‘Where do they find these people?’


If you’re in the Anchorage Municipality, don’t say we didn’t tell you this one is important! You get to decide whether Anchorage has a responsible, decent mayor or a homophobic Alaska Family Council homeless-hating right winger. (yikes!)

You also get to decide whether you get thoughtful, intelligent school board members, or ones who joke about corporal punishment and obsess about racism not existing on their social media posts.

And if you’re in Midtown you get to pick between keeping Felix Rivera, a caring hard-working Assembly Chair, or letting a bunch of Q-azy, anti-masking, storm-the-Assembly-chambers wackos turn out to vote and recall him. 

Outside interests have dumped money into this one and they want to see if fear-mongering will call out enough of their base to overturn the will of Midtown Anchorage. [To show you how out of touch these people are, they just sent out hundreds of mailers to Midtown FAIRBANKS! Not kidding.] 

Even if you’re burned out on politics, feel like you don’t know enough, or can’t find your ballot, please make this your top priority! Ballots are due in the drop box or must be post-marked today. Details at muni.org. And if you’re not in Anchorage, pester your friends who are, or drop a reminder in your Facebook feed!


Former Governor Sarah Palin  (along with Republican Congressman Don Young and State Senate President Peter Micchiche) has now joined the “It Happened to Me so it Must Be Real Now” club. 

This week she revealed that she, her son Trig, and her daughter all contracted covid.

“As confident as I’d like to be about my own health, and despite my joking that I’m blessed to constantly breathe in the most sterile air, my case is perhaps one of those that proves anyone can catch this.”

[Photo from the Daily Mail]

She then went on to urge people to wear masks. She was surprised that her son Trig, who apparently was the biggest mask-wearer in the family came down with COVID. Apparently, despite everything, she still doesn’t understand that wearing a mask is mostly for others, and that all the anti-maskers bear the bulk of the responsibility for getting others (including her family) sick.

But let’s not quibble. The fact that Republicans who do get COVID or have people close to them who do are speaking out and telling people to take it seriously is good news – even though we wish it had come a year ago.

[No, this is not Palin’s famous fence]


Will the Palin admonishment be enough to get Republicans in the legislature to stop the mask drama? It’s Easter weekend so we’ll have to wait until Monday. But probably not. Here’s Sen. Lora Reinbold, Chair of the Judiciary Committee this week who just can’t seem to figure out the complicated procedure of how to wear a mask on her face. The new CDC-approved face shield she switched to after threat of expulsion from the Capitol presumes that the wearer creates a seal around their face with the foam. Reinbold prefers to wear it so loosely that there are gaping holes on either side, AND is a habitual over-noser. But this week she stepped it up another level and pulled the mask completely away from her face while she spoke, in a new iteration of the longest mask-tantrum ever.

In that same meeting, Reinbold continued to live on the edge by getting into a brief debate with Sen. Bill Wielechowski about oil tax credits. (!!!)

Wielechowski’s SJR1 seeks to put the PFD in the Constitution. Reinbold asked about where the budget cuts would come from, and Wielechowski said we could be receiving over $1billion a year if we eliminated oil tax credits – allowing us to put the PFD in the constitution so the legislature would not be forced to keep whittling it away to balance the budget. 

She disagreed with him and said she could “bring charts.” Going up against Sen. Wielechowski on oil tax policy with made-up charts is the legislative equivalent of the Maldives deciding to wage a land war in Afghanistan. It ended with Reinbold frantically calling an at-ease so the subject could be changed, after getting a carpet-bombing of facts from Wielechowski.

Pick your battles, Sen. Reinbold.

And after cutting him off, she made sure to tell the committee that she doesn’t cut people off. 

Moving on…


Any time there’s a town hall in the Mat-Su, there are always memorable moments.

Anyone who thought that Rep. Mike Cronk (R-Tok) who attended a packed maskless fundraiser in Palmer, then flew back to Juneau infecting his staff (and potentially others) with COVID and putting a dozen people in quarantine would serve as a cautionary tale, doesn’t know the Mat-Su delegation very well. Behavior modification? Pffff.

