My Twitter Feed

June 15, 2021

Headlines:

Politics v. Policy – The Wrong Side Wins With Berkowitz’s “Visionary Plan”

Until last week, we believed that both Democratic candidates for governor were good choices. We believed that both put the interests of Alaskans first, supported Democratic achievements, and could be effective leaders working across the aisle to pass legislation and to support policy and existing legislation that benefited the people of Alaska. Many of our readers support Hollis French. Many of our readers support Ethan Berkowitz.  But very few had substantial angst about the other.

But last week something happened that rocked the boat, and by ‘rocked the boat’ we mean pitched the boat to the point where a lot of the crew got washed over the side.  And this is not good.

ACES v. PPT in a Battle to the Death

First, a little background. As much as we disliked and disagreed with many things that came out of the Palin administration, there was one piece of legislation that was very good. It’s called ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share).

ACES was Alaska’s answer to one of the most corrupt pieces of legislation ever – the PPT (Petroleum Profits Tax). The PPT was Frank Murkowski’s baby and it was crafted under his watch. Under the PPT, Murkowski had set the rate for Alaska’s share of oil industry profits low – so low that the oil companies themselves really liked it, which should tell you something. It made money for Alaska, but much less than a fair share.

And in a not so mysterious turn of events, the corruption of oil companies, and the oil services company VECO who found that Republican legislators could be bought cheap, resulted in lots of lawmakers going to jail. That was 2006, Palin’s first year, and Ethan Berkowitz’s last year in the legislature.

And so, there was a special session of the legislature in 2007 to discuss what to do about the PPT and how to get a fair share for Alaska. It was grueling. Numbers were crunched, heads were bonked together, there were late nights, compromises, arguments between the oily legislators and the ones who really wanted to see Alaskans benefit. It was a bloodbath. It was ugly. It was the reason people say making law is like making sausage. When the PPT was passed, 10% of the legislature was under investigation or indictment for selling the state down the river for the oil companies – John Cowdery-R (Senate Rules Chair), Tom Anderson-R (Chair, Labor & Commerce), Vic Kohring-R (Chair, Oil & Gas), Bruce Weyrauch-R, Ben Stevens-R (Pres. of Senate), and Pete Kott-R (Speaker of House). There may still be more to come.

The Democrats risked their political lives on ACES because they knew it was that important. It lives in the memories of those who were there like a war they survived together.

ACES Wins!

Ultimately, the Democrats in the legislature, and even a few independent Republicans who left their party ranks worked hard to take Palin’s somewhat tepid proposal and made it stronger, added important investment incentives , and closed oil tax loopholes that were sending billions in windfall profits to Exxon, Conoco-Phillips and BP. ACES was passed, and the force behind it was people like Hollis French, Bill Wielechowski, Les Gara, Beth Kerttula and many others. The Palin administration would never have gotten this legislation passed without their help. The public was elated, and at last Alaskans felt like they weren’t getting fleeced. It was a hard-earned achievement.  Legislators from both sides joined to work on improvements to the bill that passed, and to get it passed at the last minute, over substantial oil company opposition. And right now, we’re getting our fair share in a state where the oil companies pour huge amounts of money into getting legislators elected who want to stop us from getting it.

ACES was the biggest political achievement in a long time, and the final product was led by our Democratic legislators.

Of course, you know the story of what happened between Palin and the Democrats… After the VP nomination, under the bus they went, and now they’re evil Marxist-Socialist-Leftist-…whatever. She’s happy to take credit for ACES, but conveniently forgets that the Republicans were the ones trying to stop her, and the Democrats were the ones who allowed her to put the ACES feather in her cap. So why throw them under the bus? Because it suited her political purposes and her ambition. Period.

Show Me the Money!

Fast forward to today. ACES is clipping along, and doing exactly what it was supposed to do – mutually benefiting both the oil producers and making money for the state that owns the resources – Alaska.

So here’s the important question. What happens to all that money from ACES?  Where does it go? It goes to things like education, health care, renewable energy projects, foster care, the university, property tax relief, fire stations, airports, senior care, road repair, and savings. If not for the influx of ACES money, the state would likely have cried poverty, not funded those things, and the people on the losing end would have been US.

To date it’s meant $5.1 billion for the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and $1.25 billion into the Statutory Budget Reserve. These are the two major savings accounts the state uses to protect against future lean years. That sounds pretty good right about now.

And numbers show that there are more jobs on the North Slope since ACES passed then there used to be, and 2009 was an all time high.

What About the Oil Companies? Poor Babies…

Right now, poor ConocoPhillips is saying that the $8 billion they’ve made in Alaska profits over the last four years, just isn’t enough, despite the fact that Alaska represents 12% of their worldwide investment, and 37.9% of their worldwide profits.  Exxon wants more too – the same Exxon that has reported annual profits that make it the most profitable corporation in the history of the world. And BP wants more too. They all want more.

They all want more. They always do. More, more, more. You can’t blame them. They are corporations, and that’s what corporations do.

BUT, we can hold leaders accountable to fight for Alaska to get its fair share of the profits, to see what works, and to encourage success. It is our oil after all. Says so right in the Constitution.

Allegiances

So right now, allegiances fall out like this:

Sean Parnell (Republican incumbent and former Palin Lt. Gov.) Pro-ACES, but pitched the idea of rollbacks between $250-$500 million a year, last session.
Ralph Samuels (Republican oil candidate) Anti-ACES
Bill Walker (Republican candidate, pro-AK jobs) good with ACES
Hollis French (Democratic Senator) Pro-ACES
Ethan Berkowitz (Democratic former legislator) ANTI-ACES….

Chins Hit Desks

If you’re wondering why on earth a Democratic candidate (or any candidate who’s not shilling for the oil companies) who knows all of what you now know could possibly be in favor of axing ACES, you’re not the only one. ACES was basically miracle legislation that could only have occurred when it did and how it did, with the governor and the legislature that were there at the time.  It’s basically like the stars and planets coming into a rare alignment that created a giant glittering dollar sign in the sky right over Alaska.

Last week in the Anchorage Daily News, we learned about Ethan Berkowitz’s new plan… to do away with ACES. It’s OK if you’re still sitting in stunned silence. We were too. And so were scads of Democrats across the state.

His plan is to operate on a royalty system. But he has no details except that he just knows it will be better than ACES. He says he’s open to ideas, and that he’s “starting a conversation.”

Then he says he’ll take all the money that Alaskan oil produces, that we need for all those things we mentioned before – schools, health care, housing, the University, savings, roads and infrastructure – and he’ll put it into Alaska’s Permanent Fund and that’ll be great because it will mean that your annual dividend check will be bigger!

Then he said in an appearance on KUDO, chuckling, that he likes to call the PPT the “Palin Parnell Tax.” Why doesn’t he like to call it the Murkowski tax? Or the Corrupt Bastards Club tax? That’s what it was. It seemed an awful lot like he was trying to sound like he was anti-Palin and anti-Parnell to justify his new plan because he was talking to a progressive audience that generally doesn’t like Palin. Maybe he figured they wouldn’t notice.

And after Democrats were still rubbing their jaws from the right hook of the op-ed, they got one right between the eyes, in the form of an email from the Berkowitz campaign:

What the ?!?

As we all know, the Permanent Fund is our money, for our future. Most importantly, a bigger permanent fund means a bigger permanent fund dividend, so Ethan’s plan ultimately puts more money in your pocket!

It’s up to us to educate Alaskans about Ethan’s visionary plan. Please write a letter to the editor about Ethan’s visionary plan!

Here are the details everyone needs to know:
1. With Ethan’s plan, the royalties go to Alaskans. With Sean Parnell’s ACES tax, the money goes to the government. Ethan thinks Alaskans surviving these hard economic times need the money more than our government, which is already running billions of dollars in surpluses. The Royalty system ensures that the Legislature doesn’t run off and spend your children’s college fund on pet projects. ACES gives YOUR money to the Legislature. Ethan’s Royalty plan sends YOUR money to YOU.

[It isn’t Sean Parnell’s ACES tax. It’s everyone’s. And “the government” isn’t some scary entity that has nothing to do with you. It IS you. It’s schools and roads and health care. It’s bridges, and foster care and the university system. It’s even property tax relief.]

2. With Ethan’s Royalty plan, the government works harder and, as a result, your PFD gets bigger. With Parnell’s ACES system, the government doesn’t try and you just get by. Ethan knows YOU are working hard for your paycheck, and he thinks it’s time the government did too. Sean Parnell telling you “it’s too hard to negotiate field by field” is just another way of saying “I don’t want to try, so let’s keep the mediocre system we have”. Ethan thinks that is insulting. Under the Royalty system, sure, the government, including Ethan, works harder, but it’s you who takes home the bigger check year after year!

[Bumper sticker slogans aside, if you think that $6 billion that we never had before is “mediocre” then come up with an actual plan to explain how it’s going to be more. Otherwise, we think it’s pretty darn good.]

3. With Ethan’s Royalty system, the Permanent Fund grows and grows. It’s PFD insurance! When the oil is long gone, Ethan’s Royalty system will leave a bigger Permanent Fund for our families and all Alaskans. With ACES, your family will have to scrape by for generations to come. Ethan isn’t going to let that happen. That’s not what leaders do.

[Scrape by for generations to come? Big fat dividend check in your pocket instead of going to the big bad government? This is sounding an awful lot like Republican fear-based talking points. And “leaders” should have a plan to explain why we should scrap something that’s actually working.]

Let’s spread the word. Visit our website and write a letter to the editor now so that more Alaskans know that Ethan has a visionary plan to put more money in our pockets!

[Wonder how many letters will pop up in the ADN that regurgitate talking points?]

If Ethan Berkowitz’s “visionary plan” had been in place in the past, it would have taken $2.5 billion away from schools, and roads and all those things we just mentioned – just this year alone.  Imagine what that would look like. The permanent fund has lost almost $200,000,000 with our investments in BP since the Gulf disaster. The return on funding a renewable energy project in rural Alaska? Priceless.

We’d like to know what rational policymaker thinks you can take $2.5 billion in annual revenue away from funding our basic services, and do anything other than create poverty in education, health care, and crumbling roads and bridges.

Berkowitz then says that maybe he’ll only apply his plan to new fields. If the plan is so great, then why only new fields?  Why leave the majority of the fields with a system he claims is no good? We have no good answer other than coming up with a plan before rooting to dismantle an existing one that’s working.

And the state can put extra money into the permanent fund any time it wants to, and it has regularly done so over the years.

It’s pretty clear to us that Ethan Berkowitz is playing politics instead of policy.

And, even though Palin and Berkowitz passed each other in the revolving door of Juneau, as she was coming in and he was going out, it looks like he picked up at least one annoying trait from her – how to throw his friends under the bus. That’s what he did to every Democratic legislator this week. In trying to criticize the work of his opponent Senator Hollis French for finally getting Alaskans a fair share for our oil in 2007, he also dissed every other Democrat in the legislature. And we think that’s pretty sad.

Had ACES not passed, we would likely be in deficit spending now. “Ethan’s visionary plan” actually endangers the PFD because, if you’ll remember, the last time the state didn’t have money for government, proposals popped up everywhere to raid PFD, reinstate income tax and enact a state sales tax. He should know this because he voted to do all of that – to dip into the PFD, and to implement a sales and income tax instead of attempt to raise oil taxes.

It seems clear to us that Berkowitz is looking for issues to run on rather than issues to govern on, and that he’s willing to throw his friends and his party under the bus for his own political gain. And it brings us no joy to say it, but this isn’t about who our friends are, it’s about the future of Alaska.

Comments

comments

Comments
No Responses to “Politics v. Policy – The Wrong Side Wins With Berkowitz’s “Visionary Plan””
  1. Martha says:

    Ethan Berkowitz is the worst type of GOBP in democrat clothing…a male $arah with brains….that makes him dangerous for Alaska.

  2. Martha says:

    Ethan Berkowitz is the worst type of GOBP in democrat clothing…a male $arah with brains….that makes him dangerous for Alaska.

  3. Polarbear says:

    Turn the background noise filter on, and the data show ACES and AGIA are working just fine. If candidate Hollis French could do anything better, it would be to support NG distribution systems to NW Alaska and the Norton Sound area, to the Yukon River communities, to all of southcentral Alaska, to our remote road system communities, as well as the drop spur at Fairbanks. It seems an obscenity to beat the drum about some special bullet line to Anchorage, and not include NG distribution to ALL our communities. We are all one people in this state, and we ought to start acting like it.

