Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) has filed a bill that would prohibitimprisoned couples from getting married while both partners are incarcerated. This extends to both same and heterosexual couples. My little bird said this was simply a move to beef up Lynn’s street cred amoungst his more conservative constituents as this is an election year and he is now facing a primary with Uber conservative Anchorage Assemblyman Bill Evans.
Pew Research Center found in their most recent poll of 541 people that while most (47%) are ok with trading their purchasing privacy via retail loyalty cards for occasional discounts, that abruptly changes when confronted with what the company does with that data and how it could be used against the consumer.
The Kenai City Council’s 10+ year-old big plans for Millennium Square are finally getting the dust brushed off them and is set to be officially presented to the council in February. The Peninsula Clarion reports that the square will incorporate both scenic beauty and economic driving retail space.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) is continuing his fight against high gas prices in Alaska by requesting an investigation into possible antitrust issues. Whoa!
Some of Newtok’s village leaders have refused to leave their offices after losing a power dispute, but US District Judge Ralph Beistline has authorized the AK State Troopers to forcefully remove the former leaders. The New York Times has the detail on this modern Trail of Tears
Whoa!! Check it: the voter rejected 2013 Kenai Comprehensive Plan is going to be used anyway as the basis for the revised version in 2016. While the Peninsula Clarion refrained from inflammatory language on this move…Kenai’s electorate will probably not be so demure.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seat buddy caught the eye of Politico, Inside Alaska Politics, and anyone with an appreciation for successful fashion risks (is there anything that Sen. Lisa Murkowski CAN’T pull off?)
The Anchorage Caucus were busy little bees last Saturday as constituents voiced their concern (and at times outrage) over the fiscal situation Alaska is facing. One of my little birds noted that MANY Republican legislators were late to their own meeting AND looked “more bored than interested in doing their job.”
The Taj McHawker is increasingly becoming a political “hot potato” (Rep. Lance Pruitt‘s (R-Anchorage) words) and with reelections just around the corner…it comes as no surprise to many that APRN is reporting that the Anchorage LIO will most likely have a new address really soon. Interested in the legislative hearing on this issue? Head on over to 716 W 4th Avenue for the Saturday 9:00am meeting.
The Peninsula Clarion reports that Kenai Mayor Pat Porter is proposing to put the kibosh on commercial cannabis with the town’s limits through a marijuana moratorium that will get a public hearing AND subsequent vote on January 6, 2016 during a Kenai City Council
Kake and Petersburg really, REALLY want a linking road to connect the two cities, though the proposed project would cost an estimated $37 milliondollars and there is some serious controversy surrounding the issue so…this Magic 8 ball shows :
Tundra Drums has the details on the proposed tax increases to help offset the costs of running/operating Alaska’s 247 rural airports. The nutshell would see a $0.10 per gallon in jet fuel and aviation gas taxes if Gov. Bill Walker gives the green light.
This week on Capital Hill, Congress is going to be scrambling to avoid another government shutdown (and increase the ire of their constituents) while tackling the highway funding and even throwing in some energy debate for good measure, per The Hill.
Southeast is sure to be doing a happy dance with the news that AKDOT is going to be pumping $30+ million into improvements of the Ferry System. The projects includes small ones like a new terminal building complete with functioning sanitation (!) for Kake and for Angoon; replace mooring dolphins (sorry, not what you think) and increase passenger bridge safety in Ketchikan; to Haines’ mondo project that will completely replace the current end dock for ferries.
Unalaska’s City Council was hard at work grappling with the ramifications of the Pot Board’s recent decisions and though not all issues ended with a decision, it’s part of an ongoing community discussion. Not so on the issue of too many taxicabs as that number has officially been lowered to 18, per KUCB.
The State Pot Board’s inclination to allow cannabis cafes has given the state its first potential location in Fairbanks. The Fairbanks North Star Assemblydiscussed the possibility at their last meeting and while many members were not amused with the prospect, Fairbanks seems to at least be rational about the good vs. bad.
The vibrant Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly candidates for District 1 did not disappoint one of my little birds. Apparently Robin Davis was the most polished of the group by being able to quote previous experiences and numbers on budgetary items. While David Wartinbee’s fish knowledge was “impressive” and Gary Knopp was “on fire”. The candidate that didn’t get positive reviews? That would be Assemblyman Kelly Wolf for not even showing up. Naughty!
