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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Anchorage Secessionist Wants to be its Mayor


I’ve been lucky enough to reside in several parts of Alaska. When I lived in Fairbanks, I heard constantly how Fairbanksans were “real Alaskans” and people in Anchorage couldn’t handle a real winter. Anchorage, on the other hand, barely acknowledges the existence of Fairbanks — you mean that little town with ridiculous weather and bad air? Southeast Alaska is viewed as North Seattle. And Kodiak is a rock with rockets — more Pacific island than piece of Alaska.

But the real “us and them” is between residents of the Mat-Su Borough and Anchorage. That rivalry has barbs.

I’m not sure what started it, but when Valley churches started busing their congregations to Anchorage Assembly meetings to oppose anti-discrimination laws, I noticed.

Now I see a Mat-Su political group, based in Palmer and called the Alaska Republican Assembly Federal PAC, is spending money to influence the Anchorage mayor’s race. It’s trying to elect Amy Demboski.

The PAC’s financial underwriters include “Alaska Right to Life” (“We Make Choices for Ladies”) and a “parental rights” group. (The website of the “parental rights” group is an amazing read. For example, did you know the federal government wants to raise your children for you so it can “de-God” them?)

We’ve seen these Valley conservative activists use demonstrations, public hearing testimony and campaign contributions to try to influence Anchorage public policy in the past. For some reason, they’re content to overlook serious issues closer to home — being the meth capital of Alaska comes to mind. They have three mayors already, but apparently they feel the need to elect Anchorage’s as well.

Demboski is a Mat-Su conservative’s dream candidate. She’s anti-public education. She opposes funding for pre-kindergarten and after-school programs. As an Anchorage Assemblywoman, she voted against the Anchorage school budget. (She’ll be happy when our public schools have been starved to the point of failure, which should help make the case for public funding of church schools.)

She opposes efforts to outlaw discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation. She’s accepting money from organizations that argue Alaskans have a constitutional right to discriminate against their gay, lesbian and transgendered neighbors.

When a ballot proposition here failed to protect LGBT citizens, Demboski embraced it as “the will of the people.” (Apparently she missed school the day her class heard about the civil rights movement in America.)

When a huge majority of Alaskans, including the residents of Anchorage, approved a ballot initiative making marijuana a legal substance to be regulated like alcohol, Demboski used her position on the Assembly to try to stop it regardless. Apparently the “will of the people” is something only she and dogs can hear.

This past week’s mayoral election brought some surprises. Voters rallied for public education, passing school bonds even under the threat of nonreimbursement by the state. That was not a given.

I thought Anchorage deserved a runoff between Ethan Berkowitz and Andrew Halcro. Why? Because it would have avoided another campaign focused on the fringe issues used to divide and manipulate us. I had hoped we could have a couple of grownups talking about addressing real issues, like crime, a faltering economy, affordable housing and smart infrastructure investment.

Instead, it seems we’ll have Berkowitz talking about those issues, while Demboski campaigns on her “true conservatism,” which apparently means crucial municipal issues like “religious freedom,” anti-abortionism and “parental rights” — “issues” with only one purpose: to fire up the gullible base.

When Demboski was president of the Eagle River Community Council, she said loudly and publicly, “Chugiak and Eagle River doesn’t want to be part of Anchorage.” She continued, “Somebody from Chugiak-Eagle River, they’re not going to have the same priorities as somebody from West Anchorage. It’s just a fact. We look at things differently, because we’re from different areas. Chugiak-Eagle River does not want to be part of Anchorage. I hate to break it to you, but we don’t. We like our independence, we like our values, we do things differently.”

Shouldn’t she be organizing a secession campaign, rather than running to be mayor of a city she doesn’t want to be part of?


During the KTUU debate, we got a pretty good look at how thin her credentials to be mayor really are. When someone brought up the brutal recession Anchorage suffered through in the mid-1980s, Demboski said she didn’t know anything about it — because she’s only 38.

I wanted to shout at the TV: Amy, let Google be your friend. This isn’t ancient history. As someone who has served on the Assembly for a few years, shouldn’t our common history inform your understanding of your community? “You weren’t around for World War II either,” I wanted to say, “but can’t we expect you to be able to discuss it for two minutes on television?”

