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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Blast from 2013: Why Don Smith Lost

This post originally appeared on Mudflats April 2, 2013 just before last year’s Municipal election that gave us our current, improved Anchorage School Board…one that does not include Don Smith and DOES include Kameron Perez-Verdia.

It came about as the result of a tainted appointment process (to replace a Board member who resigned). The man they originally chose was known personally by members of the Board, who did not reveal their conflict. He was also a former VECO executive who personally paid bribes to the “Corrupt Bastards” group. Some quotes:

. — “In his application for consideration for the empty seat, Mr. Corkran didn’t mention Veco. He wrote much about his experience leading “a world wide company” with more than 5,000 employees. He wrote, “Successfully negotiated all aspects of the sale of one of the largest privately-held company in Alaska in 2007.”

— “Our schools are having tough times. We deserve better than a man who funded political criminals. There isn’t one lawmaker who went to jail who didn’t take money from Mr. Corkran”

Below is Don Smith’s reaction to Mr. Corkran’s rejection of the appointment after Shannyn (with a little help from me) exposed the lack of transparency and the connections with other School board members. Listen to how Smith treats Mr. Perez-Verdia in his rant:

Read tomorrow’s Mudflats Voter Guide for more recent updates on Smith and why he’s not fit to come back. (Sorry…spoilers!!!)


Don Smith2

Here is a video from last night’s Anchorage School Board Meeting. It shows how Don Smith reacted to the kerfluffle over the weekend, which led to Thomas Corkran’s withdrawl from his newly appointed position on the Board. (Spoilers: Kameron Perez-Verdia was voted-on and sworn-in last night.)

It also provides a few (more) reasons to vote Don Smith out of office and vote for former State Senator Bettye Davis to replace him:

1) People in elected office should never use their positions of power to attack private citizens by name. Shannyn and I can handle it just fine. However, it completely intimidates others from exercising their right to participate in their government process. (Yeah, I know. Palin opened that door…)

2) People in elected office should never personalize criticism that comes with the territory…especially when deserved. All Mr. Smith succeeded in doing last night was act like a toddler who had his favorite toy taken away.

3) People in elected office should never be insulting to someone they will probably be serving with in the future.

Smith’s comments about Kameron Perez-Verdia’s candidacy were inaccurate and insulting. That includes statements Smith voiced that were not in this video clip:

“We are being forced to accept a candidate who clearly didn’t have majority support.”

Mr. Perez-Verdia was tied 3-3 with Mr. Corkran for three voting cycles. Board Member Kathleen Plunkett changed her vote to Corkran on the fourth cycle, most likely to avoid the embarassment of a coin toss. It’s outrageous to suggest that she didn’t now support Mr. Perez-Verdia!

“I believe that the selection process is flawed.”

Could he have suddenly come to that belief because he isn’t getting his way?

“I have nothing against Kameron other than I believe he is a special-issue-focused candidate.”

This is a comment that lends itself to dangerous interpretation, mainly because Perez-Verdia’s background with children is anything but “single-issue.” As a matter-of-fact, Mr. Corkran’s experience was more one-note as his response to almost every experience question revolved around his mentoring with Junior Achievement.

So one is left to speculate what Don Smith could most likely be insinuating with his “special-issue” comment and it doesn’t bode well.

4) Most importantly — people in elected office should never OUTRIGHT ATTACK their constituents!

Last night, Erik Breese testified and gave his opinion about the Board’s actions surrounding the appointment of Mr. Corkran. In the process, he asked Don Smith if he was still the only one who has not signed the Anchorage School District Code of Conduct.

Mr. Smith acknowledged that was true.

Mr. Breese ended by producing a packet of paper that was a print-out of the Achorage Code regarding signage and chastising Mr. Smith for allegedly not following the regulations. He then took that packet over to Smith’s desk and laid it in front of him.

According to Mr. Breese, Smith allegedly said “f*** you” loud enough that Breese thought the people immediately next to Smith could have heard him, but not enough to be clear over the microphone.

