An newly released email thread between Anchorage Assembly members Forest Dunbar and Christopher Constant shows the two men mocking and belittling conservative constituents who opposed the Assembly’s plan last summer to use federal CARES Act funds to buy and convert four commercial buildings into homeless shelters.
The emails were recently released in response to a public records request from Dr. Russell Biggs who is sponsoring the effort to Recall Assemblyman Felix Rivera this April. Biggs said he send in three requests over several months and spent $800 before the city clerk finally handed over the emails on Jan. 29.
Dated Aug. 6, 2020, the email conversation between Dunbar (who is running for mayor in the April election) and Constant focuses on an earlier email interaction Dunbar had with a member of the conservative Save Anchorage Facebook group, a 9,000-member coalition that actively engages local politics. The constituent was concerned about Dunbar’s support of buying the commercial buildings for homeless shelters. Dunbar’s email response to her claims that “Save Anchorage” members support using the Sullivan Arena as a permanent or semi-permanent mass homeless shelter to avoid having the city purchase buildings and erect shelters in various Anchorage neighborhoods.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
As a group Save Anchorage does not advocate using the Sullivan Arena in this capacity and has also opposed the city’s plan to buy homeless shelters with CARES Act funds. In general, the group has focused its criticism on the Assembly’s highly controversial response to COVID. This includes using CARES Act funds for myriad projects – such as homeless shelters and trials – which do not directly benefit local businesses struggling under the city’s economically devastating lockdowns and business closures.
The constituent posted Dunbar’s email response to her on the Save Anchorage Facebook page, which generated outrage among members for Dunbar’s mischaracterization of the group.
That is the back story for the ensuing Aug. 6 email exchange between Dunbar and Constant. Here is how the conversation went down according to the email thread released by the city clerk.
DUNBAR: I conflated the “Save Anchorage” people with the endless lines of testifiers on AO 2020-66 and somehow they are upset by that? Ha.
DUNBAR: Answered her in good faith because I didn’t know who she was. Whoops!
CONSTANT: I don’t see the link. What’s the connection?
DUNBAR: Oh, maybe they blocked you? Or only I can see because they tagged me in it? It’s a response I sent her, which she then posted in “Save Anchorage.”
DUNBAR: I basically said, we’ve gotten a lot of testimony from the “Save Anchorage” folks and others asking us to turn the Sullivan into a permanent or semi-permanent shelter. The Admin has asked us to purchase these buildings so that we can get closer to closing the Sullivan as a shelter. And I will read your email in that context.
CONSTANT: No good.
DUNBAR: Which part of it? What I said or that she took my response, made it a screen shot, then posted it to “Save Anchorage”?
CONSTANT: Everything about Save Anchorage.
DUNBAR: Oh, yeah, definitely.
DUNBAR: I shouldn’t have referenced them. I should have just said “people who testified against AO 2020-66.” And honestly, I shouldn’t have responded to her at all. Didn’t realize who she was; won’t make that mistake again.
- Contacts for Assemblyman Forest Dunbar:(907) 343-4119 or Forrest.Dunbar@anchorageak.gov
- Contacts for Assemblyman Christopher Constant: (907) 343-4112 or Christopher.Constant@anchorageak.gov