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June 21, 2021

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The Oily Facts on Prop 1

By Peter Blanas Alaskans understand that oil is the economic cornerstone of our state. Alaskans are right to be concerned, that we have a healthy and productive oil and support industry. It’s also understood that the extraction of oil in the Arctic, is very difficult and expensive, and should come with a good return on investment. We want the industry to earn a healthy profit, along with Alaska, the resource owner. First, a look backward: Oil began flowing down the pipeline from the North Slope in 1977. Daily production peaked in 1988, at just over 2 million barrels a day,…

“Silencing Alaskans Act” Likely to Return

House Bill 77 Sought to Deny Citizens a Voice in Resource Development Alaska is defined by our natural resources – spectacular wildlife, abundant fisheries, vast reserves of oil, gas and other minerals, and endless acres of forests, wetlands and water.  Under our constitution, these resources belong to all Alaskans for our “common use.” They are protected through a sensible set of laws that protect the public’s interest and ensure our resources are developed prudently and sustainably for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans. Because of the tremendous value we put on these resources, Alaskans were outraged when Governor Parnell and…

Palin Slams GOP Successor in Alaska

Hey, Alaska! Sarah Palin is back. She left our state’s politics in the dust after quitting office in 2009, but yesterday she returned to her favorite local media platform—The Bob & Mark Radio Show—to slam her successor and one-time Lt. Governor, Republican Sean Parnell. The bone she had to pick with him relates to her signature legislation as governor, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES). The oil tax system that ushered Alaska’s bank account into golden days of plenty, with a savings of more than $17 billion, ACES funded subsequent investments in roads, schools, and critical infrastructure projects. Under ACES,…

Show Me Your Budget

Show me a political flyer in Alaska and I’ll show you a candidate whose only reason for living is supporting the Permanent Fund and education, and fighting “government waste.” There’s an old saying, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” This week we got to see what the Republican majority in the Alaska Senate values. Rest assured, their budget, written by Sen. Pete Kelly, does not value birth control for irresponsible women. In fact, amendments to accept millions in federal funds for family planning — to actually reduce abortions —…

GOP Leader Threatens Sexual Assault Council

Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) is throwing rape victims under the train to get the governor’s out-of-state buddy on an Alaska gasline board. You’ve got to hand it to him; the lengths to which he will go to demonstrate his lack of common decency are not half-assed. In a state where 37 percent of women report having experienced sexual violence, and where rape statistics are three times the national average, Mike Chenault proves that for those like himself, there are more important things. Like getting the governor’s Texas buddy on the gasline board. The premise of Chenault’s latest legislative…

Social Media Wins & Fails of AK Politicos

ANCHORAGE, AK— There are two types of Facebook stati: those providing the reader with value of some sort—informational, cautionary, or even just escapist entertainment value—and those benefitting only the writer: appeals for sympathy or money, self-congratulatory piety, boastful one-upsmanship, you know all the flavors. The second type is never in short supply, but here are three examples of effective social media use by public officials which—while of benefit to constituents and the public, indeed for that very reason—will also pay dividends when the candidate makes an ask around campaign time. The Feedback Loop Fairbanks Rep. Scott Kawasaki’s approach highlights an…

NOT Made in Alaska – DC Dan Buys from New Zealand

Earlier this week Jeanne Devon documented the hilariously unfortunate copy and paste job of Dan Sullivan’s website. “Carpetbagging Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (OH->DC->AK) is running against incumbent Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) this fall. When serious and professional candidates run for office, they usually hire someone to develop a website for their candidacy.” The Mudflats has now uncovered some new issues on his site. This time they’re not just from out of state, they’re from the other side of the planet. New Zealand, in fact. Most Alaskan politicos have their own stock of photography from their years in Alaska –…

(UPDATE) Parnell’s California Dream

UPDATE: Gov. Parnell’s illegal appointment has “withdrawn his own name,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. “A state law says board and commission nominees must be registered Alaska voters. Mandell told the Daily News he had not lived in Alaska since 1995. Parnell continued to back him, saying the Alaska Constitution required only that nominees be U.S. citizens.” Apparently the quaint notion that we have to follow state law is beyond the governor’s scope. If only he had some basic legal training. Oh, wait. ************************************** $2 billion a year is not enough. Sure they’re the wealthiest entities ever to have existed…

Democratic Frontier: Q&A with the State Party Chair

With the governorship, a US senate seat, our lone Congressional seat, and SB 21 repeal all on the statewide ballot, 2014 is a critical election year in Alaska. Given recent gerrymandering and the influx of outside political money, the state represents significant challenges for Democrats. The Mudflats spoke with Democratic Party Chair Mike Wenstrup about the state of the state, his party, and its future. Alaska doesn’t seem to be a very hospitable place for Democrats these days, so what compelled you to want to run the state party? Alaska values are Democratic values: Respect for personal privacy, government restraint, maximizing public benefits…

Parnell Stacks the Deck for Oil. Again.

The muck-raking writer Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He wrote that after running for governor in 1934. It would seem the business of politics was even more messy than the meat packing industry he exposed. I’d go a bit further than Sinclair. It’s difficult for someone to continue getting a salary if he does understand some things and still acts on them. It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll give you the skinny. Most of us are familiar with the…