Last summer, the Anchorage Daily News mentioned Save Anchorage almost as an aside when David Bronson launched his campaign for mayor. In the 14 months since that article, ADN has not written a word (that I’m aware of) about a group that has worked so diligently to weaponize anger, fear and disinformation in an effort to influence and reshape Anchorage politics.
Yesterday, the ADN finally showed up to the party, sort of, in a piece titled “Recall vote of Assembly member Meg Zaletel viewed as a proxy battle over the future of Anchorage politics.”
Recall Recall Recall
Imagine for a moment the idea, as it has been presented by those who supported the recall of Felix Rivera and now a Zaletel recall, that progressive Assembly Members — who have taken the pandemic seriously — participated in an Assembly meeting that may have had too many people present under a COVID-19 emergency order last year.
Compare the allegation to a separate situation that appears to show Assembly Member Jamie Allard knew a member of the public had “snuck” into the Assembly Chambers in January when COVID-19 restrictions were in place and ostensibly did nothing about it other than to schedule an appointment with the individual. Once you’re able to do that, the stench of hypocrisy becomes too overwhelming to ignore.
While you’re holding your nose, some have speculated that a July 27 social media post inferred that the Zaletel recall wasn’t necessarily about COVID related restrictions, but rather was being used as a political tool to “skewer” Ms. Zaletel’s re-election chances next year.
More nauseating still is that in reporting by ADN, the group seeking to recall Zaletel claims it did not sanction the use of Stars of David which were seen in news articles around the world and yet — the stars solicited donations for the recall and depicted the web address of the recall group. The holocaust imagery was created and distributed at recently held Anchorage Assembly meetings by one of the recall groups listed deputy treasurers — Christine Hill.
Hill is a former Save Anchorage member and longtime Alaska GOP operative who is also a listed founding member of Alaskans for Open Meetings.
If you don’t know, Hill ran unsuccessfully for Assembly against both Felix Rivera and Meg Zaletel, who now just so happen to face recall efforts after winning their respective elections.
Coincidence right? Nah. If you can’t beat ’em, recall them, and to hell with the entire democratic process.
Recalls don’t work, and as much as I find Jamie Allard to be loathsome and reprehensible as a politician, the recall against her will fail and stand as nothing more than a testament to how utterly useless and broken the recall mechanism is.
If you want your candidate to win a seat on the Assembly, run someone who can win, who isn’t seen as divisive and who will listen to and respect their constituents. If your candidate loses, suck it up and try again next time instead of trying to recall someone you disagree with.
Anchorage has real challenges to contend with in the coming months, homelessness being perhaps one of the most important. Anchorage has a mayor who, along with his Save Anchorage following, refers to the downtrodden as “vagrants.” If tomorrow the Anchorage Health Department were to erect a barbwire fence around the Sullivan Arena, none of us should be shocked or stupefied.
If District 4 residents do what’s right and soundly reject the recall of Zaletel, they will have done a great service for the city of Anchorage — leaving in place a democratically elected member of the Assembly who has worked tirelessly to keep its residents safe from a pandemic the Bronson Administration has largely chosen to ignore.