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October 16, 2021

Headlines:

Mayor Pulls Security AND Spit Guard -

Friday, October 8, 2021

GOP “leadership” & Alaska’s COVID catastrophe -

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Whole State Has Gone Mad – a Tour. -

Friday, August 27, 2021

They’re back! Personnel problems

One thing you can say for Alaska – we know how to recycle. We may not do that well with aluminum cans, but politics? That’s another story.

RECYCLE!

Remember the guy that Gov. Dunleavy nominated to be the Commissioner of Administration and who got a little too creative with his resume and lied to the Senate by claiming that he was a frozen yogurt entrepreneur which he wasn’t, and eventually had to withdraw in shame? Well, he’s back. Jonathan Quick has now shown up as a candidate for the Kenai Borough Assembly. There’s just been a complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) against Mr. Quick, this time for a different kind of ethics issue. It appears that Quick is also the Director of a group called “Alaska Yes, LLC” who is supporting his own candidacy with ads. The link to the complaint shows copies of these ads, which are definitely worth checking out for their … how shall we put this… lack of polish and coherent messaging. But the most telling thing about Alaska Yes, LLC’s political bent may be this poll which was touted as “interesting” on its Facebook page. It refers to Rep. Gary Knopp who joined with a coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to form a majority caucus in the State House. Apparently, AlaskaYes has feelings about nonpartisan cooperation.

Not quite sure if they managed to hit a representative sample of voters. APOC had an expedited hearing today that went into executive session, and the Alaska Landmine is following this closely and will likely have further coverage coming.

 

RE-RECYCLE

In August, after Jon Cook, the chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corporation, expressed support for the recall effort, Gov. Dunleavy fired him stating their “differing views.” Now, the governor has found someone who apparently does not have differing views to take the position. Craig Campbell has been named, and his relationship with past governors has not been without controversy. You may remember Craig Campbell for his role as Commander of the Alaska National Guard in 2008 during then-Governor Sarah Palin’s tumultuous run for the Vice Presidency.

Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience was thrust into the spotlight as the election neared. She began touting her experience as commander-in-chief of Alaska’s National Guard, and Alaska’s proximity to Russia as foreign policy credentials. Craig Campbell wasn’t helpful initially, stating on multiple occasions to the press that he and Palin played no role in national defense activities. As public criticism against Palin mounted because of these comments, Campbell, a few days later, appeared on Fox News suddenly praising Palin, criticizing the press, and stating that “National Guards are state military forces run by governors, and Sarah Palin does it great.” A few days later Palin gave him his third star, promoting him to Lt. General, and eventually appointed him to the position of “temporary substitute” Lt. Governor after she resigned, and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell took over the governorship.

There was significant disagreement at the time as to whether the governor had the power to appoint the new Lt. Governor in this manner, but Dan Sullivan (now Senator Dan Sullivan), in his first formal opinion as Palin’s Attorney General weighed in on the issue and said that the governor was within her rights to do so. Sullivan’s opinion contradicted that of a legislative attorney who had determined that legislative confirmation was required to seat a new lieutenant governor. Later, during the sexual abuse cover-up scandal that rocked the Alaska National Guard and likely cost Parnell his re-election, Campbell was accused along with then-adjutant general Maj. Gen. Thomas Katkus by Col. Robert Doehl, a former vice commander of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th wing, of failing to intervene to stop a broad battery of misconduct. Campbell stepped away from political office, and became the president and chief executive officer for Alaska Aerospace Corporation in 2012, and making $225,000 a year – part of a group of controversial Dunleavy appointees and retainees making six-figure salaries working for the state, including Campbell’s former boss Sean Parnell (implicated in the National Guard scandal), and Dunleavy’s new chief of staff Ben Stevens (aka “Senator B” who was implicated in the Corrupt Bastards bribery scandal when he was Alaska State Senate President).

“WELCOME TO ALASKA, NOW GO HOME!”

That old bumper sticker seems apt to express the feelings of Alaskans when it comes to the big political shakeup in Juneau this week – the ouster of Donna Arduin as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The state checkbook tells us that she had expenses reimbursed to her even before she took the job in November, and ever since her official arrival she’s been laser-focused on nothing but slashing the budget, padding her own pockets, and adding Alaska to the list of states where she’s been hired by Republican governors to wreak fiscal havoc before being let go in a matter of months. What those cuts meant for actual Alaskans? Not in her job description. She told the Senate Finance Committee in an open meeting that it wasn’t her job to understand HOW her proposed cuts were going to affect the human beings who live here, it was just her job to cut things until the numbers said what Dunleavy wanted them to say. On the Koch-brothers-sponsored budget road show last winter when the governor and his aides tried to sell his budget disaster to the people, a resident of Nome asked Arduin to stop using the phrase “we Alaskans” because it was insulting to actual Alaskans and that she wasn’t one of us. She kept on saying it. It’s not clear yet whether Arduin will take the state’s offer of a reduced advisory role, at a reduced salary from her customary $195,000/year or not. She was unavailable for comment because she was “out of state on personal business” which we can only guess means she was home in Michigan where she actually lives. She’ll be getting her full paycheck until October 1, and then we’ll see what happens.

