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May 18, 2021

Once Again, the Assembly is Sullied by Dan

Back when the Anchorage Assembly Chair was Dan Sullivan, he presided over a “meeting-before-the-meeting” of the Assembly. This is a meeting they have before their regular Tuesday Assembly meeting to basically get the organizational flotsam and jetsam out of the way…present amendments, new ordinances, etc…so that time isn’t eaten up on Tuesdays with “making the sausage.” Though the “open meeting laws” in Alaska ensure that anyone can sit in on these, at this particular meeting more members of the public were present than usual. You see, the debate over the ordinance that would halt smoking in the hospitality workplaces was…

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Open Thread: What a 9.0 Earthquake Sounded Like in Alaska plus a Friday Summary of Events

National Oceanic and Aeronautics Organization (NOAA) does regular scientific research all over Alaska but especially in the wildlife and Arctic areas. They frequently use sophisticated underwater recording equipment to gather information on marine mammals: However, on March 11, 2011 off of the coast of the Aleutian Islands, they happened to catch the sound of something very different…the 9.0 Japanese earthquake. The sound underwater was absolutely facinating while at the same time it gave me goosebumps. It’s amazing to me how clearly it can be heard, though I have occasionally heard a rumble or kind of rushing sound just preceding several…

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Where is the Knik Arm Bridge REALLY Going?

Remember the “Bridge to Nowhere?” Remember the project that was possibly the single biggest contributor to the tainting of the word “earmarks?” That famous title was actually a misnomer. It referred to two Alaska bridges, both funded through the same “earmark” at the time. The actual “Bridge to Nowhere” referred to the Gravina Island Bridge, which was a link from Ketchikan to the island that holds its airport. This was only accessible by ferry and small plane and when hundreds of thousands of visitors pour into Southeast Alaska during the summers, it becomes a problem. This was also the bridge…

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Oyster Roundup! Guns, Money and Cheese…

~Thick and fast they came at last, and more, and more, and more! Pass the Bree Hey, remember when Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan “favorited” a porn star on Twitter last year? It was quite an entertaining tale, and you can refresh your memory HERE. Little did we know that the story would have a Chapter 2, and become more entertaining still. You see, it turns out that Mayor Sullivan’s favoritest porn star has now shed her porn name, and become (are you sitting down?) one of Charlie Sheen’s two “goddesses.” That’s right boys and girls… Sully’s Bree Olson is now…

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Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Synthetic Cannabis

I was in an Anchorage Assembly meeting a few weeks ago, and the question came before the body – Should synthetic cannabinoids be illegal? I had never heard of “synthetic cannabinoids” and thought that this sounded like some kind of manufactured drug that had the same effect as marijuana. After a few questions, I found out that this stuff which looked a lot like cannabis was being marketed as “incense” under the name “Spice,” “K2” and others, and being sold over the counter in Anchorage. The Assembly voted to illegalize the substance and I thought at the time that I should…

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Will The AK Liquor Lobby Benefit From Its Investment In The AK Legislature? *UPDATE*

When the word “lobby” is used in Alaska, the first thing that logically springs to mind is Big Oil. However, there is a very powerful lobby which has reigned supreme in this state longer than the oil companies and it revolves around Alaska’s favorite drug-of-choice, alcohol. Why is the alcohol lobby so influential in Alaska? The first picture that comes to mind is that of Alaska’s early Wild West days, including the Gold Rush of the 1890s. Along with these hopeful gold miners came early entrepreneurs and colorful vice-peddlers who discovered a different kind of “gold mining” in the “Land…

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Coffey Stains Anchorage City Plan

It was a little before Mudflats’ time as a blog, but Anchorage residents may remember the best piece of political theater since… OK, it was the best ever.  It all had to do with a conversation between Assembly members Dan Coffey, and Bill Starr when we all got to eavesdrop on – how shall I put this – their “coarse language,” a scheme to force the Anchorage Police Department to approve a shooting range in Eagle River, and some illegal fund raising activities by a certain Mr. Dan Coffey. Alaskans fondly refer to this telephone call as “the butt dial.” …

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Anchorage School Board Wrap-up. Gains made.

~Linda Kellen Biegel testifies at the School Board meeting Thanks to all who showed up last night at the special meeting of the Anchorage School Board. The room was packed, and the public testimony was moving, and heartfelt, and practical. We put our money where our priorities are, and nobody wants to live in a city where the next generation is not a priority.  It was amazing to hear employees of the Anchorage School District talk about the job descriptions of positions that were on the chopping block, speaking up for people who have dedicated their lives to making a…

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Muni Fees May Force School District Cuts *UPDATE*

My now-13-year-old daughter expressed a great deal of angst this past summer over attending middle school in a different school zone. She can be somewhat shy so my husband and I were a little concerned. As it turns out, my daughter is excelling in seventh grade! She has been on the honor roll both quarters, she’s in several accelerated classes, she’s doing really well as a clarinet player in the band (she has a solo in an upcoming performance) and she’s made some friends in the new school while still keeping up with her old friends. My husband and I…

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Anchorage's City Budget – Where's the Outrage?

By Elstun Lauesen The Assembly Voted last night for the $435 M budget that cuts services and raises property taxes by half a mill. Basically, this budget was predicated on a set of assumptions that misrepresented facts of a greater magnitude than those alleged by Assemblymen Chris Birch, Dan Coffey and Bill Starr against then Mayor Mark Begich. We all remember the hand-wringing over the ‘overly optimistic’ assumption that set Starr into meltdown mode in early 2009. Alleging ‘criminal’ activities by the Begich administration, Starr made unauthorized visits to the FBI and Bond Council, in essence, trying to undermine the…

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