The Cordova Times reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office was awash in 8,000 postcards from United Tribes of Bristol Bay members encouraging her to support their efforts against Pebble Mine or any other similar mine that could affect the Bristol Bay watershed.
Guess who can be found in Japan Times? That would be Alaska’s own Rep.Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks)!! The article goes on to explain that while attending a conference as part of a US delegation in Kyoto, he has continued to work toward strengthening the relationships between Alaska and future Japanese LNG buyers.
For Kenai Peninsula Borough voters, Proposition 4 is a $4.4 million bit of consideration. What’s at stake? The ability for Central Emergency Services to replace outdated or past its usefulness tools like a ladder truck and other vital emergency equipment. The Peninsula Clarion explains both sides of this ballot issue.
Tempers and a tempestuous history between Mat-Su Borough Assembly candidates Randall Kowalke and Doyle Holmes made for continued fireworks as the Dispatch furthers the Frontiersman’s original story.
In news that has stunned Alaskan political wonks, popular and beloved Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule (and former legislator) has dropped out of his re-election race citing political fatigue, per the Arctic Sounder.
This week on THE HILL, it will be all about preventing a federal shutdown, dealing with more Iranian Nuclear Accord grandstanding, and passing the mondo spending bill.
There’s a new electrical bigwig in the Valley! His name is Michael Burke and he is the new Matanuska Telephone Association The Frontiersman has the skills and Burke’s Curriculum Vitae.
Photo Credit of MTA
Homer’s City Council candidates got a chance to distance themselves from their challenger by explaining to a packed Homer Public Library their stances on the budget, commercial cannabis, and much more. My little bird told me that candidate Donna Aderhold was the star of the evening with her “impressive knowledge about Homer and ease with the questions.”
Today will see an interesting meeting down at the Anchorage LIO where the 14-member Legislative Council will meet to determine if they are going to squander spend $450,000 to further their lawsuit against Gov.Bill Walker’s move to expand Medicaid.
Kind of like Crocs with Socks (yes, I’m looking at you Mr. Speaker), Alaska’s oil response plan is outdated and out of fashion. So, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will be joining up with the US Coast Guard to bring the preparedness and response plan up to spec, per the Nome Nugget.
Photo Credit of Nathaniel Herz/Added “Funnies” Credit of Inside Alaska Politics
The Seward City News Kenai Peninsula Borough’s District 6 candidates: Kenn Carpenter and Brandii Holmdahl’s answers to the Senior Citizen Survey.
One of my little birds caught this article about Pebble Mine and how awesome Alaska Wild Salmon is in their local-wicked local news outlets.
Americans want more transparency in corporate political donations. That’s the takeaway from the recent Public Policy Polling poll on campaign finance with the big surprise on reforming the Federal Election Commission.
Image Credit of Public Policy Polling
In ouchie news: ExxonMobil’s CEO had terse words for Gov. Bill Walker in Oil Price in light of Special Session 3.0, “Alaska is their own worst enemy.”
Shell’s announcement that they are quitting Alaska’s offshore drilling was the Internet equivalent to a shot across the bow. Everybody (even all the way over in the UK) is reporting on this especially after the international headlines about the Paddle in Seattle and Obama’s high-profile trip to the Last Frontier.
Dept. of Labor Comm. Heidi Drygas landed Alaska a $2.5 million grant to help 600 disabled Alaskan youth find employment. Alaska was one of six to win the coveted grant.
Despite the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s best efforts, the Juneau Empire thinks that a tax-free condo association fees just aren’t in the cards.
Get your popcorn ready because the Fairbanks News Miner’s Jeff Richardson paints a masterpiece of two diametrically different Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Seat A candidates Dennis Alexander and Incumbent Van Lawrence.
Wired has the skinny on a new support group that is launching an ad campaign geared toward helping surveillance agents (NSA and GCHQ in Gt. Britain) reconsider what they are doing and quit their jobs.
Soldotna is all about transparency and the Soldotna City Council got really, really happy about City Manager Mark Dixson’s plans to improve the city’s record keeping policies and procedures. The Peninsula Clarion explains the changes from the informal to the newly instituted formal rules.
Quinnipiac University just released their poll that found 69% of those polled DO NOT want to see the federal government shutdown over the issue of funding Planned Parenthood. Stricter Gun Control is still closely divided at 45 support/48 oppose.
