Thursday, Mayor David Bronson issued the following statement in response to the misleading emergency mask mandate ordinance that passed without public notice or public testimony.
“We live in the United States of America, a country founded on the premise that ”We the People” are sovereign, which means the individual has rights. Our republican form of government was instituted to preserve and protect those rights, not to violate them. Those of us who work in municipal government are public servants; the people of Anchorage are our employers, not our subjects. Alaska is The Last Frontier of America’s natural beauty and limitless potential; it is also the Last Frontier of individual liberty. We pride ourselves in our commitment to protecting fundamental rights, to making our great state a place where freedom can flourish. At least, we did until yesterday. The late-night actions of the Anchorage Assembly were deceitful and wrong. The Assembly didn’t even have the conviction, courtesy or courage to take those actions in front of the people. They openly displayed their scorn for the public process, which is fundamental to self-government and self-governance. The people were told there would be public testimony this week. Instead, the Anchorage Assembly shut down public testimony, did a bait and switch, and snuck in their personal desires. They have made their agenda clear: shut down the people, shut down the public process, and shove the heavy hand of government mandates into your personal health decisions. Make no mistake, the Anchorage Assembly is not done with such intrusions. At the core of liberty is the ability to live freely and peacefully in the midst of disagreement, and the humility to admit that you don’t have all the answers. The Assembly’s decision to pass an ordinance in the dark of night is a unilateral declaration that they know what’s best for the city of Anchorage, that they know what’s right, and that the people will comply. I reject the idea that only the government can save the people. You have the right to make your own decisions to address your personal health needs. As your Mayor, I have said repeatedly, I am against mandates for masks or vaccines. I am against forcing individuals to make medical health decisions, based on the personal desires or views of nine elected representatives, especially when the public’s participation in the process has been prematurely and deliberately curtailed. Please know, there are no fines, no fees and no punishments for violating this ordinance. It’s just one more effort by our Assembly to force the citizens of Anchorage to do their will without hearing from everyone who wanted to testify or participate in the public process. The Anchorage Assembly has continued to break the public’s trust. I have issued my veto.”