  4. Polarbear says:

    Turn the background noise filter on, and the data show ACES and AGIA are working just fine. If candidate Hollis French could do anything better, it would be to support NG distribution systems to NW Alaska and the Norton Sound area, to the Yukon River communities, to all of southcentral Alaska, to our remote road system communities, as well as the drop spur at Fairbanks. It seems an obscenity to beat the drum about some special bullet line to Anchorage, and not include NG distribution to ALL our communities. We are all one people in this state, and we ought to start acting like it.

  5. bubbles says:

    Alaska the Beautiful…may her beauty and her people live forever…..except for those two miserable beings Palin and Parnell.

  6. bubbles says:

    Alaska the Beautiful…may her beauty and her people live forever…..except for those two miserable beings Palin and Parnell.

  7. just sayin' says:

    Vic Vickers, anyone remember him, ran against ‘ Uncle Ted’ for Senate af few years back…when talking to him he told me of how Norway, who got on line with the North Sea oil production about the same time as Alaska, has a permanent fund situation that has more that 400 billion dollars in it..four hundred billion, not the 40 or less as we have (throught questionable management) And why? collusion between our representatives and the oil companies to keep their profits high. Even the aces situation is ridiculously low if compared to other deals with countries throughout the world. Anyone wonder who rules this country? When I asked what he thought about ANWR, he replied, that there was no reason to develop that until all the other sites have been used up, better to consider using oil money to invest in alternatives now so we could be ahead of the curve.. The world is awash in oil, literally now, it seems, and we shouldn’t be playing ‘chicken little’ and duped into believing otherwise for more industry profit at the expense of our states treasure. Is it any wonder that the media just ignored him?

    • TX Me says:

      Norwegians pay very high taxes on everything. Personal income tax. Fuel surcharge tax. Food. Clothing. Every single thing. It is extraordinarily expensive to live in Norway. I’d like to see discourse here in the US about VAT, raising personal income taxes for those above a certain annual wage, raising the cost of fuel & the taxes on it, and many other things.

      They also have great schools. Great health care. Great retirement (public system, of course).

      They have a lot of money in their account, because it is inevitable that the North Sea will one day not be a huge source of income for them, so they must have the infrastructure to bring in & foster & maintain other sources of revenue. Tourism. Technical. Etc. And they have politicians intelligent & uncorrupt enough to be relied upon to save for a rainy day. AK’s PFD is in place to force our politicians to do that after some pretty disastrous years.

      If Alaska were its own country, the two could be reasonably compared in many ways, but as it is they are apples and oranges. You could just as easily compare Alaska and the UK. Alaska and Brazil. Alaska and Nigeria. Alaska and Russia. Alaska and any other place on the face of the earth that is extracting its mineral resources.

      When we lived in Canada we had many conversations re: the health care situation, with other expats, with Canadians, with Europeans living in Canada, you name it. How can you compare the growing pains of the US in regard to health care with Canada? One has 32 million people, the other has over 330 million people. It’s the same with talk of Norway/Alaska re: the oil issue. Very very very very different. The only similarities are that both are cold and have oil.

      We worked & lived in the UK, turned down a job in Norway. Know a little bit about it, not just going off on a tangent here.

      • Simple Mind says:

        Yep, Norway, where much of my family lives, has really high taxes – with which they pay for really good schools, really good health care, retirement, and ….. and ….. ummm, what were we talking about?

        I guess we have wondered a bit afield of Ethan Berkowitz, but that’s okay. Its a great discussion. I can’t help noting that not one correspondent has called another unpatriotic or referred to themselves as a “real American” from the “heartland”. Nobody has even refudiated anybody.

        If I would do some comparing, I’d compare Alaska with West Virginia or southeastern Kentucky. I spent a few years going to school and working there. One might ask them how depending on the feds to help out after the coal/oil/lumber ran out has worked out. Nah, I think I’ll vote to hold onto our Permanent Fund.

        The point is that it isn’t evil to tax oil companies. It is a good thing. They are not here to help Alaskans. They are here to make money, period. No problem with that. When the oil is gone, so are they. From Alaska’s point of view, when you sell an item, you need to find the highest price you can get and still generate adequate demand and sales. The trick here is to find the highest amount the state can generate income (taxes) consistent with maintaining responsible and manageable production. There is no right or wrong answer. ACES isn’t the best or the worst. Could we do better? Sure. Is ACES good enough? Well, I guess that’s what horse races are about.

  8. just sayin' says:

    Vic Vickers, anyone remember him, ran against ‘ Uncle Ted’ for Senate af few years back…when talking to him he told me of how Norway, who got on line with the North Sea oil production about the same time as Alaska, has a permanent fund situation that has more that 400 billion dollars in it..four hundred billion, not the 40 or less as we have (throught questionable management) And why? collusion between our representatives and the oil companies to keep their profits high. Even the aces situation is ridiculously low if compared to other deals with countries throughout the world. Anyone wonder who rules this country? When I asked what he thought about ANWR, he replied, that there was no reason to develop that until all the other sites have been used up, better to consider using oil money to invest in alternatives now so we could be ahead of the curve.. The world is awash in oil, literally now, it seems, and we shouldn’t be playing ‘chicken little’ and duped into believing otherwise for more industry profit at the expense of our states treasure. Is it any wonder that the media just ignored him?

    • TX Me says:

      Norwegians pay very high taxes on everything. Personal income tax. Fuel surcharge tax. Food. Clothing. Every single thing. It is extraordinarily expensive to live in Norway. I’d like to see discourse here in the US about VAT, raising personal income taxes for those above a certain annual wage, raising the cost of fuel & the taxes on it, and many other things.

      They also have great schools. Great health care. Great retirement (public system, of course).

      They have a lot of money in their account, because it is inevitable that the North Sea will one day not be a huge source of income for them, so they must have the infrastructure to bring in & foster & maintain other sources of revenue. Tourism. Technical. Etc. And they have politicians intelligent & uncorrupt enough to be relied upon to save for a rainy day. AK’s PFD is in place to force our politicians to do that after some pretty disastrous years.

      If Alaska were its own country, the two could be reasonably compared in many ways, but as it is they are apples and oranges. You could just as easily compare Alaska and the UK. Alaska and Brazil. Alaska and Nigeria. Alaska and Russia. Alaska and any other place on the face of the earth that is extracting its mineral resources.

      When we lived in Canada we had many conversations re: the health care situation, with other expats, with Canadians, with Europeans living in Canada, you name it. How can you compare the growing pains of the US in regard to health care with Canada? One has 32 million people, the other has over 330 million people. It’s the same with talk of Norway/Alaska re: the oil issue. Very very very very different. The only similarities are that both are cold and have oil.

      We worked & lived in the UK, turned down a job in Norway. Know a little bit about it, not just going off on a tangent here.

      • Simple Mind says:

        Yep, Norway, where much of my family lives, has really high taxes – with which they pay for really good schools, really good health care, retirement, and ….. and ….. ummm, what were we talking about?

        I guess we have wondered a bit afield of Ethan Berkowitz, but that’s okay. Its a great discussion. I can’t help noting that not one correspondent has called another unpatriotic or referred to themselves as a “real American” from the “heartland”. Nobody has even refudiated anybody.

        If I would do some comparing, I’d compare Alaska with West Virginia or southeastern Kentucky. I spent a few years going to school and working there. One might ask them how depending on the feds to help out after the coal/oil/lumber ran out has worked out. Nah, I think I’ll vote to hold onto our Permanent Fund.

        The point is that it isn’t evil to tax oil companies. It is a good thing. They are not here to help Alaskans. They are here to make money, period. No problem with that. When the oil is gone, so are they. From Alaska’s point of view, when you sell an item, you need to find the highest price you can get and still generate adequate demand and sales. The trick here is to find the highest amount the state can generate income (taxes) consistent with maintaining responsible and manageable production. There is no right or wrong answer. ACES isn’t the best or the worst. Could we do better? Sure. Is ACES good enough? Well, I guess that’s what horse races are about.

  9. ValleyIndependent says:

    I don’t agree that ACES is all that wonderful. For one thing, the increase in jobs is due to maintenance on an aging pipeline. They aren’t new exploration or drilling, which is what will be needed if we intend to continue to live off of oil revenue, even in the near future. Our attractiveness as a place to explore and produce oil has dropped a great deal since Palin/Parnell took over.

    For consideration, I offer the following:

    http://www.andrewhalcro.com/andrews_wednesday_shout_outs_7
    http://www.andrewhalcro.com/oct_22_protecting_alaska_and_its_economy_-_what_to_do

    That said, I am absolutely against neglecting the necessities of government to add to our individual PFDs. We need infrastructure, schools, and the like if we hope to attract and retain businesses so we can have jobs. Has Berkowitz never been to COSTCO or Best Buy just after PFDs arrive? Sad to say, but an awful lot of PFD money is thrown away on luxuries by people who will be back standing in the welfare line shortly thereafter. He sounds like Palin giving away the $1200 of “energy assistance” that didn’t do anything to help anybody with energy costs long term. It would have been better spent on renewables or even more efficient generators in some villages.

    • TX Me says:

      Absolutely. All of that money, our “clear & equitable share,” and schools with buckets in the halls to catch drips. Uninsured children. Villages without adequate sanitation, schools, protection, and access to medical facilities. PFDs should be about $1 until all of those things, and more, are addressed.

      I’d like to know how many of the people against Ethan’s proposal have sat in meetings, at the evil oil companies, that discussed the realities of drilling/producing/exploring in AK versus other areas of the world.

      It’s okay to take money from the oil companies? Since when? Why is the resource an Alaskan resource? Someone living in Timbucktu, AL can move to AK tomorrow and it begin the process of claiming it’s their resource too. So how does that resource not belong to every single American? They’re all eligibile a year from the day they show up in AK.

      I was born & raised in AK. Long before PFDs. I worked for an oil company for a long time, my husband still does.

      But we can still stop the anti-oil hypocrisy. High taxes on oil companies = good, because more money for my pockets? Seems to me that palin managed to make even this into an us vs. them issue. She knows that money talks to Alaskans, no matter where it comes from!

      Here’s the deal, ACES drove out small companies, left AK even more at the mercy of the Big 3. Jobs were lost. Real jobs. My husband talked to a company that was all set to start a project. They eventually changed their minds. Lots of companies did the same. The companies are in harvest mode, and that will not change until the tax structure changes AND the fall-out from the BP disaster is over — many regulation changes will come that will necessitate change, which, in the short-term, means that everything, save harvest, slows.

      There’s a great post up right now, here on the Mudflats, about water/oil/3rd world projects. This post is a perfect example of why that sort of stuff goes on. Alaska needs more money! More PFDs! Oil companies are making enough already! And I need to gas up my SUV — for less than $2.50 please!

      I am finding this really really discouraging. Alaska & its citizens cannot have a discussion about this issue without a fundamental understanding that Alaska does have many options, and ACES gives them even fewer. No incentive to foster other industries when the money keeps flowing in from the oil companies. Need more money? Well, our clear & equitable share was clearly not equitable enough, so let’s get more! PFDs only $500, not enough for a flat-screen? More taxes! But no personal income tax or sales tax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Look, I know that there are plenty of people out there who spend their PFDs responsibly. They are the minority. By a long way.

  10. ValleyIndependent says:

    I don’t agree that ACES is all that wonderful. For one thing, the increase in jobs is due to maintenance on an aging pipeline. They aren’t new exploration or drilling, which is what will be needed if we intend to continue to live off of oil revenue, even in the near future. Our attractiveness as a place to explore and produce oil has dropped a great deal since Palin/Parnell took over.

    For consideration, I offer the following:

    http://www.andrewhalcro.com/andrews_wednesday_shout_outs_7
    http://www.andrewhalcro.com/oct_22_protecting_alaska_and_its_economy_-_what_to_do

    That said, I am absolutely against neglecting the necessities of government to add to our individual PFDs. We need infrastructure, schools, and the like if we hope to attract and retain businesses so we can have jobs. Has Berkowitz never been to COSTCO or Best Buy just after PFDs arrive? Sad to say, but an awful lot of PFD money is thrown away on luxuries by people who will be back standing in the welfare line shortly thereafter. He sounds like Palin giving away the $1200 of “energy assistance” that didn’t do anything to help anybody with energy costs long term. It would have been better spent on renewables or even more efficient generators in some villages.

