6:00 PM Monday 07/27/2020 AO 2020-66 Assembly Vote

11:45 AM 07/23/2020
Hello neighbors

We were tremendously successful in extending testimony. Tremendous. Our initial hope was to push to midnight and force a continuance to the next regular Assembly meeting scheduled for 07/28/2020. We were outmaneuvered and Chair Felix Ramirez forced us into an exhausting night after night of testimony.

We all reached out to more friends, more neighbors. We filled the chambers each night, we maintained our cool (mostly) in the face of provocative behavior on the part of our elected officials. We helped each other in every way. We proved just how mighty we are in word, deed and action.

We pulled together and put a last minute mailing to our neighbors within a 3/4 mile radius of the three buildings. That required a massive hands on effort – well over two dozen people over about 10 hours – and got the word out to 6,000 more people.

We weathered pushback and an attempted rally from the Coalition to End Homelessness (according to Suzanne Downing Mayor Berkowitz paid $5,000 for FaceBook ads for CTEH to fight our grassroots). We sent hundreds and hundreds of email testimony. We spent nearly 30 hours testifying, 3 and 6 minutes at a time. We witnessed phone calls to supporters attempted multiple times, phone calls to regular folks attempted once and dropped.
The email testimony (it is a MASSIVE file) (added – original file was corrupt, this is not corrupt and has testimony up to 07/22) is here:
http://publicdocs.muni.org/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=1098615

Despite 75% – 90% (I’ve heard a range of estimates) being vehemently opposed for a wide variety of reasons, it has been clear we have been neither listened to nor heard. Assembly Member Constant displayed particularly aggregious behavior, and while he feigned interest after the ‘The face you make when you have to listen to the peasants’ meme, last night he was occupied posting a squirrel to his personal FaceBook page during the testimony of Jacky Gorlick (thank you Jasmine for screen shotting that jewel).

Finally, last night, the testimony drew to a close. And even then, with the very difficult 5 PM start, we kept the Assembly Chambers busy until 11:30 PM, with approximately the last hour them postponing 2020-58 (B3 zoning) indefinitely and the Mayor and Administration pressuring the Assembly to push through 2020-66. This was expected.

Please watch the last hour or so of the Assembly meeting so you can hear the Mayor’s explanation and watch the Assembly’s body language. This link should take you directly to the last hour:
https://anchorageak.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=14&clip_id=7721

So where are we now?

A vote will be taken. Legal action will ensue (I don’t have much information on this), and I fully expect to see a number of recalls initiate. The Assembly made a number of mistakes that are on record and they helped our efforts through their hubris.

On Monday 07/27/2020 6:00 PM the Assembly will meet. The Mayor will speak to the Assembly again. The Assembly will deliberate. Then we fully expect AO 2020-66 to pass.

The Mayor flexed his Covid granted Emergency Powers, and prohibited large gatherings. The Assembly will not have to look us in the eyes while they vote.

I would like to see us outside, en masse, before the Assembly gathers. They should see that we are still watching, that we haven’t gone away.

I think it would also be wise to break the massive collection of public testimony emailed out into sections and tally for / against and the arguments used. I think that could be helpful though I am not sure yet how we would use that information. Let us see what wiser heads say (it would be a significant effort).

I thank all of you for the work you have done. This was grass roots. None of us are paid. We each had different effective ideas and acted on them independently while aiding our neighbors with their ideas. I remain astonished at how effective we were. We are mighty.

We expect AO 2020-66 to pass. We expect shenanigans and negotiations. We expect legal action and recalls. While the last week or so has been grueling this was the first skirmish. We need to continue spreading the word and malfeasance of our elected officials to ensure our other efforts are successful.

I’m pretty pooped. I am sure you too, are pooped. Get a quick rest and then we will get back into the fight.

5:00 PM 07/22/2020 Final Push – Please attend

Neighbors

We have worked hard to bring awareness to our neighbors. We have put in hours of our lives into testifying, educating, and attending.

We are all tired and certainly frustrated.

We need to see this through to the end.
Perhaps this will be the last night of testimony.
Perhaps this is the last opportunity to make our shouts resonate through the chambers.

