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October 23, 2014

(UPDATE) Parnell’s California Dream

UPDATE:
Gov. Parnell’s illegal appointment has “withdrawn his own name,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.

“A state law says board and commission nominees must be registered Alaska voters. Mandell told the Daily News he had not lived in Alaska since 1995. Parnell continued to back him, saying the Alaska Constitution required only that nominees be U.S. citizens.”

Apparently the quaint notion that we have to follow state law is beyond the governor’s scope. If only he had some basic legal training. Oh, wait.

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$2 billion a year is not enough. Sure they’re the wealthiest entities ever to have existed on earth, but who knows what could happen. We must give them more! They are used to certain standard, and we must support them in the style to which they have become accustomed. For Pete’s sake, we’re not abusers!

You’ve got to hand it to former ConocoPhillips lobbyist, and Exxon Valdez disaster attorney Sean Parnell. He brought all of the scruples and blurred ethical abilities that one might expect he would to his current job as governor of the state of Alaska. It’s gotten him where he is today.

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Oil wealth pirate and Alaska governor, Sean Parnell.

That no-strings $2 billion a year from our state treasury funneled to the multinational behemoths Exxon, Conoco, and BP via Senate Bill 21 was a good start. But Parnell has found a fun new way to grease those eager palms in London and Houston with cool green Alaska cash.

Recently, Parnell appointed a certain Mr. Dennis Mandell to the Trans Alaska Pipeline Services Assessment Board. That board is made up of folks that decide exactly how much the pipeline is worth. The less it’s worth, the less the oil companies have to pay in taxes to the state. The more it’s worth, the more they pay. I see that little lightbulb flickering over your head, and I  have a feeling you see where this is going.

So, how does one get a position on this board that sets the valuation which determines what the oil companies have to pay? Well, as long as one understands oil and taxes, is an Alaskan voter, gets appointed by the governor, and approved by the legislature, they’re in. Pretty simple.

But simple is hard. And so is following “rules.”

Sean Parnell did find someone who’s worked for 18 years in the oil industry, and he did appoint him to the commission. Just one teensy little thing. He lives in California. The state. His voter registration and residence are more than 3,000 miles away from Alaska, where the law says he needs to be.

Houston, we have a problem.

And when I say “Houston,” I’m looking at YOU ConocoPhillips headquarters.

And, hold the phone! I’m liking what I see…

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Nice newly renovated digs, Conoco!

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Ooo. That’s pretty. A crystalline blue water feature right on campus.

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Drill bit art in the lobby, next to the shining multimedia globe hovering above a silver pool. Nice touch.

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Very Zen. I really like the rounded river rocks in the pool. It’s stressful shaking down rubes in the Arctic. This looks like a nice place to get grounded and centered again.

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Lunch on the veranda by the reflecting pool. Ahhh…

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Don’t forget to wait an hour after lunch before you take a dip in the in-house multi-story wellness center’s pool, kids! Might get a cramp! Don’t want a cramp.

“Expanding ConocoPhillips’s corporate campus in Houston required sensitively integrating new facilities into the existing complex, while enhancing the workplace environment and updating the corporate aesthetic. New facilities include a central reception area for the entire campus, multiple conference and meeting facilities, and a fitness and wellness center (offering 60 classes a week), with its indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, four aerobic studios, cardio and strength training rooms, a wellness and medical center, locker rooms, and a snack bar. The courtyard offers trellised dining areas, garden courts, and water features, and a new pedestrian walkway that links West Campus to the rest of the workplaces.”

At least we know the money for our schools, and roads, and bridges, and public safety, is going to good use. Thanks, Sean Parnell! xoxo

This little illegal move to stack the board with oil-frinedly valuators did not go unnoticed. Rich Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News noted last week that Parnell had violated the statute, and went on to say:

Dennis Mandell, 59, of Salinas, Calif., began an indefinite term on the State Assessment Review Board March 1, taking the place of former Anchorage city assessor Marty McGee, who was kicked off the board last month by Parnell. Members of that board are paid only expenses and serve at the pleasure of the governor.

When confronted, Mandell admitted he doesn’t live in Alaska, even though he accepted the position. That’s a heck of a commute just for expenses, and the privilege of pleasuring the governor. He must be very, very dedicated to his work. Very dedicated, indeed.

But back to dollars and cents. The oil companies claim that the pipeline is worth $850 million. The TAPS Assessment Board said that the pipeline was actually worth several billion dollars.  But a recent State Supreme Court decision found that the pipeline is actually worth $10 billion. I don’t mean to be the one to shatter your idealistic little heart, but it would appear that the oil companies were attempting to fleece Alaska localities out of 90% of their property tax revenue… even though that’s wrong.

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Yes.

The Supreme Court decision was reported as a “huge victory” for Alaska communities, with good reason. What it means in real terms is that Fairbanks, Valdez, and the North Slope Borough will now collect tens of millions of dollars in back taxes as a result of it – tens of millions of their own dollars that are currently stuffed in a bank account in Texas. Or maybe they went for that new 911,000 square foot corporate headquarters with the soaring multi-story glass atrium, wooded walkways to the wellness center, and relaxing water features. Those things aren’t cheap, ungrateful small Alaska communities!

