Following victories in the recent October election, progressives on the Palmer City Council now enjoy a narrow 4-3 majority, which they will try and use to reshape the historic farming town.

Sabrena Combs

This agenda begins in earnest on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. during a special meeting at City Hall.

This is the night when newly appointed Deputy Mayor and self-proclaimed “progressive,” Sabrena Combs, will introduce her emergency ordinance with ominous warnings that the small town is in the midst of a COVID emergency that “threatens to overwhelm our health system, endangering the lives and well-being of our citizens.” Thus, it is necessary to introduce an unprecedented level of government authority unlike any the colony era community has ever experienced.

As of Nov. 14 the entire Mat-Su Borough, with a population 108,300, had just 17 people hospitalized with COVID symptoms. That amounts to 0.01% of the population.

Sabrena knowns there will be resistance to her Ordinance so she’s marshaling a newly formed group of feminists in town.

Combs and fellow progressive Brian Daniels won three-year terms on the city council this past fall after they both narrowly defeated long-time Palmer City Council mainstay Linda Combs. Their victories, coupled with Linda’s defeat, have altered the city’s axis of power.

But Sabrena knowns there will likely be resistance to her Ordinance 20-016 so she’s marshaling a newly formed group of feminists in town – Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice. Earlier this month they led an anti-Trump, anti-Amy Coney Barrett, pro-abortion march through town – sprinkling in climate change, LGBTQ rights and other progressive themes.

Sabrena used the private Facebook page of Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice to rally this progressive posse to support her cause.

She openly admitted to them that she modeled her mask mandate after the controversial one now imposed in Anchorage under acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson and the hard-left Assembly.

Here’s what the proposed Palmer ordinance says.

“All individuals must wear masks or face coverings over their noses and mouths when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home, or outdoors when at a gathering or, when not at a gathering, when 6 feet of physical distancing from non-household members, (or small chosen close group) cannot be maintained.”

Business owners will be enlisted as enforcers over the general public.

Basically, wear a mask at nearly all times and in all places.

For those who prefer a face shield instead of a suffocating mask – too bad. No one is allowed to substitute a face shield for a mask unless they “cannot tolerate a mask due to a physical or mental disability.” This would include those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Additional exceptions are made for those who cannot safely wear a mask while doing things like getting their teeth cleaned or operating equipment that a mask might interfere with (think entanglement).

A special onus will be on employers who “must make sure employees who are present in the workplace have access to and wear masks or face coverings when with others.”

…the city reserves the right to use all available enforcement options to ensure compliance.

Additionally, business owners will be enlisted as enforcers over the general public, and are required to “deny admittance to any individual who fails to comply with this order and shall require or compel removal of such individuals from the premises.”

The only time a business can allow a faceless customer is if the patron removes their mask to “eat, drink or briefly scratch an itch.” And fitness clubs are allowed to let people work out without a mask so long as they are doing “high intensity exercise.”

Small children – under age two – are not required to wear masks.

There are no religious exemptions mentioned, but presenters, musicians and “others communicating to an audience” can go maskless if they are a full 25 feet from the audience and everyone else in attendance is wearing masks.

The ordinance does not spell out how Sabrena would like the city to enforce her law, but it does state that “the city reserves the right to use all available enforcement options to ensure compliance.”

Sabrena tried to call this meeting with hardly any public notice but, as she told the Mat-Su Moms group, the state’s Open Meetings Act requires “specific notice of meetings,” something she wants to change in the future.

“I believe we should have the ability to have an emergency meeting within 24 hours, if needed, so this is something else I’m putting on my ‘to do’ list,” she said.

It should be an interesting meeting on Wednesday. If you’d like to send a letter to the city clerk on the matter, email her at before 5 p.m. on Nov. 18 and ask that your letter be read into the record.


  • For those who want to testify in person, keep in mind that the city is only allowing 10 people at a time in the council chambers. You can also watch online here.
  • Click here to take a one-question survey on whether you would shop in Palmer under a mask mandate.

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Palmer progressives want to wield newfound power to mandate masks

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.