    • TX Me says:

      Absolutely. All of that money, our “clear & equitable share,” and schools with buckets in the halls to catch drips. Uninsured children. Villages without adequate sanitation, schools, protection, and access to medical facilities. PFDs should be about $1 until all of those things, and more, are addressed.

      I’d like to know how many of the people against Ethan’s proposal have sat in meetings, at the evil oil companies, that discussed the realities of drilling/producing/exploring in AK versus other areas of the world.

      It’s okay to take money from the oil companies? Since when? Why is the resource an Alaskan resource? Someone living in Timbucktu, AL can move to AK tomorrow and it begin the process of claiming it’s their resource too. So how does that resource not belong to every single American? They’re all eligibile a year from the day they show up in AK.

      I was born & raised in AK. Long before PFDs. I worked for an oil company for a long time, my husband still does.

      But we can still stop the anti-oil hypocrisy. High taxes on oil companies = good, because more money for my pockets? Seems to me that palin managed to make even this into an us vs. them issue. She knows that money talks to Alaskans, no matter where it comes from!

      Here’s the deal, ACES drove out small companies, left AK even more at the mercy of the Big 3. Jobs were lost. Real jobs. My husband talked to a company that was all set to start a project. They eventually changed their minds. Lots of companies did the same. The companies are in harvest mode, and that will not change until the tax structure changes AND the fall-out from the BP disaster is over — many regulation changes will come that will necessitate change, which, in the short-term, means that everything, save harvest, slows.

      There’s a great post up right now, here on the Mudflats, about water/oil/3rd world projects. This post is a perfect example of why that sort of stuff goes on. Alaska needs more money! More PFDs! Oil companies are making enough already! And I need to gas up my SUV — for less than $2.50 please!

      I am finding this really really discouraging. Alaska & its citizens cannot have a discussion about this issue without a fundamental understanding that Alaska does have many options, and ACES gives them even fewer. No incentive to foster other industries when the money keeps flowing in from the oil companies. Need more money? Well, our clear & equitable share was clearly not equitable enough, so let’s get more! PFDs only $500, not enough for a flat-screen? More taxes! But no personal income tax or sales tax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Look, I know that there are plenty of people out there who spend their PFDs responsibly. They are the minority. By a long way.

  11. Alaska Fan says:

    There was a blog post last week on Berkowtiz’s shameless pandering:

    http://wickershamsconscience.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/ethans-appalling-pandering/

    Like AKM, I’ve had to reconsider my earlier support of Ethan.

  12. Alaska Fan says:

    There was a blog post last week on Berkowtiz’s shameless pandering:

    http://wickershamsconscience.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/ethans-appalling-pandering/

    Like AKM, I’ve had to reconsider my earlier support of Ethan.

  13. CityKid says:

    Until last week, we believed that both Democratic candidates for governor were good choices. We believed that both put the interests of Alaskans first, supported Democratic achievements, and could be effective leaders working across the aisle to pass legislation and to support policy and existing legislation that benefited the people of Alaska. Many of our readers support Hollis French. Many of our readers support Ethan Berkowitz. But very few had substantial angst about the other.

    Not this kid. I think Ethan Berkowitz is a sleezy politician, who bases his policy on what he thinks will get him elected, not what is pragmatic or ethical. I remember trying to talk to him at UAA when he was running for to be U.S. Rep standing in the designated area trying to gland hand folks as they came to the Library. Anything that was even slightly controversial seemed of no interest to Ethan, he wouldn’t take a position on anything – he’s very transparent. I think he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Careful what you wish for if you support Ethan. Go back and listen to some of his past comments about commercial fishing and mineral extraction from the last time he ran. Just my opinion of course.

    Flame off.

  14. CityKid says:

    Until last week, we believed that both Democratic candidates for governor were good choices. We believed that both put the interests of Alaskans first, supported Democratic achievements, and could be effective leaders working across the aisle to pass legislation and to support policy and existing legislation that benefited the people of Alaska. Many of our readers support Hollis French. Many of our readers support Ethan Berkowitz. But very few had substantial angst about the other.

    Not this kid. I think Ethan Berkowitz is a sleezy politician, who bases his policy on what he thinks will get him elected, not what is pragmatic or ethical. I remember trying to talk to him at UAA when he was running for to be U.S. Rep standing in the designated area trying to gland hand folks as they came to the Library. Anything that was even slightly controversial seemed of no interest to Ethan, he wouldn’t take a position on anything – he’s very transparent. I think he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Careful what you wish for if you support Ethan. Go back and listen to some of his past comments about commercial fishing and mineral extraction from the last time he ran. Just my opinion of course.

    Flame off.

  15. If you need a label…. how about pro-Earth?

  16. If you need a label…. how about pro-Earth?

  17. beth says:

    [[“When the PPT was passed, 10% of the legislature was under investigation or indictment …” — from the above article.

    AKM ~ Shouldn’t that be ACES and not PPT? beth.]]

    • Alaska Pi says:

      No- ACES coincided with the prison terms being handed out to those wahoos who were being investigated while they were whooping it up passing PPT
      And from your state capital, let me tell you they were whooping it up big time.

      http://www.revenue.state.ak.us/PPT%20Docs%202007/PPT%20Report%208-3-07%20Final.pdf

      “PPT IMPLEMENTATION STATUS REPORT
      I. Purpose of the Report and Conclusions:
      In August 2006, the Alaska Legislature passed HB 3001 containing a new oil and gas
      production tax system called the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT). The new profits-based tax
      replaced the previous production tax based on gross value, generally referred to as the
      “Economic Limit Factor” (ELF) tax system. Debate and passage of HB 3001 was
      contentious, with questions raised on the propriety of a profits-based tax and on the
      appropriate tax rate. The controversy escalated earlier this year with the handing down of
      federal indictments against several legislators that centered on potential corruption
      involving the PPT deliberations and votes.”

      • beth says:

        Alaska Pi ~ thanks. My bad – the paragraph started with “And so, there was a special session of the legislature in 2007 to discuss what to do about the PPT…” and I just assumed [I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me what happens when one “assumes” 😉 ] the timeline of events was a progression from that year-point. (The point by which many lawmakers had already been sent to jail and/or were already/shortly-to-be under investigation AKA 2006-ish — per: the immediately preceeding paragraph .)

        Having the PPTs enactment (being passed) popping up in 2007 –as I was reading the timeline– seemed odd to me. Hence the question. So, with PPT coming about in 2006, when did ACES pass/get enacted? beth.

  18. beth says:

    [[“When the PPT was passed, 10% of the legislature was under investigation or indictment …” — from the above article.

    AKM ~ Shouldn’t that be ACES and not PPT? beth.]]

    • Alaska Pi says:

      No- ACES coincided with the prison terms being handed out to those wahoos who were being investigated while they were whooping it up passing PPT
      And from your state capital, let me tell you they were whooping it up big time.

      http://www.revenue.state.ak.us/PPT%20Docs%202007/PPT%20Report%208-3-07%20Final.pdf

      “PPT IMPLEMENTATION STATUS REPORT
      I. Purpose of the Report and Conclusions:
      In August 2006, the Alaska Legislature passed HB 3001 containing a new oil and gas
      production tax system called the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT). The new profits-based tax
      replaced the previous production tax based on gross value, generally referred to as the
      “Economic Limit Factor” (ELF) tax system. Debate and passage of HB 3001 was
      contentious, with questions raised on the propriety of a profits-based tax and on the
      appropriate tax rate. The controversy escalated earlier this year with the handing down of
      federal indictments against several legislators that centered on potential corruption
      involving the PPT deliberations and votes.”

      • beth says:

        Alaska Pi ~ thanks. My bad – the paragraph started with “And so, there was a special session of the legislature in 2007 to discuss what to do about the PPT…” and I just assumed [I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me what happens when one “assumes” 😉 ] the timeline of events was a progression from that year-point. (The point by which many lawmakers had already been sent to jail and/or were already/shortly-to-be under investigation AKA 2006-ish — per: the immediately preceeding paragraph .)

        Having the PPTs enactment (being passed) popping up in 2007 –as I was reading the timeline– seemed odd to me. Hence the question. So, with PPT coming about in 2006, when did ACES pass/get enacted? beth.

  19. Jo Ann says:

    Good night ladies and have a wonderful time in Las Vegas. You both are to be commended and I look forward to hearing your interviews with some of the outstanding folks that will be there. I’m sure you are going to be happy there is air conditioning down there!

  20. Jo Ann says:

    Good night ladies and have a wonderful time in Las Vegas. You both are to be commended and I look forward to hearing your interviews with some of the outstanding folks that will be there. I’m sure you are going to be happy there is air conditioning down there!

  21. ak4195 says:

    Use your braincells,no gov can pass legislation.Its merely a starting point for negotiations,IF he gets that far.Ethan is a very intelligent man,I wouldnt put Hollis in his category with a 10 ft pole.
    I for one am for a income tax like Jay Hammond proposed not long after I moved to this state with my parents.My dad worked for Alyeska from startup of OPS till his retirement 18 yrs later.
    ACES has helped fuel an anti Oil lashback.I see many posts on this website that are:

    a) anti Oil
    b)anti Mining
    c)anti logging
    d)anti cruise-ship
    e)anti Sarah Palin
    Ok I can understand e),and all the other industries deserve the withering eye of oversight as well,but we’ve become ANTI-business and PRO-NIMBY.
    as our economy swirls a few more times tighter and tighter in the toilet bowl,and we run out of belt notches perhaps perceptions will change,I know mine has over the past 30+ yrs.

    ak4195

    • Shannyn Moore says:

      I’ll take a crack.

      a) I’m not “anti-oil”. I’m anti-oil spilling on beaches or water. I’m against oil companies buying legislators to get a better tax. I’m for jobs for Alaskans that are SAFE.

      b) I’m not “anti-mining”. I’m pro-fish. If you can’t have a safe mine, you can’t have it.

      c) Anti-logging? Good Lord, get those dead spruce bark beatle trees out of here. Oh, leave the old growth, thanks.

      d) Anti-cruise ship? Nope, bring them on…just don’t dump the poo in the water. AK is beautiful, people should see it. Just don’t poo in the water! Thanks.

      e) Anti Sarah Palin? OK, that’s fair. She’s embarrassing. And I’m not much for race baiting.

      Don’t act like we just fell off the turnip truck.

      • AKMuckraker says:

        ROFL!!! OK, let it be duly noted that Shannyn and I made our posts independently of each other at exactly the same time. Too funny. 🙂

      • AKFALAR says:

        Wow, someone on here said you were of the same mind, She wasn’t joking.

        While ACES most certainly has had an affect on oil and gas development here, I very much think it is necessary.

        This place cannot be Friggin Nigeria. Sarah (purportedly dumb as a bag of hammers and a racist) had the executive fortitude to take on her own party and the oil companies in order to clean the house. Think about the leadership it took to pull that off.

    • AKMuckraker says:

      Just wanted to pop in and comment on this one. You see many posts on this website that are:
      a) anti offshore drilling
      b) anti mining that affects salmon
      c) anti logging of old growth forests
      d) anti cruise ship? Hmmm. Only if they dump/pollute
      e) anti Sarah Palin… ok, yeah.

      Put another way
      a) pro renewable energy and the jobs it can create
      b) pro fishing and the jobs it sustains
      c) pro environment and the small businesses that rely on eco tourism
      d) pro clean water and keeping Alaska prisine and beautiful to attract more tourism
      e)….. anti Sarah Palin, except for ACES.

      As a small business owner who has employed people for 20 years, I get it. I am not anti-business. I am pro smart, sustainable business that puts more stock on sustaining Alaska’s future, and not always going for risky short-term gain.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Oh well done ladies…!!
        From a town which sees almost one million cruise ship visitors a year, I have to say a few less ships ( and no poo in our fishing waters!) would make the visit nicer for our guests also, too!
        And no timber sales in our National Forests which cost the American taxpayer almost as much to administer as the loggers make …We can find better jobs for those folks if we try!

    • B in Co says:

      You are reading a blog that attracts many Progressive Americans. Preserving the environment is an important issue to many of us, why are you surprised? Is it because in Alaska blue is actually pink?
      e)anti Sarah Palin is an example of us using our “brain cells” as you state.

