Friday in the Sun!!! (March 17)

 

Debate Out — The Alaska Policy Forum held an Anchorage candidates debate at the Alaska Aviation Museum on Wednesday night. I went so you didn’t have to. Here is a very quick breakdown of what was said: 1. Everyone agrees average citizens in Anchorage have no idea there is an election coming soon. 2. Crime is the only problem voters in Anchorage is talking about.

There, I just saved you two hours of your life. You’re welcome.

Good Night — One candidate for Anchorage Assembly had an excellent night Wednesday was Midtown’s Felix Rivera. Before he went to the candidate debate, he held a fundraiser at the home of Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. The event attracted well over a hundred attendees including Tim Steele, Dick Traini, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Forrest Dunbar, Chris Constant, Andy Holleman, Starr Marsett, David Ramseur, Harry Crawford, and even Tim Navarre of Kenai made an appearance. Oh, and obviously the Mayor and his wife were there. Word is Rivera took in just over $10,000 from 95 donors that night. Not a bad way for a candidate to spend a school night.

Days Until The Next State Election599
Days Until Muni Election19

Bad Night — You have to feel bad for Downtown candidate Chris Constant, or at least for his sign on I Street. It’s almost like a driver was aiming to take out one of his 4×8’ signs. Poor sign.

ICYMI — Here is a video of Lisa looking like she’s going to lose her poop on a DC reporter for pressing a question. You can’t blame our senior Senator; it’s almost unheard of among Alaska journalists to press Alaska politicians for answers to questions they don’t want to answer, or, god forbid follow them and ask follow-ups. If you want to know more on this subject, ask Craig Medred, but make sure you pack a lunch because he has A LOT to say on the subject.

Cab Wars Part 1 — Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar was none too happy both Lyft and Uber reps have completely ignored the Anchorage Assembly’s efforts to craft legislation allowing the ridesharing companies to operate in the city. Making matters worse, I have it on good authority that people from Lyft were in town the day Dunbar posted this:

Midnight Sun On The Air!!!! Master of Morning Radio Rick Rydell (AM 650 KENI) has asked us to come on every week and share Friday in the Sun with his audience. So listen for our inside scoop every Friday morning at 7:35.

Cab Wars Part 2 — Lobbyist Ray Matiashowski has a bit of a conflict on his hands when it comes to the cab wars legislation making its way through the state legislature. Part of that legislation would preempt local laws, with the new state law stating local governments will have no say in whether companies like Uber and Lyft come to their communities. As you can imagine, the Alaska Municipal League and several cities don’t like that, including Ketchikan, which took up a resolution to oppose the legislation this week. The problem is lobbyist Matiashowski represents both Ketchikan and Lyft, the latter of whom wants the legislation passed.

Budget Wars — The House Majority has made clear that at noon today the state budget debate in the House will come to an end. The Minority feels that five days worth of amendments isn’t enough for them to get their point across and are saying they are being silenced. Wasn’t it the voters who silenced the Minority when they elected the Majority?

In any case, here are some budget debate stats a keen watcher sent us:

Thru Thursday:
Days the budget spent on the House Floor: 4
Hours the budget spent on the House Floor: 17 ½ hours.
Points of order: Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux – 25; Rep. Dan Saddler – 9; Rep. Charisse Millett – 1; Rep. Zach Fansler – 1.
At Ease’s: 45
Budgets Passed (so far): 0

Childish Behavior — Sometimes debates among legislators can sound like children arguing, but Rep. Dan Saddler took it to a new level last Friday when he took time on the House floor to argue with a child.

It started when Rep. Harriet Drummond decided to read two letters she had been given from 5th graders asking her to support education funding. One schoolboy mentioned he wanted better technology in schools because paper can get lost, takes up too much room on his little desk, and isn’t good for the environment.

Saddler just couldn’t let that stand. He rose to rebut the preteen, saying that Alaska timber is an Alaska-grown product and, as such, cutting down trees should be supported.

Look, I’m the son of a logger, so I’ve got nothing but love for the timber industry, but can I suggest we save floor debate time for things actually under consideration, or at least said by someone old enough to shave?

Movin Center — A McClatchy story out of Washington, D.C. earlier this week began this way:

“It was a secret meeting about an existential crisis.

Gathered behind closed doors in a Denver hotel, 30 conservative Democrats plotted a potential path forward for their party – an effort to devise a strategy that might help them avoid total annihilation in red states across America.”

You wanna read more, don’t you? If not yet, maybe I could entice you with the fact the article is almost entirely about former Alaska Senator Mark Begich.

“These political moderates had been called together by former Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, and they showed up out of fear that their party is growing more liberal by the day, and less interested in their centrist positions.

Over a packed three-day schedule with a battery of presentations, the U.S. senators, former federal prosecutors, mayors and top Cabinet officials from the Obama administration in attendance talked about faith and religious voters, heard from a radio host about a medium typically reserved for conservatives and considered research suggesting that liberal priorities – like student loan debt – are just not a big deal.

It was hardly a typical Democratic event. But that, Begich said, was the point.

“You can’t get the majorities back without independent and centrist Democrats. You just can’t,” Begich told McClatchy. “It’s important that we come together and figure that out without conflicting with other groups.”

It sounds like Begich has his focus on the affairs in Washington, D.C. rather than on running for Governor of the state of Alaska, as many Republicans fear. Something tells me their fear will continue, though.

Political Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column, please email us at mnsunak@gmail.com.

Here are just some of the other events you can find on our Political Calendar