Since the good people of Alaska found out that Parnell was using statutes as fire starter to keep his oil buddies warm, there have been calls for him to rescind the selection of Mandell, and pick an actual Alaskan for the job.

Yesterday, in a letter, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus also called on Parnell to withdraw the appointment.

“State law is extremely clear on this point.  Members of state boards must be state residents.  Mr. Mandell is not a state resident, and his appointment must be withdrawn.  While some question Mr. Mandell’s professional qualifications as an assessor or his ability to be impartial given his past employment as an oil industry executive, these questions do not disqualify Mr. Mandell from service.  Mr. Mandell’s established state of residency precludes him from serving on an Alaskan board or commission,” stated Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage).

“Parnell’s attempt to give away our oil wealth isn’t just brazen—it’s unconstitutional,” said Mike Wenstrup, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. 

Parnell might want to reconsider this whole “hiring people from out of state illegally” thing.  The last time he did it, the whole thing went down in flames when Pennsylvanian Paul Pozonsky, appointee to the position of Worker’s Compensation Board hearing officer, was charged with stealing cocaine trial evidence from the judge’s bench.

But he’s standing firm on his Cali boy. Because, you know, statute – schmatute. Now it’s off to the legislature for approval. Pop the corn.

Comments

comments

Comments
16 Responses to “(UPDATE) Parnell’s California Dream”
  1. slipstream says:

    Happy Pi Day! Some blueberry pi for you!

    Everybody bring over a nice piece of pie for AKM!

    • Alaska Pi says:

      This Pi is bringing over 3 cheers for AKM. Listened to livestream of KBYR show with her on it this morning. Yay!!! Jeanne!

  2. slipstream says:

    Time for Parnell to quit messing around, and appoint somebody from Texas.

  3. Zyxomma says:

    That drill-bit art reminds me of the case where I keep my Dremel tool, which I’ve been using a lot more lately. Yes, I’m back to working in sterling silver and crystals. My Etsy shop will open soon.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Save your Dremel and we’ll send some wingnuts that need trephining done-no anasthetics. And tell them their gubmint healthcare won’t cover it.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    Technically,the state of Alaska could pay his “expenses” to move to Alaska and then hand him a bonus for moving and related expenses. Be interesting to see if the party who believes in and abides by the constitution,will ignore the Soopreme Court of Alaska and not collect back taxes.

  5. aaqooauk says:

    too bad voters don’t vote for there own personal needs,the palin clan has ruined Alaska for there gain,alaska need to clean the gov adm and the whole state,that has been hijacked by these damn shills you call govenors.

  6. Lisa says:

    California is the state with a Governor who actually lists his wife as advisor publicly and receives no criticism.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Anne Gust Brown is an UN-PAID advisor to her husband,just as she was all four years of his being California’s AG. I’m pretty sure this is one first lady that doesn’t consult fortune tellers like B actress cum glamour maven,Nancy Raygun.

  7. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Vetting? Alaskans did not do a very good job of vetting their CEOs the last couple of rounds now did they? Except for those who apparently like the idea of fleeciing the bottom 85% to enrich the top 15%.

    I vaguely remember something about a gas pipeline that was going to be built to carray N. Slope gas to
    Canada and a payment of a meager $500,000,000 to an outfit that calls themselves Trans Canada to get it
    built. If any one knows the date of the ground breaking ceremony let me know please, I would like to attend.

    I’d also like to see some evidence of exactly what that $500 million bought. Are there any engineering plans?

    Anything?

    From my outside perspective it seems to me that the way the minority of conservative nutjobs keep their hand on the tiller is by intimidation – berating, belittleing and besmirching everything their progressive liberal counterparts try to do. The brazen nay-saying is to me astounding. But apparently a plurality of the
    citizenry thinks of it as just reality Tee Vee. How sad is that? Since when is the one who shouts the loudest
    the automatic winner of the argument?

    Do not be intimidated. If we do not fight them now we must fight them later.

  8. ugavic says:

    We must keep up the fight and especially the fight to inform the voters of this state. The money buys the ads full of BS to scare people but hopefully people will go to the voting booth and change this!

  9. AlaskaCodPiece says:

    Off to the Legislature for approval? Maybe not.

    Parnell changed the mission statements of both DNR and the Office of Governor in 2012, which by Alaska statute, requires Legislative approval. Parnell thumbed his nose at the process and there you have it.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      There MUST be confirmation of these appointments by the Legislature.
      It is likely an uphill battle with this particular Leg group to deny confirmation but it is well worth a try.
      We also need to do waaaayyy better with who is in the Leg- this crap of a yes-whatever-you-want-Gov Legislature is eating us alive.
      Our Governor has very broad powers-too many for my liking. The Leg is partially there to act as a counter balance with its chores of confirmation of appointments and the like. Far too often there is not enough vetting of those appointees.

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