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June 22, 2021

Headlines:

‘Recess’ won’t set GOP-led House back

by Shannyn Moore ADN comment I remember sitting inside during recess in fourth grade. Mrs. Henwood, my favorite teacher ever, was tough as nails. Her sparkly glasses and no-nonsense teaching made me adore and fear her at the same time. My times-tables were giving me fits. “You don’t come to school for recess, Shannyn, you’re here to get your work done.” I learned more than my times-tables from her. Buckle down, get it done, then you play. When I’d passed all my timed tests she gave me a bag of jelly beans. I don’t like jelly beans, but it was…

Saving Sixth Grade Music in the Anchorage School District **UPDATED**

by Linda Kellen Biegel 2010 Hanshew Middle School Band Not many people in political circles know that I credit music with saving my life. I started playing the piano when I was six-years-old. I often kicked and screamed about practicing, but my mother was determined and I continued through my entire school career. In sixth grade, I discovered the snare drum and concert band. I absolutely loved playing music with a group. That was around the time that I discovered that music was an escape from the insanity of my life at home. Unfortunately in high school, I discovered that…

The War on Alaska’s Public Schools — The Basic Outline

by Linda Kellen Biegel Last school year, I wrote a post about the proposed cuts in the Anchorage School District budget and how they would affect a family of a middle school student. It was then I became aware of the outrageous fees Mayor Dan Sullivan was charging the school district–for example: 100% of the salaries and benefits of those Anchorage Police–called Resource Officers–who only service the School District about 70% of the time. I tried to show how they were taking millions of dollars away from our kids. (Note: As of this week, these fees have not changed.) Sadly,…

Working Hard Representing… Who?

‘Tis the season for political fundraisers. Invitations come via email, and Facebook, and robocall, and some still even come the old fashioned way and arrive in the mailbox. Each invitation tries to sound a little exciting, a little different, a little “stand out from the crowd.” Well, this is one that definitely stood out. We’ve got two candidates – Neal Foster, and Donny Olson. They’re both from Nome, and they are both running for re-election to the state legislature – Foster in the House, and Olson in the Senate. Now, let’s put on our reading spectacles and have a careful…

Almost a Year Later, APOC Will Render a Verdict on Rep. Bill Thomas

By Linda Kellen Biegel   Mudflatters, think wayyyyyy, wayyyyyy back to October of 2010 and you might remember Representative William Thomas, Jr., a Republican legislator from the beautiful little town of Haines, Alaska. Representative Thomas is not someone who generally comes to my attention way over here in Anchorage. However, in September of 2010 while Rep. Thomas was running a reelection campaign, I was alerted to some very strange discrepancies regarding some regular ads running in Haines’s only newspaper, The Chilkat Valley News. After doing much research, I filed a complaint with Alaska Public Offices Commission on October 13th: The…

Mayor Sullivan’s Appointees Don’t Want to Let the School District Spend Their Own Money

On August 3rd, there was a regular meeting of the Municipality Budget Advisory Commission. (You remember, this is the commission that used to be two — the Budget Advisory Commission and the School Budget Advisory Commission. However, when the word “school” made people think twice about the appointment of one of the Mayor’s LGBT-hating wing-nutter friends, he just combined the commissions.) Anyway, this was the first meeting with two of their newest mayoral appointees: — The most-recently-appointed Amy Demboski, who has worked most of her career in dental offices, was appointed by Sean Parnell to The Commission on Judicial Conduct,…

How the Alaska House Gave Away State Sovereignty to the Federal Government

By Rep. Les Gara I’m not a big fan of failure, and not a big fan of spending money on wasted Special Sessions. I’ve now voted three times, including yesterday, to pass the Coastal Zone Management bill that passed the Bi-Partisan Senate Monday, but surprisingly failed by three votes in the House yesterday. Failure to pass the bill gave away a big piece of state sovereignty to the federal government. Click HERE for a link to my speech on the House Floor on why I believed the bill should have passed, or read the text at the end of this…

Alaska Outlaws Synthetic Cannabis – What’s the Big Deal?

Synthetic cannabinoids, originally intended to mimic the effects of medical marijuana, have now been criminalized in Alaska with House Bill 7, signed by Governor Sean Parnell. The bill will take effect on July 7.  These products have been changed from Schedule 2A to Schedule 3A controlled substances. Alaskans caught possessing less than 12 grams of substances like Spice or K2 (both recently for sale in Anchorage and Fairbanks smoke shops) will face a misdemeanor. Possession of more than 12 grams becomes a felony, effective next Friday. The bill also criminalizes sale of K2, Spice and other synthetics, often marketed as…

Palin Emails: Todd is a “private citizen”…except when he’s not…

I have a little bit of personal experience with this Palin email thing. However, mine were so redacted, they were no fun at all. So, like many others, I’ve enjoyed making up my own searches of the awesome 2011 Palin Email Database, courtesy of MSNBC and Crivella West. The REAL fun happens when I’m searching on one topic and stumble upon another quite accidentally. For example, I was doing a search on a lobbyist name or two and found this email from Palin’s assistant/residence manager: From : Erika Fagerstrom [erika_fagerstrom@gov.state. ak.us] Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 1:43 PM To: Governor…

The Anti-Public Education Agenda Comes to Alaska…

…And Hardly Anybody Knows It Many of us have heard the stories: new Republican Governors and Tea Party majorities in state legislatures across the country have been targeting public employees and their salaries, pensions, health benefits, etc… Along with this, there has been a major push at another budget-cut target — public school systems. Public Education faces massive cuts in Texas ($4 bil), huge cuts in Wisconsin ($900 mil), more cuts in North Carolina, budget cuts and a removal of the school districts’ tax authority in Pennsylvania (inhibiting individual districts from raising property taxes), and a governor-declared “financial emergency” in…