What the camera caught was Don Smith throwing the packet on the floor, then picking it up a minute later only to dramatically tear it up.

I guess there is no speculation necessary as to why Don Smith hasn’t signed the ASD Code of Conduct!

And there is absolutely no speculation required as to why Don Smith needs to go!

(Video courtesy of ExposeAlaska)



25 Responses to “Blast from 2013: Why Don Smith Lost”
  1. mike says:

    Thanks Joanne, you made a clean and simple post and I voted last week. Don is a true nut-case and I can’t figure where he is coming from as I listened to the debates tonight on public television. I am reasonably sure the Alaskans he thinks he might represent are a small minority.

  2. Alexandra Duane says:

    Mr. Smith is offering entry into a drawing for movie tickets if you “like” his Facebook page.
    He also has removed the posts I made, quoting what he said on KSKA and asking him to confirm whether he actually said those things, characterizing my posts as “negative content”. Hey, he either said it, or I misquoted him, one or the other. If I misquoted him, I’ll apologize.

  3. Alexandra Duane says:

    Let me guess – does the Mudflats Voter’s Guide item on Smith include some of the astonishing statements he made tonight on KSKA, in response to Daysha Eaton’s questions about graduation rates?
    You can see the whole oh-no-he-didn’t interview on the KSKA website, but here’s some of the gems, transcribed by yours truly:

    “Oh, there’s lots of problems that have been caused by organizations like the State Department, that have somehow convinced Alaskans or Anchorage residents to accept two families a month from Africa and Indonesia to come in here totally unable to speak English, and give us the responsibility to try to educate these kids in the school system. When I was in Anchorage high school, it was about 98 percent white students, and the balance were probably Native and one or two black students in the school. Today we’re 48 percent white, 52 percent other, and that clearly is causing problems, I mean, I think our numbers are dropping because we’re importing all these people that aren’t up to the standards that we had set for, you know, for the schools, consequently it’s drawn us downward, not upward …”

    “We can’t tell all these people to go back to Africa or go back to Indonesia or wherever, you know, they’ve been imported from …”

    “… somebody, and I don’t know who it is, that authorized this to happen, but agree, I don’t think they can just do it to us, I think somebody in state government or somebody in municipal government has agreed to allow us to be a refugee city …”

    I just stood and stared at the radio. Oh, no he didn’t. He seriously didn’t just say that. A person running for elective office in the year 2014 did NOT just say that. But yes, he said it, and more. Go see the interview.

  4. Alaska Pi says:

    Best wishes ANC!
    Mr Smith’s public behavior last go around bordered on appalling as relates to the code of conduct packet whether he said eff-you to Mr Breese or not. Chucking the packet, tearing it up? Crimenently. Don’t we give our kids timeout when they act snotty like that?
    Hoping y’all leave him behind this time like you did last time.
    Whether he accomplished good things or not- his “tude stinks.
    Too much personal response there to be clear headed about important decisions facing your school board.

    And that Ms Van Imhoff ? Holy moley! Don’t need scolds on the board either folks. Jeez. What a doof.

  5. Dale says:

    Have you seen the “Re-Elect!” banners stuck to his campaign signs? Trying to act like he’s an incumbent; is that even legal?

  6. Zyxomma says:

    Pay attention! Republican voters do NOT elect RWNJs, gerrymandering notwithstanding. They are elected by Democrats and Independents who STAY HOME. Vote in every primary and every general. Voting is not something we do every four years.

  7. Ice Gal says:

    The voters sent him packing. I hope he crawls back under his rock and takes dan with him

    • Sara says:

      He will actually not go crawl under a rock he will enjoy his new found free time enjoying gardening and being with his family. It’s pretty sad that no one can point out any of the good things he has done with the board over the last three years but ignorant and uninformed people wouldn’t know anything about that.

      • John says:

        He was pretty much a non-entity on the board. He could be counted on to vote against anything that sounded like it might help homeless children or English Language Learners. He had conflicted feelings about special ed; he wanted to help children with learning disabilities as long as it didn’t hold back the real children. And he would always side with Pat Higgins in asking the state for more money to fund career and technical education efforts, even if the district staff said they wouldn’t be able to spend the money effectively. Boards work as a group, so you don’t always see the efforts of individuals, but in three years on the board, he didn’t seem to make any impact.