We need to stand witness tonight. We need the Assembly to see our determination and know that we are not going away. That we are going to watch them like hawks to be better stewards of our Anchorage, our home.

Come stand with us tonight, even if you have already testified.

Let us fill the Assembly Chambers to overflowing.
Let us fill the Wilda Marston to overflowing.
Let us be in front of the Loussac, standing witness to the Assembly and their decisions.

Let us show them definitively that We Are Watching.

And that we -insist- that they do better.

Stand with us tonight.

5:00 PM 07/22/2020 Testimony before the Assembly continues

5:00 PM 07/22/2020 Testimony before the Assembly continues
3600 Denali St, Loussac Library
We will not be silent. We will be heard. Our neighbors have a right to be heard.
We ran the clock to midnight for the fourth night of testimony. We heard from people deeply involved in the homeless industry who were opposed to facets of these ordinances. We heard from folk who work intimately with the homeless who were strongly supportive. There is room for all of these voices.
Astonishing testimony tonight.
If you have been on the fence about testifying in person or by phone, this is likely to be the final night of testimony. An unknown number of people are waiting their turn to do phone testimony, a few did not get an opportunity for in person testimony tonight.
Note that the Assembly is choosing to start testimony at 5:00 PM, very difficult for working people. Please share the word, please knock on a few doors early Wednesday.
If you wish to provide testimony on the phone, email Testimony@anchorageak.gov by 2:00 p.m. the day of the meeting with your Name, Phone Number, Agenda Item [AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66] you wish to provide testimony and Subject Line: Phone Testimony.

6:00 PM 07/21/2020 Testimony before the Assembly continues

6:00 PM 07/21/2020 Testimony before the Assembly resumes.
3600 Denali St, Loussac Library
In person testimony is more effective and powerful than telephone testimony, without a doubt. Yet – we have directly observed that if you aren’t on the right side of the testimony, you get a single shot at your telephone call (miss the call? Too bad, no testimony for you).

So – continue talking to your neighbors. Ask people to consider testigying. People should consider signing up to testify by phone BUT show up in person. We can protect our work from being outmaneuvered and shut down early.

Also – the Coalition to End Homelessness has put out a call to their supporters to testify. This is fine – whether you support or oppose additional housing, the real issue is the process, the use of Covid funds, the lack of transparency, the rush to spend, the placement of the facilities, and so much more than just whether the homeless need aid.

Here is the information from the clerks office:If you wish to provide testimony on the phone, emailTestimony@anchorageak.gov by 2:00 p.m. the day of the meeting with your Name, Phone Number, Agenda Item [AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66] you wish to provide testimony and Subject Line: Phone Testimony.

Please continue to knock on a few doors, ask people to read the flyer we mailed Friday / Saturday, and to think carefully about whether we want an Assembly that follows the Rule of Law and adheres to Title 21 regulations – or sneaky pete’s who redirect federal tax dollars that came from OUR pockets that were intended to help our small business owners and their employees not become homeless themselves during the lock downs.

07/21/2020 6:00 PM Assembly Meeting – Backup Plan

Hello neighbors
With Covid as an available tool and emergency powers still in effect for Mayor Berkowitz, it occurs to me there is a powerful tool that the Mayor can wield to shut down testimony.
What if the Mayor shuts down in person testimony?
Covid fears have already been used to limit attendance.First it was 110 permitted in the chambers.Then 60.
I think the next logical move in this chess game, is for Mayor Berkowitz to shut down in person testimony by exerting his emergency powers and claiming we are spreading Covid. I really really hope I am wrong, but we know we have angered the Assembly and we know that we have been unexpectedly successful in disrupting their plan.
This is pretty important – let us have a backup plan.
Spread the word, far and wide, that folks need to sign up to testify by phone BUT show up in person. This will protect us from the machinations of our elected officials who are bound and determined to use the $22,500,000 dollars from the CARES act to illegally purchase these properties.
In person testimony is more effective and powerful than telephone testimony, without a doubt. And we have directly observed that if you aren’t on the right side of the testimony, you get a single shot at your telephone call (miss the call? Too bad, no testimony for you).
So – hit the ground today, get people signed up to testify by phone BUT to show up in person. We can protect our work from being outmaneuvered and shut down early.
Here is the information from the clerks office:If you wish to provide testimony on the phone, email Testimony@anchorageak.gov by 2:00 p.m. the day of the meeting with your Name, Phone Number, Agenda Item [AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66] you wish to provide testimony and Subject Line: Phone Testimony.Please use today to knock on a few doors, ask people to read the flyer we mailed Friday / Saturday, and to think carefully about whether we want an Assembly that follows the Rule of Law and adheres to Title 21 regulations – or sneaky pete’s who redirect federal tax dollars that came from OUR pockets that were intended to help our small business owners and their employees not become homeless themselves during the lock downs.
Thank you very much

