasn’t been enough death for us to worry over.”
Do you have a recommended level before people should care?

The “Forever” mindset only occurs when there are people in the extreme bell-curve who decide to perpetuate infection ratings who have similar mindset as yours. Management was plausible in the “Corrupted Blood” incident in World of Warcraft, but it was those similar pro-disease players who forced the publishing company to simply reset the server.

Margaret D Stock
20 days ago

Excellent article, Ella, thank you for pointing out that the Assembly hasn’t yet heard the voices of people who wished to testify by telephone. Hopefully they will make time tonight to call the folks who are waiting to testify telephonically.

Richie Romero
20 days ago

Counselor
Are you referring to the ones who took the prick and are also protected by the “mask”?

Scott Gellerman
20 days ago

I have a great number of friends and colleagues that are opposed to further mandates, as am I. However I don’t know a single one of them that would take time away from their busy lives to attend the testimony spectacle at the assembly, and I am extremely confident that none of them, in the unlikely event they planned to testify, would have been anything other than respectful and calm in addressing any assembly member or in giving testimony. So on one hand I agree that this ongoing spectacle does not accurately reflect the Anchorage community as a whole, however I think… Read more »

Sweeney
20 days ago

B.S.! This spectacle accurately reflects the average anti vaccine and masks trumplican. You own it.

Last edited 20 days ago by Sweeney
Scott Gellerman
19 days ago
Reply to  Sweeney

Your statement is illogical and unsupported by any factual data.. it adds nothing to this conversation and is irrelevant. 

Areal Bilk
20 days ago

While I’d like to believe this, the truth is that Bronson ran his campaign on the premise that the pandemic was a hoax and that he would stop all attempts to control the virus. Anchorage loved the message and voted him in. We are a city of uneducated bigots and the world has seen us for what we are.

Richie Romero
20 days ago
Reply to  Areal Bilk

So happy to be the turd in your toilet.

Scott Gellerman
19 days ago
Reply to  Areal Bilk

I don’t ever recall hearing then candidate Bronson say anything remotely similar to “pandemic is a hoax”… or that he “would stop all attempts to control the virus”. That is a complete fabrication on your part. If you disagree with his policy decisions, fine. That’s your right, and I would gladly support you expressing it, however spreading false information like this in sad and undignified. 

Rational in AK
19 days ago

“This pandemic, if there ever was a pandemic, was over last summer.” Mayor Bronson. The implications are certainly there for any reasonable person to see. And I would certainly say it meets your threshold for “anything remotely similar”. So no, it’s not a complete fabrication and it’s definitely not spreading false information.

Maureen Suttman
20 days ago

I hear you on those showing up having persecution fantasies.

This is what under funded mental health and education services looks like.

Lynn Willis
19 days ago

Interesting observation. Persecution and martyrdom are a central theme in the Christian religion. I wonder why the Cristian religions adopted as an actual icon of worship a Roman execution device (the cross) coupled with such infatuation with a method of capital punishment (crucifixion) specifically designed to inflict maximum suffering in a relatively short period of time to serve as a public spectacle and public warning.

Last edited 19 days ago by Lynn Willis
Diana Bauman
20 days ago

People are dying and they worry about wearing a mask

Last edited 20 days ago by Diana Bauman
Scott Gellerman
19 days ago
Reply to  Diana Bauman

“They” might actually be worried about the systemic erosion of “their” rights and personal freedoms, coupled with tyrannical government overreach. “they” may also have done enough research to understand that anything short of an N-95 mask is essentially a placebo..  

Lynn Willis
19 days ago

I was thinking the same thing about traffic laws. Terribly invasive and dictatorial regardless of the public good they provide. More evidence that the mutant “A” variant is exploiting droplet release – and masks control droplet spread and inhalation. Now I suppose you will tell me that your blowing virus laden snot in my face is your “constitutional right”? Got it….

Poop
20 days ago

This vaccine is not a vaccine. You are stupid to believe it

Crage
9 days ago
Reply to  Poop

😂😂😂😂😂😂

Lynn Willis
20 days ago

The congressional hearings on Facebook’s influence on children should be expanded to show what these platforms are doing to otherwise once rational adults who are now transfixed cult members. This phenomena is not new. What you are seeing is mass hysteria not unlike that seen at the Salem witch trials.

Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

There is your problem you trust government to much.

floridawoman
19 days ago

It actually does. 50% of Anchorage voted for an antisemitic mayor.

LaDonna
19 days ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Yes. Anchorage has to come clean and say that it too serious problems. And apparently these aforementioned “freedom fighters” are very unoriginal and shrill copycats: https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/article253439269.html

Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Yes we had enough of the lefts rule. I hope you enjoy the ride I know I am.

Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  floridawoman

No we voted for common sense. Masks and the prick have not worked as the government said it wood.

Crage
9 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Liar!

Sam Hughes
19 days ago

Not sure if any real Alaskans agree with your sentiment. Unfortunately your take comes off fearful and with no nuance. Good luck out there, the pandemic may just be in your life forever.

Flordiawoman
19 days ago
Reply to  Sam Hughes

Well yeah antisemitism by our neighbors and elected officals instills fear-duh

acaringheart
19 days ago

Ella I’ve been watching the testimonies from day one and have definitely seen some behavior from both sides that reflect cruelty and name calling. I personally am saddened by it all and I don’t think your message is really helping change the verbal banter that vomits from people’s mouth’s. Most people are clearly just stating their own personal beliefs and personal research. Anyone can find facts to substantiate their own opinions. The clear message from one side is give me a choice and from the other side it’s do as I say or else. Unfortunately the written verbiage of the… Read more »

Crage
9 days ago
Reply to  acaringheart

I wish ppl like you would catch covid, run to the hospital because you can’t breathe, shoot a selfie or video telling anyone who’ll listen that you should’ve wore a mask and took the jab. 🤭

Last edited 9 days ago by Crage
olivia
19 days ago

If THIS so called guy keeps filming women’s butts, he will be arrested and then some.

Marlin Savage
19 days ago

Anchorage Assembly does not reflect our city.

Lynn Willis
19 days ago
Reply to  Marlin Savage

Getting closer though. Get rid of Allard and Kennedy and we will be there.

Ray Straighter
19 days ago

I’m thrilled that Jesus Christ and Donald Trump remain conjoined at the pelvis during all this… hilarity. Bronson and his band of ninnies will continue to have their fun as long as cool heads remain cool. Assemblymembers unwilling to ridicule the ridiculous, to shame the shameful are as useless as tits on a hummingbird. Popcorn, please.

Richard
19 days ago

It would be useful to have a single person dock/microphone with the ‘crowd’ a significant distance away from both the dock and Assembly members to abate their crowd noise and drama. And a separate area for people who want to mask up and social distance. Perhaps for contentious meetings where a large response is expected, they could use a local arena. I expect some issues could end up having a never ending response or at least a very prolonged one and so the Assembly could be present for a certain number of days and then the various forms of testimony… Read more »

pdkelly
18 days ago

No both sides here as the yelling, bullying and physical confrontations were all from the anti-maskers. Most of the pro-science people have submitted written statements or else testified by phone rather than submit to the attacks of the anti-maskers. Sadly the hospitals are forced to ration emergency treatment in favor of the anti-maskers (88% of hospitalizations) causing legitimate emergency patients in life threatening circumstances. One ER doctor already testified of a death of a critical care patient due to the monopoly of facilites by the covid deniers. The flood of misinformation on masks is stunning in that all major peer… Read more »

Fran March
18 days ago

My husband and I were just talking about this very issue about not speaking in person re: mandate because of so many unmasked people. We also discussed the real possibility of violence. The meetings are so heated, and people are carrying concealed. We are second amendment and first amendment supporters, but are uneasy about this situation in such a heated debate. We write letters to the assembly and mayor.

Burt G
16 days ago

It obviously does represent the majority! People have had a enough of these illegal Communist Dictates! Give Us Freedom or Give Us Death!

Mark
16 days ago

They can’t stop the spread and the shot has no value after awhile. Masks have a spotty work don’t work record. Everybody should use there own mind and decide what to do. The virus is too wide spread and will become a seasonal flu. Mandates and restrictions have not worked as look at the current conditions.

sam
14 days ago

Does not reflect the city? LOL, it is EXACTLY the city in the age of Trump.