People in the Sun
Straight Outta Flauda Word is Mike Hawker is getting a primary challenger in Ross Bieling. If you don’t know Ross it’s probably because he hasn’t been around the state very long. He started to relocate to Alaska after his failed run for congress in Florida in 2010. One has to wonder if he owns an actual carpet bag.
Given both candidates provide fodder for negatives attacks and both either have money or the ability to raise it, the race could get ugly fast.
The good news is Mr. Bieling, being so recently from Florida, might be able to tell us what ever happened to carpetbagging pioneer Vic Vickers.
The Ira and Moe Show The West Anchorage assembly race is starting to get organized. Ira! Perman is running as the non-partisan centrist protegee of Ernie Hall. It is odd then that his campaign is being managed by progressive golden child Nick Moe. You might remember Nick ran a pretty aggressive write-in campaign against Hall that came a hair short of ousting the assemblyman. So why then would Moe sign up to help the heir-apparent of a guy he worked so hard to defeat? I asked and Nick said “because Ira is that good.” Fair enough.
Yay Peggy Former AFT-APEA political director Peggy Wilcox has moved over to Les Gara’s office. We’re excited for Peggy, she’ll do a great job.
Big Week Begich It’s been a good week for Mark Begich. First he got invited to the White House for Pope Francis’ (ya, THAT Pope) visit on September 23rd. I don’t care where you are politically, that is pretty cool.
Then the week got better when the former US Senator went out and got a new gig. He will be working as Special Counsel for Hilltop Public Solutions. I don’t know what special councils do, especially ones who aren’t lawyers, but it sounds like he can do it without giving up the day job with his own Northern Compass Group, so it’s all gravy.
Bye, Bye Rachael Alaska Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rachael Petro has announced she will be leaving her position and the state later this year. Her husband has taken a new job in Washington so the whole fam is heading out. They’ll need to unload their place when they go, so if you are in the market for a house in the $519,900 range, let her know.
No Love for Albert So I don’t mean to inflate his ego, but Al Kookesh is kind of a big deal. He is a former state senator, former co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and former Chairman of the Board of Sealaska. Dude is big time. So, why wouldn’t the Governor’s office at least put out a press release announcing they were able to recruit him to work in their office as a Program and Policy Specialist working on rural energy issues for $113,500 a year? I mean, when Al hired the Lt. Governor’s son, Anthony Mallott, as President and CEO of Sealaska he put out a press release. No love.
Midnight Sun on the Air!!!!
Master of Morning Radio Rick Rydell (AM 650 KENI) has asked us to come on every week and share what we know with his audience. So listen for our inside scoop every Friday morning at 7:35.
Sun Drenched Events
Anchorage Young-ish Republicans held a presidential debate watch party at Don Jose’s on Wednesday night. Plenty of young at heart republicans gathered to watch the show including Rebecca Logan, Marilynn Stewart, Lindsey Holmes, Jeff Landfield, Dawn Linton-Warren, Daniel McDonald, Ryan McKee, Josh Walton, and Erich Reed. The AYRs had debate bingo and their own straw poll of who won the debate. In their opinion it was pretty overwhelmingly Carly Fiorina. In my opinion too…
Go IRA! is what the campaign signs said at the Sand Lake home campaign kickoff/fundraiser for West Anchorage assembly candidate Ira! Perman. It was an interesting crowd made up of a few Rs, a few Ds, and a lot of people I’ve never seen at political events. The ones I did recognize were Judy Brady, Ernie Hall, Nick Moe, Kris and Dawn Warren, Bonnie Jack, Jason Hodges, Steve Haycox and of course Jeff Landfield. I had never met Ira! so I didn’t know what to expect. What I found out was Ernie sees Ira! as his successor and Ira! wants to be that. He promised to do something about the city’s slow permitting process, was concerned about the homeless now moving in the district, and, of course, committed to taking on the noisy rooster problem in West Anchorage (no, seriously).
All-in-all, Ira! came across as genuine and is one of the few candidates I’ve ever met that was convincing as someone who isn’t just an R or D pretending to be a non-partisan, but actually is non-partisan.
