Friday in the Sun!!! (Jan 29)

Friday in the Sun is here

Warm Wishes — I’m told former Alaska State Senator Mike Syzmanski is in surgery this morning. He went to Juneau last Sunday, and by Tuesday morning was hospitalized. Governor Bill Walker has visited him more than once to offer support. I don’t want to go into someone’s personal medical details so we’ll just leave it there. Please put him and his family in your prayers.

The Best Fundraiser You Didn’t Have To Go To — Assemblywoman turned State House candidate Jennifer Johnston may have had the best fundraising idea of the year. Calling it a “virtual fundraiser”, the idea is to just give her money while both you and her get to stay home and not actually have to interact or schmooze. The Gen Xer in me loves it.


As The ADN Turns — The ongoing drama that is the Alaska Dispatch News (ADN) keeps delivering more drama than a telenovela. Widely reported this week was the difference in recollection between political consultant Art Hackney and ADN owner Alice Rogoff. You can read about that here on our friend Criag Medred’s blog.

What hasn’t been reported was the rumors swirling that Rogoff has finally cut ties with ADN co-founder and President Tony Hopfinger. Sure enough, Hopfinger no longer appears on the ADN website. ADN Vice-President Margie Johnson, who is still listed on the website, declined to comment on the situation with Hopfinger, but that brings up an interesting question, how can the ADN website say they have a vice-president, but not have a president? What exactly is she a “vice” to?

Digging further into ADN disfunction, word is coming out that Rogoff is leaning toward ditching old school conservative Paul Jenkins and liberal posterchild Shannyn Moore as columnists. Apparently Ms. Rogoff doesn’t like the sharply partisan nature of their work.  Hmmm, ok.

West Side Stories — Lifted that intro straight from an event Anchorage Assembly candidate Ira! Perman hosted this week. Word is the event was well attended. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and even Ira!’s competitor Eric Croft made appearances  while Assembly candidate from South Anchorage John Weddleton demonstrated quite a wicked sense of humor.

As for the race itself, end of the year APOC reports come out soon so we’ll have a good sense of who raised how much and from where. Not a patient person, I asked Ira! and he said his campaign raised $45K last year, about $4K of that was his own money. That is a pretty good number for a candidate without institutional support on either the right or left.

While I’m on the West Anchorage race, Ira! was seen meeting with several labor leaders in a local coffee shop yesterday. Did the union folks have a new poll they were using to take one more run at getting Ira! to take a deal on the table for months for him to drop out of the three way race, thus paving the way for an easy Croft victory, and in doing secure union and democrat institutional support for Ira! in next year’s assembly race in West Anchorage? That’s what I’m hearing.

From Our Facebook Page — Here is a picture of a leave behind piece the GCI/Alaska’s Future folks dropped at the AEDC economic forecast luncheon earlier this week. In a piece detailing the cause, problem, analaska firstd solution to the state’s fiscal crisis, state spending isn’t mentioned once. Its kind of a glaring omission, wouldn’t you say?

From The Halls Of The Capitol — Everyone in the Capitol is wrestling with the great question of our day. No, that isn’t how to fix the state’s budget crisis, it’s how to do that without facing the ire of voters for having done it. Word is Sen. Bill Stoltze is kicking the tires on an idea that presumably saves lawmakers by letting the voters decide. If the Legislature puts the “re-plumbing” of state finances on the fall ballot as a constitutional amendment, they could avoid responsibility for tough decisions by simply saying they wanted to let the people decide. How populist of them. Of course, the major pitfall of putting anything to the average voters is, as one lawmaker told me this week “what if they say no? Then what?” Good question.

General Disarray — The folks trying to repeal the LGBT rights ordinance the municipality passed this past fall have been radio silent since having their proposed wording for a referendum significantly edited by Municipal Attorney Bill Falsey in mid-December. Now any hopes of getting that issue on the regular spring election ballot have officially gone by the wayside. The deadline for getting areferendum on the ballot would have been last Thursday.

Was it a stroke of strategic competence because repeal backers know they have a better chance of winning in an ultra-low turnout special election than they do in what will be an  only embarrassingly-low turnout regular municipal election? Or does it have more to do with disorganization on the group’s part? I’m guessing the former. I’d expect to see movement in the coming weeks now that there is no chance of the issue going to the spring ballot.

Southside — It’s been a busy few weeks in the Assembly race in south Anchorage. David Jensen and Joe Riggs dropped out and a guy named Mark Schimscheimer has dropped in. What are we to make of Schimscheimer? He’s been walked around by Assemblyman Bill Evans and according to the Division of Elections is a registered Republican. That would seem to indicate he’s playing for some right-of-center votes. He’s going to have some problems there. A quick consultation with that newfangled google machine reveals the following:

Problem 1: It appears Mr. Schimscheimer only just changed his party affiliation about 5 minutes ago. As a matter of fact I’ve been told by some politicos their voter databases still list him as a Democrat.

Problem 2: He donated to and served on the transition team for the Walker-Mallott ticket. That can’t be something the Republican Party or conservative groups are going to love.

Problem 3: Then there is this. It is likely a deal breaker for most on the right:

schirschmeimer obama donation

Add all that up and it looks like a Democrat pretending to be a Republican to get elected. I don’t know Mr. Schimscheimer so I have no idea if that is accurate, but those facts sure do paint a picture, and it isn’t a pretty one for a first time candidate.

Meme Time — Since Nat Herz liked our memes last week, we’re doing them again. Here are a few to enjoy:

One of mine


Another one of mine, but an improvement on one posted by Michael Chambers 

walker pfd meme
Who doesn’t love a good Bernie meme. I feel like it captures something about Bernie and his supporters.

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