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October 26, 2021

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The Whole State Has Gone Mad – a Tour.

This week has been particularly mind-boggling everywhere from the Capitol in Juneau to the Anchorage Assembly chamber, to the Kenai Peninsula, Fairbanks, and the Mat-Su.

All I can say is suit up, because we’re going to take a dive and look at it all.

IN JUNEAU

The Special Session took a crazy turn Wednesday night. The legislature was slated to vote on what was shaping up to be an $1100 PFD, to fund scholarships, and get it done, and the floor session was ready to start…

But 18 of the 38 legislators who were in the Capitol decided not to show up. Taking into consideration some excused absences and a covid quarantine after close contact, there weren’t enough legislators for a quorum to conduct business. So, no PFD, no scholarships, no voting, no business, and NO floor session. And yes, all 18 elected members of the House who decided to hide out in their offices and throwing a wrench in the works were Republicans. But I didn’t really have to tell you that.

That’s a lot of empty red chairs.

As it stands right now, Dunleavy has VETOED the PFD all together, leaving us with exactly $0. And apparently he thinks by having his cohorts refuse to show up to vote for an $1100 PFD somehow will allow him to blame the ones who did show up. It’s about what we’ve come to expect from Dunleavy & Co. 

Last time the big dog and pony show happened when the Republicans refused to come to Juneau and tried to have a rogue session in Wasilla. Remember that Dunleavy fiasco? Now the usual suspects are actually in the Capitol building but still refusing to do their jobs. 

The mood in Juneau is grim at this writing. So remember,

**If we get no PFD this year, it rests squarely in the lap of the governor who vetoed it and the Republicans who never showed up to defend it.

The House floor session today was canceled, but there’s one scheduled for Saturday morning at 10am. We’ll see how it goes.


RECALL DUNLEAVY NOVEMBER 2022!

Yes, the official Recall Dunleavy campaign is winding down. Covid really ground the signature gathering process to a halt for long enough that the dates started running too close to the election and the decision was made to end the process. But don’t be sad, because this timing means the new Recall Dunleavy election is going to happen at the ballot box in November of 2022. 

So far in the race is Dunleavy (R), Walker (R–>I), Toien (L), and former Rep. Les Gara (D). Other announcements may come before the field is set, and the top 4 vote-getters in the primary will advance to a ranked-choice general election. [ONE vote in the primary, RANK up to 4 in the general].

The Alaska Republican Party has fully endorsed Dunleavy for another disastrous four years so it will be up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you want to pitch in to help make that so, click HERE and every penny will go to unseating the Dunleavy Disaster.

You heard the man!



IN ANCHORAGE – MAYOR HAS HISSY FIT WHEN TOLD ‘NO’

If you missed the Anchorage Assembly meeting on Tuesday, you were deprived of another great display reminiscent of petulant toddlers not getting their way and breaking their crayons. They gave Republicans in the legislature a run for their money.

You may remember that last week we talked about Sami Graham, a failed school board candidate who told Bronson she would like to work for his administration and he suggested she apply for the position of Municipal Librarian and she did. Problem being that although she has an education background, she does NOT have a background in actual Library Science. A Masters degree in that field is the minimum expectation for this type of position and Graham’s lack of it actually would jeopardize federal library grants to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Nobody likes losing tens of thousands of library dollars, especially with all the Republican cuts going around.

Sami Graham

Bronson’s people including Head of Human Resources, Niki Tshibaka (Trumper-Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka’s husband who strangely gained his position with no prior experience either) talked about how – sure, she wasn’t qualified on paper, but she was a ‘tour guide’ for young minds, and gleaned satisfaction from introducing children to knowledge, so…

The Assembly had been flooded with emails both from concerned patrons of the library who didn’t like the idea of partisan croneyism for unqualified people, to Bronson acolytes who wanted Graham just because those darn liberal bookheads DON’T.

Mind you the Assembly had voted to approve MANY of Bronson’s appointees so far, but this one they weren’t ready to vote for. Graham’s nomination was not approved by a vote of 7 to 4.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

[image from @Hrrrlscouts on Twitter]

As soon as the Assembly cast the vote, Bronson asked for a point of privilege to speak. And then he said he’d like to introduce everyone to his new Chief of Staff, Sami Graham. The Bronsonites went wild.