  22. ak4195 says:

    Use your braincells,no gov can pass legislation.Its merely a starting point for negotiations,IF he gets that far.Ethan is a very intelligent man,I wouldnt put Hollis in his category with a 10 ft pole.
    I for one am for a income tax like Jay Hammond proposed not long after I moved to this state with my parents.My dad worked for Alyeska from startup of OPS till his retirement 18 yrs later.
    ACES has helped fuel an anti Oil lashback.I see many posts on this website that are:

    a) anti Oil
    b)anti Mining
    c)anti logging
    d)anti cruise-ship
    e)anti Sarah Palin
    Ok I can understand e),and all the other industries deserve the withering eye of oversight as well,but we’ve become ANTI-business and PRO-NIMBY.
    as our economy swirls a few more times tighter and tighter in the toilet bowl,and we run out of belt notches perhaps perceptions will change,I know mine has over the past 30+ yrs.

    ak4195

    • Shannyn Moore says:

      I’ll take a crack.

      a) I’m not “anti-oil”. I’m anti-oil spilling on beaches or water. I’m against oil companies buying legislators to get a better tax. I’m for jobs for Alaskans that are SAFE.

      b) I’m not “anti-mining”. I’m pro-fish. If you can’t have a safe mine, you can’t have it.

      c) Anti-logging? Good Lord, get those dead spruce bark beatle trees out of here. Oh, leave the old growth, thanks.

      d) Anti-cruise ship? Nope, bring them on…just don’t dump the poo in the water. AK is beautiful, people should see it. Just don’t poo in the water! Thanks.

      e) Anti Sarah Palin? OK, that’s fair. She’s embarrassing. And I’m not much for race baiting.

      Don’t act like we just fell off the turnip truck.

      • AKMuckraker says:

        ROFL!!! OK, let it be duly noted that Shannyn and I made our posts independently of each other at exactly the same time. Too funny. 🙂

      • AKFALAR says:

        Wow, someone on here said you were of the same mind, She wasn’t joking.

        While ACES most certainly has had an affect on oil and gas development here, I very much think it is necessary.

        This place cannot be Friggin Nigeria. Sarah (purportedly dumb as a bag of hammers and a racist) had the executive fortitude to take on her own party and the oil companies in order to clean the house. Think about the leadership it took to pull that off.

    • AKMuckraker says:

      Just wanted to pop in and comment on this one. You see many posts on this website that are:
      a) anti offshore drilling
      b) anti mining that affects salmon
      c) anti logging of old growth forests
      d) anti cruise ship? Hmmm. Only if they dump/pollute
      e) anti Sarah Palin… ok, yeah.

      Put another way
      a) pro renewable energy and the jobs it can create
      b) pro fishing and the jobs it sustains
      c) pro environment and the small businesses that rely on eco tourism
      d) pro clean water and keeping Alaska prisine and beautiful to attract more tourism
      e)….. anti Sarah Palin, except for ACES.

      As a small business owner who has employed people for 20 years, I get it. I am not anti-business. I am pro smart, sustainable business that puts more stock on sustaining Alaska’s future, and not always going for risky short-term gain.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Oh well done ladies…!!
        From a town which sees almost one million cruise ship visitors a year, I have to say a few less ships ( and no poo in our fishing waters!) would make the visit nicer for our guests also, too!
        And no timber sales in our National Forests which cost the American taxpayer almost as much to administer as the loggers make …We can find better jobs for those folks if we try!

    • B in Co says:

      You are reading a blog that attracts many Progressive Americans. Preserving the environment is an important issue to many of us, why are you surprised? Is it because in Alaska blue is actually pink?
      e)anti Sarah Palin is an example of us using our “brain cells” as you state.

  23. Paddlefoot says:

    You know, I consider myself an average citizen, concerned, believing that every vote counts, maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to specifics of American or World history, but I think I understand people a little bit. Frankly, I’m afraid that most politicians live in a world that is foreign to me. Their egos are immense, and both parties are equally affected. To pander to a quick monetary fix via the Permanent Fund is a sad commentary on the state of Alaskans’ priorities. To allude to a possible vote for Parnell, who, in case anyone forgot, used Denali Kid Care for his own political agenda and snubbed our President on a stop through Elmendorf, defies any integrity that we so urgently need in order to have an honorable stand on the issues facing the state in this gubernatorial election. Why couldn’t these 3 candidates have rendezvous’d somewhere and hashed it out for the benefit of the state. OK, you will run, we are behind you for these reasons, and we will not divide the Democratic vote, because, let’s face it, we really do want what’s best for everyone. Egos prevail, color me disenchanted.

  24. Paddlefoot says:

    You know, I consider myself an average citizen, concerned, believing that every vote counts, maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to specifics of American or World history, but I think I understand people a little bit. Frankly, I’m afraid that most politicians live in a world that is foreign to me. Their egos are immense, and both parties are equally affected. To pander to a quick monetary fix via the Permanent Fund is a sad commentary on the state of Alaskans’ priorities. To allude to a possible vote for Parnell, who, in case anyone forgot, used Denali Kid Care for his own political agenda and snubbed our President on a stop through Elmendorf, defies any integrity that we so urgently need in order to have an honorable stand on the issues facing the state in this gubernatorial election. Why couldn’t these 3 candidates have rendezvous’d somewhere and hashed it out for the benefit of the state. OK, you will run, we are behind you for these reasons, and we will not divide the Democratic vote, because, let’s face it, we really do want what’s best for everyone. Egos prevail, color me disenchanted.

  25. leenie17 says:

    ‘Vote for me today and there’ll be a nice little piece of change in your pocket tomorrow.’

    I don’t understand a lot about the ACES/PFD situation, but this sounds like downright bribery to me

    • Alaska Pi says:

      actually it feels more like sleight of hand to me…
      get folks to looking at the PFD and away from whether ACES works or not…

  26. leenie17 says:

    ‘Vote for me today and there’ll be a nice little piece of change in your pocket tomorrow.’

    I don’t understand a lot about the ACES/PFD situation, but this sounds like downright bribery to me

    • Alaska Pi says:

      actually it feels more like sleight of hand to me…
      get folks to looking at the PFD and away from whether ACES works or not…

  27. Simple Mind says:

    Berkowitz’ office is circulating a poll that puts him 30 points up on French. Its hard to believe he’s that far up, but if that is correct (or if he believes it to be correct), this oil tax dance is to set up an attack on Parnell, who is identified with Palin and ACES. Berkowitz will be looking for some reason for Alaskans to turn out the incumbent.

  28. Simple Mind says:

    Berkowitz’ office is circulating a poll that puts him 30 points up on French. Its hard to believe he’s that far up, but if that is correct (or if he believes it to be correct), this oil tax dance is to set up an attack on Parnell, who is identified with Palin and ACES. Berkowitz will be looking for some reason for Alaskans to turn out the incumbent.

  29. mag the mick says:

    Ethan Berkowitz is bright, articulate and charming. And he is all about ambition. French IS somewhat uninspiring, but he works hard and is extremely dedicated. Ethan hasn’t won any recent elections. Hollis keeps going back to Juneau and soldiering on. I see that the choice is clear, but then again, I don’t live in Alaska anymore.

    I may not be remembering this well, but wasn’t there an incident a few months ago when Ethan asked Bob Poe and Hollis French to stand aside and give him a clear field? Takes me big ego to do that. Just saying.

    • dagian says:

      “Ethan Berkowitz is bright, articulate and charming. And he is all about ambition. French IS somewhat uninspiring, but he works hard and is extremely dedicated.”

      All that glitters…

      I would say to watch the walk. If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and leaves a slippery trail in its wake, I would call it a duck (or at least a goose!).

    • reader says:

      Actually, it was Bob Poe who asked the candidates to winnow themselves down to one before the primary, an idea that Hollis and Ethan rejected. Nobody ever asked the others to stand aside.

  30. mag the mick says:

    Ethan Berkowitz is bright, articulate and charming. And he is all about ambition. French IS somewhat uninspiring, but he works hard and is extremely dedicated. Ethan hasn’t won any recent elections. Hollis keeps going back to Juneau and soldiering on. I see that the choice is clear, but then again, I don’t live in Alaska anymore.

    I may not be remembering this well, but wasn’t there an incident a few months ago when Ethan asked Bob Poe and Hollis French to stand aside and give him a clear field? Takes me big ego to do that. Just saying.

    • dagian says:

      “Ethan Berkowitz is bright, articulate and charming. And he is all about ambition. French IS somewhat uninspiring, but he works hard and is extremely dedicated.”

      All that glitters…

      I would say to watch the walk. If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and leaves a slippery trail in its wake, I would call it a duck (or at least a goose!).

    • reader says:

      Actually, it was Bob Poe who asked the candidates to winnow themselves down to one before the primary, an idea that Hollis and Ethan rejected. Nobody ever asked the others to stand aside.

  31. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    “He’s uninspiring…” I meant Ethan Berkowitz just in case it wasn’t obvious.

  32. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    “He’s uninspiring…” I meant Ethan Berkowitz just in case it wasn’t obvious.

  33. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Once Poe dropped out, it was Hollis all the way. He’s uninspiring and…uninspiring. I hope this confusing stance helps people be a lot more clear about who to vote for in the primary.

  34. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Once Poe dropped out, it was Hollis all the way. He’s uninspiring and…uninspiring. I hope this confusing stance helps people be a lot more clear about who to vote for in the primary.

  35. Exit 35A says:

    While I might disagree with the some of the aspects of the all royalty plan, I believe Ethan’s underlying concern; ACES long-term consequences are not in the states best interest, is correct. One just needs to look at the State’s own website on production http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/oil/production.aspx to see that we are headed for leaner times. Maybe “grab the money now” is a good option, but let us not fool ourselves into thinking that ACES is going to grow production because it will not. ACES is why CP is not currently Exploring, ACES is why BP is developing Liberty (its outside state taxing range) and ACES is one of the reasons production is declining at a 6 or 7% rate (12 month rolling average). As for employment, it isn’t off too much from its high but I would like to revisit this statement in about six months.

    • Kelly says:

      The Producers are acting like spoiled children. ACES in certainly NOT the reason no new exploratory wells were drilled last year-it might be their punitive excuse but not the reason. Look at the earnings and profits statements. Cononco Phillips breaks out Alaska from the world-wide business. Alaska DROVE THEIR FREAKIN’ EARNINGS and PROFITS!!! 1QTR 2009, Alaska, 12% of CPs overall business, brought home 29% of the WW E&P. 2QTR AK brought home 55%; 3rd QTR 36.4%; 4th QTR 31%.

      No exploratory wells were drilled for other reasons. How about the fact we’re in a near DEPRESSION? Alaska is one of the only solvent states in the union.

  36. Exit 35A says:

    While I might disagree with the some of the aspects of the all royalty plan, I believe Ethan’s underlying concern; ACES long-term consequences are not in the states best interest, is correct. One just needs to look at the State’s own website on production http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/oil/production.aspx to see that we are headed for leaner times. Maybe “grab the money now” is a good option, but let us not fool ourselves into thinking that ACES is going to grow production because it will not. ACES is why CP is not currently Exploring, ACES is why BP is developing Liberty (its outside state taxing range) and ACES is one of the reasons production is declining at a 6 or 7% rate (12 month rolling average). As for employment, it isn’t off too much from its high but I would like to revisit this statement in about six months.

    • Kelly says:

      The Producers are acting like spoiled children. ACES in certainly NOT the reason no new exploratory wells were drilled last year-it might be their punitive excuse but not the reason. Look at the earnings and profits statements. Cononco Phillips breaks out Alaska from the world-wide business. Alaska DROVE THEIR FREAKIN’ EARNINGS and PROFITS!!! 1QTR 2009, Alaska, 12% of CPs overall business, brought home 29% of the WW E&P. 2QTR AK brought home 55%; 3rd QTR 36.4%; 4th QTR 31%.

      No exploratory wells were drilled for other reasons. How about the fact we’re in a near DEPRESSION? Alaska is one of the only solvent states in the union.

  37. Bob says:

    I’m glad to hear that the people of Alaska are doing so well. After reading your post stating that;
    “To date it’s meant $5.1 billion for the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and $1.25 billion into the Statutory Budget Reserve. These are the two major savings accounts the state uses to protect against future lean years.” and it’s for;
    “Its schools and roads and health care. It’s bridges, and foster care and the university system. It’s even property tax relief.”
    I wonder and ask, with all this profit sharing from oil, why is Alaska one of the top 3 states for Federal spending for every Federal tax dollar paid in ($1 = $1.86)? And, why is it necessary to run fund raisers for the indigenous people of Alaska so that they may have food and fuel for the winter?

