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May 16, 2021

The View from Juneau

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

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Election Good News!

Yes. Election. Good. News. Let’s just sit with that for a moment. As always, there are the last ballots to be counted, and write-in votes to be scrutinized, but here’s where we stand so far: Bettye Davis for School Board handed Don Smith his walking papers (and his rear end) with a decisive 54-45 victory for the seat Smith currently occupies. Bettye is amazing in her own right, but Don Smith’s latest shenanigans and nastiness didn’t help his cause. Davis recently lost her established State Senate seat after Republican redistricting sliced up her former district. It’s good to have her…

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Corrupt Bastard Comes to School Board **VIDEO UPDATE**

UPDATE: Mr. Corkran withdrew his name for consideration on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, Thomas P. Corkran will be sworn in as a School Board member. He was selected by the Anchorage School Board after four rounds of voting to fill the seat vacated by Gretchen Guess. The board had boiled the candidates down to two, and selected Corkran over the CEO of Avant-Garde Learning Alliance, Kameron Perez-Verdia. There were 41 applications: why did they pick this guy? Do our School Board members know how to Google? I’m hoping the answer is no. Why? Because the alternative is spooky.   Mr….

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What You Can Do About SB21

The Republican-dominated Senate just voted to give Alaska’s future away. So, what are you going to do now? Disneyland? Wrong answer. The savings that Alaska has accrued from it’s oil tax revenue will now go straight into the pockets of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. We have no guarantees of any increased oil production, jobs, or exploration. History tells us we won’t get any of it. For a summary of what happened, with quotes and video clips of important moments, click HERE. Nine senators (7 Democrats and 2 Republicans) stood up for you, and withstood…

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Senate Votes to Give Big Oil Billions

Here’s your highlight reel from the Senate oil tax debate. Late Wednesday night the Alaska State Senate voted 11-9 to give billions from the state treasury to the oil industry. A 10-10 vote would have killed the bill. Amendments and debate took all day, and went well into the night. The bottom line is that the senate voted to give away the farm, in exchange for nothing. No increased promise of production, exploration, or jobs. It might incentivize them to do something though. Magically. If we’re lucky. That’s the argument of the 11 Senators who voted for this historically bad…

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GOP’s Slash & Burn Values

“Family values.” It’s something we hear a lot around election season from the Republican Party. It’s code for “queers are bad and ladies are baby ovens.” It has nothing to do with healthy families. Case in point: This past week, the Republicans in the Alaska House of Representatives, on some sort of “look-how-fiscally-conservative-we-are” display, slashed and burned the state operating budget. The hypocrisy of their campaign stances comes into pure light when you see how they are spending our money. Pre-kindergarten education was slashed, as was funding for Best Beginnings early education and the Parents as Teachers program. A two-year…

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Music in Our Schools (VIDEOS)

March has been officially designated  as Music In Our Schools Month, and music education has become the focus of schools across the nation. Music in Our Schools Month began in 1973, celebrated only in New York State, but has grown over the decades. In 1985 it became a month long celebration of music in schools. It reminds us of the importance of music education for all children, and that schools are the places where all children have access. It’s the time for music departments in schools to shine, and to share with students, faculty, families, and the community their beautiful…

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The Cost of Doing More

By Jeff Friedman The Anchorage School Board has passed its budget, and the state legislature will soon be voting on school funding. It is that time of year when people like to ask “why is education so expensive?” As a parent and school board member, I have been active in education issues at the school, district, state, and national level for nearly 20 years. Like most of you, I also went to school myself as a child. Of course, that was nearly 40 years ago, and a few things have changed since then. When I was in school, algebra was…

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They Think We’re Idiots. Are We?

BY: SHANNYN MOORE I will admit to outrage fatigue. The “Shock and Fraud” campaign in Juneau is working. Legislators, drunk on one-party power, are trying to jam so much crazy through — well, it’s mind-boggling. We’ve just passed the halfway point of the session — think of it as solstice; Alaska’s future only gets darker from here. We had it too good for too long and didn’t even realize it. The petty, preposterous, personal-issue bills were ignored for years. But now that we’ve solved our energy issues, jobs are plentiful and every education challenge is behind us, the Legislature has…

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R’s with Cold Feet Avoid Constituents (PHOTOS)

  During a day of passionate activism, and constituent engagement, it was interesting to note which elected officials showed up to listen, and which did not. At the Loussac Library in Anchorage, the troops were out in force. It was a rare moment. Because Alaska’s capital, Juneau, is not on the road system, it means to to look your elected officials in the eye during the legislative session requires a $400 plane ticket, and a day’s worth of travel time. Many are irked by this arrangement of geography and politics, so when Anchorage legislators come to town to hear testimony…

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