The rest of us were thinking… 1) Well, that’s good. She’s not the librarian and if he wants her as Chief of Staff, okay. and 2) What about Craig Campbell, the current Chief of Staff?

Then he went on to say if anyone needed to speak with his new Chief of Staff, they could find her in her office… IN THE LIBRARY! [dum dum duuuuummmmmm] More cheering.

Bronson’s office then quickly released a press statement that had been prepared in advance saying that Campbell had “relinquished his roll [sic]” as Chief of Staff to be something else they just made up, and Graham would be both Chief of Staff and also take on library director responsibilities.

[The press release is real, but I took liberties with the photo. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!]

This contorted attempt to “own the libs” by ignoring/rewriting the Municipal code is no doubt going to be contested. Anchorage conservatives thought this mutilation of the roles (<—-) of city government officials, and subverting the intent of the documents that organize government, was an “awesome power play” and that Bronson has… well… I’ll let them tell you in their own inimitable words. 🙄

We’d call it a temper tantrum and an inability to respect the rule of law and checks and balances, but whatever.

During testimony Niki Tshibaka confirmed that Graham was the one who asked to work for Bronson and that Bronson SUGGESTED she apply for the Librarian job. That plus the fact that he was totally cool with playing mixey-matchey-make-it-up with high level Municipal positions shows that the mayor is far less concerned with competence and far more concerned with giving unqualified croneys positions of authority. [I’m old enough to remember when that described Governor Palin to a ‘t’.]

So instead of taking a loss in the long list of nominees, Bronson has thrown a tantrum and gotten his 3 years off to a rocky start by forcing his way in a probably illegal maneuver.

Attorney Caitlin Shortell had some interesting comments on that front.

More HERE from The Blue Alaskan, the best source for coverage on the Assembly and Anchorage politics.


ON THE KENAI – MAYOR TOUTING DEWORMING PASTE

You’ve probably heard by now about the latest quackery regarding alternative ways to rid onesself of covid-19. It’s called Ivermectin, a livestock deworming paste that’s now all the rage among the unvaccinated. The biggest anti-mask-anti-vaxxer of all, Senator Lora Reinbold, has mentioned it and now so has the chief executive of the Kenai-Peninsula Borough.

KPB Mayor, Charlie Pierce

KPB Mayor Charlie PierceMayor Charlie Pierce spoke up at a Borough Assembly meeting to berate the hospital for not using unproven substances on Emergency Room patients. He touted the animal dewormer which is not approved for human use, and can also cause dangerous side effects in humans, messing with blood pressure and other things that shouldn’t be messed with, AND hydroxychloroquine, a favorite of the former President which has been shown ineffective also.

The mayor admitted he is not a doctor, nor medically qualified to promote the drug, but he has since been using his considerable platform on the Kenai to challenge local doctors on the use of  COVID-19 treatments debunked by the FDA on local right wing radio talk shows and in public meetings.

If you actually have livestock on the Kenai who need deworming, you may be out of luck because human demand has been high.

Pierce should take note of this from the Municipality of Anchorage.


IN FAIRBANKS – RADICAL CANDIDATES ON THE BALLOT

Feminism is what tells women they can sleep around and just get abortions when they go to (sic) far. Feminism is women saying they want to do it their way and not God’s way, and it gives men the ‘out’ to do nothing. I see feminism as one of the worst heresies that have completely messed up our church today (and the whole world for that matter).” Lance Roberts

Assemblyman/Raging misogynist, Lance Roberts

Sitting Fairbanks Northstar Borough Assembly member Lance Roberts is up for reelection this fall. Constituents have started reminding each other why he deserves no elected seat ever. Dermot Cole posted a piece this week on why Roberts believes that women shouldn’t be allowed to be pastors, and then cites Biblical quotations to back up his premise and intimating that if women DO want to be involved in church it should be just to sit there and be quiet.