        And it wasn’t over the last three years. He has been off the board for a year now.

        • Alexandra Duane says:

          John, he clearly still has some “conflicted feelings” about education for special-needs kids and kids who don’t speak English as their first language – watch, if your stomach can stand it, his interview with Daysha Eaton on KSKA’s website. I heard it on the radio and was stunned at the things he said.

  8. John says:

    And go he shall.
    Don was/is conflicted in many ways. He had his good moments on the board. Asking to spend more money, telling people the tax cap was supposed to slow growth, not cause cuts. Supporting technology and career training in schools. Arguing that it wasn’t fair that some schools received large legislative grants, while others got nothing. And he had his cringingly terrible moments, suggesting we shouldn’t help homeless students or hungry students, or allow a non-profit to provide health care in a school, because, before you know it, every school will want a program to help children at no cost to the taxpayer. He didn’t have the courage of his own convictions to actually try to cut spending, so he lost support from the conservatives who put him in office. And he continued to make enough enemies among those with an above body temperature IQ to keep from gaining support there. His only hope in this election was that the racists/sexists wouldn’t vote for a black woman. But Bettye crushed the incumbent and with her years of wisdom from serving on the school board, House of Representatives, and Senate, it should be good days ahead for ASD.

    • Sara says:

      I feel I should clarify again that he never said he did not want to feed homeless children he said he wanted to look closely at the bill. Also, he hires people at Beans Cafe to help him with projects around his house and not only pays them but provides them meals while they work.

  9. AKblue says:

    Bettye Davis won Don’s seat!! One Don down, one to go….

  10. Bucsfan says:

    So no one knew of Corkran’s back round. Uh, let’s focus on one person, Jeannie Mackie. She is married to Jerry Mackie, who used to serve in the Alaska legislature and later become a political consultant, with one client being Pete Kott. The federal prosecutors considered Mackie an unindicted conspirator. The chief prosecution witnesses in the trial were Bill Allen and Rick Smith, the top two executives at Veco. But Jeannie Mackie had no idea about Corkran’s relationship with Veco? That is Seth Meyer’s cue to say REALLY?

    • Erik says:

      I hear you, Bucsfan, but at least Mackie is stepping aside. Von Imhof is now the most dangerous/damaging person on the board. She chose not to tell anyone that Corkran not only donated to her campaign but apparently worked as her treasurer. The gall to think that is not conflict enough to recuse yourself. She has demonstrated a total lack of integrity.

  11. tallimat says:

    Don Smith has issues.
    I remember him on the Anch assembly back in the early 80’s.
    His behavior hasn’t improved one bit.

    • GoBig says:

      Speaking of which…for those who were here. Don’s big claim to fame, or infamy, was getting stopped by Anchorage Police for a traffic violation, and threatening to have the officer fired since he was on the assembly and tight with the mayor and police chief.

      The whole incident was recorded by the officer. Oops. Don fell out of the limelight for a couple decades and then reemerged since voters tend to have short memories.

  12. All I Saw says:

    He’s the bus follower. Looking for budget efficiencies with the bus routes.

    He’s not a fan of people who don’t think like him, or their kids… lol

  13. AKMagpie says:

    The “Dons”, both Smith and Young, need to go away, far away.

  14. mike from iowa says:

    I’m gonna take a wild guess and guess that Smith is a rwnj.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Never mind. I looked Smith up on Ballotpedia and confirmed my suspicions. Being an arrogant white person seems to be a prerequisite for the new nutter party.

  15. Meghan says:

    I voted for him and am now very sorry that I did so. I had no idea he would behave in such a disappointing way.

  16. Joanne says:

    Really enjoyed not voting for him!

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  1. […] is amazing in her own right, but Don Smith’s latest shenanigans and nastiness didn’t help his cause. Davis recently lost her established State Senate seat after Republican […]

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