Last week, Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones submitted her certification report on the May 11, 2021 election to the Assembly. The biggest complaint was untrained observers with the promise (threat?) that the Muni would be taking this training in house and doing it for everyone, likely in early February before future elections. Depending on how the Clerk’s office does this, it could be a Good Thing designed to train competent observers or a Bad Thing intended to eliminate as many opposition observers as possible – if you’re not officially trained, you don’t get to observe.
Of course, her report was written up in the Binkley Fish Wrapper as “Election officials faced ‘unprecedented harassment’ during Anchorage mayor’s runoff, report says. Quite the hair-raising headline, that.
This was quickly followed by an op-ed by Carolyn Hall, an Anchorage resident and election worker for the last 18 months. She also worked for Bill Walker, which ought to tell you a lot about her perspective and party affiliation (thanks to Bruce Botelho). Her piece was entitled “It’s time to bring civility back to community conversations.”
Finally, we had Suzanne Downing in Must Read Alaska weighing in on the entire back and forth Saturday with an extended piece on multiple irregularities that the Bronson observers objected to and Jones’ responses to those objections. Fun part of this is that the Bronson team appears to have actual video of everything they claim, not that that will help much as video lies. The bad news on this is that many of the claims of irregularities out of the Bronson side turned out to be wildly inaccurate, as will the video ‘proof’. Keep this up and we on the right risk ending up like the Palinistas – poor winners. Poor losers are terrible. Poor winners are worse.
So, what is going on here? My guess is that it a combination of things:
- Residual distrust from the conduct and lack of transparency of the 2020 national election.
- Muni Clerk Jones, who works for the Assembly, flying top-cover for that Assembly, doing everything in her power to obstruct, deny and delay recall petitions for multiple Assembly members. The one that did get through was rewritten.
- What appears to be a close working relationship between Jones and Chris Constant, an Assembly Member who was part of the Dunbar campaign.
Bottom line: If you don’t want to be viewed as a partisan hack, don’t act like one.
In hindsight, the only exact science, both the Assembly and Jones should have allowed the recall petitions to go forward without modification or obstruction. Why? Because we on the political right absolutely and completely screw them up, in the silly belief that simply getting one on the ballot is enough to win the argument. Had the Assembly and Jones allowed all the recalls to hit the ballot, given what we learned in April, none of them would have passed, retaining both the Assembly members targeted and Jones’ reputation as an honest broker in the political wars.
Second point is that the Clerk is hired by and works for the Assembly, so, they are her employers. With that in mind, there ought to be a clear, easily recognizable line drawn between Assembly members and what the Clerk does during elections. And that line ought to be respected by both Assembly members and the Clerk. That line was intentionally blurred by Constant and the Dunbar campaign, once again destroying trust in Jones as an honest broker.
I think it will take decades, it not more for this nation to recover from the fraud committed during and following last November’s national election. And for those of us on the political right, we are now in Trust But Verify mode, where ANYTHING that looks the least bit funky will be assumed to be an active attempt to commit election fraud and trigger the appropriate, however irrational response. That won’t change for a long, long time.
And to those on the political left, the unions, their media cheerleaders and apologists, these are the new rules you guys demanded. These are the new rules you guys wanted. And they are the new rules you guys are now operating under, and will be for a long, long time.
Civility requires some sort of common trust, some sort of common agreement as to what constitutes a civil society. The political left no longer operates in that world. Those of us on the political right are now there with you. Enjoy the ride you just paid for.
As I have said previously, I don’t think you’re going to like operating under your new rules. And based on the Hall op-ed, you don’t which is not necessarily a Bad Thing.
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.