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October 17, 2017

Alaska: Hand Out, Finger Up

gadsenFLAG1

The State of Alaska has one hand out palm up, and the other raised with one finger prominently extended — again. The upcoming “Federal Overreach Summit” to be held at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage seemed like a tea party function. I don’t have a yellow flag with a snake on it or a three-cornered hat, so I didn’t pay much mind. Until this week. An email found its way to me from a Department of Natural Resources employee. Karrie Improte signed an email announcing the “very interesting news; on page 1 there is an announcement on the Commission sponsored…

The View from Juneau

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An old saying goes something like this, “We hate in others what we hate in ourselves.” I don’t think I’ve seen a better example of that than this 28th legislative session. I flew to Juneau to watch the last days of the session for myself. Home in Anchorage, I spend a remarkable amount of time watching Gavel to Gavel – I even Tivo it. But the cameras don’t show what’s really going on in the Capitol, restaurants and bars; they don’t show the lobbyists following lawmakers into the bathroom or to the smoking porch. (I have to wonder whether the…

GOP Opens Can of Education Worms

religion-politics-ROLE

If you’ve been in Alaska long, you’ve noticed changes. Oh, I don’t mean buildings toppling into the sea or the permafrost forgetting what “perma” means. We seem less tolerant of each other the easier life here becomes. But with the news coming out of Juneau, we may be back on a track to tolerance. Some of the current legislative proposals could really expand Alaska’s cultural and religious diversity! It’s exciting! Republican Rep. Wes Keller has proposed changing Alaska’s Constitution to allow public money to fund private schools. I’m guessing Rep. Keller hasn’t read the notes of Alaska’s constitutional convention delegates’…

Right Wing Political Theater

Statehood

Last week, before being sworn into office, my representative to the state House, Lindsey Holmes, decided she’s really a Republican — this after running and winning multiple times as a Democrat. Why more Democratic women aren’t defecting to the party of trans-vaginal probes is beyond me. I suppose I’d be more upset if I thought the Democrats were losing a hard worker who did more than run up her Alaska Airlines mileage on legislative junkets. Lindsey “found herself” for a committee assignment – making Vic Kohring look like a bargaining savant. Her dishonesty with voters and misrepresentation to donors was…

Dismantling Alaska Bipartisanship

religion-politics-ROLE

Alaska Family Action, the political arm of the Alaska Family Council, recently welcomed Governor Sean Parnell to a fundraiser. The event brought together social conservatives who seek to add their voices to those supporting the governor’s oil tax plan. With the specific goal of destroying the State Senate’s bipartisan coalition next month, the organization is banking on a new fundraising strategy and new access to personal data about voters to fuel its “Reclaiming Juneau Initiative” in November. Jim Minnery addressed the event’s roughly 25 attendees, explaining that his Alaska Family Council became frustrated by the political limitations it encountered via…

ALEC v. the Middle Class

By Thomas Dewar The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed corporations. —Thomas Jefferson ALEC is a dating service for state legislators and corporations. —Ed Muir, AFT Who Is ALEC? If you really want to know who and what is behind something in government, follow the money. It’s not a coincidence that the recent assault on workers and their unions occurred simultaneously in different states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and others. Or that, closer to home, there is now a war on Alaska’s public schools. Funded…

The War on Alaska’s Public Schools — The Basic Outline

by Linda Kellen Biegel Last school year, I wrote a post about the proposed cuts in the Anchorage School District budget and how they would affect a family of a middle school student. It was then I became aware of the outrageous fees Mayor Dan Sullivan was charging the school district–for example: 100% of the salaries and benefits of those Anchorage Police–called Resource Officers–who only service the School District about 70% of the time. I tried to show how they were taking millions of dollars away from our kids. (Note: As of this week, these fees have not changed.) Sadly,…

The Anti-Public Education Agenda Comes to Alaska…

…And Hardly Anybody Knows It Many of us have heard the stories: new Republican Governors and Tea Party majorities in state legislatures across the country have been targeting public employees and their salaries, pensions, health benefits, etc… Along with this, there has been a major push at another budget-cut target — public school systems. Public Education faces massive cuts in Texas ($4 bil), huge cuts in Wisconsin ($900 mil), more cuts in North Carolina, budget cuts and a removal of the school districts’ tax authority in Pennsylvania (inhibiting individual districts from raising property taxes), and a governor-declared “financial emergency” in…