Representatives Christopher Kurka, Kevin McCabe, David Eastman, Delena Johnson and Cathy Tilton as well as Senator’s David Wilson, Shelley Hughes and Mike Shower all followed in Cronk’s footsteps, holding a maskless Mat-Su town hall meeting last weekend before… flying back to Juneau. 

The local paper, The Frontiersman was there, and reported on the minority Republicans’ strategy. Here’s what it is, in addition to their thoughts on Sen. Mike Shower’s voter suppression bill SB39 that would hobble main-in voting, and also limit the ability of Alaskans to assist elderly and disabled people from casting their ballots among other things.

Rep. Kevin McCabe (R-Big Lake): 
“All 18 of us in the minority … will do whatever we can to be obstructionists, but in the minority in the House that’s virtually all we can do is be obstructionists. We can put in amendments, we can waste their time, we can stand up and say exactly what you just said, what I just said and we all support election integrity. We all support Senator Shower’s bill. You see Representative Tilton over there nodding. We talk about this often in caucus, it’s one of our four basic guiding principles, one of the number one issues that we have decided that as a caucus we’re going to support,” said McCabe. “There are at least three of us sitting at this table who have been labeled top seditionistsby national democrat organizations for signing onto a simple amicus brief. That’s the new democrat word, it’s no longer racist we’re seditionist so I’m proud to be in the company of David Eastman and Christopher Kurka and signed onto that amicus brief that we signed onto.”

The “simple amicus brief” McCabe mentions is Texas v. Pennsylvania – filed in December of 2020 in which the state of Texas attempted to block election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin (all states that Biden won). At least 90 other election lawsuits by Trump surrogates had been tossed out by this point, but Trump called this lawsuit “the big one.”

The attorneys general for the defendant states were joined in briefs submitted by AGs from twenty other states, two territories, and the District of Columbia urging the Court to refuse the case, calling it a “seditious abuse of the judicial process”.  

The Supreme Court issued its orders the next day, declining to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state. Go figure. “The big one” got laughed out of court like the rest, but now McCabe and his buddies can all be “proud seditionists” together.

Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice‘s Andrea Hackbarth and Meggie Aube-Trammell also reported on the town hall.

“…What we didn’t quite anticipate was the intensity of many of the speakers’ anger and fear, or the complete echo-chamber that the room became. The crowd would erupt into cheers and clapping whenever a speaker expressed their distaste or outright hatred of the federal government or their support for the second amendment with lines like, “we have the second amendment to protect the first.” Amused chuckles spread through the room when a speaker suggested that they should open the borders and send all the migrants up here in the winter so they could freeze to death.
The legislators ate this up and mostly sat with amused smirks on their faces, when they weren’t pandering to the audience with their answers. One constituent expressed to Senator Mike Shower that he ‘loved him like a brother.’ Rep. DeLena Johnson spoke about how great it was to be back in the valley among ‘people who think like us.’ As a group, they bragged about being labeled seditionists and stated their goals to obstruct and slow down government processes. Of course, the crowed cheered these statements. It was, in essence, a pep rally for them.”

The quote of the day came from a Mat-Su resident who boomed into the microphone: 

“I, for one, do not accept the federal government as being the legal government of the United States of America!” This was met by enthusiastic applause and cheers.

Hackbarth notes, “…This may not have been the right forum for us, but it underscored the dire need for us to make our voices heard just as loudly as those who spoke and were cheered on by the audience. If these are the only or the loudest voices our delegation hears, they can continue believing that they represent the beliefs of all their constituents. They can continue believing that the Valley is composed of only “people who think like them.” We need to show them that not everyone in the Mat-Su shares their views and that our voices deserve to be represented as well.”


Not sure who your legislators are? You’re not alone, but it’s easy to find out. Just click HERE, scroll down and enter your address in the field at the very bottom right that says “Who represents me?”.


Get your popcorn ready. This week calls for extra butter!


