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June 21, 2021

Headlines:

AO37:The Bill Remains the Same

Friday was billed as the last Working Group on Ordinance 37: “An Ordinance Amending Anchorage Municipal Code Chapter 3.70, Employee Relations, With Comprehensive Updates Securing Long Term Viability and Financial Stability of Employee and Labor Relations.” In other words, an ordinance established to decrease union contracts and establish a process called “managed competition” — a program through which it is easier to outsource various job functions within the Municipality. (See: “ALEC” legislation across the nation). In spite of efforts by Assembly Members Gray-Jackson, Traini, Flynn and Honeman to potentially scrap this ordinance and start over with employee and community participation,…

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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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Alaska the Swing State?

  Well, here’s something to sink our collective teeth into. Nate Silver, god of numbers, statistical wizard, and Grand Political Prognisticator has just written a piece on his blog at the New York Times entitled… are you ready for this… Alaska: Future Swing State? I started. I caught my breath audibly.  My brain revved furiously. Was this a trick? Nope. All looked well, as I skimmed through at Evelyn Wood Speed Reading pace. Silver has several interesting points. First, he notes that Alaska showed the most improved performance for President Obama since 2008. He also rightly notes that Sarah Palin…

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Recounting the Vote

Just when you thought it was over, it looks like two close races will be counted again. Ah. Ah. Ah. Senate candidate Bob Bell from Anchorage has requested a recount of his race with Hollis French. Bell lagged by 54 votes, and Senator French wasn’t surprised by the request, saying he’d probably do the same thing if the situation was reversed. [Side Note: I finally figured out why the name Bob Bell rings a … well, you know.  Bob Bell was also the name of the actor who played Bozo the Clown from 1960 to 1984. I’m not necessarily saying…

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Anchorage Redistricted with No Public Input

It was a big night at Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly Meeting. The Anchorage School District Budget was passed, as was both the Municipal Operating Budget and the Municipal Capital Budget. However, I was there for the item that was slipped in towards the end. It was the first, last and only public meeting dedicated to Municipal Reapportionment…another word for Redistricting. You may be surprised to hear that the Assembly has been working on Reapportionment at all. You are not alone. If you remember the gerrymandering farce known as the State Redistricting process, the public meetings went on for months before anything…

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Hundreds Turn Out for “It’s Our Oil” Rally

Almost 200 people turned out in Anchorage, and also a great crowd in Fairbanks for the “It’s Our Oil” rally on Saturday. These folks speak for Alaskans who are sick of getting ripped off at the pump, and are sick of being told that it will take a $20 BILLION giveaway to oil companies in order to get more oil in the pipeline. Alaskans who are tired of hearing politicians from both sides of the aisle in the pocket of Big Oil trying to sell the same song and dance every year without requiring increased production. Oil companies make hundreds…

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A Tale With Backbone

It’s story time! I know we haven’t had Mudflats story time in a long while now, but things get busy, and life gets complicated, and sometimes we forget. But right now, it’s time to snuggle in, because I’m going to tell you an important story – a story with heroes, and villains, and big dreams, and treasure. Lots and lots of treasure. It’s a story that started a long time ago, and it’s also a story that has no ending yet, because the ending hasn’t been written. It’s going to be up to all of you to decide how it…

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Audit Committee To Discuss ABT Tax Report

On Sunday, July 15th, the Anchorage Daily News ran a comprehensive story by Richard Mauer. It discussed a determination made by municipal tax assessor Marty McGee regarding accusations that the Anchorage Baptist Temple had violated the law relating to specific tax-exempt properties belonging to the church. Mel Green at Bent Alaska gives us some background: “The issue was first reported in a story broken by Bent Alaska on August 29, 2011, based on court documents in the divorce trial of ABT pastor Jerry Prevo’s son Allen Prevo and Holly Jo Jaggers (who returned to her maiden name after the divorce),…

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Uncounted Ballots: A New Can Of Worms

I’ll admit it…I’m tired of the Anchorage Municipal Election of 2012. It’s a kind of migraine-inducing, bone-aching, paralysis-producing exhaustion that I’ve rarely experienced. I know that’s how I felt after our team of 10 qualified voters and fabulous volunteer observers worked their butts off on the hand recount. The team “observed” and went above and beyond to report the issues and the craziness that happened during this hand recount. However, they did not stop there. The Team also poured (and continues to pour) time and energy into further investigation of the election issues in general, going way-beyond their “job description”…

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