Apparently stung by voters’ rejection of his proposed 5 percent retail sales tax on alcohol, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz says it is time for the liquor industry to pay up to help deal with homelessness – voluntarily, mind you – but he certainly has a strange way of going about it.
“It’s those big Outside guys that threw their money in that don’t have Anchorage’s best interests at heart,” Berkowitz told KTVA. “And they aren’t members of the community and yet they create a problem here and collect profits from it. That, I think, is fundamentally unfair.”
What seems unfair to us is the claim that those “big Outside guys” somehow created the city’s homelessness problem all on their own. That assessment neatly discounts drugs, mental illness and a host of other reasons for the problem, including the city’s lack of action much earlier.
Berkowitz says he plans to tap the liquor industry for voluntary cash contributions to underwrite homeless housing, camp clean-up and expansion of the Community Service Patrol – and he does not think Outside wholesalers should be left off the hook, KTVA reports.
We wish him well in his endeavor, but suggest he might get a lot further with the “big Outside guys” who “don’t have Anchorage’s best interests at heart” if he takes the chip off his shoulder before he asks for dough.