Friday in the Sun (October 9)

Friday in the Sun is here

People In The Sun
Play the game It looks like we’ll have a few new additions to Anchorage’s state house races. I’m told former Assemblyman Chris Birch has called Bob Lynn to say he’ll be running against Bob in the Republican primary for House District 26.

Play the game part deux Anchorage talk radio king Rick Rydell tells me on his show this morning Ross Bieling officially announced he would be running against Mike Hawker in the Republican primary for House District 28. As I’ve said in this column before, that race could get ugly fast.

Recyclables Mayor Berkowitz has a new Recycling Coordinator, it’s Travis Smith, the recently former communications director for the Alaska Democrats.  As I told you last week, he was replaced at the ADP by Fairbanks kid Jake Hamburg.  Apparently Democrat Fairbanks legislators really, really, really, I mean REALLY don’t like it when you rib their town, so let me make clear to everyone that there are many parts of Fairbanks I don’t completely hate. See, now we can be friends :)

New to KTUU KTUU’s newest reporter is Paula Dobbyn. You may remember her as a former ADN reporter and for the last few years as the Alaska Communications Director for Trout Unlimited in Alaska.  It will be interesting to see if KTUU lets Dobbyn report on natural resources issue as the station’s own website refers to Trout Unlimited as an “anti-Pebble group.” From a quick search it doesn’t look like Dobbyn has filed any such story’s yet. I know some folks are already in a tizzy about this, but I’m choosing to reserve my outrage until it happens.  

Speaking of TV news I hear long time news big dawg John Tracy will be returning to nightly on-camera duties over at KTVA. Tracy has been acting as the the consultant/chief architect of KTVA’s news reboot since being purchased by GCI two years ago. It seems KTVA isn’t closing in on KTUU in the ratings quite as fast as they’d like, so Tracy’s return could be just the bump they’re looking for.

She’ll be back I hear Genevieve Wojtusik, the staffer Lesil McGuire threw completely under the biggest bus she could find last week, has relocated to Juneau in hopes of finding work there. More than one legislator told me they really like Wojtusik and think she is a top flight staffer, but they say the media spotlight is just too bright right now for them to offer her anything. There almost certainly will be a job for her in the legislature, if she wants it, once everything blows over.

Sun Drenched Events
Seems Like Longer By my count Ethan Berkowitz’s 100th day in office was yesterday. Never a group to miss an opportunity occasion provides, Dems galore descended on Bill Sheffield’s multi-use facility/home Monday night for a good old fashion party fundraiser. Seen in attendance were Susanne Fleek, Nora Morse, Bill Sheffield, April Hackney, Ashley Reed, Larry Ostrovski, Jim Kubitz, Lloyd Miller, Mark Begich, Kay Brown, Connor Palmer, Gordon Glaser, Jim Lottsfeldt, Christopher Constant, Matt Claman, Hollis French, Berta Gardner, and Frank Bickford.  

New Playaz Tuesday night a lot of the same people migrated over to the Historic Anchorage Hotel (it will always be Rum Runners to me) for the grand unveiling of Mark Begich’s new venture with Hilltop Public Solutions.  In the crowd were Begich, Jim Lottsfeldt, Susanne Fleek, Pat Higgins, Lisa Parker, Joelle Hall, Elias Rojas, John Henry Heckendorn, Myranda Walso, Libby Smelker, and Les Gara. What was interesting about the crowd mingling before the group’s presentation was everyone seemed to be asking the same question “who is Hilltop and what are they going to do in Alaska?” No one knew, but everyone showed up anyway. The presentation seemed to me like Hilltop will be a PR and campaign management firm for progressive causes and clients.  Also of interest was who wasn’t in the room: Ethan Berkowitz, Taylor Bickford, Katie Marquette, Aileen Cole, or any of the other current or former Strategies 360 folks. They would be Hilltop’s main competition.

