Anchorage mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar joined the narrowest of majorities to pass the eighth extension of Anchorage’s declaration of emergency.
The measure passed along a 6-4 vote, which will be the final time Assemblyman Dunbar votes on the issue before his May 11 mayoral runoff election against Dave Bronson.
Unlike Dunbar, Bronson has promised to end all emergency orders which have been imposed on the city for more than a year now. Instead, he will trust individuals and businesses to make decisions on health protocols. Since neither of the two men gained 45% of the vote in the regular mayoral election, the question of who becomes the next mayor must be decided in a head-to-head runoff.
If Dunbar wins, he will likely keep Anchorage under emergency orders and subsequent mandate post election. Like Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, Dunbar agrees that mask mandates and other orders are “helpful for the economy.”
He is also a firm supporter of Quinn-Davidson’s latest emergency order which requires 70% of Anchorage residents to get COVID shots before restrictions are eased. Dunbar offered the caveat that he might be willing to ease restrictions if other indicators look positive even if the city can’t convince 70% to submit to a vaccine.
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“Anchorage can do great things,” he said of the likelihood of achieving the acting mayor’s vaccine goal. “I actually do believe we’ll get to 70%.”
In voting to extend the emergency declaration, despite a zero COVID deaths per week average in the city, Dunbar said he didn’t want to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”
He also took time to undercut the overwhelming opposition to the 70% goal by those who turned out for the April 13 Assembly meeting. He claimed that they were not representative of the city as a whole.
Dunbar asserted that there are a “huge number of people who are not in this room who do support vaccinations.”