    My inquiring mind would like to know.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Bob- that federal money thingy is rather untidy the way it is reported…
      It always sounds like Alaskan citizens or the state just wallow around up here in federal dollars.Most of it doesn’t get anywhere near everyday folks unless they work for the fed …
      Much of it is the same old stuff everyone else gets- Medicaid, social security, transportation projects ( even stupid ones like the Bridge to Nowhere)
      There is a fair amount for the National Parks, US Fish and Wildlife, National Forests,BLM etc- which belong to YOU too… along with the military.installations here.
      As of 2000 60% of Alaska was still owned by the feds here- is part of the tension of fed and state. There are on going land conveyance issues – dating to statehood.
      Federal programs like fisheries management in US waters off our coast,including the observers and all on pollack fleet…
      Tribal entities contract directly with the fed to provide their healthcare programs and that is reported there too.
      The so-called big growth in recent years items are in grants … i haven’t tracked that very well.
      How much of your state does the fed own?
      We do get a piece of the pie. Whether it’s an unfair share, I’m not so sure- when the reporting is broken down and we can all look at all aspects we can decide…

      • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

        Thanks Alaska Pi!

        This amounts to misinformation by being pulled out of context and simplified beyond any reality. Culling tiny bits of disconnected information to use as sound bites is an obnoxious but infectious method of skewing facts. This all came out of the ’08 election when EVERYONE was using, or falling for, sound bites. Thanks for doing your part to put it into perspective, instead of rolling your eyes like I do when I come across this!

      • Blue_in_AK says:

        You explained that very well, AlaskaPi. People Outside really don’t understand how things work up here.

      • Pinwheel says:

        Alaska Pi describes the situation well. Figures are obscured, i.e. how much land and resource do the feds control?

        Reality is the Government of the State of Alaska has denied support and services to rural (majority Alaska Native) Alaska almost without respite. A few exceptions. One of the most egregious was the denial of fishing rights to people whose entire way of life was based on fish, game and the land. It took the State Government a few years but Limited Entry fisheries exposed the plan of the State. Lots of other elements, inconceivable today, like communication, did not exist in Alaska in the 1960’s.

        I will leave it to others to share the history of ANSCA. Only know none of this debate about oil taxation, royalties, ACES, none of those would have been possible without ANSCA. The State continues to deny the rights of its’ people and the State’s responsibility to the people whose land and resources were enveloped by Statehood. So far the Federal Government has filled the void left by Alaska’s State government, and upheld the “Contract” to the best of, primarily, Ted Stevens ability.

        Alaska Pi is so correct; “when the reporting is broken down and we can all look at all aspects we can decide…”.

        Thanx Pi.

    • Dave says:

      Alaska Pi kind of summed up the federal money thing. A lot of Federal land and a lot of military up here. Something like 90% of the federal $$ in AK are non-discretionary, it’s not like we’re taking 186% of our tax contributions in pork.

      As for the the fundraisers for heat and food in the bush, I have no idea. Actually it’s because we are an oil colony who has been run by corrupt bastards for a long time. Something could be done (and needs to be) about that problem with strong leadership, but we haven’t seen it yet.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        When rural Alaska is invited to the table, in dignity and parity, we will have achieved true statehood.
        As long as we can extract resources and pay no never mind to the fact that most of our money flows from the bush we have not arrived.
        Yes- strong leadership needed…
        Very strong …

  38. Bob says:

    I’m glad to hear that the people of Alaska are doing so well. After reading your post stating that;
    “To date it’s meant $5.1 billion for the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and $1.25 billion into the Statutory Budget Reserve. These are the two major savings accounts the state uses to protect against future lean years.” and it’s for;
    “Its schools and roads and health care. It’s bridges, and foster care and the university system. It’s even property tax relief.”
    I wonder and ask, with all this profit sharing from oil, why is Alaska one of the top 3 states for Federal spending for every Federal tax dollar paid in ($1 = $1.86)? And, why is it necessary to run fund raisers for the indigenous people of Alaska so that they may have food and fuel for the winter?

    My inquiring mind would like to know.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Bob- that federal money thingy is rather untidy the way it is reported…
      It always sounds like Alaskan citizens or the state just wallow around up here in federal dollars.Most of it doesn’t get anywhere near everyday folks unless they work for the fed …
      Much of it is the same old stuff everyone else gets- Medicaid, social security, transportation projects ( even stupid ones like the Bridge to Nowhere)
      There is a fair amount for the National Parks, US Fish and Wildlife, National Forests,BLM etc- which belong to YOU too… along with the military.installations here.
      As of 2000 60% of Alaska was still owned by the feds here- is part of the tension of fed and state. There are on going land conveyance issues – dating to statehood.
      Federal programs like fisheries management in US waters off our coast,including the observers and all on pollack fleet…
      Tribal entities contract directly with the fed to provide their healthcare programs and that is reported there too.
      The so-called big growth in recent years items are in grants … i haven’t tracked that very well.
      How much of your state does the fed own?
      We do get a piece of the pie. Whether it’s an unfair share, I’m not so sure- when the reporting is broken down and we can all look at all aspects we can decide…

      • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

        Thanks Alaska Pi!

        This amounts to misinformation by being pulled out of context and simplified beyond any reality. Culling tiny bits of disconnected information to use as sound bites is an obnoxious but infectious method of skewing facts. This all came out of the ’08 election when EVERYONE was using, or falling for, sound bites. Thanks for doing your part to put it into perspective, instead of rolling your eyes like I do when I come across this!

      • Blue_in_AK says:

        You explained that very well, AlaskaPi. People Outside really don’t understand how things work up here.

      • Pinwheel says:

        Alaska Pi describes the situation well. Figures are obscured, i.e. how much land and resource do the feds control?

        Reality is the Government of the State of Alaska has denied support and services to rural (majority Alaska Native) Alaska almost without respite. A few exceptions. One of the most egregious was the denial of fishing rights to people whose entire way of life was based on fish, game and the land. It took the State Government a few years but Limited Entry fisheries exposed the plan of the State. Lots of other elements, inconceivable today, like communication, did not exist in Alaska in the 1960’s.

        I will leave it to others to share the history of ANSCA. Only know none of this debate about oil taxation, royalties, ACES, none of those would have been possible without ANSCA. The State continues to deny the rights of its’ people and the State’s responsibility to the people whose land and resources were enveloped by Statehood. So far the Federal Government has filled the void left by Alaska’s State government, and upheld the “Contract” to the best of, primarily, Ted Stevens ability.

        Alaska Pi is so correct; “when the reporting is broken down and we can all look at all aspects we can decide…”.

        Thanx Pi.

    • Dave says:

      Alaska Pi kind of summed up the federal money thing. A lot of Federal land and a lot of military up here. Something like 90% of the federal $$ in AK are non-discretionary, it’s not like we’re taking 186% of our tax contributions in pork.

      As for the the fundraisers for heat and food in the bush, I have no idea. Actually it’s because we are an oil colony who has been run by corrupt bastards for a long time. Something could be done (and needs to be) about that problem with strong leadership, but we haven’t seen it yet.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        When rural Alaska is invited to the table, in dignity and parity, we will have achieved true statehood.
        As long as we can extract resources and pay no never mind to the fact that most of our money flows from the bush we have not arrived.
        Yes- strong leadership needed…
        Very strong …

  39. Marnie says:

    Got any poll numbers yet to see where he falls?
    (Single digits would be nice.)

  40. Marnie says:

    Got any poll numbers yet to see where he falls?
    (Single digits would be nice.)

  41. NMJ says:

    Wow! I had no idea Alaska was so blue!

    Ethan sounds like the typical GOP right-winger. Wow. Just wow.

  42. NMJ says:

    Wow! I had no idea Alaska was so blue!

    Ethan sounds like the typical GOP right-winger. Wow. Just wow.

  43. TX Me says:

    Sorry to burst the bubble, but ACES was poorly conceived & poorly executed. It forced out most of the independents, and left AK at the mercy of the Big 3. It sucked.

    I’m not saying that Ethan’s plan is great, but a knee-jerk anti-oil pro-ACES reaction is totally insane. Dems = anti-oil-company? That’s pretty limiting.

    The system needs to be re-tooled to foster small/independent oil companies in Alaska. ACES is cost-prohibitive for them. ConocoPhillips & Exxon made a lot of money and will always make a lot of money. They are owners of the pipeline. Nobody is talking about how much money the smaller companies are making because they’ve all thrown in the towel. Now that we’re here in Texas and my husband is working as a consultant, he told me just the other day how amazed he is to know just how many oil companies are out there that he’s never heard of. Tons of mom & pop companies who can compete. They’re not on the Forbes 500 list, but they are a viable concern, and employing plenty of people.

    And PFDs need to go the heck away. They just need to go. How does AK justify taking all of those fed dollars and handing out PFDs?

    I cannot believe the hysteria, painting Ethan B (who I do not know and have no thoughts about either way) as a bad politician based on this issue. How disappointing.

    • B in Co says:

      I didn’t hear any hysteria, maybe these very wise Alaskans know what they would prefer in a candidate. They would rather have the funds go to the infrastructure then an increased PFD. I think that is a very unselfish attitude to have.

      • ValleyIndependent says:

        I am in agreement with TX Me regarding the tone above. I didn’t hear Shannyn’s interview, but am inclined to give Jo Ann the benefit of the doubt. I love Shannyn, too, but I can’t listen to her at work without headphones, because there are times her tone gets to be one that my boss wouldn’t tolerate, and on rare occasion, I’ve turned her off myself. It isn’t her position; it’s the way she states it.

        B in Co, not being supportive of ACES does not mean one would like to see infrastructure needs neglected or a larger PFD. Alaska Pi says it well at 16.3.

    • Blooper says:

      Any politician here (Democratic or Replican) who proposes to do away with the PFD will lose, always and fore ver, 100% of the time. That’s the political reality here in Alaska. I think the state motto could practically be “You’ll get my PFD when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

    • Alaska Pi says:

      I have a different take here and it IS anti- Berkowitz.
      Any and all atttempts to shift votes per a larger PFD mean someone has not only dropped off the short list, they’ve dropped off the list entirely and fallen through a crack in the floor -to me.
      I realize I have a very different attitude about the PFD than almost anyone I know ( and am typing this from a secret bunker in Alaska to avoid the inevitable tomato/dead salmon throwing coming my way…) so folks reading from Outside can take this with a grain of salt or a glass of distilled grain…whatever
      The PFD , to me, is the wrong way to make a good idea come to fruit. The idea that we all benefit from the riches from the resources of our land sounds wonderful- especially followed by the usual gobbeldygook about how it’s better than leaving it up to our elected officials to disburse monies.
      There ARE plenty of Alaskans who receive the PFD who keep their eyes wide open and vote carefully and intelligently , There are plenty of Alaskans, esp. rural folks and elders, for whom the extra cash goes a long way to making ends meet. There is the fact that a lot of the money circulates through our economy multiple times and adds to the well being of all…
      However, the PFD has become like a narcotic for far too many voters… whoever says they will protect that gets their vote- regardless of what other foolishness the politico might get up to like the years and years of open dirty dealings with the likes of Bill Allen by far too many.
      When oil prices tanked during Murkowski’s reign of shame , too many folks went on and on about keeping their PFD, the state be damned.
      Well- news for those dumbheads- the state is us. The politicos they love to revile were put in those jobs by their own lil hands marking the box next to their name… at what point do folks take responsibility for their own dang part in it all?
      Crimenently, we got whatzername when enough people got upset about the staus quo but still didn’t look beyond the packaging! Jeez, we still can’t get the stench outta here since she passed her sell-by date !
      Enshrined in our state constitution,m anaging our resources for the benefit of all is one of the biggest single issues facing this state, especially since our dang state government is run mostly on oil royalties . Open talk, brainstorming, efforts to get hold of what we are doing die on the vine or get shouted down far too often.
      When we get grown up about the finite resource ,oil, and hitching our britches to a single main source of revenue to fund our public business , maybe I’ll apply for the PFD…
      When a whole lot more folks take responsibility for the messes their lil voting fingers make, maybe I’ll apply for a PFD…
      When we really step back and take on managing our resources in relation to each other and for the benefit of our children and grandchildren, maybe I’ll apply for a PFD.
      For all who can walk the tightrope and stay alert I applaud you, to all others who run around wasting tea bags and whining about the gubbamint AND collect PFDs whilst voting for the clowns we end up with too often… pfffffttttttt!
      And pffft on Mr Berkowitz for making the PFD thingy a piece of the political pie again…