When asked what we could do to prevent the deaths of bicyclists in Anchorage, she suggested bicyclists “look both ways.” How’s that for depth of understanding, not to mention compassion? I bet if someone had asked how to prevent gay couples from ordering a wedding cake, she’d have had a five-point plan on the tip of her tongue.

So friends, we’re going to endure a few more weeks of campaigning before we know the name of Anchorage’s next mayor. We share problems and opportunities, and we need a mayor capable of leading us to address them. Amy Demboski may have good intentions, but all she knows is how divide us over irrelevant issues.

Let’s not reward a candidate whose campaign goes no deeper than: “I’m more conservative than he is.”



17 Responses to “Anchorage Secessionist Wants to be its Mayor”
  1. juneaudream says:

    Having thought about this article/informations..for a few days..leads a ‘visual’. The good pleased with her..views/stances..being a slowly..unfolding series of views. Say..from age ten years..until now. Her views..showing up as her height..continuing..but..the flesh of her toes and finger tips..turning to ..stone. Over the years..she would be more..and more..’immobile’ the stonishness..continue/-spread. A mind..’locked-down’ a hard thing to ..see..otherwise..but a helps us..see what happens..when a normally, healthy organism..shuts down. A lots wife..sorta..transition..salt then. Well..I do guess..that until the people..’get the picture’ of what severe conservatism gots one heck of a lot of..salt being formed. (Knut, Ole..roll over some more those brined fish barrels kids… 😉

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Skipping debates worked for Carpetbagger Barbie Sullivan. Wonder if this ditzy chick is in Cleveland raising pocket change? I mean no disrespect to women. Wonder how she stacks up against rookie iowa Sinator Ivana Kuturnutzov,former KGB agant and koch bros wholly owned subsidiary? Sinator K isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer,but has her gays,guns,god and greed mantra rehearsed and versed. Anyway,to quote an acquaintance of ours, Zyxomma, please GET OUT and VOTE for your candidate. (in the interest of full disclosure I do not work for Ms Zyx nor do I get paid to mention her name)

    • Zyxomma says:

      All the same, Mikey, thanks for crediting me with the meme. REGISTER to vote, then VOTE in every primary for which you qualify (primaries are the only reason I’ve remained a Democrat, rather than switching to the Green Party, which shares my progressive values), and every general, every year. Offer your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues a ride to the polls if necessary. (I’m from NYC, and my polling place is less than five minutes’ walk from home, four flights of stairs included.) The 2010 and 2014 Congressional elections point out how important it is that Democratic and Independent voters VOTE. It’s not an every-four-years exercise.

      It dismays me that a number of my Facebook friends insist that voters are dupes; there’s no difference between power elites in either major party. There is a LITTLE truth in that, but it’s just a smidgen. I’m a passionate supporter of voting rights. I carried petitions door-to-door as a too-young-to-vote teen, so 18-year-olds could vote. Yes, this was during Vietnam, and one of our slogans was, “Old enough to fight? Old enough to vote!” We won that battle, and I turned 18 for the first legal vote by 18-year-olds in 1972.

      If you live in a state where photo ID is required to cast a vote, do everything in your power to ensure that those near and dear to you get ID, whether that entails a small gift or loan for a certified copy of a birth certificate, a ride to and from the DMV, whatever. If you’re assisting an elder who has never used a computer, perhaps your proficiency at using Google can mean the difference between that elder staying home on election day or voting.

      REGISTER and VOTE.

  3. Mike D says:

    During the last election cycle, democrats went missing. Running candidates who are nice and polite to the extremist opposition does not work. Appealing to their sense of fair play also does not work. The fight doesn’t have to be ugly, it has to be truthful. A record of intolerance, bigotry, sexism, or whatever speaks for itself, if it is publicized. Extremists don’t change their hateful, bigoted opinions. The target needs to be conservatives who realize the kind of hatred espoused by extremists does not represent them. One can be liberal or conservative and not feel compelled to vote the party line. A person can be a liberal and not believe in climate change, or one can be a conservative and believe in it. It’s okay. It’s not against the law to think for oneself. The democrat party in Alaska is always in a tough spot. Business as usual has not worked for years. Time to strap on a pair and get with the program.

