From the name, many may incorrectly presume this committee shares the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, where people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Similarly, many may also assume the committee shares the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, which declares all men are created equal. For committee members and participants, however, equity appears to harbor an entirely different connotation. Conventional notions of equity have become obsolete. 

The Anchorage Equity Committee-of-the-Assembly, is an evolution of a committee originally formed in association with the Anchorage Health Department to help ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and pandemic response starting in February 2021.  Per the Anchorage Charter, “At the invitation of two Anchorage Assembly members, the committee has re-formed as the Anchorage Equity Committee of the Assembly to work with the Anchorage Assembly to build an equitable, thriving community for all.”

Pressing priorities identified by the committee include tackling and censoring “hate speech,” establishing teeth in the municipal process, and providing housing for the homeless.

According to the committee’s Charter, “members and participants will support the committee charter and accept the definition of equity as defined [by the Charter].”  The charter further stipulates, “The committee will determine public statements by consensus or a majority vote. These agreed-upon statements will be used to represent the committee’s positions on topics. Members should refrain from speaking publicly in ways that contradict public statements made by the committee.” 

By these requirements, the committee appears to have established a culture for itself that reflects strict Maoist values. You can be part of the government to the extent that you agree with the government and do not publicly contradict it. 

While all other assembly committees are chaired by assembly members, the Equity Committee is unique in that it is chaired by unelected community members.  The committee is, however, currently mentored, advised, and chaperoned by Assembly Members Felix Rivera and Kameron Perez-Verdia.  As of December 28, 2022, the committee includes new member Mara Kimmel, Anchorage’s former fist-lady, executive director of the Alaska ACLU and founding member of the Alaska institute for Justice.

Within the committee Ms. Bell has emerged as a chief advocate for censoring perceived hate speech occurring at assembly meetings.

The committee members and participants eagerly unveiled a number of revealing items during its December 28th committee meeting. Noteworthy items include the fact that the committee’s charter is apparently in a state of flux, up for review possibly as soon as January 2023, and potentially again as soon as March 2023. The fluidity of charter language and detail is possibly convenient given its dependency in establishing a close relationship with the assembly chair and vice-chair, aligning mutual priorities, and securing reliable regularly recurring funding. Together these features could be expediently convenient as the assembly prepares to make first quarter budget revisions in April 2023.

Armed with funding and an agenda, the committee will likely answer the question posed by member Candace Bell of SAGE Alaska, a group of elderly LGBTQ individuals also associated with Identity Alaska, “Where is our voice and how do we use it?” 

Pressing priorities identified by the committee include tackling and censoring “hate speech,” establishing teeth in the municipal process, and providing housing for the homeless.

Within the committee Ms. Bell has emerged as a chief advocate for censoring perceived hate speech occurring at assembly meetings. Thea Agnew Bemben, Committee Co-Chair, acknowledged that Shauna Hegna, President of Koniag, submitted a written request to the Equity Committee requesting action on this matter.

Ideas for establishing a more prominent role for the committee in the municipal process potentially includes formalizing the committee’s role in review and approval of assembly initiatives by establishing procedures and policies through the Assembly’s Governance Committee. This may help the Assembly justify securing the services of a “equity analyst” in the direct employ of the Assembly. 

Primary options for pursuing solutions for homelessness include the utilization of three former hotels including the municipally owned Golden Lion. The other two facilities lie within the Spenard area of Anchorage. According to Rivera, the additional non-municipally owned buildings are managed by the Anchorage Affordable Housing and Land Trust. Records available through the Alaska Department of Commerce identify former Anchorage assembly member John Weddleton as a director of the Anchorage Affordable Housing and Land Trust.  The trust was incorporated in October of 2022. 

Funding sources currently being eyed by the Equity Committee include the alcohol tax

The Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for January 26, 2023. Click here for details.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

Big, woke ambitions for the Anchorage Assembly’s new Equity Committee

Lucas Smith
Born and raised in Alaska, Lucas Smith’s professional background is in civil engineering. He is an active member of the Anchorage community, where he keeps a close watch on city politics and culture.