Alaska Bloggers Nate Crawford, and ‘The Blue Alaskan’ were on a roll this week, digging up all kinds of interesting info on former Alaska Republican Party mouthpiece, now the governor’s propagandist, Suzanne Downing, who runs the “Must Read Alaska” blog. She’s the one who wears the Alaska flag cap everywhere, named her blog for Alaska, and spends a lot of time talking about how Alaskan she is, and assuring readers she really really does live in Alaska. Well, guess what!

Turns out Downing just claimed a homestead property tax exemption in… Tallahassee, Florida! That’s where her husband (who runs Florida Public Radio believe it or not) lives, and where anyone must live full-time in order to claim it. 

You are probably full of questions. 

  • Where does she claim full-time residency? (Florida, apparently)
  • Where is she registered to vote? (Alaska) 
  • Did this “full-time Florida resident” just vote in the Anchorage Municipal election? (Yes). 
  • What happens if she doesn’t live full time in Florida like she claims? (The tax collector gets very grumpy).
  • Did she file for a PFD? (She says not this year). 

So, is she a full-time resident of Tallahassee and eligible for her tax exemption, or is she a  resident of Alaska and eligible to vote? It’s all very confusing and the plot is thickening every time we turn around, so we’ll keep you posted on new developments.

(Go read the story HERE)

And they’re not the only two AK bloggers getting a lot of attention this week.


After Dunleavy’s Commissioner of Administration, Kelly Tshibaka, (remember the one who was trying to privatize rural DMVs so those who got the contracts to run them could gouge Alaskans by charging them double?) announced she’d be running for Senate against incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski, The Alaska Landmine reminded everyone about what was revealed during her confirmation process, and now it’s gone viral. 

Even George Takei wants to know where they find these people. Spoiler: Dunleavy found her in DC, and now this DC insider has come back to Alaska after a prolonged absence so she can “fight DC insiders” with her newly hired team of DC insiders. 

This is one that defies description and you just have to listen for yourself. <<<link


We’ve got a new special committee this year – the Ways & Means Committee! Alaska hasn’t had one since 2008, but thank goodness we do now, chaired by the indomitable Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage).

It’s mission? To control state spending, to make government more efficient, and to raise enough revenue to balance the budget. It’s a gigantic goal, but this special committee is taking it on. They’ve already met twice, and next week they will meet on Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30am, hearing from Alexi Painter with projections from the Legislative Finance Division, and Dan Robinson from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. To watch, tune in to 360north.org.

Alcohol is Taxing Anchorage Resources


On Wednesday, February 4th , I will be celebrating 30 years of continuous sobriety/clean time. I know too well the toll that abusing alcohol and drugs takes on body, mind, employment, relationships…basically the addict’s entire life as well as the lives of family and friends.

I am also what is called a dually-diagnosed addict so I understand from personal experience that mental illness is a terrible combination with addiction. During my teenage years, substances probably kept me from killing myself but, as is the nature of addiction, my substance abuse gradually turned on me until I was mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. Often substance abuse is the only coping mechanism many severely ill people trust, even when the addiction has long since robbed them of everything.

Understand, I do not hold any grudge against the substances themselves…it’s not their fault I’m an addict and many people can partake quite safely. As a sober person, I’ve even made a living on the alcohol industry through my work both on stage and behind the scenes. However, I also know the deal when it comes to the power of big alcohol in this town and that power’s ability to obfuscate the facts.

Apart from my personal experiences, I have done quite a bit of research on the alcohol and inebriate problem within the City of Anchorage.  Notice I say “inebriate problem,” and not “homeless problem.” While Mayor Sullivan’s Administration has tried successfully to tie the two issues together, they are quite separate. The “homeless problem” involves thousands of folks, mostly children, without a permanent place to stay. Conversely, the “Inebriate problem” is between 100 – 200 chronic alcoholics, often with major mental illness and other health problems, who take up a huge amount of emergency services and public safety time, energy and money.

This year while attending Fairview Community Council Meetings, I also learned that the rules in place for their neighborhood package stores to help prevent these problems…rules that they were supposed to adhere to in order to keep their liquor licenses…were being violated. An APD task force had both stores on video doing just that. I became aware that other neighborhoods were experiencing the same problems. It’s clear that the industry cannot successfully monitor itself.