Image Credit of Quinnipiac University
Live in Juneau and have an idea of how to save the state from our fiscal crisis? Well, then head on over to the Juneau Forum on Alaska’s Fiscal Future on Wednesday. The Juneau Empire has the details.
Mark your calendars for October 1 at 7:00pm for the Unalaska City Hall Candidates Forum on KUCB. Want your questions asked? Submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ire over Sen. Lesil McGuire’s (R-Anchorage) $6,500 Seattle Conference hotel bills is growing to such an extent that the former Lt. Governor candidate has revoked her staff’s ability to sign the senator’s name in future and have been verbally flogged via the Dispatch. Her staffers have personally repaid the state for their $450-a-night hotel stay. This issue is sure to come up on an increasing basis during her highly contentious 2016 primary battle.
Still a catchy tune
The Mexican Consulate, currently located in downtown Anchorage, might be leaving the state completely-but not without a fight from a quickly formed group that is urgently advocating to keep their doors open past November 1st. KTVA reports that so far 900 people have been signed to their petition and that the consulate’s closure will affect the 4,000+ Mexicans residing in Alaska.
Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) shared the news that the Senate Majority was pleased with the message Gov. Bill Walker had about the PFD and the current fiscal situation the state faces.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly meets tonight to discuss the proposed commercial cannabis zoning ordinances and regulations. There will also be an opportunity for public testimony and fingers-crossed…a vote! The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on what Assemblymen Lance “Straight Shooter” Roberts, John Davies, Van Lawrence, and the ever-eloquent Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison are looking for in the ordinances. It promises to be an interesting hearing.
Today is THE DAY for oral arguments between the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the state over the constitutionality of municipalities being forced to pay toward their local public schools’ costs.
Hilcorp wants to lay pipe. Ok, more like they have asked DNR for permits to drill exploratory wells near Ninilchik, but my interpretation of the Fairbanks News Miner story is way funnier.
In good news/bad news: The good news is that the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the state’s justice system last Tuesday (yay!). The bad news is that the Pew Charitable Trust’s presentation during the hearing pointed to incarceration lengths as the reason for the state’s prison population explosion and not due to an increase in individual inmates, per APRN.
Campaign contributions just got a whole lot easier thanks to a joint venture between Twitter and Square, per Wired. So, how do 2016 candidates get in on some of this hot 21st century style dialing-for-dollars action? First set-up a Square Cash account, then once you have your all-mighty ‘CONTRIBUTE” BUTTON, tweet away (on an APOC appropriate account…of course).
The Southeast Conference, the mondo economic forum that is held every five years, is starting today in beautiful British Columbia where the highly anticipated Preparing for 2020 development plan will be unveiled. Can’t attend? No worries, they have a newsletter!
Get out your credit cards and ready a fruit basket to the new media players in the state as the Fairbanks News Miner reports that Alaska’s #1 news station (KTUU) and assorted Schurz Communication Inc.’s radio stations have been purchased by Gray Television, which is based in Atlanta. The cost of this Alaska market share giant? $442.5 million.
The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board is FINALLY completely filled. The lucky/unlucky person to round out the seven seat board is Eagle River’s own Joey Merrick II. To wit Sen.Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) sang Gov. Bill Walker’s praises on his “outstanding” choice.
Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River), Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake), and Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) think there are simply too many Alaskans in prison and have started proposing changes to the state justice system in order to see at least a 25% decrease in incarcerations.
Here they come to save the day! The State of Alaska has agreed to wire part of Cook Inlet Energy LLC’s tax credit payment to the tune of $6.4 million early so the energy producer doesn’t go into bankruptcy, per the Peninsula Clarion.
FINALLY!! The state ferry system has something to celebrate (happy dance time). APRN reports that the LeConte ferry not only saved six men after their skiff overturned in the choppy waters off Rocky Island, but this bit of derring-do didn’t even alter the ferry’s expected arrival time too much.
Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) wants the governor to investigate the curious situation where when “oil prices go up the price for gas also goes up but when oil prices fall we don’t see that same decrease in gas prices.”
Have no fear Rep. Kawasaki because the Dispatch reveals that Alaska’s oil and gas system is already on the governor’s mind with plans to reduce the state’s gas tax credit program following Sen. Cathy Giessel’s (R-Anchorage) special legislative hearing on the very issue.
