The brewing battle over Bethel’s liquor store permit has yet to be resolved and the contentious issue is spilling over into other matters before the Bethel City Council including conflict of interest vote by Councilwoman Nikki Hoffman. The Dispatch has the popcorn worthy details of the hearing.
The full text of the TPP trade deal has been released (thanks New Zealand government) to both horror and applause. Wired points out that Congress will be voting a straight-up “yea” or “nay” in 2016 as there is VERY little wiggle room on altering the multi-nation agreement.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is quite chummy with her House Energy Committee Chair cohort by joining forces (and donor lists) to form a joint fundraising committee that will allow them to raise a lot of $, but only have to divvy up the funds between themselves. International Business Times has the details of the ramifications of this Washingtonesque Friends with Benefits.
Anchorage parks are taking a page from the Handmaid’s Tale and plan to use pictographs instead of words on trails and maps, per the Dispatch. Really, this is actually happening.
The City and Borough of Sitka’s recent assembly meeting was very busy indeed between the reappointment of Dan Jones to the Gary Paxton Industrial Board, Eric Skousen to the Port and Harbors Commission and Tami ParkerSong to the Planning Commission; the finalization of the raw water contract for $1,000,000; and Mayor McConnell signing a coalition letter to Pres. Obama in support of continued climate action.
Juneau’s City Manager Kim Kiefer’s planned retirement for December 2015 has been extended to April 30, 2016 because of the 33 applicants for her soon-to-be-vacant job…not one was determined worthy of her mantle. The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly will begin anew in January with the hopes of finding someone by the end of February.
OH YEAH! The AFN is happening right now in Anchorage and yesterday’s opening ceremony saw lots of amazing moments, but one of my little birds was really, really excited about AFN President Julie Kitka’s (!) speech because her little girl “now wants to be president too instead of Elsa.”
Kenai’s Prop 1, the ability for candidates to run for designated seats, officially failed by SIX votes and the faces on the Kenai City Council will remain the same, per the Peninsula Clarion.
The Ketchikan City Council held a hearing where the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the city and the Ketchikan Professional Firefighters Association and to award a contract with Cal Worthington Ford Lincoln for a Ford F-450 XL truck.
While the House is off till next week, the ongoing saga over Who. Will. Be. The. Next. Speaker. Of. The. House. contines with Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) spokesperson playing coy and saying that there isn’t any anticipated news this week and to “Enjoy you Columbus Day”.
Take heart Interior Democrats! While the owners of your beloved Drinking Liberally hang-out have changed, Big Daddy’s will continue serving their delicious BBQ and libations with ease. From the Fairbanks News Miner’s take, it is simply a matter of new name on the door.
Today’s THE day in state legislative meets healthcare at the State Reform Health Policy Conference in Anchorage!! Everyone is going to be there. From one of the Big Three ( Valerie Davis of HSS (!)); to the battling of opinions on the state’s healthcare direction with Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole), Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) explaining their vision at the 1:45pm panel; and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) sharing their vision. The biggest surprise of pre-event excitement from many of my little birds is regarding the 9:30am panel with Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) to discuss reforming Medicaid. Lots of fans, he has.
Could the Permanent Fund Board garner a “Pope-like” figure or more likely a “PF Czar”? That is the latest question wafting out of every Alaskan’s favorite state entity, though the hunt for a regularExecutive Director is the main focus for the state with my little birds liking candidates Alexander Slivka and Angela Rodell the most out of the short list.
Congratulations Felix Wong and Stephen Bradford on their individual wins for a seat at the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly dais!
Kodiak Island Borough now officially can claim Kyle Crow, Mel Stephens and Dennis Symmons as part of their Assembly team.
Heads up Sen.Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) and Rep. Kurt Olson (R-Soldotna): the Kenai Peninsula Borough School districts has their official legislative marching orders for you and it’s all focused on protecting their access to funding. But that doesn’t mean individual input isn’t still being requested. There are lots of locations to be a part of the Oct. 15 budget development meeting.
Neither Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss nor his challenger Vern Halter is conceding the race until the vote count is finalized, per the Frontiersman.
Anchorage is in talks with Conoco Phillips to buy back some of their leases in the upper Cook Inlet for ML&P to control, though as APRN explains…”any purchase will have to first be approved by the [Anchorage] assembly.”
