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May 16, 2021

The Corrupt Bastards are back!

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock Ben Stevens administration A trip to the WayBack Machine CORRUPT BASTARDS 2.0 If anyone had a momentary sigh of relief when they heard that former Republican Party Chair Tuckerman Babcock was demoted from Governor Dunleavy’s chief of staff to “adviser,” it was short-lived. We’ve gone from extremist Koch Brothers lackey, straight back to the Corrupt Bastards Club of 2006, only without the official hats. Yes, none other than Ben Stevens – black sheep son of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens – is now in the coveted role of governor’s right-hand man. If…

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High Drama in the Legislature!

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration HIGH DRAMA in the Legislature This may, or may not be an actual photo of Lora Reinbold ACT 1 – The House Today the House voted to rescind their previous vote, and in one final last-ditch effort managed to cobble enough votes together to pass a capital (construction) budget, and a “reverse sweep” to re-fund all the accounts that had been drained at the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. The governor can still line-item veto items in the capital budget itself, but programs re-funded by the reverse sweep…

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Greetings from the Rubble!

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration Dispatches from the Rubble… JUNEAU IT IS Governor Mike Dunleavy, having seen the error of his ways, has “amended the call” of the PFD-focused special session to include the capital budget. He’s also called the location as Juneau, instead of Wasilla. And so, the sparkly hopes and dreams of the Republican House Minority die on the vine. They were waiting and wishing for torches and pitchforks and arm-twisting and even arrests. But after a disastrous week, including the downgrading of the University of Alaska by Moody’s to two-notches-above-junk-bond-status, and the tidal…

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Legislators AWOL while Alaska burns

TALL TALES from… Juneau Wasilla? Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration     3 RINGS OF DYSFUNCTION Well the “special session” in Wasilla was every bit the circus you may have imagined. The gymnasium was set up like the two chambers of the legislators and everyone had a name card. Spectators sat in the bleachers, and Sen. Mia Costello and Rep. Lance Pruitt were the ringleaders. Inside, rogue legislators received adulation from supporters. Outside, we asked this guy what the flag stood for and he said it was a Belgian flag, but he brought it because it looked scary. A bunch…

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Hey, Alaska! Stop being Big Oil’s Giving Tree.

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration THE END OF THE ROAD -ish   SINE DIE The first of at least two legislative special sessions is over. They have gaveled out “sine die” which is Latin for “without day,” meaning “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” Most people pronounce it “SY-nee DIE” which is completely wrong. If you want to impress your friends at a post-special session barbecue or cocktail party this weekend you can tell them it’s actually “SIN-uh DEE-uh.” So, now that we’ve got our obscure procedural Latin phrases in order, here’s…

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Gov. holds education funding hostage

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration The Final Battle CONVENIENTLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL This week the discussion in the Capitol focused a lot on education and its funding. The first thing to know is that the Alaska Constitution requires adequate funding for education. It’s pretty cut and dried. That’s the backdrop. The conflict comes because – remember how the governor and his people were all fired up about slashing public education funding this year? His first budget called for hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts. But what they hadn’t counted on is that education had already been forward-funded…

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The call is coming from inside the House!

The End is Just the Beginning…       DAY 122 IS DAY 1 The regular legislative session is over. The constitution says that the 121st day shall be the last! Unless of course they extend it for 10 days. Or unless someone calls a special session to deal with particular legislation, which is exactly what happened last night. Before legislators gaveled out, or had the chance to call themselves back to special session, Gov. Mike Dunleavy summoned the press to tell them that he’d be calling a special session on the crime bill, the PFD, and the budget. No…

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Where’s the $3000, and Who’s Vetting These People?

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock Administration   The big news today is that the Senate passed their version of the budget, and everyone’s talking about how it contains a $3000 PFD, which is true. But lots of other things happened, and we’ll get to that in a moment. But before we do, there are a couple other happenings worth noting. “WHO’S VETTING THESE PEOPLE?” Stephen Moore Alaskans have been saying that since the very beginning of the Dunleavy appointment process. Remember Quick & Chance? No, not a quaint Dickensian law firm – the first two casualties of…

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You Can’t Fire a Fetus & Other Lessons from the Alaska Legislature

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration It’s been a week since the marathon joint session convened and voted on Governor Mike Dunleavy’s appointees to boards and commissions – and there have been a few developments with some of the rejected nominees. “EAGLEXIT” First, there was Mike Tovaliero. He was the one rejected from the Board of Realtors for several reasons including: his seeming lack of understanding of which board he was nominated for;  his losing interview strategy of being belligerent to legislators and not forthcoming when asked questions; and his problematic Twitter feed which featured both original…

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Governor’s Appointments – Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration The Governor’s appointments and how they went down   THUMBS UP/THUMBS DOWN Well, that was a whopper. The governor’s appointees to commissioner positions and to boards and commissions were up for confirmation yesterday, and the joint floor session with members of the House and Senate took 7 hours and 48 minutes to wind up. At the end, all of the governor’s picks for Commissioner positions (even the most controversial) were passed with a majority of votes, but 6 appointees to the many boards and commissions in the state were rejected. And…

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