5:30 PM 07/17/2020 Call to Action – Folding party


Please come help fold, seal, label and stamp 6,000 letters for our friends and neighbors in midtown. We are sending a letter about Ordinances 2020-58 and 2020-66 to the residential addresses within 3/4 of a mile of the properties proposed for purchase.

Meet about 5:30 PM tonight, Friday 07/17/2020, at the old Aaron’s building.
4230 Old Seward Highway
The stripmall in the north west corner of the Tudor / Old Seward intersection.

We need to complete the work no later than 10:30 PM tonight so they can be taken to the Airport Post Office and reach mailboxes by the next Assembly Meeting, Tuesday 07/21/2020.

Thank you very much

07/21/2020 6:00 PM Assembly Meeting

Truly, there are no words. We heard incredible testimony Thursday night.
We succeeded in getting another continuance. We are back at it on Tuesday, 07/21/2020 6:00 PM.
Rest, but only for a moment. Let us reach out to our friends and neighbors, spread our concerns a bit farther. The goal is to educate our neighbors, including those we don’t know yet. For Heather Meadows, there are about 1,000 residences and businesses within 1/2 mile of the proposed Tudor location. How many more are around the other sites?
They need to know about these ordinances so they can speak up.We heard really powerful testimony tonight.
Let’s give more folks the opportunity to speak by making sure they know and have enough time to form their opinions.
Join us at Loussac Library again.Tuesday 07/21/2020
Both voices should be heard.

07/16/2020 6:00 PM Do it again

07/16/2020 12:45 AM

Hello neighbors

We drove the clock to midnight. We had some help from the ‘pro’ folks. I hope they are out in force tomorrow night. I found the input from our neighbors who favor these ideas really interesting and in some cases even compelling.

There were several very powerful speakers this evening. We heard from Nick Begich of Intervention 2020. Wow, that was some intensely good stuff. There is a program I could throw my support behind.

We have filled about eight hours or so with testimony, I think. Tomorrow night will be our most difficult as all of the testimony will be solely on these issues.

We begin at 6:00 PM. I do not know if we can run this to midnight again. Maybe if the ‘pro’ folks turn out and help us.

I do know that our efforts have exceeded our initial goals, and that we have helped our neighbors receive a heads up that our elected officials denied them.

I ask every one of you to walk your neighborhood again, call a dozen friends or family members again, directly reply to activity on NextDoor or FaceBook or whatever, again.

I haven’t testified yet. There are maybe 10 or fifteen people that did not get to testify tonight. There were many phone calls made for people who requested to testify by phone which were not answered. Those are lost opportunities. If those folks want to testify tomorrow, they must send a fresh email request.

If you wish to provide testimony on the phone, email Testimony@anchorageak.gov by 2:00 p.m. the day of the meeting with your Name, Phone Number, Agenda Item [AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66] you wish to provide testimony and Subject Line: Phone Testimony.

I strongly strongly encourage you to testify in person, we lost so much testimony to phone calls that were not answered tonight.

It was a tough and invigorating night.

Let’s do it again tomorrow. Meet us at the Assembly Chambers early enough to begin testimony Thursday 07/16/2020 6:00 PM.

Listen to Wednesday 07/15/2020 Assembly Meeting here:

https://anchorageak.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=14&clip_id=7701