Many lives in danger in Centennial Park by carlos matías
Taking homeless people to a park inhabited by bears, just outside Anchorage, is the most inexplicable thing Dave Bronson has ever done. With this, and other actions he seems determined to be the worst mayor in the city’s history.
Sol de Medianoche has sent Republican Mayor Dave Bronson different questions that he has never answered, not even to say by email that he won’t answer. This newspaper, focused on Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Alaska Natives, doesn’t delegitimize the election he won against Democrat Dunbar, as Donald Trump does of the presidential election he lost to Joe Biden. But it does call into question his conduct. That’s why we have repeatedly asked him to explain it, with no response. Taking homeless people to a park inhabited by bears on the outskirts of the city is the most inexplicable thing Bronson has done.
Do you think Bronson is responsible for the human lives he has endangered? Yes. He’s responsible for his decisions, such as taking vulnerable homeless people, including families with children, to the outskirts of the city, in the middle of bear season, without adequate support and supplies. The encampment at Centennial Park has put everyone at risk, including neighbors near the park, businesses, law enforcement and local wildlife.
George Martinez, president of the Northeast Community Council, to whom Bronson also gives no explanation, answers our question. “He turned his back on the community,” he says, to continue committing “bad public policy.” “Five bears have already died in Centennial. The mayor is responsible. Anchorage taxpayers are at risk because of his negligence” (G. Martinez).
“It’s hard to know if the presence of bears was taken into account before bringing homeless people to Centennial. But in the early days there were no bear-proof containers, so it seems no one thought about it,” Owen Hutchinson, director of External Relations for the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, aceh.org, tells this newspaper. This organization warned as early as June 30, “without coordination at the municipal level, Centennial Park will remain unsafe.”
“There are more black bears terrorizing the campground in search of food. This is going to continue to happen, resulting in more bears killed, or humans seriously injured or killed,” Kendra Arciniega tells on her Facebook profile. Sol de Medianoche has asked Kendra for her testimony. She defers to her social networks (“I think a lot of people read my accounts of conditions in Centennial”) and doesn’t want to appear to be the one leading a big effort in the community, “the reality is that I’m just letting people know how things really are every time I visit,” which she usually does “every other day” with help of all kinds, “snacks, water, clean socks, hand warmers, wipes, and hygiene products.” “The mayor has brought some food and water to the camp, but not enough,” continues George Martinez. “The lack of coordination and planning continues to affect the camp. In addition, the mayor’s unwillingness to call it a camp has prevented full support from homeless service providers. I have heard of people being turned away if they bring food [something that has happened to Kendra], as all donations are coordinated through the Salvation Army. It’s a shame how the Bronson administration treats people.”
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