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Sorry Dan Imagine how stunned I was earlier in the week to read Sen. Dan Sullivan’s interview with the Frontiersman where he claimed to have told the U.S. Secretary Veteran Affairs Robert McDonald that he would put a hold on McDonald’s confirmation unless he agreed to come to Alaska with Sullivan to see problems here first hand. I was stunned because the Secretary was already confirmed by the Senate last summer, before Sullivan even became a senator. I was eager to hear what McDonald’s response was. Maybe it was something like “Nice try Dan, but I already got confirmed, so there.”
I called the Senator’s office to confirm the quote. His spokesman, Mike Anderson, told me the quote wasn’t accurate and he had “dropped the reporter a note.” That is spokesman code for telling the reporter “WTF!?!?!?!?”
The Frontiersman clarified the error shortly. Too bad, that would have been a great story.
Oh Alice, Really? Who is the Alaska Newspaper Association and why do I hear they are hiring a lobbyist in Juneau? I called the group that apparently has shrunk to being little more than a phone number at the Ketchikan Daily News. They told me for the moment they haven’t hired a lobbyist but hinted pretty hard that that answer was soon to change somehow.
So why would a fairly defunct organization need a lobbyist anyway? My sources tell me Alice Rogoff and her consigliere Margy Johnson are tired of paying workers comp premiums for their delivery drivers. To change that they need the legislature to pass something letting Alice off the hook. Going through the ANA allows her to do it without getting her fingerprints on anything.
So here is the part of the story that puts a smile on my face. I spoke with the folks at the AFL-CIO and they assured me that even though the ADN isn’t unionized they would go to bat for any workers looking at having their workers comp protections messed with. So yes, we may very well see the mother of all legislative cage match smack downs between Alice Rogoff on this side and Vince Beltrami on that side. I would literally pay to watch that.
Best Fundraiser Idea Ever On September 22nd district 25 and 28 republicans will be holding their “Is Your Senator Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” fundraiser. There are maybe a couple dozen legislators I would pay to see in this event. Unfortunately, only Kevin Meyer, Mike Dunleavy, and Cathy Giessel would commit to participating. People say a lot of nasty things about politicians and are right a lot of the time, but none of these three could be or have been credibly called stupid. Organizers for the event tell me they invited plenty of others to participate but only Kevin, Mike, and Cathy had the confidence to do it. It should still be plenty entertaining.
What’s Missing On Wednesday the 23rd, Adam Trombly will hold his West Anchorage assembly campaign kick-off at the Petroleum Club. Just a question, why does his flyer have no sponsors or hosts listed? It is the standard Hellenthal template flyer and they generally pack as many names in there as a 6 point font will allow. So why none this time? I don’t have an answer, it just seemed really weird to me.
Yes, They Raise Money Too On Thursday the House Democrats will have a to-do at Les Gara’s place, over at 1242 W 12th Ave. from 5:30-7:00. I’m told there will be Thai food, Fire Island desserts, Crush wine, and Broken Tooth beer. Yummy.
Regarding finding capable candidates to run for office, thank God we don’t elect jury members so perhaps we should select at least a third of the legislature by simply drafting them into service.
With our luck Lynn, we’d end up throwing out the 1/3 of legislators who are good at it and take it seriously and end up with 1/3 who don’t care and 2/3 who we don’t want to be good at it.
Welcome back to the arena Casey.
I wasn’t being serious; however with the couple of times I have served
on jury duty I have been impressed with the ability of the common citizen to
function in a fair and deliberative manner. That certainly is not the
situation in Juneau because any fool can spend other people’s money and that is
all they have had to do except for a brief period in the 80s. Therefore, I don’t look for legislative quality
to improve until we bust ourselves and that will take spending the remainder of
the CBR. After that happens I would look for
serious capable people to feel the necessity to take control of this
mess. The first actions they might consider is abolishment of any
permanent standing caucus, stripping individual senior legislators of defacto
veto power by refusing to act on legislation, and removing the legislative exemption from
the state open meeting law.
Byron Mallott was still a Sealaska board member when his son was hired as the CEO. Byron recused himself before the final vote for the selection of CEO – but Sealaska spent over $250K on a headhunter’s search AND Anthony Mallott did not make the short list. That is when Byron pulled out all the stops to get little Tony the CEO position at Sealaska.