    • Beaglemom says:

      I agree with you, Mike. Most Americans, because they rely on Fox for their news, have not got a clue about what is what in Washington or in their home states. During the 2014 campaign, Democratic candidates should have been pounding the streets and the airwaves telling voters just what the GOP incumbents had done (or, in many more cases, had not done) and what they and the GOP first timers were planning to do (or not do) during the President’s last two years in office. People need to know about the GOP policy of governing by tantrum and sedition.

      In our district, the GOP/teabagger incumbent’s Koch-paid television and radio ads were all about how kind and gentle and good to seniors and helpful to veterans he had been. Of course, he voted against the ACA at every opportunity, against Social Security and Medicare, against anything to help veterans or poor people. In a district filled with poor people and senior citizens, good old “Dr. Dan” Benishek got reelected because he lied about his record and he like about his opponent. And, we the people, got stuck for another two years because the Democrats of northern Michigan were afraid (?) to go on the offensive. It’s what we, the campaign contributors and workers, wanted – a hard-hitting, truthful campaign. We would have won handily.

      • Mike D says:

        Hot button social issues overwhelm the ability to discriminate. Once those dog whistles are sounded, nothing else matters. If people can be convinced religion is under attack or the second amendment is threatened, the job is done. Job creation and a healthy economy no longer matter.

  4. AKblue says:

    It looks like Demboski is going to run against former Democratic mayor Mark Begich (like now Senator Dan Sullivan “ran” against Obama), and then not show up at many public debates. Her anger/meanness really came out during the last debate when she was almost comtemptuous of bike riders.

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    Oh yay.
    ANC has an outsize effect on the rest of the state being our largest city ( and naught but a middling sized city anywhere else, but tell ANC THAT? I don’t think so…) so whoever ends up being mayor in ANC affects all of us at some level, dang it.
    So Ms Demboski can’t even be bothered to appear at debates about public safety in ANC?
    After the latest spike in shooting deaths ?!
    Geez-louise, dump the bimbo ANC!!!

  6. Really? says:

    Thank you Shannyn, another great article. Lots of love.. LOL
    I’ve thought it curious that some of the Anchorage election venues are held in churches. Anchorage has
    plenty of public schools for these election “events”. And how do “they” decide which church?
    Like in Tok. – The University of Alaska, Fairbanks Tok Center… In “the Past” the commencement ceremony was held in the same church every year. We always wondered why that church opposed to any of the 14 other ones. And I had always wondered “why a church”. Well, this coming University of Alaska Tok commencement is apparently going to be at Tok’s “Log Building on the Corner” a public venue.
    High Five’s to the people that “called bull”, and prompted the University to change venues.

  7. Suzy says:

    Amy Dembowski seems to be the teabagger candidate that one would get if they crossed Joe Miller and Sarah Palin. I am so disappointed that so many people seem to miss that this is who she really is. I just hope people who automatically vote for the (R) on the ballot really have a look at her first. Joe Miller scared the crap out of people when he ran the first time, and also the 2nd time, but they seem perfectly willing to vote for her. The only remedy I know of is to mobilize people to make it to the polls and VOTE for Ethan Berkowitz. Put up your Ethan yard signs and wear your Ethan buttons and be sure your friends get out and cast their vote!

  8. mike from iowa says:

    Are we talking both wingnut candidates again? Ugh!

    • Alaska Pi says:

      No mikey- not this time… thank heavens. One wingnut, one very moderate D
      The latter will be called a wild-far-lefty by those who don’t have a clue but this old hippie-commie-liberal-weirdo sees Mr Berkowitz for the barely left of center chap he is 🙂
      good luck aNC.
      And there is no frickin way SE is N SEA!!! We are SE-AK!!! And if AK keeps dissing us maybe we’ll have to take some of the folks in BC seriously and make our own country of Cascadia 🙁 !
      And I’m rilly, rilly sorry about all my doof relates in Mat-Su.
      I rilly am.

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