Anchorage has been through a lot this year, but her people are strong and many who have never before gotten involved have stepped up to the plate to express their concerns and participate in the public process.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of those who participated in making Anchorage a stronger, safer, and more just community.
The many concerns you have shared with me are fair, and I have heard you. You have told me that the municipality’s policies have crushed businesses, education and lives. Some have expressed concerns we’ve opened up too fast, or shut down too quickly, that we’re killing our children’s education, or that we’re killing our frail and elderly.
Today, we learned that the municipality is once again locking down our city – for an entire month. The impacts will be undeniably hard for those who do not have the good fortune to work for government or work from home. This is a devastating turn of events, of course.
We’re not done, not defeated, and I remain undaunted.
We also learned that the ill-conceived plan to buy buildings for use as homeless shelters and services for the chronically addicted is, as many of you have written to me, are going to cost the municipality much more than the $22 million of CARES Act monies set aside for that use. One building – the Alaska Club on Tudor Road – was taken off the plan after our acting mayor determined it to be too expensive.
Finally, we learned late today that the Assembly’s chair and vice chair are asking the federal government to come in and rescue the Anchorage economy from the bad decisions made by the Assembly, acting mayor, and former mayor, who spent tens of millions of CARES Act dollars on trials, buildings and vagrant services, instead of directing aid to families and businesses.
Our government will never be perfect, but we have witnessed unnecessary misfortune and hardship in our community as a result of government actions. Some of these hardships will be felt for generations.
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We’re not done, not defeated, and I remain undaunted. I hope you remain undaunted, too. I will continue to fight for you and your family. I give you my word.
This Thanksgiving, we remember how important the fabric of our families and our communities are to us, and we’re grateful for living in this flawed-but-free country. Let’s grant ourselves the time to enjoy our families and friends, and connect with those who we hold most close to our hearts.
We will continue to stand up for what is right, and I’ll be right here, ready to defend our rights and our way of life that we hold so dear.
Even though it’s a year we wish would end, we are grateful for God’s grace in our lives, and I wish you a warm, loving and memorable Thanksgiving.
God bless you and your family.
Jamie Allard is a member of the Anchorage Assembly.