The administrators behind the Recall Jamie Allard group reached out last week and asked if I'd be interested in a Q&A as they're looking to educate the public and counter the misinformation being spread on social media about the recall effort.
No questions were off-limits and each recall administrator answered independently designated by their initials at the end of each answer.
Dive in and find out what motivates the group, learn about the challenges they've faced at the hands of online infiltrators/harassers/bullies and most importantly — why they themselves started the recall effort of Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard.
My take away from the Q&A affirmed that this is a serious recall effort.
What’s the primary motivator behind the recall effort of Jamie Allard?
"The need for our community to feel safe and respected. My god, it’s 2021! We have access to vast libraries, the internet, and history books; is racism, ignorance, and discrimination really something we want to hold onto? We know what racism and discrimination (blatant or systemic) looks like, so why does society continue to defend it? To put it simply, it’s an unacceptable mindset for an assembly member to have, regardless of whether they know they’re perpetuating racism or not. Why on earth would I want someone who consistently doesn’t understand how damaging those values are, and refuses to apologize when that lack of understanding is pointed out, to influence the municipality I live in?" (JH)
"I feel that Assembly Member Allard has violated the Ethics Code. In addition, I support residents of District 2 who feel the same and will help those residents in any way I can in navigating this complex process." (JP)
"To address Allard’s unethical conduct and continued refusal to rebuke racism and anti-Semitic language. Allard has transformed the assembly meetings into a melodramatic charade fueled off by championing disruptive behavior and pandering to conspiracy theories. The lack of professional decorum and respect exuded towards members of the public is problematic. It is of concern anytime an elected official participates in fabricating an incident to garner sympathy and manufacture fake outrage to elude accountability." (AP)
"The economic loss she has caused due to her defiance of the pandemic. The disenfranchisement of thousands of Municipal Voters. Also, as a politically involved citizen, I have been personally blocked by Jamie Allard who uses her Facebook as a way to conduct assembly business. She is a part of multiple groups, hidden from the public. Where she openly communicates Assembly business. Such as “homelessness in Anchorage” and “business closures.” She defended fascist rhetoric, then blamed the BIPOC community for her not making the BIPOC community more of a priority due to the uncomfortable nature of the atmosphere when Allard is around. She is completely ignorant of the fact that the uncomfortable nature of the room is due to her senseless comments." (CF)
"My biggest motivation is: safety for all in our community and accountability for elected officials. Basic human rights: such as to be heard, the right to not be discriminated against and the right to live in safety are being infringed upon by Assembly Member Allard. In our Anchorage all are welcome; all deserve safety and freedom from discrimination regardless of socio-economic background (including whether or not one is housed), regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation and gender. Anything less is unacceptable." (H.N.)
It’s been alleged by some online that the Recall Jamie Allard effort is retaliatory in nature for Reclaim Midtown’s efforts to recall Felix Rivera. Would you say this is accurate?
"I’ll be honest... I hadn’t heard about any other recalls before getting involved in this one. But even if I had, my question is why would I waste my time and energy retaliating against a group of people that aren’t even in my scope? I learned about Jamie Allard’s questionable morals after some distasteful things she said in June 2020 following BLM protests, and later with her defense of conversion therapy. Her recent ignorant/anti-Semitic comments were really just the last straw for me." (JH)
"When I became aware of the effort to recall Assembly Chair Rivera, I had respect for the group following the procedure, even if I didn’t agree that the infraction stated rose to the level of a recall. The actions by Assembly Member Allard over the past few months have risen to that level for me and I have joined the recall effort. I have had concerns over her actions since the summer of 2020 but respect that disagreeing with a representative does not merit removal, but that unlawful actions, including ethics violations, do." (JP)
"Demanding ethical conduct and the denouncement of racist rhetoric is not retaliatory. The Recall Jamie Allard's efforts are indicative of a community-wide desire to honor the basic tenets of democracy. Since the summer of 2020, Allard’s dismissive demeanor and immature behavior has become a distraction as she continues to gaslight voters with misinformation. So no, it is not accurate." (AP)
"No. The recall is about the hyper-partisanship Jamie Allard continues to incite. Her performance in an official capacity is consistently ethically problematic. Her inability to work as a team member shows her lack of compassion for her constituents. She is a cancer to this city and we must recall her before it spreads." (CF)
"When a public official enables and exemplifies fiscal irresponsibility, discrimination, misinformation, baseless conspiracy theories, anti-semitism, and homophobia; going as far as inciting violence, they must be held accountable. Let’s not forget that some of Allard’s actions since her first months as a seated assemblymember include: condemning efforts to protect Black people from police brutality, using her capacity as public official to solicit funds for Save Anchorage, posting her support of conversion therapy on her official (now deleted) Assembly Member page, refusing to follow health mandates in public spaces, and more recently defending Nazi terminology, destroying public documents and blocking constituents. These actions, and others left without consequences, are a public health threat and frankly hurtful to all residents of our municipality regardless of political affiliation. Thus, this recall has nothing to do with retaliation and everything to do with taking action to protect our community against dangerous leadership." (H.N.)
How does your group feel about the current level of toxicity in local politics right now? Recently, Reclaim Midtown referred to your group as, “The housewives with knives in Eagle River.” How do you interpret that statement and how do you feel about it?
