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We Build Alaska

Mayor LaFrance allowed radical leftist agitators to ruin her inauguration, and then let them insult her

Yesterday, newly-elected Anchorage Mayor Suzanne LaFrance held her inauguration at Town Square Park. Hundreds of people, including numerous elected officials, were in attendance. The emcee was former Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson.

As I parked and walked toward the event, first thing I encountered was more than a dozen leftists agitators, led by Michael Patterson from the Anchorage Party of Socialism and Liberation, on the sidewalk bounding Town Square Park very close to the inauguration. One of them, Billy Henthorn, was holding a megaphone.

These are the same people who have repeatedly interrupted Anchorage Assembly meetings in support of Hamas. They have even followed Assembly members to their vehicles after political events and harassed them. 

Once the ceremony started, Henthorn began shouting in the megaphone phrases like, “Whose streets? Our streets!” The group loudly repeated the chants. When the Colors were presented and everyone said the Pledge of Allegiance, they loudly shouted, “Release the footage now!” and a variety of other slogans. Their point for interrupting the event was to get the Municipality to release body cam footage of a recent officer involved shooting.

The agitators continued to loudly interrupt during the entirety of the inauguration, stopping only twice. Once when Aaron Leggett, the president of the Native village of Eklutna, spoke and once when a group of Native dancers from Southeast Alaska performed. This is because the group clearly knows their place in the woke hierarchy.  

Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dahlstrom (R – Alaska), who attended the event, told the Landmine, “I was disappointed I was not able to really hear Mayor LaFrance’s speech because of the protestors.” 

I attended the inauguration to hear what Mayor LaFrance had to say about the big issues facing Anchorage like homelessness, snow plowing, and housing. I was also unable to clearly hear what she was saying due to the agitators. 

When the main part of the ceremony concluded, the group entered Town Square Park and continued to shout using the megaphone. They were so loud it was difficult for attendees to even talk to each other when face-to-face. It ruined what should have been a happy and joyous event. 

Anchorage Municipal Code requires a noise permit for such activity. The Landmine has confirmed the leftist agitators did not have one. But guess who did have one for the event? The Anchorage Downtown Partnership secured one for the inauguration of Mayor LaFrance. And there are conditions listed on the permit that the agitators violated. Their megaphone was definitely over 70 decibels, and probably over 90.

It bears noting this is not a free speech issue. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently made it clear that there are time, place, and manner restrictions on the First Amendment. Free speech does not mean someone can ruin someone’s permitted event by screaming over them or using amplified electronics to prevent attendees from hearing their speech.

There were several Anchorage Police Department (APD) police officers in attendance, including newly-appointed Chief Sean Case. But they did not do a thing to stop the agitators, who were violating Anchorage Municipal Code. Instead of being an adult and instructing APD to deal with them, LaFrance acknowledged the nuisance during her speech and actually recognized them for “practicing their First Amendment rights.”

Is this how she is going to deal with all the homeless people who are destroying our public spaces? Is this a sign the LaFrance administration is going to tell Anchorage taxpayers that the homeless are just invoking their right to camp on public property because they have nowhere else to go?

It gets worse. After the event, LaFrance and Amanda Moser, who appears to now be working for LaFrance, went to talk to the agitators. They both just stood there looking like idiots while members of the group shouted over and insulted LaFrance. That interaction be seen below in the second video and then one below that. This interaction had a feeling of trying to explain a nuanced point to a person who is black-out drunk: it’s not going to happen. 

LaFrance had the chance to be an adult and stand up to a group of agitators who have repeatedly engaged in this kind of disruption. But she chose to do the opposite. Imagine if a group of Save Anchorage types or Donald Trump supporters were doing the same thing? I have a feeling the reaction and ensuing media coverage of the event would have been very different.

I sincerely hope this will not be her approach to tackle the massive homeless problem the city faces, especially after the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gives cities the power to finally deal with those who are camping in public spaces. 

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Reggie Taylor
15 days ago

Excellent news coverage here. Thank you.

Media Critic
15 days ago
Reply to  Reggie Taylor

This is not “news coverage.” It’s Jeff’s opinion, highlighting Jeff’s supercilious assumption that he’s always right, and anyone who acts differently from him is not being an “adult.” To hear Jeff tell it, he knows better how the First Amendment applies than does our police chief, who has training and experience in First Amendment enforcement. I couldn’t hear the official speakers well, either, but that could have been corrected by simply turning up their mic. It has nothing to do with woke. Jeff wasn’t in Alaska yet, or wasn’t paying attention, when Jerry Prevo bussed in throngs to protest the… Read more »

Reggie Taylor
14 days ago
Reply to  Media Critic

It was news coverage that we haven’5 gotten for years, specifically, names. Also, Landfield reported the fact tha5 th3 demonstrators did not have a permit to protest, including the use of a megaphone. H3 then opined (correctly) that the criminals could have (and should have) been arrested and dragged through the criminal prosecution process.
That’s news, and apparently the kind of news you don’t like published. Frankly, I don’t much like the new mayor or her entourage, so couldn’t care less if the anarchists urinated on her event, but that, too, would be a crime.

