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May 18, 2021

The Chosen One, the Unchosen One, and the Recall

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy Disaster THE CHOSEN ONE The unexpected passing of Senator Chris Birch (R-Anchorage) on August 8 left a vacancy in the Alaska State Senate. Literally the next day, one of the Reps in his district, Laddie Shaw (R-Anchorage) was already vying for the seat stating it would be “an honor” to continue the work that Birch began. Only one problem, Shaw and Birch were on opposite sides of “the work.” Birch was an industry guy, and a moderate Republican who showed up in Juneau to do his job during the infamous special session…

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Hey… Where’s this thing going?

Hey… Where is this thing going? As several journalists have pointed out – August is supposed to be a slow news month. But like many other things in Alaska, that’s been turned on its head. The Dunleavy steamroller is juiced up and going full speed. And so is the recall effort. Almost 40,000 signatures have been gathered so far in the first phase of the recall which will draw to a close on September 2. Phase 2 will come after the application is approved, and will require over 70,000 signatures (which looks extremely do-able at this point), and then after…

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FAKE NEWS COMES TO ALASKA! SAD!

Gov. Mike Dunleavy didn’t come out and call it “fake news” but he may as well have. In his journey down the Trump copycat trail, he’s now blaming the media as a convenient excuse to not have to answer uncomfortable questions. Here’s the headline that got the governor’s nose out of joint. He said it was inaccurate. He would have preferred a headline that read: “The legislature chose that $1600 value of the Permanent Fund Dividend and he decided not to veto it.” And for the want of that awkward headline, he’s decided not to talk to the press anymore….

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Governor Arsonist/Firefighter is ready for your praise

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy Disaster ABOUT FACE!     THE GOVERNOR LAST WEEK THE GOVERNOR TODAY A CONVERSATION Remember the “unapologetic” governor, who two weeks ago all but assured us he’d re-veto his terrible budget cuts despite thousands of Alaskans showing up to testify, writing, and calling to oppose them?  Apparently, he doesn’t exist anymore. The shiny new governor that made an appearance this week is now furiously walking back everything he’s said about how necessary these cuts are and how everyone knew exactly that this would happen when they voted for him. SPOILER: Neither of…

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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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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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