The topping on the cake was my discovery of exactly how much of our community resources were needed to deal with the problem during a time that those Municipal resources were dwindling. Through reading about police ride-alongs and from police officers themselves, I discovered that the majority of the ENTIRE Anchorage area public safety night shift spends most of its time downtown. With the added problem of the short-sighted “bar-break” on the weekends, this leaves the rest of us vulnerable when it comes to a lack of a preventative traffic presence and longer response times to emergencies.

Another issue is the almost non-existent services for alcoholics, especially chronic inebriates. When attempting to help a fellow alcoholic get treatment, I discovered that there were no more detox facilities available to most folks, especially walk-ins. I also learned there was only one non-religiously-based in-patient treatment facility left (Akeela House) that provided most of their services to court ordered clients. While out-patient facilities work for some, chronic, daily drinkers need detox and in-patient help. Unfortunately, only those with insurance and the ability to fly out of state can get it.

It’s obvious that tax funds are desperately needed to offset the impact of alcohol consumption and abuse in Anchorage and aid in establishing better treatment options. The arguments coming from the tax opponents are both interesting and incorrect.

ARGUMENT: Why can’t we just depend on the State of Alaska alcohol tax? Won’t we be double-taxing the industry?

FACT: There is no mechanism by which an Alaska State tax can be automatically dedicated. It will always be up to the will of the Legislature in power. This Muni tax proposal will dedicate these funds to public safety, treatment…whatever the Assembly agrees to put on the ballot. Also, it will not be subject to the tax cap.

Regarding the “double taxing” argument, Municipal alcohol tax has been popular at every Community conversation series the Mayor has held…both times he decided to hold them. The first time, in 2010, while alcohol tax topped the list (53%), the Mayor chose to go with a large tobacco tax instead (not on the list), even though tobacco was already taxed by the State. The precedent has been set.

ARGUMENT: Aren’t we taxing the vast majority of consumers for the indiscretions of a few?

FACT: Alcoholics consume the vast majority of alcohol.

In their arguments against this tax, the CHARR lobby would have you believe that the majority of Alaskans would be terribly put-upon by this tax. They would not. The largest number of consumers actually drink the smallest amount, therefore will pay the smallest amount of the tax.

According to a recent book, Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control,

“The top 10 percent of American drinkers – 24 million adults over age 18 – consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week… Or, if you prefer, 10 drinks per day.”

These folks, who buy most of the booze, are the alcoholics. The National Institute of Health says that “about 7.2% of adults (including 10% of men) have an “alcohol use disorder.”

When it comes to Alaska, the statistics are even more staggering. According to the 2013 State of Alaska Epidemiologic Profile on Substance Use, Abuse and Dependency:

– In 2010, ethanol consumption (beer, spirits, and wine) was consistently greater than the nation averages; spirits consumption was nearly 2 times the national average.

(NOTE: That’s 20 drinks per day, folks!)

– The 2010-2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), indicated little change from previous surveys in adult alcohol use; binge (episodic) alcohol use was reported by 23% of adults in Alaska, of which persons aged 18-25 reported 42% binge alcohol use.

Alcoholics and even heavy drinkers are the ones who cause the problems. I seriously doubt the folks raising a ruckus downtown at bar break are light social drinkers. These are the folks who SHOULD bear the brunt of the cost

Normal drinkers will barely make a dent.

Tonight is the last night that the Anchorage Assembly will hear testimony on this tax. They must make their decision tonight in order to get the proposition on the April ballot. PLEASE call or email your Assembly member before the meeting so they have a chance to hear your opinion.

You can also email the entire Assembly at once.

Better yet, C’mon down to the Assembly Chambers about 6:00 pm to testify in person!

Minimum Wage Debate!


Last week’s oil tax debate packed the house at the Loussac Library’s Wilda Marston Theater. This week, the series of debates host ed by Alaska Common Ground continues with Ballot Measure 3. Not as widely discussed as some, this measure is nonetheless important, and will decide if there will be an increase to Alaska’s minimum wage. 

