The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Moose Is Loose

Posted on | June 27, 2023 | 3 Comments

“There’s one!” Bob said, as we drove through the base on our way from the airport. I squinted, but didn’t see the moose until we were within about 30 yards. It was a young cow, not even full-grown yet, but certainly it stood more than six feet tall. A full-grown moose can be eight feet tall, and they’re all around here, so that while sighting a moose may be exciting for a tourist, the locals don’t think much about it.

Speaking of locals, did you know Anchorage has a homelessness problem? On our drive in from the airport, we came through downtown Anchorage and my son gestured to his left, telling me the homeless encampment was about 400 yards that way, and I was like, “What?” Alaska is still very much a frontier state, with a population of less than 750,000 in a vast territory. People are still coming here to homestead, staking out claims in the remote wilderness, so it’s difficult for me to see how the usual excuse — “lack of affordable housing” — can be applied to homelessness in Anchorage. This ain’t San Francisco, OK?

From local media:

The Anchorage Assembly spent a large part of their June 6 meeting discussing the issue of homelessness in Anchorage.
Mayor Dave Bronson talked about the benefits of a proposed navigation center to help those who are homeless in his Mayor’s report, calling it a place that can “transform lives.”
The mayor also called the current situation where many homeless individuals are camping in the municipality’s parks and green spaces “untenable, and not quite even humane.”
“But if we spend another summer expending our time, our resources, and the public’s willingness to hear us out, I’m afraid we will never reach a modicum of solution,” said Bronson.
“I do not want people to freeze to death this winter. The nav center can prevent that.”
Hellen Fleming, one of the owners of Showdown Alaska, appeared before the assembly to testify about abatement at Cuddy Park.
Showdown Alaska is in charge of the Sundown Solstice Festival, which took place in Cuddy Park June 16 -18. The festival was a source of political controversy, as it was cited as a reason for abating – or kicking out – homeless individuals camping at the park for safety reasons.
Fleming said that Showdown Alaska wanted to protect the safety of the patrons of the concert and homeless people.
“For the sake of public safety, we were told that abatement was the right choice,” said Fleming, “My only question to the city now is, why? Why was the Sullivan closed with no plan? Why weren’t sanctioned camps created from the start? Why was there no communication to campers about this festival from the very start in the area?”
Fleming urged the Assembly to create sanctioned camps before abatement at Cuddy Park ended.
After Fleming’s testimony, the Assembly passed a resolution brought forward by Felix Rivera, who represents District 4, supporting the creation of “allowed” homeless camps in Anchorage. Mayor Dave Bronson opposed the use of the word “sanctioned camps,” citing possible liability issues with the municipality.
The passed resolution is more limited in scope compared to recommendations originally made by the Sanctioned Camps Community Task Force.
The task force originally recommended that five sites be established as homeless camps. These sites were: Centennial Park Campground, 1805 Academy Drive, land adjacent to the Clitheroe Center, the midtown National Archives site, and vacant land between Viking Drive, Reeve Boulevard, and Commercial Drive. Three sites were recommended to house up to 75 people, while the remaining two were recommended to house up to 40. The recommendation also provided names of other possible camp locations.

There’s a word for this situation, and that word is crazy.

You’re talking about homelessness in a state where the effective cost of land is zero. I mean, I don’t know how much a half-acre lot costs in the immediate vicinity of Anchorage, but if you’re willing to go further out into the boonies, land is dirt-cheap compared to what you’d pay almost anywhere in the Lower 48. Of course, this doesn’t address the major expense of living in Alaska, namely heat. The first snowfall in Anchorage is usually in October, and it lasts into April. Basically, you’ve got maybe five months of tolerable weather — May through September — amid the otherwise eternal winter. Not a good place for sidewalk sleeping.

As the mayor says, the proposal to create “allowed” homeless camps is not humane. Whatever their problems may be — drug addiction, mental illness, etc. — these people need to get someplace warm, with an actual roof over their heads, before winter arrives, and tolerating homeless encampments in Anchorage during summer is self-evidently foolish.

Did I mention that Joe Biden won Anchorage in 2020? Not by a Chicago-sized margin, but still . . . Maybe you don’t expect liberal foolishness in a GOP stronghold like Alaska, but this nonsense about creating “allowed” homeless camps shows how liberalism can be a problem anywhere. Given the harsh realities of life near the Arctic, I’d suggest a zero-tolerance policy toward homelessness. You simply can’t allow people to be sleeping outdoors in a place where the weather is so brutal most of the year. Better they should be occupying a jail cell than to let them freeze to death on the sidewalks. Or get eaten by a bear.

Did I mention there are bears all over Alaska? They’re not as numerous as moose, I don’t think, but there’s still a lot of them. If the bears ever decide to visit Anchorage’s homeless camps . . .

Well, that would be one way to solve the problem, I guess.




3 Responses to “The Moose Is Loose”

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