The first of what is expected to be several Anchorage Assembly members announced his candidacy for Mayor on Oct. 7. Erstwhile democrat Forrest Dunbar expanded on that announcement in an ADN opinion piece published October 18.
Every candidacy starts off with promises. Forrest is no different, promising the following:
- Turn portions of Fourth Avenue and E Street into pedestrian promenades. Yeah, that will really help improve driving and parking downtown, especially during the winter. First priority, huh?
- Take advantage of the $40 million investment toward homeless services over the next five years, and “… make our own commitments to substance abuse treatment, behavioral health, housing and other initiatives – such as early childhood care and education – that can get to the core of this and other problems.” Homelessness is essentially a drug use and mental illness issue. Muck around with anything else, and you are simply wasting our money and your time.
- Finally, “… work to strengthen the city’s sense of indigenous place…” Let’s pander to Alaska Natives. I guess this means you agree with the Eklutna Casino and associated attempt to end run around ANSCA; and Bush Villages sending their problems to Anchorage to take care of. Taxpayers who foot the bill for all this, not so much.
Forrest has been a member of one of the most liberal Assembly majorities in decades, one that can’t keep from mucking around in our daily lives on a daily basis.
Under Forrest’s watch, the Assembly, with his vote in the affirmative has banned plastic bags in Anchorage so as to decrease plastic debris in the oceans, none of which can be traced to Anchorage.
Forrest voted to support Mayor Berkowitz’ declaration of an emergency, to bypass the tax cap via the excuse of dealing with a problem that has grown out of control under their watch – that of homelessness and crime.
Forrest voted to force Anchorage homeowners on the Hillside to use bearproof trash containers, opting to control the citizenry rather than marauding wildlife.
Forrest voted to approve Ethan’s Climate Action Plan, which promises to cut CO2 emissions in half in a couple decades by the use of wind, solar, electric vehicles, walking and bicycles.
Forrest, like his fellow democrats on the Assembly are singularly unable to leave you and I alone, opting to use the coercive power of the state to make us live our lives up (or down) to their lofty (or lowly) standards. No reason that will change (other than get worse) should we foolishly elect him or someone like him in 2021.
No mention of the awful state of crime here in Anchorage. No mention of steadily increasing property taxes. No mention of what he plans to do about turning over public spaces to homeless encampments. No mention of what he plans to do about the awful state of education in Anchorage. No mention of the complete disconnect between the number of APD officers and crime rate. There are more, but you get the idea.
Here’s an issue for Forrest and his majority on the Assembly: Why does Anchorage need a new utility for stormwater? What has AWWU been doing all these years? What have we been doing for decades passing every single road and sewer bond offered on the ballot for? Is the problem one of focus, mission or competence? Or perhaps is it due to the fact that both Mark Begich and Ethan Berkowitz turned AWWU into a cash cow for over a decade, grabbing money that should have been spent on infrastructure to fund their bypass of the (increasingly ineffective) tax cap.
While I am glad he has “… enjoyed dedicating myself to municipal policy for the past three-and-a-half-year, and this campaign is a continuation of that work…”, I would submit that we cannot afford much more of either that work or dedication.
This should be a fun campaign, full of attempts to focus voter attention on the shiny object in one hand while digging into your wallet with the other.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.