Fun in the Sun
So Soon Don? Word out of DC is that Congressman Don Young isn’t just mulling retirement, he is interviewing replacements. I hear his ideal preference is for someone young, female, and native.  Back on my radio show Young made it clear he was keeping his eye on State Senator Mia Costello as a possible replacement.  She is young for a legislator and already has a few terms in the state house and senate under her belt. Another name I’ve heard is Gloria O’Neill, President and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council and a whole bunch of other stuff. Sure seems like she would fit model pretty darn well.

Radio Ga-Ga Word is former loud mouth radio hack Casey Reynolds (Errr, I really hate that guy) has been barred from appearing on his former radio station KFQD. Brad Keithley has been slated to fill-in host for the morning show and asked Reynolds to come in as a guest.  When Keithley tweeted out that fact he says he received a call from host Bernadette Wilson saying Reynolds was not allowed to come on because management has a policy that if you have a regularly scheduled segment on a competitor’s show you can’t be on a KFQD show. Reynolds has a regularly standing appearance Friday mornings at 7:35 on the Rick Rydell show over at AM 650 KENI.  

Keithley asked why he was allowed on the station since he appears on a regular weekly segment on the Michael Dukes’ show. Apparently Wilson had no explanation.  Word is Keithley, being the gent that he is, felt uncomfortable appearing under those conditions and canceled his fill-in stint.

Reynolds says he hasn’t heard from anyone at KFQD and so can’t speculate as to what the issue is, although he remembers no such rule when he was on air talent at KFQD.  His guess is, however, the whole thing has has more to do with Rydell than him. Rydell is KFQD’s most direct competitor and he is the one KFQD is chasing in the ratings. Assuming such a policy does exist, and it comes from management rather than the host herself, it is almost certainly is targeted at not promoting Rydell’s show or its content rather than at Reynolds himself.

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In it to win it  It would appear rumors that the House Majority Caucus’ shunning of Lora Reinbold might cause her to run for something else next year were off base. She will be kicking-off her campaign Tuesday night with a decent group of event sponsors. There are lots of rumors of who might run against her including AO-96’s drama king Bill Starr. For now, though, Lora’s the only one in the race.

Not a fundraiser On Wednesday night the Alaska Democratic Parf78229fc-c8a1-4586-840e-9231a22134c1ty will host a reception, NOT A FUNDRAISER, with Lt. Governor Byron Mallott to celebrate a bunch of Native Alaskans for, well I don’t know exactly. From the flyer it would seem they are being honored for the Gov or Lt. Gov giving them a job. Is it just me or is it a bit troubling the best information we have on who is working for the Governor and what they are doing comes from a not fundraiser flyer?12038919_10153032882536573_3365729372530892701_o

Font challenge Across Town on the same night Eric Croft will be kicking off his West Anchorage Assembly run at the home of former Gov Bill Sheffield, oh wait, strike that, it will actually be at Eric’s parents house.  Sorry, it just seemed like EVERY major political event happening these days in West Anchorage was going down at Bill’s pad.  As for Croft, if only every sponsor listed could vote in his district I would say he’d already won.

Fly Into The Sun
If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column please email me at [email protected].  If it is interesting and true-ish, I’ll put it out there.

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2 Comments on "Friday in the Sun (October 9)"

  1. Re Genevieve Wojtusik, she may or may not have deserved to have been thrown under the bus. She and her colleague have given two explanations for why they needed to extend their stay at the $450/night Grand Hyatt in Seattle (and yes, I am aware they paid back ~$200/night to the state, presumably when their stay was questioned by their boss and/or was about to be discussed in the media).

    The first was that they were planning to attend a meeting between the Anchorage Fire Department and the Seattle Fire Department. The AFD said that they did not participate in any such meeting, if a meeting occurred.

    The second was that they were attending a meeting of the Women’s Legislative Network of the NCSL. So far there has not been any documentation that any such meetings occurred that would have required an extra day.

    So perhaps you could clear this up by finding out exactly what Network meeting(s) they attended, and the date and time they occurred.

    p.s. It’s nice to think that Don Young thinks he gets to pick his own successor, and that he is interviewing for a replacement. Maybe he thinks that because he has won so many times that elections in Alaska are just a formality.

    • Murkowski picked his replacement, so maybe he is thinking about that, except he isn’t governor so he can’t appoint his replacement.

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