Bishop’s Beach was once again the star of the evening at the last Homer City Council meeting where dozens of residents gave testimony on the restricting access issue. The Homer Tribune has a juicy retelling of the meeting and several choice quotes from the evening.
Sen. Dan Sullivan poked Texas’ senators where it hurts most: by pointing out how they are lacking in size.
There is (finally) a simple list of do’s and don’ts for commercial cannabis businesses to follow and simultaneously act as a guide for law enforcement. The Juneau Empire details the Pot Board’s new naughty and nice list. Don’t expect pot shops to be giving out “gifts” i.e. samples because that is now a BIG no-no.
There is something very special about this picture by Andrew Harnik if several of my little birds have emailed it to me with their own individual take.
“The symbolism of man’s effect on the planet is right there”
“At least it wasn’t on a blue dress.”
“Even Alaska’s fish love Obama”
“I wish I had been that fish so I could’ve peed on his boots to.”
The LA Times gives an Outsider’s view of the president’s trip to Alaska. Complete with rebuke (fair/unfair?) toward the Alaska GOP’s twitter feed, the shock that Pebble Mine could even be a possibility, and a tidy wrap-up invoking previous presidential visits.
If Pebble Mine wasn’t on Pres. Obama’s environmental radar before his visit to Alaska, it is now! Reuters admits that while he did not directly address the controversial mine issue during his tour of Dillingham…he did say, “There are other threats [other than climate change] to this environment that we’ve always got to be alert to.”
Get out your popcorn and a non-work electronic devise to read this Anchorage Press retelling of their experience covering the GLACIER conference. Warning: the excitement is infectious and the language can be rather blue. Enjoy!
ConocoPhillips has announced that they are going to cut around 10% of their Alaska workforce. While this number is sure to send shivers down many a spine, it is important to remember that roughly 25% employees for the major O&G players in Alaska live full-time Outside and commute to the slope. Some subcontractors use 100% Outside workers for in-state work. The exact number of AUCTUAL Alaska ConocoPhillips employees that will be receiving a pink slip is still unknown.
The Fairbanks News Miner has an editorial urging folks to register to vote before the muni election cut-off date later this week. Register to vote by goingHERE.
The Dispatch gives a beautiful, no–poetic, re-telling of Pres.Obama’s trip/hike to the Kenai Fjords National Park. Truly worth a read just for the details and enriched writing.
Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) and one-time staffer, turned girlfriend, now with the Interior Gas Utility Mindy O’Neall parted ways after almost three years. Sounds like yet another casualty of the long special session. What will he do now as the Legislature’s most eligible bachelor?
Sunday might have been a day of rest for many, but not for Alaska’s political wonks! The Peninsula Clarion was on hand to capture giddy preparations going into effect for Anchorage’s big day (today) for when the president makes his grand appearance. Former Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) and former Juneau Mayor Fran Ulmer were interviewed.
The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on Gov. Bill Walker flying on Air Force One with the president to Alaska. THE BIG QUESTION is whether the governor might snag a box of presidential M&M’s for one humble political blogger (hint, hint).
Yummy & Spiffy @ the same time!
Seward had not one, but TWO presidential helicopters tackling the finicky winds of Resurrection Bay and testing approaches in preparation of Pres. Obama arriving in Seward Tuesday.
One of my little birds made a rather blue joke about seeing lots of legislators packing meat over the weekend in the valley. Turns out that the truth was rather banal. 20+ state legislators and a few commissioners toured one of the state’s biggest slaughterhouses, Mt. McKinley (maybe time to rethink the name) Meat and Sausage, in an attempt to wrangle state funding going into FY17. There were more than a few visitors that looked rather queasy during the tour.
Big Lake voters are getting increasingly jittery over the upcoming vote in October that will decide (again) over whether to become the 4th incorporated Mat-Su Valley city. It didn’t help that the initial Division of Elections flier had such vague/confusing wording that many thought the incorporation would up mill rates by 33% and not the expected 09 mills. The Frontiersman reports that it has been fixed with a second flier being sent out with clearer language.
KCUB explains that the purpose behind Obama’s trip to Alaska. It’s not anti-drilling. It’s more along the lines of climate change…not anti-drilling. That is all.
Rep. Don Young has his own response to Pres. Obama’s upcoming trip to Alaska. It is brief and diplomatic.