    • Simple Mind says:

      I agree with Blooper. The PFD will never, ever go away because of the very reason it was created. When Alaska started squirreling away oil royalties, they faced the question – how do you keep politicians who think in the short term from squandering the money? Simple. Write into the law that a small percentage of the income on the Fund gets distributed to the citizens as an annual check. If a politician spent our Fund to build a highway interchange so he could name it after his mistress, our dividend check would go down. End of politician’s career. Essentially, the PFD and self-interest recruits all Alaskans to ferociously guard the Fund from their own politicians. How many levels of cynicism is that? Plenty, but it works. It works really, really well. Now, how can we justify PFDs AND wringing every possible penny out of the feds at the same time? Again, you could look at it superficially and conclude that we Alaskans are just selfish welfare cheats. Plenty of people do. However, you should also remember that the people who wrote these laws were alive back when Alaska was a territory and our laws, economics, jobs, and everything else was dictated to us by people in offices in Seattle, New York and Washington. We are a four hour jet ride from anywhere else in the US, and we have no economy other than the production of raw resources. With this history and geography, many Alaskans have concluded that the instant the oil runs out, not a soul in Washington or anywhere else is going to give a paperclip for what happens to Alaskans. Its a strange duality. We are Americans, but we don’t really trust the lower 48. The wingnut manifestation of this feeling is Todd (and Sarah) Palin’s old buddies at the Alaska Independence Party. (I’ll bet she thinks we forgot about that, huh, Sarah?) But even the most patriotic of Alaskans uses the old saying, “we don’t care how they do it in the lower 48.” There is still that “us vs them” feeling to it. And so Alaskans will continue to vote to sock away every dollar they can, whether from the oil companies or the federal government, against that day when they turn the lights out on the North Slope and fly back to Seattle, Midland, Houston and Washington.

      • Pinwheel says:

        Let history be the teacher here. I believe it’s called the Statehood Contract that because the Federal government reserved land and resources they (USA) committed to financially supporting State services for the State’s people when the State failed to provide adequately. My take is that because of the historic exploitation of Alaska by outsiders the Federal Government placed itself to insure rights to all.

    • Kelly says:

      Ethan is a great politician…and usually a visionary leader…but this is just bad policy. And…every Democratic politician that supported ACES was thrown under the bus. I disagree with you about ACES. Alaska has $12 billion dollars thanks to ACES-and ConocoPhillips didn’t do too bad either. Their 12% investment in Alaska drove their Earnings and Profits-last year 12% brought home 37.8% of their world-wide E & P.

      • Blooper says:

        Great points, Simple Mind and Kelly. Spoken like Alaskans who have a good grasp of the nuances of the PFD issue here. It’s good to have a dialogue about it with fellow Alaskans and with those from out of state as well!).

      • Sourdough Mullet says:

        I agree, Kelly. I’ve always thought that Ethan’s compass was spot-on, and this really surprises me. I never figured he’d allow principle to take a back seat to his aspirations, no matter what. But mine is one more vote changing camps to Hollis.

  44. TX Me says:

    Sorry to burst the bubble, but ACES was poorly conceived & poorly executed. It forced out most of the independents, and left AK at the mercy of the Big 3. It sucked.

    I’m not saying that Ethan’s plan is great, but a knee-jerk anti-oil pro-ACES reaction is totally insane. Dems = anti-oil-company? That’s pretty limiting.

    The system needs to be re-tooled to foster small/independent oil companies in Alaska. ACES is cost-prohibitive for them. ConocoPhillips & Exxon made a lot of money and will always make a lot of money. They are owners of the pipeline. Nobody is talking about how much money the smaller companies are making because they’ve all thrown in the towel. Now that we’re here in Texas and my husband is working as a consultant, he told me just the other day how amazed he is to know just how many oil companies are out there that he’s never heard of. Tons of mom & pop companies who can compete. They’re not on the Forbes 500 list, but they are a viable concern, and employing plenty of people.

    And PFDs need to go the heck away. They just need to go. How does AK justify taking all of those fed dollars and handing out PFDs?

    I cannot believe the hysteria, painting Ethan B (who I do not know and have no thoughts about either way) as a bad politician based on this issue. How disappointing.

    • B in Co says:

      I didn’t hear any hysteria, maybe these very wise Alaskans know what they would prefer in a candidate. They would rather have the funds go to the infrastructure then an increased PFD. I think that is a very unselfish attitude to have.

      • ValleyIndependent says:

        I am in agreement with TX Me regarding the tone above. I didn’t hear Shannyn’s interview, but am inclined to give Jo Ann the benefit of the doubt. I love Shannyn, too, but I can’t listen to her at work without headphones, because there are times her tone gets to be one that my boss wouldn’t tolerate, and on rare occasion, I’ve turned her off myself. It isn’t her position; it’s the way she states it.

        B in Co, not being supportive of ACES does not mean one would like to see infrastructure needs neglected or a larger PFD. Alaska Pi says it well at 16.3.

    • Blooper says:

      Any politician here (Democratic or Replican) who proposes to do away with the PFD will lose, always and fore ver, 100% of the time. That’s the political reality here in Alaska. I think the state motto could practically be “You’ll get my PFD when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

    • Alaska Pi says:

      I have a different take here and it IS anti- Berkowitz.
      Any and all atttempts to shift votes per a larger PFD mean someone has not only dropped off the short list, they’ve dropped off the list entirely and fallen through a crack in the floor -to me.
      I realize I have a very different attitude about the PFD than almost anyone I know ( and am typing this from a secret bunker in Alaska to avoid the inevitable tomato/dead salmon throwing coming my way…) so folks reading from Outside can take this with a grain of salt or a glass of distilled grain…whatever
      The PFD , to me, is the wrong way to make a good idea come to fruit. The idea that we all benefit from the riches from the resources of our land sounds wonderful- especially followed by the usual gobbeldygook about how it’s better than leaving it up to our elected officials to disburse monies.
      There ARE plenty of Alaskans who receive the PFD who keep their eyes wide open and vote carefully and intelligently , There are plenty of Alaskans, esp. rural folks and elders, for whom the extra cash goes a long way to making ends meet. There is the fact that a lot of the money circulates through our economy multiple times and adds to the well being of all…
      However, the PFD has become like a narcotic for far too many voters… whoever says they will protect that gets their vote- regardless of what other foolishness the politico might get up to like the years and years of open dirty dealings with the likes of Bill Allen by far too many.
      When oil prices tanked during Murkowski’s reign of shame , too many folks went on and on about keeping their PFD, the state be damned.
      Well- news for those dumbheads- the state is us. The politicos they love to revile were put in those jobs by their own lil hands marking the box next to their name… at what point do folks take responsibility for their own dang part in it all?
      Crimenently, we got whatzername when enough people got upset about the staus quo but still didn’t look beyond the packaging! Jeez, we still can’t get the stench outta here since she passed her sell-by date !
      Enshrined in our state constitution,m anaging our resources for the benefit of all is one of the biggest single issues facing this state, especially since our dang state government is run mostly on oil royalties . Open talk, brainstorming, efforts to get hold of what we are doing die on the vine or get shouted down far too often.
      When we get grown up about the finite resource ,oil, and hitching our britches to a single main source of revenue to fund our public business , maybe I’ll apply for the PFD…
      When a whole lot more folks take responsibility for the messes their lil voting fingers make, maybe I’ll apply for a PFD…
      When we really step back and take on managing our resources in relation to each other and for the benefit of our children and grandchildren, maybe I’ll apply for a PFD.
      For all who can walk the tightrope and stay alert I applaud you, to all others who run around wasting tea bags and whining about the gubbamint AND collect PFDs whilst voting for the clowns we end up with too often… pfffffttttttt!
      And pffft on Mr Berkowitz for making the PFD thingy a piece of the political pie again…

    • Simple Mind says:

      I agree with Blooper. The PFD will never, ever go away because of the very reason it was created. When Alaska started squirreling away oil royalties, they faced the question – how do you keep politicians who think in the short term from squandering the money? Simple. Write into the law that a small percentage of the income on the Fund gets distributed to the citizens as an annual check. If a politician spent our Fund to build a highway interchange so he could name it after his mistress, our dividend check would go down. End of politician’s career. Essentially, the PFD and self-interest recruits all Alaskans to ferociously guard the Fund from their own politicians. How many levels of cynicism is that? Plenty, but it works. It works really, really well. Now, how can we justify PFDs AND wringing every possible penny out of the feds at the same time? Again, you could look at it superficially and conclude that we Alaskans are just selfish welfare cheats. Plenty of people do. However, you should also remember that the people who wrote these laws were alive back when Alaska was a territory and our laws, economics, jobs, and everything else was dictated to us by people in offices in Seattle, New York and Washington. We are a four hour jet ride from anywhere else in the US, and we have no economy other than the production of raw resources. With this history and geography, many Alaskans have concluded that the instant the oil runs out, not a soul in Washington or anywhere else is going to give a paperclip for what happens to Alaskans. Its a strange duality. We are Americans, but we don’t really trust the lower 48. The wingnut manifestation of this feeling is Todd (and Sarah) Palin’s old buddies at the Alaska Independence Party. (I’ll bet she thinks we forgot about that, huh, Sarah?) But even the most patriotic of Alaskans uses the old saying, “we don’t care how they do it in the lower 48.” There is still that “us vs them” feeling to it. And so Alaskans will continue to vote to sock away every dollar they can, whether from the oil companies or the federal government, against that day when they turn the lights out on the North Slope and fly back to Seattle, Midland, Houston and Washington.

      • Pinwheel says:

        Let history be the teacher here. I believe it’s called the Statehood Contract that because the Federal government reserved land and resources they (USA) committed to financially supporting State services for the State’s people when the State failed to provide adequately. My take is that because of the historic exploitation of Alaska by outsiders the Federal Government placed itself to insure rights to all.

    • Kelly says:

      Ethan is a great politician…and usually a visionary leader…but this is just bad policy. And…every Democratic politician that supported ACES was thrown under the bus. I disagree with you about ACES. Alaska has $12 billion dollars thanks to ACES-and ConocoPhillips didn’t do too bad either. Their 12% investment in Alaska drove their Earnings and Profits-last year 12% brought home 37.8% of their world-wide E & P.

      • Blooper says:

        Great points, Simple Mind and Kelly. Spoken like Alaskans who have a good grasp of the nuances of the PFD issue here. It’s good to have a dialogue about it with fellow Alaskans and with those from out of state as well!).

      • Sourdough Mullet says:

        I agree, Kelly. I’ve always thought that Ethan’s compass was spot-on, and this really surprises me. I never figured he’d allow principle to take a back seat to his aspirations, no matter what. But mine is one more vote changing camps to Hollis.

  45. John says:

    I was surprised more by the way Ethan described his plan, than the plan itself. He would raise all oil tax revenue through royalties, 25% of which must be put in the Permanent Fund, instead of some by royalty and some by severance tax. That isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, it depends on what the royalty rate is. We could actually have more money for both government and the Permanent Fund. Or we could end up with less for the things we need, schools, roads, troopers, etc. But by describing his plan as taking money from the evil government and putting it into our pockets, he sounded just like Palin.

  46. John says:

    I was surprised more by the way Ethan described his plan, than the plan itself. He would raise all oil tax revenue through royalties, 25% of which must be put in the Permanent Fund, instead of some by royalty and some by severance tax. That isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, it depends on what the royalty rate is. We could actually have more money for both government and the Permanent Fund. Or we could end up with less for the things we need, schools, roads, troopers, etc. But by describing his plan as taking money from the evil government and putting it into our pockets, he sounded just like Palin.

