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Vandals break window at Alaska Democrats' offices

Lisa Demer
Alaska Democratic Party chair Patti Higgins and state-wide party organizer Dave Metheny examine a front window on Monday, Mar. 29, 2010, that was broken by vandals over the weekend at the Alaska Democratic Party headquarters in Anchorage. BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

Someone vandalized the Alaska Democratic Party headquarters over the weekend, breaking the front center window of the Midtown office, according to Anchorage police.

A Democratic Party official, Dave Metheny, said he arrived at the office around 11:45 a.m. Sunday to catch up on work. When he discovered the cracked glass, he called police.

The office is on Fairbanks Street between Fireweed Lane and Northern Lights Boulevard.

The damage spider-webbed from the top of the big glass window to the bottom. The outer pane was broken but not the inner pane. No one got inside the building, according to police.

The window's metal frame was bent and police initially suspected someone hit it with a crowbar or baseball bat.

On Monday afternoon, Anchorage police Lt. Dave Parker, a former detective who now serves as a spokesman, said he found the weapon: an 8.25-pound rock. It fit in the dent on the frame, and was marked by a smudge of aluminum, Parker said.

"I photographed the sucker and seized it as evidence." The rock was too dusty to check for prints, he said.

So was someone trying to send a message to the Democratic Party?

"There was no tea bag attached to this rock," Parker said. Someone was probably just acting stupid, he said.

Democrats note that no other businesses were vandalized in the area. The campaign offices of U.S. Rep. Don Young and Gov. Sean Parnell are on the same street and were untouched.

"Acts of vandalism against any organization in our city are absolutely unacceptable," Mayor Dan Sullivan said in a written statement. "I condemn these actions and strongly encourage anyone with any knowledge of who may be responsible to contact the appropriate authorities."

Patti Higgins, state Democratic Party chairwoman, said officials don't know if the party was being targeted, but they are concerned because of the heated political rhetoric surrounding this month's health care vote in Congress.

"I'm linking it to all of the members on the other side of the aisle who are calling for people to express their outrage in violent forms, and they need to knock it off," Higgins said.

The Democratic Party office has received about 20 calls from people angry about the legislation. Most were reasonable and simply wanted to express their displeasure. But six or eight or so were venomous, Metheny said.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin -- with her pronouncements that the discontented should "reload," not retreat -- is among the national Republicans feeding into anger and violence, Higgins said.

"It's a very uncontrolled situation," Higgins said. "She's not leading them. She's just out in front of a mob."

Higgins said national figures, including Palin and her fellow Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, need to "tamp down the rhetoric and quit calling for violence."

Palin has said she's not trying to incite anyone and an aide said she's consistently spoken out to condemn violence.

At a rally in Nevada on Saturday, Palin told the crowd "our vote is our arms," according to Politico.com. She urged activists upset about health care reform to channel their energies into defeating congressional Democrats who supported the legislation, Politico reported.

Find Lisa Demer online at adn.com/contact/ldemer or call 257-4390.


By LISA DEMER
ldemer@adn.com
Contact Lisa Demer at LDemer@adn.com or on