TODAY IS THE DAY!
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!
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
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.”
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]
THE MASK-ERADE THAT NEVER ENDS
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.
DOWN IN THE VALLEY
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?”.
THE BLOGOSPHERE IS ABLAZE! 🔥🔥🔥
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.
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
WAYS AND MEANS KICKS OFF!
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.