  47. Simple Mind says:

    I know that many local Democrats and Progressives were perplexed and alittle depressed by the decision of Berkowitz and French to run for the same slot. It had the ring of our usual modus operandi – beat up on one another, spend all the money, and then get pasted by the right winger. I’ve met very few people who knew whether they’d vote for French or Berkowitz, and most were hard-pressed to describe a difference between them. One possibility is that this move by Berkowitz could be intended to create that difference and, if you are going to differentiate yourself, you’d want to do so toward the middle. Liberal on social issues and pro-oil was a spot long held by Tony Knowles, one of the most successful recent Democrats. Another possibility is that Berkowitz is looking past French already and is trying to draw votes away from Parnell by invoking the sacred “Permanent Fund Dividend” spirit upon which we all worship. I admit confusion at this point, and I guess I’ll hold fire until I hear more.

    • Blooper says:

      You have a great point, Simple Mind. Democrats in Alaska should be very careful not to get into yet another protracted civil war. The typical scenario being several great candidates using their valuable time and resources sparring with each other rather than uniting against a common enemy.

      True, the purpose of a primary is to have a ‘coordinated civil war’ before the final battle, and the Republicans are no exception in that regard, but somehow it always seems like the Republicans here have a way of ensuring that the victor of their primary is not too badly damaged when it’s over. Must be that lock-step mentality kind of thing.

      In any case, I would like this to see this not become another protracted battle between French and Berkowitz, but somehow I think this thing is going to come down to the bitter end. Personally, at this point I’m edging towards French but I think Berkowitz has a good vision as well, with the exception of his anti-Aces stance.. Hopefully at some point not too soon a clear front runner will emerge and the trailer will give their full endorsement.

      • Blooper says:

        Er, make that ‘Hopefully at some point not too far in the future’…

        • Kelly says:

          its too bad that this “civil war” has erupted…but Ethan chose this. Ethan could have protected a great piece of legislation. A piece of legislation that is perhaps the most important legislation EVER. And…At this point, I would rather have a Republican like Sean Parnell as governor than an anti-ACES Democrat-ACES is THAT important…

      • Blue_in_AK says:

        Ethan seems to jump in after other Democrats have declared their candidacy, as he did with Diane Benson in 2008 and Bob Poe this year. It seems that he’s the spoiler here. Just my opinion.

        • Pinwheel says:

          Ditto on this one. I believe we all lost when Bob Poe couldn’t get the statewide support he deserved. I shall continue to support Diane Benson.

          And someone else mentioned this above, if we had had our owner share from the beginning of at least TAPS, imagine what we could have done for our State and the people.

        • PA_John says:

          Is Ethan the “Alvin Greene” of Alaska?

        • Ray in AK says:

          Spoiler AND loser. Diane drew 40% in 2006 with virtually zero national backing or ads. Ethan pulled just 45% in 2008 in a much more costly election, in the race he swooped in on after Diane Benson.

          I think it’s totally bogus that the two men who lost to Don Young in 2008, Sean Parnell and Ethan Berkowitz–men who couldn’t beat a seemingly mortally wounded candidate–would now be battling it out so that one of them would win Alaska’s 2010 gubernatorial contest. That’s just sad.

          • Blue_in_AK says:

            Even Don says that Diane probably would have defeated him in 2008 if she had been the Democratic candidate, building on her momentum from 2006. I’ll never forgive Ethan (and probably the Alaska Democratic Party) for denying her the opportunity.

    • Dave says:

      Simple Mind, I think it is pretty clear why Ethan is doing what he is doing here. He thinks that he has the primary won already, and is looking past it to a general election against Sean Parnell. The chamber of commerce side of the Republican party is not happy with Parnell already, and Ethan thinks that if he adopts their oil taxation plan he will pull enough of the Dan Fagan wing of the party to win. And with his plan I’m sure he will get Fagan’s support over Parnell, who Fagan criticizes every day as being pro-ACES.

      But Ethan shows a lot of disrespect for Democrats in this state. Both those in office who worked their asses off to get us ACES and are now going to face questions when a major frontrunning Dem candidate for governor says ACES is a bad idea. And he shows his disrespect for Democratic voters. It seems that he doesn’t care about us, he takes us for granted knowing that no matter what he does he’s going to be better than the other guy and we will hold our noses and vote. No thanks. I’m done holding my nose and voting for DINO’s. I would rather vote for Hollis and lose than vote for Ethan and win at this point. But even more than that I would love to vote for Hollis and win, so I’ll be doing what I can to help him win in August and November.

      • Simple Mind says:

        Dave, Deeper down in the string, you’ll see another comment where I agree with your first statement. Berkowitz’ campaign was showing around a poll yesterday that had him up on French by 30 points. Whether that’s accurate or not, if Ethan believes he’s already won the primary, this anti-ACES thing is to set up an attack on Parnell. That being said, its interesting to speculate what this says about his strategy. Whatever else I might think of Berkowitz, he’s a smart guy. He knows this anti-ACES ploy will piss off alot of Democrats, something he’d prefer not to do. If he’s taking this road to attack Parnell, he’s got to know its going to cost him at home. That means that Berkowitz believes (1) Parnell is really vulnerable on this issue and so the cost is worth the gain and/or (2) Parnell is going to be really, really tough and desperate times call for desperate measures.

  48. Simple Mind says:

    I know that many local Democrats and Progressives were perplexed and alittle depressed by the decision of Berkowitz and French to run for the same slot. It had the ring of our usual modus operandi – beat up on one another, spend all the money, and then get pasted by the right winger. I’ve met very few people who knew whether they’d vote for French or Berkowitz, and most were hard-pressed to describe a difference between them. One possibility is that this move by Berkowitz could be intended to create that difference and, if you are going to differentiate yourself, you’d want to do so toward the middle. Liberal on social issues and pro-oil was a spot long held by Tony Knowles, one of the most successful recent Democrats. Another possibility is that Berkowitz is looking past French already and is trying to draw votes away from Parnell by invoking the sacred “Permanent Fund Dividend” spirit upon which we all worship. I admit confusion at this point, and I guess I’ll hold fire until I hear more.

    • Blooper says:

      You have a great point, Simple Mind. Democrats in Alaska should be very careful not to get into yet another protracted civil war. The typical scenario being several great candidates using their valuable time and resources sparring with each other rather than uniting against a common enemy.

      True, the purpose of a primary is to have a ‘coordinated civil war’ before the final battle, and the Republicans are no exception in that regard, but somehow it always seems like the Republicans here have a way of ensuring that the victor of their primary is not too badly damaged when it’s over. Must be that lock-step mentality kind of thing.

      In any case, I would like this to see this not become another protracted battle between French and Berkowitz, but somehow I think this thing is going to come down to the bitter end. Personally, at this point I’m edging towards French but I think Berkowitz has a good vision as well, with the exception of his anti-Aces stance.. Hopefully at some point not too soon a clear front runner will emerge and the trailer will give their full endorsement.

      • Blooper says:

        Er, make that ‘Hopefully at some point not too far in the future’…

        • Kelly says:

          its too bad that this “civil war” has erupted…but Ethan chose this. Ethan could have protected a great piece of legislation. A piece of legislation that is perhaps the most important legislation EVER. And…At this point, I would rather have a Republican like Sean Parnell as governor than an anti-ACES Democrat-ACES is THAT important…

      • Blue_in_AK says:

        Ethan seems to jump in after other Democrats have declared their candidacy, as he did with Diane Benson in 2008 and Bob Poe this year. It seems that he’s the spoiler here. Just my opinion.

        • Pinwheel says:

          Ditto on this one. I believe we all lost when Bob Poe couldn’t get the statewide support he deserved. I shall continue to support Diane Benson.

          And someone else mentioned this above, if we had had our owner share from the beginning of at least TAPS, imagine what we could have done for our State and the people.

        • PA_John says:

          Is Ethan the “Alvin Greene” of Alaska?

        • Ray in AK says:

          Spoiler AND loser. Diane drew 40% in 2006 with virtually zero national backing or ads. Ethan pulled just 45% in 2008 in a much more costly election, in the race he swooped in on after Diane Benson.

          I think it’s totally bogus that the two men who lost to Don Young in 2008, Sean Parnell and Ethan Berkowitz–men who couldn’t beat a seemingly mortally wounded candidate–would now be battling it out so that one of them would win Alaska’s 2010 gubernatorial contest. That’s just sad.

          • Blue_in_AK says:

            Even Don says that Diane probably would have defeated him in 2008 if she had been the Democratic candidate, building on her momentum from 2006. I’ll never forgive Ethan (and probably the Alaska Democratic Party) for denying her the opportunity.

    • Dave says:

      Simple Mind, I think it is pretty clear why Ethan is doing what he is doing here. He thinks that he has the primary won already, and is looking past it to a general election against Sean Parnell. The chamber of commerce side of the Republican party is not happy with Parnell already, and Ethan thinks that if he adopts their oil taxation plan he will pull enough of the Dan Fagan wing of the party to win. And with his plan I’m sure he will get Fagan’s support over Parnell, who Fagan criticizes every day as being pro-ACES.

      But Ethan shows a lot of disrespect for Democrats in this state. Both those in office who worked their asses off to get us ACES and are now going to face questions when a major frontrunning Dem candidate for governor says ACES is a bad idea. And he shows his disrespect for Democratic voters. It seems that he doesn’t care about us, he takes us for granted knowing that no matter what he does he’s going to be better than the other guy and we will hold our noses and vote. No thanks. I’m done holding my nose and voting for DINO’s. I would rather vote for Hollis and lose than vote for Ethan and win at this point. But even more than that I would love to vote for Hollis and win, so I’ll be doing what I can to help him win in August and November.

      • Simple Mind says:

        Dave, Deeper down in the string, you’ll see another comment where I agree with your first statement. Berkowitz’ campaign was showing around a poll yesterday that had him up on French by 30 points. Whether that’s accurate or not, if Ethan believes he’s already won the primary, this anti-ACES thing is to set up an attack on Parnell. That being said, its interesting to speculate what this says about his strategy. Whatever else I might think of Berkowitz, he’s a smart guy. He knows this anti-ACES ploy will piss off alot of Democrats, something he’d prefer not to do. If he’s taking this road to attack Parnell, he’s got to know its going to cost him at home. That means that Berkowitz believes (1) Parnell is really vulnerable on this issue and so the cost is worth the gain and/or (2) Parnell is going to be really, really tough and desperate times call for desperate measures.

  49. tallimat says:

    “I don’t want to make this some sort of weird party thing…” says Shannyn…
    WOOT!

  50. tallimat says:

    “I don’t want to make this some sort of weird party thing…” says Shannyn…
    WOOT!

  51. tallimat says:

    LOL

    No Shannyn you are far from a party hack!
    (I’m listening right now… And love the end of the show rants.)

  52. tallimat says:

    LOL

    No Shannyn you are far from a party hack!
    (I’m listening right now… And love the end of the show rants.)

  53. Jo Ann says:

    Think I should point out that I’ve not decided who I’m going to vote for – Hollis or Ethan (it will be one of them) – so, I’m not standing on Ethan’s side at this point. But, there was all the difference in the world as to Shannyn’s interview process with each of the guys. Perhaps she was just having a bad day with Ethan.

    Shannyn – please believe me – I do think the world of you!

  54. Jo Ann says:

    Think I should point out that I’ve not decided who I’m going to vote for – Hollis or Ethan (it will be one of them) – so, I’m not standing on Ethan’s side at this point. But, there was all the difference in the world as to Shannyn’s interview process with each of the guys. Perhaps she was just having a bad day with Ethan.

    Shannyn – please believe me – I do think the world of you!

  55. InJuneau says:

    Now I feel even better about the sign in my window (not that I didn’t already know it was the right one to have there…)

  56. InJuneau says:

    Now I feel even better about the sign in my window (not that I didn’t already know it was the right one to have there…)

  57. Jo Ann says:

    I don’t understand how Shannyn can make a statement on this. She said she didn’t understand Ethan’s plan (I listended to her interview him on the radio and it was horrible…very combative from her end and I actually turned it off!), so how can she compare his plan to that of Hollis French?

    I’ve been a huge supporter of Shannyn, but this issue (from her standpoint) confuses me.

    I listen to her radio show daily and have never heard her treat a person like she did w/Ethan. Could see her doing it to Eddie Burke, but not someone from her own party. I felt she had no respect for him and it bothered me considerably.

    • Blue_in_AK says:

      JoAnn, I thihk Shannyn just had the same reaction that a lot of us did when she read his op ed in the ADN. .

    • luckycharms says:

      Ethan told Shannyn that the only reason she supported ACES is because “her friends in the legislature” pushed it through. I heard it. I’d be insulted if someone said that to me, especially if I was in her position. I couldn’t believe how little respect he had for HER. Even if you don’t agree with her, she takes a stand on issues, not people.