  • Kathleen LaMantia says:

    I was sorry to see a representative from Catholic Social Services on this committee especially coming on the heels of the revelation about Clare House taking girls for abortions.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    This is a joke at best. Who formed the committee? Who voted and approved this committee? Who elected the people on this committee? Was it open for all to be on it? I didn’t get my name in tge selection process. I see people from all the groups that think they are being discriminated again except for White Man. The pendulum has swung so far to the left and white men are now the discriminated ones. If your taking my tax money $60k of it for this b.s. committee then you better have some answers to my questions or maybe an investigation is needed. I want a lot of things too. Am I going to even be heard? I highly doubt it. You little unauthorized committee is a bunch or garbage. either have all parties represented or NONE. It’s time you pull up your big boy pants and deal with life. It’s not all peaches and cream. No participation Trophies awarded for doing a thankless job. If you can’t handle it step down. I’m sure someone will be glad to take you chair.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I agree! This sounds a lot like a bunch of other left-wing organizations that made themselves the boss. Look around the nation and the world and see this going on everywhere against the People’s wishes. This reminds me a lot of Katie Hobbs in AZ that certified herself to be governor of AZ! What a clown world we live in! I hope that Anchorage folks quit hiding in their houses or out on the recreation trails and start standing up against the globalists that are taking over Anchorage. Remember that Anchorage has the main shipping port for the state. Just think if these yahoos get control of the entire city and decide to start punishing the state if we don’t go along with their narrative! Come on Anchorage People! Answer the call and stand up to the tyranny!

  • Penny Johnson says:

    Much like the Chief Equity Officer position ($180,000), this is a complete waste of money. The 1964 Civil Rights Act requires that the Bill of Rights be uniformly applied in the Public Sector. Has the Muni been in defiance of Federal laws for nearly 60 years? No. This “committee” is a sham operation whose sole Mission Statement is to perpetuate and grow its ranks LIKE ALL USELESS BUREAUCRACIES. Prepare for lawsuits raving Marxist Assembly members. Any abridged speech at Assembly meetings as a result of the Communist Committee directives will be fought. My taxes WILL NOT be used for such worthless agendas.

  • Steve P Peterson says:

    Sounds like Anchorage folks should start a tax revolt. No tax money, no city government. Money talks.

    • DoneWithIt says:

      Naw Steve – they’ll look to RINO’S like Begich, Sullivan, Murkowski, and Dunleavy to save them.
      That’s why we are in the mess we are in combined with demographics from the third world, MSM and Big Tech generating an unrelenting propaganda to non-stop promote the covid experimental gene therapy, all things LGBTQ+, and climate alarmism.
      Welcome to the New World Order – and yes it gets worse – this is how empires become graveyards.
      Thanks RINO’S.

    • Sharon Alice Turner says:

      Finally, I’ve been telling these ‘outta’ control little tyrants they’ve poked the bear enough! Way past time we let all in their little fiefdom know who pays every last dime including the ‘air they breathe, light, chair, and water! PS: I refuse the term “Gay” and supplant it with ‘sodomite or other adjective! Gay means : Bright, cheerful, jovial, chipper and merry, Jubilant. and exuberant.. not Sexual sodomizer. Also: Rainbows do not belong to this alliance, but rather is a sign for our creator and father God, to keep his covenant with us of his forgiveness and faithfulness. Again not as a sign to be stolen and coopted by such that by God’s own words is an abhorrent aberration of his creation. I claim it back vociferously. Grandma

    • Colonel Angus says:

      Mind your own business and let the citizens of Anchorage, you know, the ones who actually live here, organize our community as we see fit.

      I just love how all of these people who don’t even live in Anchorage, have so much butt-ache over our affairs. Joel Davidson, lives in the Valley. Sue Downing, owns a home in Florida, claims a property tax exemption in Florida and doesn’t collect a PFD. Dan Fagan has lived in New Orleans for years and is a deadbeat who doesn’t pay his bills. Those people do not live in Anchorage,they don’t pay taxes in Anchorage and they are not vested in Anchorage, yet they, and apparently you, Mr Peterson, continually whine and complain about how horrible Anchorage is.