This should not only be of interest to those on the left seeking to float all boats, but to those on the right who bemoan Americans’ dependence on government “handouts” in order to survive. This issue affects all Alaskans and all Americans. Be an informed voter, and spread your knowledge.

Forum on the Minimum Wage Initiative
Wednesday, July 30, 7 – 9 pm
Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library

Ballot Measure 3: An Act to Increase Alaska’s Minimum Wage

Alaska Division of Elections ballot measure language
Attorney General’s review of initiative language


Taylor Brelsford – former board member of Alaska Common Ground

Advocating “Yes” Vote

Ed Flanagan – chair of Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage, initiative sponsor, and former Commissioner of the Department of Labor

Advocating “No” Vote

Kyle Hampton – University of Alaska Anchorage Assistant Professor of Economics

 Click HERE for links to articles, bios of participants, and further information on the event.

Donations Needed, Everywhere


Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want.”

In a season dedicated to gratitude for what we have, please let’s not forget to share our abundance with those who have less.

In Anchorage, Bean’s Café, a local non-profit dedicated to helping the hungry and homeless, is in need of donations of food items for Thanksgiving meals.  This year the organization will offer two dinners; The Children’s Lunchbox will sponsor a Community Fall Feast on Thursday, November 21 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Clark Middle School, 150 Bragaw Street; and Bean’s Café will serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, November 28 beginning at Noon at the Café, located at 1101 E. Third Avenue.

Executive director, Lisa Sauder says, “We are so grateful to the Anchorage community for all they do to support our programs.  These holiday dinners are so appreciated by our clients.  All donations to make Thanksgiving special for those in need are appreciated.”

If you aren’t in Anchorage, please take a moment to research groups in your community who need your donations to help adults and children who are hungry. And remember that they need you all year.


The following items are needed for the events at Bean’s Café:

  • boneless turkey
  • boneless ham
  • stuffing cubes
  • dinner rolls
  • butter
  • cranberry sauce (#10 size cans if possible)
  • canned corn (#10 size cans if possible)
  • canned sweet potatoes (#10 size cans if possible)
  • canned green beans (#10 size cans if possible)
  • french fried onion pieces
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • assorted salad dressings
  • whipped cream (cans)
  • store bought cream and fruit pies
  • coffee
  • fresh fruit (bananas, oranges, apples)
  • paper items including plates, 8 oz. cups, plastic ware
  • coffee
  • toilet paper

Donations can be dropped off at Bean’s Café, 1101 E. Third Avenue Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Monetary donations can also be made online at www.beanscafe.org or by calling 433-8620. For questions about food donations, please contact Michael Bailey at 297-5606.

Bean’s Café, a part of the Anchorage community since February 1979, maintains a center where the hungry and homeless are provided with hot nutritious meals, a warm and safe day shelter, as well as information and referral assistance to health and human service programs. Bean’s Café is open 365 days of the year, ensuring these services are always available to those who need it the most. For more information visit www.beanscafe.org.

The Children’s Lunchbox, a program of Bean’s Café, has been serving meals to hungry children in Anchorage since 1998.  The program is the largest non-profit child nutrition program in Alaska and is currently serving over 9,100 meals each week to hungry children in Anchorage. For more information visit www.thechildrenslunchbox.org.

Back to the Sidewalk – Again!

The high drama of last summer’s sidewalk sitting may be back again in September.

Mayor Dan Sullivan didn’t like that a homeless man protesting his draconian attitudes and policies toward the homeless was sitting outside City Hall on the sidewalk. He glowered out of his window in the tall tower, gazing to the sidewalk below and decided to bring the long arm of the law down upon the lowly “protester.” And then, to the mayor’s horror, he realized that there was actually no law prohibiting Anchorage residents from sitting on the sidewalk. It really hadn’t been an issue during the entire history of Anchorage. But the mayor made it one, and decided to manufacture a law affecting everyone in the city, including the Anchorage Police Department, to exact revenge one one man.