"There’s absolutely a discord in our community, with more focus on making enemies of political affiliations than making changes to benefit the entire community. As far as the nickname, they can call us whatever they want. If putting brainpower on cute monikers helps them sleep better at night, then I hope they’re well-rested. As for us, our focus is on getting Jamie Allard recalled." (JH)
"The current level of toxicity in local politics is through the roof, but I attribute that to a vocal minority. The City of Anchorage voted blue for the first time in the November 2020 election, using the same means as the last 2.5 years. As Anchorage has grown, there has been a shift to more progressive policies and leadership. Our group membership is over 26% male, and this demographic spread is reflected in our top contributors as well. As for the moniker, I can only assume it is a cheeky nod to the Marvel comic Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils and I appreciate the vote of confidence in our ability to defeat the threats to Anchorage." (JP)
"The toxicity in local politics, as of late, highlights the deterioration of public debate when it is void of mutual respect. It’s a cute antagonistic statement intended to diminish the merits of our effort and dilute the validity of our collective concerns." (AP)
"Toxicity plays a role in the reason we decided to recall Jamie Allard. Her inability to let go of the last presidential administration mixed with her Qanon conspiracy theories, has polarized the political nature of the pandemic. Conditioning constituents to believe her to be the only Assembly member that listens and the only source of truth. This is not the case, in fact she is the least politically educated person in that assembly where she is constantly reminded of the proper policies and procedures. As far as name calling, I expect nothing less... It just shows her accepting/encouraging nature when it comes to mocking her constituents." (CF)
"The presence of toxicity and division in politics, both locally and nationally, is an ever-standing reminder of the importance of seeking truth and holding public officials who misinform constituents accountable. Unfortunately, we are seeing some local officials spreading information that is not based in reality. Assembly Member Allard enables and spreads the above mentioned conspiracies including: election fraud and all kinds of dangerous and baseless QAnon-related theories. I even saw a meme on her page (now deleted but I have screenshots) backing the conspiracy that the Parkland School shooting was fabricated with the use of child actors. So in the grand scheme of things, being called, “The housewives with knives in Eagle River” for speaking out against misinformation and ethics violations is something that just might happen in a nation with a deeply rooted history of division. Unity without truth does not exist." (H.N.)
Your Recall Facebook group has been mocked for being private. Can you explain why the Recall group did in fact make the group private?
"It’s a group with a specific focus and a need to stay on topic, so of course it’s private. This wasn’t a group created to publicly debate whether Allard should be recalled or not; this was a group created specifically for those who’d already had enough. Once again, if the people mocking us want to dedicate so much focus to us, that’s totally fine. We have more important things to work on right now." (JH)
"Everything is stated by my fellow admins. The private group allows us to maintain the privacy of group members as well, since constituents who have spoken out against Assembly Member Allard in the past have been subject to cyber bullying (to the extreme of having their employers contacted) by Assembly Member Allard and her supporters. Our primary responsibility is to the safety of the residents of District 2 and the support of their recall efforts." (JP)
"The reasons are quite simple. Death threats were made to her fellow assembly members which resulted in an arrest. Jamie Allard posted an email from a constituent on her Facebook page to incite cyber bullying or worse because this constituent held a different view than her. In the first few days we received hundreds of requests. We had a couple who worked together to share screen shots of our group along with who our admins and members were. The wife would take screenshots and the husband posted them in the Save Anchorage group. Some of these members are now feeling bullied into being scared to have a difference of opinion with their representative! This is a serious issue!" (CF)
"As mentioned multiple times, this group is open to all who oppose Allard’s hateful rhetoric. This group is private for efficiency and most importantly, safety. I had personal information shared in public groups by a supporter of Allard when screenshots from our group were leaked. I am thankful that I continue to work hard to ensure that my employers, friends and family are clear that I am involved in the recall of Jamie Allard as I do not accept Allard’s hate for Anchorage. We are a diverse, educated and well organized group. The safety of our members (and their families) at the hands of Assembly Member Allard, her supporters and local groups known for inciting violence (in which Allard is deeply involved) is of utmost importance. (H.N.)
What would you like the public to know most about your recall effort?
"Racism, bigotry, and ignorance aren’t a partisan issue. Conservative, liberal, or moderate, these are things that negatively affect our entire state. We have an incredibly diverse population, and that population deserves someone who respects and honors those differences. If you feel the same way, we’d love to have you with us.(JH)
"Elected officials swear to “support and defend the...Anchorage Municipal Code”. The ethics code, which is part of the Municipal Code, states “Ethical behavior involves the commitment to take individual responsibility in creating a government that earns the trust and respect of its citizens. All who serve the municipality have a solemn responsibility to avoid improper conduct.” Assembly Member Allard has actively worked against that commitment, and through her actions has created an unsafe environment for members of her constituency. She needs to be held accountable for that breach of trust." (JP)
"I would like those watching this recall effort to know we are people just like you. We have families, homes and jobs in this community. We do not believe this is acceptable representation and it will not go ignored. Jamie Allard has spent the past year grooming those who hold the same beliefs, making those who listen believe she is the only source of truth. She has attacked every one of her peers. Her defiance of the pandemic has led to lengthy city closures, due to the super-spreader events she encourages (i.e., day of reckoning, Dave Bronson events.) She has postured herself as a radical right politician. We should not accept radicals from any party in Alaskan Government. That is not who we are as Alaskans. We deserve better and can do better." (CF)
"We care about you and your safety. We want better for our community. This is a non-partisan and multifaceted effort. Regardless of your political affiliation, if you feel that Assembly Member Jamie Allard does not represent your values or has harmed your family or friends, reach out to us. We are your neighbors, friends, parents, and members of this community and we are here to help. Your voice and experience matters to this recall!" (H.N.)