Don’t get too excited, though. The legacy of Donna Arduin will live on even if she decides she wants to spend more time with her family (following the pattern of ousted former Chief of Staff, Tuckerman Babcock). It will live on because Dunleavy is the one who hired her, and he’s already said that nothing has changed and he will continue the policies, and the cuts. He is as tone-deaf as she is, and just as disinterested in the human cost of his cuts. In the news this week were example after example of the lasting damage being done by these reckless right-wing policies.

 

A REALLY BAD TOP 10

Here’s a Top 10 of the headlines that put the administration’s destructive agenda into focus – just in the last week:

Pioneer Home residents and families struggle with ‘heartbreaking’ decisions after rate increase

Marooned: Cordova braces for a winter without ferry service

Kodiak villages prepare for reduced ferry service this fall and winter

Alaska joins coalition supporting rollback of emission standards

State suing state workers union over dues collection

Legislators: Pebble mine could spark a cataclysmic mistake

Chaos in health care: Dunleavy creates Medicaid ‘emergency’

Conservationists, hunters denounce Alaska mining road plan

UPDATED: Reduced funding causes KUAC to cut five channels

Internal Dunleavy administration document suggests more budget cuts to come

If you don’t have time to read all those articles, here’s the gist:

State support that has gone to Pioneer Home residents who range in age from 67 to 107 years old with an average age of 87 will now be contingent on bankrupting residents and their spouse first, and some are receiving legal counsel suggesting a divorce to preserve some savings; Cordova will have literally no ferry service until spring and service to villages on Kodiak will be almost non-existent; our Attorney General has  announced that the state is joining a coalition to defend the Trump administration’s rollback of greenhouse gas emissions, and is also the suing state workers’ union to starve it of funds; Legislators are pushing back against a letter written by the Governor encouraging the investors in the hugely unpopular Pebble Mine project; nobody likes the idea of a publicly-funded road that will be built for private mining interests and closed to the public who paid for it; public broadcasting is taking a hard hit from budget cuts; and there’s more of all of this on the horizon. Yes, that was one horrible and very long sentence.

 

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Here’s a little something from the archives you may enjoy. It’s from an old copy of the State of the State address delivered by former Gov. Jay Hammond on January 13, 1976. You’ve got to give the ol’ “Bush Rat Governor” credit for a whole lot of wisdom and foresight on two issues that remain very much in the news today: the PFD, and oil revenue. Check this out.

Gov. Hammond valued deeply the Permanent Fund, and knew the good it could do for Alaskans if left intact. He also recognized the necessity that oil companies “pay their way” without state subsidies (like the $1.2 billion in per barrel credits we give them today). We should remember these wise words moving forward and recognize that until we fix our broken oil tax system to balance our budget, our Permanent Fund Dividend is threatened. Remember, it’s not a battle between essential state services and programs on the one hand, and the Permanent Fund Dividend which keeps tens of thousands of Alaskans out of poverty every year on the other. It’s between both of those things, and massive and unnecessary giveaways to the oil industry. Gov. Hammond nailed it over 40 years ago:

“I’m not interested in subsidizing Standard Oil.”

 

*This article is reprinted with permission from the Alaska Democratic Party

Comments

comments

Comments
2 Responses to “They’re back! Personnel problems”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/462770-alaska-is-ground-zero-for-the-budget-battle

    Chief economist for cough, cough non partisan ALEC knows who not to blame for Alaska’s fiscal policies…. the actual cause of the lack of revenues and the wingnuts that somehow acquired the needed 2 Senate seats to give oil revenues back to big awl with no guarantees of increased production or jobs,

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Arduin is bundled off to Michigan, probably to play hockey for a year, while her people try to smooth over her messes in Alaska and allow her to return, unsullied? Wait. Haven’t you played this tune before?

    Alaska is becoming Kansas North. Hopefully the people wake up to the fact that wingnut pols are not good for John Q Citizen and don’t give a shit about them.

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