      You poor, poor tortured soul, Steve.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Colonel Angus, I thank Our Heavenly Father that this is still a free country! Pretty interesting that you have chosen to personally attack people on this board instead of discussing politics. Shame on you for bringing on the personal attacks.

    • Colonel Angus says:

      Mind your own business and let the citizens of Anchorage, you know, the ones who actually live here, organize our community as we see fit.

      • Separation of Church and State says:

        That’s too hard for them Angus, they can’t fathom the fact that the people of anchorage wilfully and voluntarily voted in the assembly. They’d rather scream and cry about vaccine conspiracy theories, globalist rigged elections, or blame anyone else but the obvious.

      • Anon says:

        This is a waste of OUR money.
        Just more liberal BS

  • Billy says:

    Literally nothing you said in this article is controversial. Why are you guys upset that a group exists that is meant to combat hate speech!? It’s a committee. They don’t have power to make changes themselves. They make recommendations that the elected officials may or may not act on. Makes no difference if they are elected or not. Every citizen has the exact same right to make suggestions to the legislature. It’s completely boiler plate and standard for a ‘club’ to require its members actually support the purpose it exists for. There is nothing ‘Maoist’ about that.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Billy, nothing you said in your comment makes sense to the humanity loving people of this world. We The People should be governing this state and final decisions on what goes should be the People’s – not a bunch of yahoos that elected themselves. Anchorage better wake up or you are going to have Billy telling you what you can and can’t do.

      • Billy says:

        The OP himself says they are being overseen by elected officials…there is no right to have a say in every single person that works for government. Thats not anywhere in either of our Constitutions. You probably DID vote in the elections that the elected guys elected. They are doing exactly what the voters want them too. Trying to put a stop to divisive hate-mongering so we can all work together to make a better future. But you can’t really have a civilized conversation with someone that wants to use floor time accusing the other half of being rapists and pedophiles and groomers and Maoists and all the other dumb stuff you guys come up with. The OP already said they have no authority. Elected officials will make any relevant decision. We the People elected them to do exactly that. If you disagree with their actions, then put up a candidate that can win in our ranked choice elections. But I gotta tell ya, Alaskans don’t support yalls crackpot far right candidates like Walter Jones. He got a laughable 11%, roundly rejected. Palin, stomped. Tshibaka, stomped. Joe miller, stomped. Notice the pattern?

        And FYI, I tell people what to do every day. Most people thank me for it. I help keep them and their kids alive. Probably yours too.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Billy, time to fire the “elected” officials! They are not representing all of the people. You and I will continually say the opposite of each other because you have to hold to the left’s agenda and I totally disagree with the left’s agenda. I am thankful that I have Yahweh’s Written Word to guide me in these final days. God bless all of the humanity loving people of this world!

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Here is a description from their page:
    The Anchorage Equity Committee of the Assembly is a Special Assembly Committee and members represent a variety of community and faith-based groups, and other community perspectives who are underrepresented and have lived experience of systemic inequities. Committee membership will prioritize engaging the necessary perspectives to achieve equity and optimal well-being for all Anchorage residents.
    Very vague and evidently using tax dollars. I do not live in Anchorage but it seems citizens may want to attend the meetings, which are open to the public, to know what is actually going on.
    A link to the muni page –

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Thank you for this information Elizabeth Henry! You know if this committee is able to establish itself securely in Anchorage that it is going to spread to other Alaskan cities and villages.

  • Andy says:

    Sounds like the brown shirt committee.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    When “big woke ambitions “confronts “ big tall Dunleavy “
    you all know who bows the knee in surrender now don’t you!!! White flags everywhere because of a governor without a spine!!!

  • Terry Drake says:

    What other hotel in Spenard? The Barrett Inn is one what is the other?

  • Lisa O Levang says:

    Very well written article……….see dark video on muni site. Thea is from Beck Consulting … you can literally HEAR the SELF PITY, prejudice, and hypocrisy ! GET READY ANCHORAGE for their ” Community Involvement ” heading up by …………… guessed it ! HOW Much money PER meeting ? the pastor approves