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Photos: Anchorage Assembly and Mayor’s Office war for control of Assembly chambers

Thursday night’s Assembly meeting, which nominally provided a forum for public testimony regarding the proposed “mask mandate,” saw the Anchorage Assembly majority and Office of the Mayor locked in a chaotic and bewildering struggle for control of the Assembly chambers.

The night opened with a ruling by Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance that follow-up questions to audience testimony would no longer be permitted. The ruling followed tedious questioning in previous meetings initiated primarily by Assembly Member Jamie Allard, whose aide, Elizabeth Welsh, has publicly called for a “People’s Filibuster” of the mask mandate vote.

The Mayor’s Office and Assembly Members aligned with the mayor immediately fired back at LaFrance. Municipal Manager Amy Demboski accused LaFrance of limiting freedom of speech and violating the First Amendment, and threatened a legal challenge. Adam Trombley, Mayor Bronson’s Director of Office of Economic & Community Development, abruptly walked to the podium where members of the public give testimony and removed a plexiglass shield meant to serve as a COVID-19 precaution. The audience was not confused about the meaning of this gesture, which symbolized both the Bronson Administration’s rejection of COVID-19 public health measures and the Administration’s control over the physical space of the Assembly chambers. The crowd erupted in cheers.

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Shortly thereafter, Mayor Bronson’s office dismissed private security personnel at the meeting, curtailing LaFrance’s ability to enforce order in the overwhelmingly hostile room. For the remainder of the evening, security was provided by remaining APD officers. Frequent disruptions to the meeting went almost entirely unaddressed.

Throughout the night, numerous attempts were made to interfere with media coverage of the event. Members of the audience yelled at, followed, or accosted Landmine staff. One individual (who had been photographed at a previous meeting taunting Assembly Member Forrest Dunbar with a yellow Star of David) unplugged Landmine cameras.

One person with firsthand experience of the incident told members of the media that partway through the meeting, Municipal Manager Amy Demoski walked back to the room where the public recording is managed and ordered the public live stream, which is run by the Anchorage Fire Department, to be cut. The individual responsible for the live stream adamantly objected and refused Demboski’s order, prompting a behind-the-scenes power struggle that ultimately involved Anchorage Fire Department leadership. The live stream feed continued throughout the evening.

By the end of the night, it was clear that the only part of the room still under the clear control of the Assembly was the area behind the dais. The boisterous unmasked audience cheered, engaged in group songs, gave protracted standing ovations for those giving testimony, and loudly jeered and booed when members of the Assembly attempted to speak. One person did push-ups next to the dais. Individuals screamed “FUCK YOU” and other insults, and openly taunted and heckled LaFrance and other Assembly members.

The meeting ended at 11:30pm and will continue Friday, October 8, at 3pm.

All photos below are available for free public use via the Alaska Landmine Flickr gallery.

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Nunya Bidness
17 days ago

If I lived in Los Anchorage I would already have the recall petition drafted, and this kind of behavior would be exhibit #1. As soon as he hits 120 days, I’m betting it will only take a week to meet the minimum no of sigs.

Amazing that someone that old could be such a child. Having a fit because there’s a veto-proof majority and he can’t do anything about it.

John Lawson
17 days ago

I will be the first to sign the recall petition. Bronson has to go ASAP.

Matthew Benedetti
16 days ago

Tell me where to sign the recall petition.

Lynn Willis
16 days ago

Mob rule encouraged by folks like Demboski (the real Mayor) Bronson (the place holder) and Trombley (the enforcer) along with Allard and Kennedy who would have been and would be today “right at home” at a “good old fashion lynching”.

Sweeney
16 days ago

Embarrassing

Bewildered in midtown
16 days ago

The Assembly should have adjourned. This behavior by the Mayor is absolutely disgusting, dangerous, and reprehensible. How the hell was this allowed to go on.

Burt G
16 days ago

Viva Le Revolution! Party tonight at the ASSembly! Let’s Make Anchorage Great Again!

KYLE J VON BOSE
16 days ago
Reply to  Burt G

/pulls of mask. Amy Dumblondski!!!

Burt G
16 days ago

Death to Tyrannts! The solution to 1984 is 1776!

Flordiawoman
16 days ago
Reply to  Burt G

But what the ADN did not report is that no one has sourced the originators of those emails to determine if those people live in Anchorage or if they are being generated by an Outside political group with an agenda.
Downing

Funny given she is an outsider with a political agenda

Ray Straighter
16 days ago

It appears the thurd are still in charge in Alaska.

Stop it already
16 days ago

It is beyond pathetic that the Assembly is allowing this to go on. Stop the bleeding already. Anchorage is in crisis. This is pitiful, petulant, theater directed by the Mayor with the sole purpose of preventing the Assembly from conducting its business. Please just stop it.

Mark
16 days ago

Shoe is other foot now. The assembly is getting what they deserve. You libs just can’t handle defeat.

floridawoman
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Defeat? We all loose when a neighbor goes to the hospital with covid-19.

Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Yes we do but you and the left are not going to stop it. It is here like the flu why don’t you complain about the release of this virus and quit telling other people what to do. The only way to not get the virus is to stay away from people as they are the transmitters.

Lynn Willis
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark

How about those who don’t care what they do to protect others stay away from people? Why do those who act responsible bear the entire burden? Let those COVID deniers, anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers exercise their “freedom” to stay home.

Hmm
14 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Okay, Mark. “The left” won’t be having the last laugh when you or someone close to you dies from this. I guess you will be, though, if someone you love dies… as you can’t laugh when you’re dead. No one will be laughing. Think about that.

Richie Romero
14 days ago
Reply to  Hmm

Hummer
Death and taxes.

Jamison B. Paul
16 days ago

Politicizing basic public health measures during a pandemic is probably the stupidest thing I’ve seen in 50 years of watching political theater, and these meetings take the cake. Unless Bronson and Co. plan to eliminate the vote, they’d better be prepared for an electorate as tired of this kind counterproductive drama as I am.

T L
15 days ago

Well, this super spreader event has reaped its first (known) victims, the City Atty and the City Manager.

Negligence, imho, to bring kids to such an event where their health is in danger. And what a terrible lesson about civil discourse to give them, too.

Richie Romero
14 days ago

Liberals,
Pfucmol