Nunya Bidness
14 days ago
Reply to  Reggie Taylor

“Protests permits” are not required by the First Amendment, and Jeff isn’t a lawyer, so he doesn’t understand either the law or the politeness of a mayor that’s not going to start her term by illegally arresting protestors. Jeff’s just disappointed that Bronson didn’t win.

Reggie Taylor
14 days ago
Reply to  Nunya Bidness

“………Protests permits” are not required by the First Amendment,……..” Nor are they banned by the First Amendment despite the many attempts to ban them legally, and such permits ARE required by just a tiny application of common sense. This event is just such an example of why. Even the administration got a public use permit to utilize the public space for the event. Disturbing a permitted gathering is an arrestable offense, not to mention demonstrating with a bullhorn without a permit. Have you ever led a demonstration while yelling into a bullhorn? I have, and yes, we had a permit.… Read more »

Cindy Johnson
13 days ago
Reply to  Nunya Bidness

Permits are required by Municipal Code and as the article states, the courts have ruled on the time, manner and place where restrictions can be applied.

Gloriyan
14 days ago
Reply to  Media Critic

GREAT ARTICLE

Gloriyan
14 days ago
Reply to  Media Critic

SEARCH THIS WEBSITE………>>>>JOIN. PAYATHOME9. COM
but remove SPACES

Anchorage person
15 days ago

Given she opted against appointing Cross this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I bet she calls for release of the tapes at which point all hell will break loose.

Dan Svatass
15 days ago

I bet she doesn’t, that Mayor LaFrance will leave that to Acting Chief Cross. As she should.

John
15 days ago

LaFrance backs the police and the police back her. She was endorsed by APDEA. What she obviously does not back is Bianca Cross who told the public that officers killed Kris Handy because he pointed a gun at them when video proves he didn’t. When the footage came out, she didn’t own that they lied. She said the officers merely perceive reality unreasonably which is the insanity defense. I respect your perspective but I also think people are right to be mad about all this, Jeff.

Tucker
15 days ago

This is one of the best reporting pieces Jeff has written. It’s so spot on it almost makes me sick. For a “mayor” to allow a couple of kooky people shout you down, is weak. She’s gonna be a rubber stamp and puppet for Christy Constantly complaining.

Dan Svatass
15 days ago
Reply to  Tucker

Why write “mayor”? LaFrance won fair and square. Enough with the unhinged, anti-American election denial.

Dan
15 days ago

There are far worse things a mayor can do on their first day than eat crow when being interrupted and extend an olive branch. Being reactionary to ensure that one doesn’t lose face is one way to lead a city, but it’s not a good way.

One must devise policy that makes public events welcoming to the whole city, minimizes noise pollution, and addresses homelessness. But damn, this is pretty harsh criticism for her slow-rolling her first 45 minutes.

Reggie Taylor
14 days ago
Reply to  Dan

“………There are far worse things a mayor can do on their first day than eat crow when being interrupted and extend an olive branch……….”
Agreed, but my bet is that her ‘olive branch’ will end up growing thorns and scarring her all up in short order. Being the mayor of this bloodthirsty town tends to end political careers, not bolster them. The only mayor to really grow from that job was Dimples, and he did that by being more bloodthirsty than his opponents.

Doug E
15 days ago

Take a breath

Bob
15 days ago
Reply to  Doug E

Jeff’s going to lose his hair and gain weight if he keeps stressing like this.

Akwhitty
15 days ago

Where can I donate

aaron
14 days ago

why would the police need to be told to enforce the law? that doesn’t make sense.

Nunya Bidness
14 days ago

Good old fascist Jeff, who doesn’t believe in the First Amendment.

Read the fucking constitution!

sam
14 days ago

Don’t you ever get sick of hearing, writing radical left. woke agenda labeling. Just stop all ready and write the articles

Crage
5 days ago
Reply to  sam

Do you understand the meaning of so-called woke 😅

Weealoo Boogerman
12 days ago

Don’t forget that as Chair of the Assembly, Ms. LaFrance allowed the tinfoil hat anti-masking crowds to dominate meetings. I was afraid this spinelessness would continue into her mayoral administration, but not on day one!

Dan Svatass
12 days ago

It’s called tolerance. And it’s a good characteristic in an American politician.

Weealoo Boogerman
11 days ago
Reply to  Dan Svatass

There is a difference between an orderly dialogue and a pitchfork mob. She allowed the pitchfork mob to take over. That’s crossing the line, and goes well beyond “tolerance.”

Crage
5 days ago

My oh my, hosting a mayor-elect inaugural in city Square when there’s a Natzi radical right-wing cell living in the city. What could possibly go wrong.