OPINION: Dunbar ditches 'science' in last-ditch gambit to beat Bronson
Scotch tape is harder to see through than what the leftist leaders of the Anchorage Assembly pulled off at the April 27 meeting.
For a year, members Chris Constant and Forrest Dunbar have turned a deaf ear and struggled to disguise their disdain at the pleas of Anchorage business owners and residents being harmed by restrictions and closures that were further exacerbated by the Assembly’s mismanagement of $156 million in CARES Act economic relief funds.
Just two weeks after voting to uphold it, the pair teamed up to repeal nearly everything in the current Emergency Order that was issued by Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson in the faraway time of April 12.
Constant introduced the motion and it was seconded by Dunbar, who is coincidentally in the middle of a runoff election for mayor against Dave Bronson.
No more capacity restrictions either indoors or out.
No more six feet of social distancing between groups that effectively preserved capacity restrictions despite a prior order allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent.
Kick off your Sunday shoes, everybody. No more bans on dancing or live performances.
The new rules for Anchorage — minus the face-saving preservation of what will increasingly become a meaningless mask mandate — actually border on what President Joe Biden would call “Neanderthal thinking.”
In doing so, the Constant-Dunbar led effort abandoned the Acting Mayor’s 70 percent vaccine requirement for lifting restrictions that is also incorporated into Dunbar’s own 10-point campaign plan for reviving the Anchorage economy he helped put on life support.
The resolution goes beyond the latest CDC guidelines and was approved over the objections of the municipal Health Department. Not to mention that Anchorage is still considered in “high alert” status with more than 10 new cases per 100,000 people per day.
Although he ultimately voted in favor of member Meg Zalatel’s amendment to push the effective date to midnight on May 3, Dunbar initially agreed with Constant’s proposal to lift the EO immediately, or just 11 days after it went into effect.
So much for “following the science.”
Only a doe-eyed observer could see this for anything but what it is: a transparent ploy to disarm Bronson’s central campaign pledge to lift the Emergency Orders that Dunbar has repeatedly and as recently as two weeks ago supported.
The combined votes for the three candidates running to the right of Dunbar earned a majority, or 50.3 percent, in the April 6 election compared to 47.5 percent for the three competing for progressive votes.
Business owners — who have employees that vote as well — have shown a tremendous amount of support for Bronson and he is fresh off a weekend rally where he received the endorsement of the popular Sen. Dan Sullivan.
Now that Dunbar can point to his vote to finally take the boot off Anchorage businesses, he is free to go scorched earth on Bronson over the next two weeks as a scary right-winger no longer worth taking a chance on as the antidote to the policies correctly associated with the left-wing Assembly and two mayors.
The strategy is previewed in Dunbar’s most recent ad as he unsubtly splices together successive videos of Bronson and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. A prediction here is that the Outside dark money supporting Dunbar will be even less restrained.
Dunbar knows he isn’t going to convince Bronson or Mike Robbins supporters to change their minds. The clear play is for a share of those in the soft middle who voted for Bill Evans and think the “Save Anchorage” folks who support Bronson are icky.
A last-ditch gambit by Dunbar to co-opt the Save Anchorage demands by using his influence on the Assembly is rather insulting to the intelligence of such voters.
Soon we will find out if it works.
Andrew Jensen can be reached at [email protected].