Surprise! Bronson did, in fact, meddle with the city's water supply.
But don't worry, an account from a not-exactly-truthful press office says everything's fine and that "Anchorage’s water supply remains safe for public consumption."
Good evening, Alaska!
In this edition: I really did get into my redistricting lawsuit recap when, surprise, the Bronson administration conceded that it did, in fact, meddle with the city’s water supply. The accusation comes just a day after the administration denied the latest accusations of impropriety were not true. Yikes. Also, the reading list.
Up next time: I promise, we’ll get the redistricting lawsuits… and a recap of the Alaska Redistricting Board’s own meeting that will be mostly—if not completely—behind closed doors.
Twitter status: Still suspended. Starting to get used to it.
‘Someone’s de-fluoridated the waterhole!’
A day after his administration claimed there was no truth to a series of accusations of impropriety on the part of Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, the office has now conceded that it did, in fact, meddle with the city’s water supply.
In a written statement, the administration admitted it ordered the shutdown of the fluoridation system at the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility’s Eklutna treatment plant for five hours either during or following a visit by the mayor on Oct. 1.
The admission confirms one of several disturbing anonymously sourced accusations published by the Alaska Landmine on Saturday. The other issues revolved around the Bronson administration’s improper requests made of the Anchorage Police Department, including an attempt to dismiss police from a heated Assembly meeting and an attempt to interfere with the treatment of a man with covid-19.
“For all three of these questions the answer is this is false. These did not happen,” Bronson spokesman Corey Allen Young wrote to Alaska Public in an email on Monday, a day before the administration conceded that one of the three did, in fact, happen.
According to the account provided by the not-exactly-truthful press office, the decision to halt fluoridation at the treatment facility was made during a visit where employees apparently complained about handling the fluoride. The statement provides no explanation of whether the employees were properly handling the chemical in the first place—which is widely used in public water systems and in Anchorage for decades—and ordered it be shut off with the apparent understanding that it didn’t violate the city charter, federal or state laws based off “information that was presented.”
If you’re hoping to know what that information is or who was presenting it, you’re out of luck.
It apparently wasn’t until five hours later that the administration thought to check the municipal code—you know, the laws of the city—to see if their actions were justified.
“Later that afternoon, the Mayor’s Office determined Municipal Code requires the fluoridation of Anchorage’s water supply,” explains the city’s version of events. “The Mayor’s Office immediately informed AWWU leadership to resume fluoridation of the Muni’s water. Fluoride was not added to the water supply for approximately five hours.”
Why the mayor didn’t think to examine the very laws he’s charged with executing—something that’s as easy as searching “fluoride” in the city’s code publishing website—is also not answered by the news release.
In a bit of deflection, the administration goes onto argue that the whole thing wasn’t really that big of a deal. The fluoridation system gets turned off for longer periods of time for maintenance… so therefore it’s OK for the mayor to shut it down? The statement also included a quote from AWWU General Manager Mark Corsentino that “the data shows there was no disruption or material change to the fluoride in our water during October 1.”
Also, because it’s apparently something that we needed to be concerned about under Bronson’s leadership, “Anchorage’s water supply remains safe for public consumption.”
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