Then the brainstorming in City Hall began:  Hmmm… he’s a safety hazard! Yeah, that’s it. Old blind ladies might trip over him. Residents of Anchorage wouldn’t come downtown any more because he might obstruct traffic, and stifle business development! What if he started talking to people and bothering them? What if everyone started doing it? We’d have piles of bodies stacked up like cord wood blocking the entrance to City Hall! Municipal government would effectively come to a complete stop! It’s about public safety, and commerce, and Aaaaaaaaa!

Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler testified before the Assembly prior to their vote, saying that the ACLU had looked everything over and had no problem with this proposed law. Only problem was – it wasn’t true, according to the ACLU itself.  Truth, schmooth. When caught, it was argued by Wheeler as all being a terrible terrible misunderstanding. You see, when he said that he had run it all by the ACLU and they didn’t have a problem with it, that was actually a “poor choice of words.” What he meant to say was that he’d never run it by the ACLU, and they had no problems with it because they never actually saw it. But Wheeler was pretty sure that someone told him at some point that the ACLU had told them that they had no problem with it… If he could only remember who that was…

Opposites are so confusing.

The law which stated that sitting or lying on the sidewalk passed the Assembly with a vote of 7-4. And many shook their heads. On the first day the law went into effect, on December 22, a hardy group of protesters sat out on the sidewalk in the dark and bitter cold, just to make a point. Nobody was arrested.

Fast forward to last Tuesday night. Two members of the Assembly who had voted FOR the law, have now changed their minds. One of the Assembly members in question is former Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander of Eagle River, who has an annoying habit of sharing with the Assembly the long and angst-ridden tales of her ruminations, personal struggles and soul searching deep into the sleepless night before she votes the wrong way on issues.  “I just think it was the wrong decision,” Ossiander said. “It bugged me. I want to fix it.”













Well, OK then. After staring at the ceiling and wringing her hands for months, she’s decided to do the right thing. It’s a nice switcheroo –  like when a surprise plot twist in a movie completely takes you off guard because it’s the last thing you were expecting.  She’s kind of like the Fight Club of the Anchorage Assembly now.

The other is Dick Traini, who is currently running for the legislature as a Republican, and is more sane than many other Republicans. Traini is known to have more than a small libertarian streak, and may now have come to the conclusion that a law which prohibits sitting down, enacted to satisfy an asshat mayor’s need for personal revenge on a homeless guy might be a bit over the top as far as restricting personal liberties.  And, he also believed the Municipal Attorney who said that the ACLU had no problems with the law. And when Mr. Traini found out that they did, he was steamed about getting duped, and tried to get the ordinance repealed in December before it even went into effect, but to no avail.

So, if these two Assembly members change their minds, and it’s voted on again, we could expect it to pass this time by a vote of 6-5. Unfortunately, this vote is not enough to make it veto-proof, and Dan Sullivan could still don his magic asshat, and veto the whole thing.

Sullivan said Ossiander and Traini changing their minds “is a little bizarre, given their previous support and the fact that it is working just fine. I don’t know why they’re being schizophrenic about it.”

Schizophrenic? I suppose we shouldn’t be shocked, this coming from a man who has demonstrated such sensitivity, warmth and humanity to the mentally ill, and homeless populations, like when he called homelessness a “lifestyle choice.” For the mayor’s clarification, schizophrenia:

is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness.It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.

I think maybe you  meant “inconsistent” or “unpredictable.” Try that, and I bet you won’t sound like a high school freshman. Because I’m pretty sure they weren’t listening to the voices in their heads – they were just listening to your attorney who didn’t tell the truth. Or, I guess you could just go for it and ask them directly why they’re being like so totally schizophrenic about it. Seriously, I mean OMG! WTF? LOL! SMH.

Traini and Ossiander introduced their proposal to eliminate the part of the ordinance that prohibits sidewalk sitting at Tuesday’s assembly meeting. There will be a public hearing on September 11, and the vote will be taken on September 25 after another opportunity to give public testimony.

“The sidewalks belong to everybody,” Traini said.

Indeed they do. And thanks to both Traini and Ossiander for heeding the old proverb – No matter how far you go down the wrong road, turn back.