The indomitable Rev. Matt Schultz of Christians for Equality, and the Alaska Democratic Party’s Faith Caucus had this to say:

“In these comments, Roberts displays a shallow understanding of scripture, which includes a wide variety of women in leadership (including Deborah, Huldah, Mary & Martha, Lydia, Phoebe, and many more) as well as a shallow understanding of biblical interpretation, which must always take into account the historical and cultural contexts of the writing of each individual passage. 

“We are all quite comfortable reading with an eye toward context when we allow tattoos, eat bacon, or wear polyester, all of which are prohibited in the Bible. It’s also important to remember that theology doesn’t remain on a person’s bookshelf, nor within the privacy of one’s soul; a person’s theology inevitably expresses itself as the person’s actions in the real world and treatment of other people. As Robert’s expressed his belief that women are a secondary creature spiritually, we can expect him to treat women as secondary creatures in the real world. It is essential that he is asked how this would impact his policy-making decisions.”

The Rev. Matt Schultz

👏👏👏

For more information about Roberts’ latest run, and his deep-seated misogyny, you can read another post from Dermot Cole which is full of links HERE and one from the Mudflats archives HERE.

Another problem Assembly candidate for the Fairbanks Northstar Borough is Patricia Silva.

Dermot Cole also has a post about her (he’s really covering the Fairbanks scene well), particularly her completely fringe conspiracy theories that she posted on her Facebook page. Those have been scrubbed now, but screen captures are forever. Here are two of MANY.


THE MAT-SU – A STORY IN HEADLINES

The Mat-Su Valley is in the middle of its own covid problems. Believing somehow that this whole pandemic thing is overblown and that masks are harmful to children, it was decided to do away with that pesky mask requirement on school buses as kids got back to class this month.

These sequential headlines tell the story. Turns out crossing your fingers is about as effective as deworming paste.

And just reported today:


WHILE THE STATE IS GOING CRAZY

There are still some good things to report. Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) who is contemplating a run for U.S. Senate (!!!) got a bill passed and the signing was this week. And yes, you-know-who, going against the recommendation of his Chief Medical Officer, was not wearing a mask.

Congratulations to Senator Gray-Jackson, and to all those this bill will help, and thanks to Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau) for carrying the bill in the House. You can read the full text of the bill HERE.



THE ART OF POLITICS

And let’s not forget beauty in the midst of the chaos. The Alaska Democratic Party is hosting a unique benefit auction in which legislators pair with Alaskan artists to create beautiful works of art that they’ll auction off to benefit their efforts. 

I’m getting some amazing sneak peeks at the art being created, and I have to say it has knocked my socks off every time. This gorgeous stained glass (suitable for indoor or outdoor display) created by Karen Williams and a soon-to-be-revealed State House Representative is a labor of love and hope.

Here’s a quick note from Williams about what the piece means to her and her co-artist.

“There are many small mirrors in this piece, which signifies that democracy is us…you and me…we may not all have the same world view (hence the circles/blue and rectangles/red)…but democracy works best when we can come together as community and government (the three branches signified by the green/yellow) and allow our colors to blend, and ideas to overlap (compromise).

“Another important point is that most of the materials are recycled… the round glass is from an old table at Habitat for Humanity Restore store…much of the glass is from thrift stores (vases and plates), and most of the steel would have ended up in the dump! This is also a metaphor for democracy…the brokenness can come together to create strength and beauty!”

To bid on this incredible piece, and many others that are equally WOW, you’ll need to get your tickets for the event which will happen on Friday, September 17, HERE. That’s your pass into an evening of a DIY cocktail class, live music, poetry, art, and camaraderie with some amazing artists, legislators, and like-minded folks.

Not only will it be a balm for the soul (which we all desperately need), but you’ll be helping ADP in the upcoming year to hire outstanding staff, to purchase the tools and services to get out every single vote, to execute a top-notch communications program, and to train the candidates and staff who will help to right the ship and get Alaska back on a steady course. We want our state to be a place our children stay and make a life, a place where people with big dreams can make them come true, and a place where our big wild life is welcoming to all.

**This article is reposted with permission from ADP. To get ‘Tall Tales from Juneau’ in your in box, click HERE and subscribe!

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