Thursday’s front page reported remarks by Mayor Dave Bronson about the crisis hitting local hospitals faced with a new eruption of COVID-19 cases. The mayor threw up his hands and said, “What steps can we take? … I don’t know what more we can do.” His words recall the saying: Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
The mayor forgets: His job is to lead. It’s a question, of course, whether he’s concerned for all the residents of Anchorage or only wishes to please his anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-health mandate base. Still, would it be so hard for him to say something like:
”My fellow citizens, although I don’t believe it’s the government’s responsibility to mandate specific steps each of you must take so together we can beat back this dangerous virus” — a notion I strongly disagree with but am willing to concede as a heartfelt principle — “I nevertheless urge you to do all you can to safeguard yourselves, your families, your communities. Get vaccinated and try to persuade all those around you to get vaccinated. Wear a mask. I encourage our businesses — who I have said are free to do what they want — to set mask and vaccine mandates for their workers and customers. The sooner we rid our society of this scourge, the sooner we can return to a pre-COVID normal.”
I’m not holding my breath.
A note to reporter Emily Goodykoontz: You quoted the mayor as saying, “I’m telling you my email inbox is blowing up with people who are health care professionals and who refused to take the vaccine, and to the point where they’ll walk away from their jobs.” How about challenging him to show you — and us — those emails? If he won’t, ADN should file an Alaska Public Records Act request to get them. Emails sent to the city’s primary public official are not private. The hospital professionals you quoted disputed Bronson’s claim, but we deserve to know if the mayor is telling the truth about those messages or just blowing smoke.
— Peter Porco
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