Twin Sons, Newt Gingrich & Dan Sullivan (New Sidewalk Ordinance–Public Testimony TONIGHT!)
by Linda Kellen Biegel
On the same day that the world is outraged by the pepper-spraying of peaceful UC Davis protestors, Newt Gingrich still manages to capture the attention of the media. Friday, his announcement of “extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America” which turn out to include a repeal of child labor laws. Then, as if trying to outdo himself, Newt decides to moralize at the country-wide Occupy Wall Street participants (the same ones who shout him down at his speeches) by telling them to “get a job, after you take a bath.”
Yes, this is the same Newt Gingrich who last year in front of the same type of Christian fundamentalist crowd claimed that his marital infidelities were “partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”
Yes, this is the same Newt who claims to be a “historian,” as reflected in his comments in the video: “Captain John Smith said in 1607 in the first English speaking permanent colony to the aristocrats who paid their way and didn’t want to work, ‘If you don’t work, you won’t eat.’”
Of course, there is much irony there. Captain Smith’a words were directed at members of the monied “gentlemen” class who had made the trip to the New World. They felt that blue-collar work was “beneath them.” Captain Smith, the blue-collar guy, was letting the aristocrats know that he wasn’t going to put up with their behavior anymore.
So it was a good example for the Occupy Wall Street folks after all, just not the way Gingrich intended.
His history facts are about as accurate as his comments regarding Occupy Wall Street. Much of the movement is comprised of hard-working middle/working class folks who have jobs, thank you very much. It is also comprised of hard-working recent college grads who have been looking for jobs without success. Statistically, reports of youth unemployment (under 25) are as high as 54%. According to one study, 85% of college graduates are moving back in with their parents due to lack of jobs and a mountain of crushing debt from college loans.
And of course, no one could be less hard-working than Newt himself…a reportedly lazy campaigner. Gingrich’s staff left him enmasse in June because the candidate and his wife decided that a two-week cruise in Greece and selling his books were more important than the hard work of a campaign. (Not to mention it was during this “vacation” that Gingrich’s $500,000.00 jewelry credit line at Tiffany’s was revealed.) Just last week, after telling the initial “historian” lie regarding the origin of money paid to him by mortgage lender Freddie Mac, it was revealed that Gingrich was hired to “build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it” and he was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million to do so. Mr. Gingrich is the one who has been on the “public dole” most of his career as a politician. Here Gingrich demonstrates what has already been known…that he has cast his lots with the aristocratic 1% to the detriment of people who once made up the majority of his constituents.
While I never would have considered that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and our own Mayor Dan Sullivan as being in any way related, Gingrich’s video reminded me of another one — an interview with the Mayor where he repeated the similar answer he gave at a press conference regarding a homeless protestor who wanted to meet with him:
“Sullivan said the man would have to “clean up and make himself presentable as a good self-worthy human being would do,” as well as filling out a form in the mayor’s office if he wants to have a legitimate meeting.”
The similar phrase was during a “View from City Hall” interview last summer conducted by KTVA’s Grace Jang: (Comments start at about 7:20)
Besides that similar issue of entitlement arrogance, our Mayor has also had his share of ethical problems, starting before the Mayor’s race was even a twinkle in his eye.
— As one of the owners of McGinley’s Pub, he was “Dan the boss” who kept pouring booze for a waitress after hours, then sent her out when she was over the limit at 4:00 am so she could cause a head-on collision.
— Mayor Sullivan received $193,000.00 on behalf of a trust for his now departed father, former Mayor George Sullivan. This was always reported as “insurance” but as it turned out, there was no such policy.
— He hired Bernadette Wilson to contract as a “party planner” for about $6,000.00 of Muni pay…something that had never been before. There were also…allegedly…some extenuating circumstances that were cause for concern.
— Sullivan, who ran on a “public safety” platform, slashed police and fire to the bone — to the point of putting many in our city at risk and exacerbating the problems he vowed to fix. Luckily, FEMA saved the day with some money to add back those public safety employees who had been cut.
— He even squashed the firefighter’s ability to maintain the tradition of “filling the boot” for Muscular Dystrophy while on the clock.
— The Mayor inserted himself in this year’s supposedly non-partisan Municipal election (including appearing on a number of radio programs during working hours) in order to get a majority of supporters on the Assembly. He got the one he needed. Now, “Team Sully” does the bidding of Mayor Sullivan, the City of Anchorage be damned.
— While he’s recently attempting to change his education image, in reality Sullivan has levied unfair fees against the Anchorage School District, taking money out of the classroom to make his Municipal budget look better.
I would not presume to insinuate that Mayor Sullivan has risen (or sunk) to the level of Newt Gingrich, the only House Speaker ever penalized for ethics violations. However, like Gingrich, Sullivan is definitely trying to establish himself as a friend to all corporations and the 1%. It is rumored that many things Sullivan is doing now is to impress the National Republican Senatorial Committee so they’ll support him against Mark Begich in 2014. Of course, these are only rumors…
Sullivan’s above-mentioned comments regarding John Martin, the homeless protestor, upset those of us at Mudflats as well as quite a few other people, including a number within the religious community.
The Mayor’s anger and revulsion at that protestor led to an Ordinance attempting to ban folks from sitting and/or lying on the sidewalks in downtown Anchorage. The outcry was such that the Mayor requested that his own Ordinance be postponed. While some people showed up and gave some moving and extremely powerful testimony anyway, the Ordinance was postponed indefinitely.
Well, now it’s baaaaaack…
Mayor Dan Sullivan’s proposed law to restrict sitting and lying down on sidewalks is back — and it’s very similar to the version that the Anchorage Assembly postponed indefinitely in July, with several Assembly members opposing it.
“We’ve just adjusted the hours a little bit,” Sullivan said during a press briefing last week.
The Mayor is like a dog with a bone, he wants this victory. I wonder why?
While the Mayor claims it will not affect the “Occupy Anchorage” folks in the park, it does basically force anyone who wants to stage a protest on the street to get a permit…something that costs money.
Public testimony is tonight:
Anchorage Assembly Meeting
3600 Denali, Room 108
Anchorage, Ak 99503
The testimony will be after 6:00 pm. C’MON DOWN!
If you can’t make it, PLEASE email your Assembly folks and let them know how you feel. Here is the email to hit them all: firstname.lastname@example.org and HERE IS THE PAGE for the individual emails. (Hint: Anyone living in Jennifer Johnston’s District (South Anchorage) should DEFINITELY let her know how you feel about this Ordinance.)