      Hollis French’s plan is simple. We already have it.

      I like Ethan as a person, and I wasn’t sure who would get my vote, or whether I was going to ask for the Republican ballot to vote for the most palatable of the three. But now I’m voting for Hollis.

    • Kelly says:

      Jo Ann…Did you listen to the same radio show I did?

      Shannyn was absolutely spot-on with Ethan. Ethan unambiguously insulted her. Ethan said, “you only like ACES because your friends pushed it through.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I thought Shannyn was very nice considering Ethan slighted her on her own show. Furthermore, Ethan threw every Democrat that pissed blood to get perhaps the single most important piece of legislation in Alaska’s young history passed.

      AND…I don’t understand Ethan’s plan either…except that he wants to eliminate ACES and put the money in the permanent fund so YOU/WE get a bigger dividend. THERE ISN’T ANYTHING ANYONE NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND FURTHER ABOUT ETHAN’S PLAN. Or that he wants a board to be in charge of royalties…A BOARD? Like the Board of Game? That’s not only bad policy…it’s financially dangerous.

      I can tell you, I understand ACES. ACES is working GREAT! I subscribe to Petroleum News. I have read Conoco-Phillips Earnings and Profits’ statements. ACES is mutually benefiting both the Oil Producers AND Alaska. The Oil Producers just don’t have the keys to Alaska’s vault anymore.

      Ethan apparently wants to pander to shallow-thinking conservatives by telling them, “vote for me and I will give you a bigger PFD!” I LOVE ETHAN! But if Ethan was for the death penalty or wanted to make all abortions illegal…I would feel just as strongly as I feel about ACES.

      Sorry. No thanks. I want my government to be solvent. I want my government to finance roads and schools and renewable energy infrastructure. I want my government to have money for a rainy day. Had Alaska had ACES instead of the Corporate Oil Welfare we’ve had in place with ELF and PPT since the 1970s…we would have $100 billion in the bank.

      And…Shannyn has had several shows countering all of the right-wing anti-ACES spin WITH FACTS. And Ethan wants to change it?

      Ethan is a brilliant man. I really wished he had stood up to the mental midgets of the right and explained, using ConocoPhillips earnings statements, how GREAT ACES is for EVERYONE.

      I hold out hope that Ethan will reconsider his stance-and like a great leader, change his mind based upon re-evaluating his position. It just bad policy.

      • PA_John says:

        Ethan appears to be trying the same tactic as Palin … pass out bigger PFD checks, with the hopes that it either (a) inflates the poll numbers, or (b) improves his chances at getting elected. Either way, its scummy.

  58. Jo Ann says:

    I don’t understand how Shannyn can make a statement on this. She said she didn’t understand Ethan’s plan (I listended to her interview him on the radio and it was horrible…very combative from her end and I actually turned it off!), so how can she compare his plan to that of Hollis French?

    I’ve been a huge supporter of Shannyn, but this issue (from her standpoint) confuses me.

    I listen to her radio show daily and have never heard her treat a person like she did w/Ethan. Could see her doing it to Eddie Burke, but not someone from her own party. I felt she had no respect for him and it bothered me considerably.

    • Blue_in_AK says:

      JoAnn, I thihk Shannyn just had the same reaction that a lot of us did when she read his op ed in the ADN. .

    • luckycharms says:

      Ethan told Shannyn that the only reason she supported ACES is because “her friends in the legislature” pushed it through. I heard it. I’d be insulted if someone said that to me, especially if I was in her position. I couldn’t believe how little respect he had for HER. Even if you don’t agree with her, she takes a stand on issues, not people.

      Hollis French’s plan is simple. We already have it.

      I like Ethan as a person, and I wasn’t sure who would get my vote, or whether I was going to ask for the Republican ballot to vote for the most palatable of the three. But now I’m voting for Hollis.

    • Kelly says:

      Jo Ann…Did you listen to the same radio show I did?

      Shannyn was absolutely spot-on with Ethan. Ethan unambiguously insulted her. Ethan said, “you only like ACES because your friends pushed it through.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I thought Shannyn was very nice considering Ethan slighted her on her own show. Furthermore, Ethan threw every Democrat that pissed blood to get perhaps the single most important piece of legislation in Alaska’s young history passed.

      AND…I don’t understand Ethan’s plan either…except that he wants to eliminate ACES and put the money in the permanent fund so YOU/WE get a bigger dividend. THERE ISN’T ANYTHING ANYONE NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND FURTHER ABOUT ETHAN’S PLAN. Or that he wants a board to be in charge of royalties…A BOARD? Like the Board of Game? That’s not only bad policy…it’s financially dangerous.

      I can tell you, I understand ACES. ACES is working GREAT! I subscribe to Petroleum News. I have read Conoco-Phillips Earnings and Profits’ statements. ACES is mutually benefiting both the Oil Producers AND Alaska. The Oil Producers just don’t have the keys to Alaska’s vault anymore.

      Ethan apparently wants to pander to shallow-thinking conservatives by telling them, “vote for me and I will give you a bigger PFD!” I LOVE ETHAN! But if Ethan was for the death penalty or wanted to make all abortions illegal…I would feel just as strongly as I feel about ACES.

      Sorry. No thanks. I want my government to be solvent. I want my government to finance roads and schools and renewable energy infrastructure. I want my government to have money for a rainy day. Had Alaska had ACES instead of the Corporate Oil Welfare we’ve had in place with ELF and PPT since the 1970s…we would have $100 billion in the bank.

      And…Shannyn has had several shows countering all of the right-wing anti-ACES spin WITH FACTS. And Ethan wants to change it?

      Ethan is a brilliant man. I really wished he had stood up to the mental midgets of the right and explained, using ConocoPhillips earnings statements, how GREAT ACES is for EVERYONE.

      I hold out hope that Ethan will reconsider his stance-and like a great leader, change his mind based upon re-evaluating his position. It just bad policy.

      • PA_John says:

        Ethan appears to be trying the same tactic as Palin … pass out bigger PFD checks, with the hopes that it either (a) inflates the poll numbers, or (b) improves his chances at getting elected. Either way, its scummy.

  59. Blue_in_AK says:

    Ethan Berkowitz has reinforced the basic distrust I’ve felt towards him for several years, so much distrust that I wrote in my Democratic candidate of choice for the House rather than voting for him in 2008. I’ve always felt he was playing politics, and this latest tactic certainly seems to bear that out. He’s playing to the oil-soaked Republicans and the Independents, of course, and it couldn’t be more obvious. I’m glad he’s revealed his true colors at this point. Go Hollis!

    .

  60. Blue_in_AK says:

    Ethan Berkowitz has reinforced the basic distrust I’ve felt towards him for several years, so much distrust that I wrote in my Democratic candidate of choice for the House rather than voting for him in 2008. I’ve always felt he was playing politics, and this latest tactic certainly seems to bear that out. He’s playing to the oil-soaked Republicans and the Independents, of course, and it couldn’t be more obvious. I’m glad he’s revealed his true colors at this point. Go Hollis!

    .

  61. Marilyn says:

    I was on the fence between the two, but my vote goes to French after this idiotic move…..what we need is yet ANOTHER goofy governor we can’t trust to have our best interests at heart (and wallet)…..

  62. Marilyn says:

    I was on the fence between the two, but my vote goes to French after this idiotic move…..what we need is yet ANOTHER goofy governor we can’t trust to have our best interests at heart (and wallet)…..

  63. B in Co says:

    He sounded fishy when he wrote that article for you a few weeks ago. This guy is a DINO in the truest sense.
    Trying to blackmail people into voting for him by fattening their checks while disregarding the needs of a successful state while state governments are in such peril.I hope such short-sightedness is not rewarded.

  64. B in Co says:

    He sounded fishy when he wrote that article for you a few weeks ago. This guy is a DINO in the truest sense.
    Trying to blackmail people into voting for him by fattening their checks while disregarding the needs of a successful state while state governments are in such peril.I hope such short-sightedness is not rewarded.

  65. Ray in AK says:

    Ethan couldn’t win a statewide general election in Alaska before this brilliant idea.

    Now he can’t win a statewide primary, either.

    • I See Villages from my House says:

      No, he can’t. I like him, he’s a likeable fellow – but odd.

      I am not impressed with either, if Hollis thinks a primary win is all he needs to get people to support him in November, he needs to show his plans, his vision for Alaska the way Bob Poe did the day he announced and recused himself from contention.

      I loathe the fact that Parnell could still skate into a real Governorship. The way Sarah put it, a Blackberry was more competent for running the State.

  66. Ray in AK says:

    Ethan couldn’t win a statewide general election in Alaska before this brilliant idea.

    Now he can’t win a statewide primary, either.

    • I See Villages from my House says:

      No, he can’t. I like him, he’s a likeable fellow – but odd.

      I am not impressed with either, if Hollis thinks a primary win is all he needs to get people to support him in November, he needs to show his plans, his vision for Alaska the way Bob Poe did the day he announced and recused himself from contention.

      I loathe the fact that Parnell could still skate into a real Governorship. The way Sarah put it, a Blackberry was more competent for running the State.

  67. tallimat says:

    Now we are talkin!
    I want dems to duke it out. The gut of issues are opened up when dems debate or duke it out, so to speak.

    Last week, when Ethan spoke, I was soooo happy. It was his stand on this issue which made me happy, it was the prospect of a debate between Ethan and Hollis on this issue. Facts will be flyin and doors will remain open for listening.

    Repub debates and thier campaign ads, along with anything Scarah related is becoming ad nauseum.

  68. tallimat says:

    Now we are talkin!
    I want dems to duke it out. The gut of issues are opened up when dems debate or duke it out, so to speak.

    Last week, when Ethan spoke, I was soooo happy. It was his stand on this issue which made me happy, it was the prospect of a debate between Ethan and Hollis on this issue. Facts will be flyin and doors will remain open for listening.

    Repub debates and thier campaign ads, along with anything Scarah related is becoming ad nauseum.

  69. Enjay in E MT says:

    Sounds like this gentleman picked up some of the “me-greed” the Republicans cater to. Many states have oil royalty payments and it is a nightmare logistically for the Oil Companies, not only how many barrels come from X well, but all the operating expenses for that well are charged against the well royalties.

    Down in some of the lower 48, private land owners may have purchased the mineral rights when they purchased the land, or a previous owner retained those rights. These families have divvied shares family members down to 1/128th well mineral rights (that I have personally seen). Royalty income is subject to state & federal taxes, inheiritance, rights have to be transferred from an estate, documents recorded…. A nightmare!!

    Fortunately for Alaska, it seems a majority of the production is on “state or federal land” or perhaps the state holds the mineral rights. Much easier accounting for the oil companies.

  70. Enjay in E MT says:

    Sounds like this gentleman picked up some of the “me-greed” the Republicans cater to. Many states have oil royalty payments and it is a nightmare logistically for the Oil Companies, not only how many barrels come from X well, but all the operating expenses for that well are charged against the well royalties.

    Down in some of the lower 48, private land owners may have purchased the mineral rights when they purchased the land, or a previous owner retained those rights. These families have divvied shares family members down to 1/128th well mineral rights (that I have personally seen). Royalty income is subject to state & federal taxes, inheiritance, rights have to be transferred from an estate, documents recorded…. A nightmare!!

    Fortunately for Alaska, it seems a majority of the production is on “state or federal land” or perhaps the state holds the mineral rights. Much easier accounting for the oil companies.

  71. Carol says:

    I was undecided as to which Democrat had the best idea. I’m burning my Berkwitz sign.
    Expletive Deleted! (I’m cutting down on my cussing)

  72. Carol says:

    I was undecided as to which Democrat had the best idea. I’m burning my Berkwitz sign.
    Expletive Deleted! (I’m cutting down on my cussing)

  73. dave says:

    Thanks Ethan. I was considering holding my nose to vote for him in the primary because I thought maybe he’d have a better shot in a general. But now I don’t have to, Ehtan made it very easy. I can vote for Hollis, the guy who I know and have known since day one is the best for the job.

  74. dave says:

    Thanks Ethan. I was considering holding my nose to vote for him in the primary because I thought maybe he’d have a better shot in a general. But now I don’t have to, Ehtan made it very easy. I can vote for Hollis, the guy who I know and have known since day one is the best for the job.

Leave A Comment

%d bloggers like this: