Friday in the Sun!!! (February 10)

Friday in the Sun is here


Inflation — It sounds like Sen. Cathy Giessel’s SB 50, a bill that would raise the tax on studded tires from $5 per tire to $75 per tire, is going over like a lead balloon, even among her ultra-right-wing base.

Yesterday, on her radio show, Amy Demboski called the proposal “insanity” and then took a string of callers who slammed the Senator for “smoking crack” and demanded she switch party affiliations because she clearly is now a Democrat.    

Democrat Cathy Giessel: The words feel like they’re going to murder each other if put together.

Deadline — Today is the deadline for filing to run for local office in Anchorage. Here are the major candidates who have filed so far. Local elections are technically (but only technically) nonpartisan so we’ll list candidates by their right/left positioning.

Chugiak/ Eagle River

Righty — John Brassell
Lefty — Gretchen Wehmhoff


Righty — Chris Cox (filed with APOC only)
Lefty — Chris Constant
Lefty — David Dunsmore

East Anchorage

Righty — Kevin Smestad
Righty — Don Jones
Lefty — Pete Petersen

West Anchorage

Righty — David Nees
Lefty — Tim Steele
Lefty — Mark Butler (filed with APOC only)

South Anchorage

Righty — Albert Fogle
Lefty — Suzanne LaFrance


Righty — Don Smith
Lefty — Felix Rivera
Lefty — Marcus Sanders

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.

East Side Drama — Although today is the deadline to file to run for the Anchorage Assembly and School Board, don’t expect this to end the “who will run?” speculation. A good example is in East Anchorage, where incumbent lefty Pete Petersen currently has two righties, Kevin Smestad and Don Jones, running against him.

The way I hear it, the fight is on to convince one of the two conservatives to drop out so the other has the slightest chance of winning. Smestad has been raising money and going door-to-door for weeks, but Jones is the Dan Coffey and Bob Griffin recruit, bringing both funding and conservative street cred to his campaign.

It isn’t clear right now who will drop out, but my guess is one of them will. Both of them running is campaign suicide.

More Muni Fun — The filing deadline hasn’t even arrived and politicos are already combing through filings for oppo research. Here’s a good example from Downtown candidate Chris Cox’s financial disclosure:

He’s had no income for the last year and a half and owes Joe Miller money? Is it even THAT Joe Miller? Nothing necessarily wrong with any of this, but it is curious.

Appointment Listening — The Midnight Sun The Podcast is taking the week off. We’ll be back next Sunday with a fresh episode. 

Capped — Two weeks ago Anchorage spending cap advocates were stymied when a judge ruled their ballot initiative violated the Alaska Constitution. Of course, the city could appeal the decision, but several sources have confirmed Muni Attorney Bill Falsey has told initiative organizers they won’t.

That leaves the legal battle to initiative supporters. Two of them, Americans For Prosperity – Alaska and Bob Griffin, say they are looking at pressing the issue in court themselves, but Griffin confirmed there won’t be enough time to get that done before the April election. If the initiative does eventually make it to a ballot it will likely either be in a special election, or on next year’s mayoral election ballot.

Days Until The Next State Election634
Days Until Muni Election53

Congrats — Alaska Republican Party Vice-Chairman Rick Whitbeck is moving on from his ACS sales job to be sales director at CBI Media Group. CBI owns several radio stations throughout Southcentral Alaska, as well as TV station KCFT.

Most interesting, CBI owns KVNT, which airs Amy Demboski‘s radio show. Demboski and Whitbeck had quite the on air dust up on the show last fall over the Alaska GOP’s response to Demboski’s support of Joe Miller in the U.S. Senate race. Now Whitbeck will be heading up efforts to sell advertising and live-reads for Demboski’s show.

Floored — There was some great political theater in Juneau this week when the House Resources Committee sponsored HB 111, a bill to raise taxes on oil and gas production. Republicans objected to it being a committee-sponsored bill, and because the Majority leaked the entire bill to the media before any members of the Minority had a chance to look at it.

Those of us who haven’t been in the legislature and look at the situation objectively would probably say the move by the Majority was at least discourteous to their Minority colleagues, but also that Republicans were largely playing up their offense for the cameras since they did the same thing to Democrats for decades when the Rs were in the Majority. Losing elections has consequences, and the ability of the Majority to cut the Minority out of the decision-making process is one of them.

More interesting about the fight is what the cameras and mics didn’t pick up. I’ve been told by multiple legislators that during an at-ease House Rules Co-Chair Geran Tarr got in the faces of Rep. Mike Chenault and Rep. Dave Talerico and started yelling at them. After the drama had died down, Chenault went to Tarr and told her to say her behavior was inappropriate, and if it happened again he would more aggressively stand up for himself. Tarr responded by yelling “are you threatening me?” and “I really feel threatened” and had Capitol security called to protect her.

Say what you will about Mike Chenault, but the man has consistently shown a commitment to maintaining proper decorum on the House Floor, both when he was Speaker and now that he’s in the Minority. There is no way he threatened Tarr. She needs to bring the drama down a notch… or seven.

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1 Comment on "Friday in the Sun!!! (February 10)"

  1. Check into Kevin Smestad’s family situation. The photos show him with his current wife and baby. But he treated his ex-wife and there 3 kids irresponsibly. He has no business running for Assembly. he needs to spend time with his whole family instead of running for office. He is not a “good guy’.

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