Photo Credit of APRN
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is beginning to see the light at the end of her hard-fought battle to lift the 40+ oil export ban with The Hill reporting that the White House has been making noises that point to a possible signature!
Palmer is one town that won’t be selling commercial pot as the town voted 318 to 266 to ban this particular economic sector from opening shop and paying taxes, per the Dispatch.
The Western Director and Senior Attorney for NRDC wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post where he made his case for why the recent independent study that found that the relationship between the EPA and anti-Pebblegroups was improper, was nothing more than a PR Stunt from a “cash-starved” Pebble Partnership.
Mayor-elect Karl Kassel is not wasting time in beginning his transition to full-on mayor. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that he is already taking applications for positions within his administration and has a basic idea of the changes he wants to make.
Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) is not one to let injury slow him down and that was evident last night at the latest UAA College Democrats meeting where he gave a “barn-burning” speech against the current oil tax structure.
Sen. Dan Sullivan is backing a new bill regarding illegal immigrants and Politico explains the legislation’s aim and who else is getting on the bandwagon.
Quinnipiac has just released their latest poll that shows of the 2016 swing state US Senate races, only Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) vs. Ted Strickland (D) is a toss-up, though Democratic challengers in Florida are gaining traction.
Rep. Don Youngtweeted his support on H.R. 538 that would give Alaska Natives the ability to utilize their lands without “heavy hand of federal government”.
Doyon, Limited is expanding their O&G exploration within the Nenana basin with plans to drill their 3rd exploratory well in the summer of 2016, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
APRN explains the state’s DNR decision on Alaskans’ rights over natural resource use and why PacRim Chuitna Coal is not amused.
While the numbers are still being finalized, it appears that yesterday may have shattered voting records for the past ten years in Fairbanks!
The Frontiersman has an excellent piece about Mat-Su Assembly candidate (and future powerhouse) Maria Serrano and her tenacious spirit that took her from simply a name on a ballot to a formidable challenger despite her 19 years.
In happy fun time news: the Juneau Empire reports that while the original partnership between the Vincent de Paul Society and GMD Development went belly-up with their plans to bring affordable housing to the capital city, there is still forward movement to ensure the project grows into fruition.
This week in Congress, expect plenty of grandstanding, verbal fireworks, and hurt feelings over choosing the NEW GOP LEADERSHIP! Also on tap will be passing the annual defense bill and on Friday…the House will vote on lifting the export ban on crude oil (though The Hill doesn’t think it will pass).
Sen. Peter “perfectly dignified” Micciche (R-Soldotna) spoke to at a recent Kenai Peninsula Borough meeting in Moose Pass (yes, Assemblyperson Sue McClure was there!!) to discuss Capital Improvement requests. Know who else was there? The hard working Rick Smeriglio of Seward City News fame.
KTOO has the details on GCI’s TERRA project that is expanding the 21st century’s version of the printing press (our beloved Internet) to rural Alaska beginning throughout the YK Delta and Western Alaska region.
Alaska Political Leadership, please come to the white curtsey phone. Wired has some interesting news about how drones are now being used to hack wireless printers.
The Nome Common Council is in a tough position over a tugboat confiscation due to unpaid port fees of its previous owner. While the council approved the necessary $52,640 contract to demolish the eyesore, the amount is still too high for the City of Nome because the unexpected problem was not included in the budget, per the Nome Nugget.
Bernadette Wilson of Bernadette Live fame has new segment called “Rumor Has It” and my little bird tells me that a certain Anchorage-based News Station is so impressed with its buzz that they are interested in bringing her onboard.
Get the lowdown on Soldotna’s four city council candidates from the Peninsula Clarion. They also have information on their sole mayoral candidate, Pete Sprague.
$7,000,000,000.00 is the current expected amount it would cost the state to buyout TransCanada Corp…but could also see $400 million a year in additional revenue. It’s a complicated issue and thankfully the Juneau Empire explains both sides of matter.
The City of Ketchikan approved the license agreement between the City of Saxman and themselves for the use of the old Fire Station 1 by the renowned Saxman Carvers.
Ready all about where the Mat-Su Borough Assembly candidates stand on various issues in the Frontiersman.
Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) wrote an impassioned op-ed in the Dispatch over the upcoming Special Session 3.0 and how Gov. Bill Walker’s communication style is not of the two-way street variety.
The Nome Nugget gives an expansive critique over the differences (and there are many) between the various candidates running for office.
The Seward City News details last week’s Chamber of Commerce’s candidates forum for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Regular Municipal Election (say that five times fast) and what to expect from the individual candidates. While Kenai Assemblyperson Sue McClure’s (!) tenure is coming to a close due to term limits, she is running for City Council along with Deborah Altermatt and Councilmember Dave Squires.
Power has been restored in Fairbanks, just in time for tomorrow’s elections. That is great news, though voting by lantern would have made for awesome visuals…cold, miserable voting conditions…but awesome visuals none the less.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s 2016 budget reflects his New Era promise of more police and less waste with a $1.8 million lower budget than former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan’s 2015 version. APRN reports on the major takeaways.
One of my little birds told me that Les Gara (D-Anchorage) was seriously hurt at a local coffee shop. While this was not a case of a “Battle over Cronuts”, here’s to a speedy recovery!
Homer’s City Manager and City Council held a standing room only meeting over potential options for raising desperately needed funds. The Homer Tribune explains how the crowd took the ideas ranging from a seasonal sales tax, raiding the tax $ for roads and trails, to an increase in property taxes.
Meet the candidates vying for the two open seats on the North Slope Borough Assembly. They are from a wide-ranging background and their stance on issues is just as varied.
In that was quick news: Roselynn Cacy has become candidate #4 for the now open Senate District L seat Southwest Anchorage. This is expected to be old had for Casey as she ran for the seat back in 2012, but as the Dispatch reports, this time around she will first have win the Democratic primary against long-time campaigning Forrest McDonald. Jeff “I’ve never met a Speedo I couldn’t rock” Landfield and Natasha von Imhof have their own primary battle for the GOP bid before the final face-off in November 2016.
Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! The lucky coffee-drinking Juneau residents just got luckier with the announcement that Coppa, GonZo, and the Rookery are going to match discounted coffee prices to October 6th’s voter turnout. As the Juneau Empire reports that last year’s turnout was 29% and that would have meant 29 cents off a cuppa.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski might have come a long way baby as the ONLY Chairwoman of a full committee, but according to Politico…this is probably as far as the GOP will allow her (or any other GOP Congressional women) to ascend.
The Peninsula Clarion covered the latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Seat 1 candidate debate between incumbent Kelly Wolf, Gary Knopp, Robin Davis, and David Wartinbee.
We are officially going into Special Session 3.0! This surprised the Alaska House Majority, made the Senate Minoritygiddy as it’s being held in Juneau, and created concern within the Senate Majority. As for the House Minority…crickets.
The “Big Three” LNG Project producers have reached an agreement with the State of Alaska on property taxes. They will be paying the state $16.5 billion (yes, with a “B”) with $15.7 billion going toward PILT payments in lieu of technical taxes. The Peninsula Clarion has the details.
The state’s review of the LNG deal structure has found “serious challenges” to ensure maximum benefit to Alaskans. The 11-page report is well-written and worth a read, but so to is the amazing job by the Dispatch’s Alex DeMarban in explaining the information in laymen’s details.
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.
It’s here! The latest in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblynews by the one and only Sue McClure!
Rep. Don Young will be among many high-level guests attending the Wolf Trap Ball this Saturday where the basic (i.e. the paupers’) ticket price begins at $750 all the way up to $50K for table sponsorship. This year’s theme tips their hat to ancient Rome in honor of the host: Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero. And yes…there will be a conga line.
Governor Bill Walker might not officially announce our PFD amount till Monday, but the New York Times kind of beat him to the punch with the announcement of record payments of more than $2,000 per recipient.
Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s might have been tirelessly working on getting federal-level assistance with the transboundary mine conflict, but as KCAW reports, the International Joint Commission will not be taking up the issue. This comes shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry declined a meeting with Mallott while he was visiting Alaska.
Despite the White House coming out against the 40+ year-old ban on oil exports, The Washington Post thinks the odds are looking more and more promising for Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s pet project by explaining what the average American needs to know how this would impact our economy.
The Fairbanks News Miner sheds some interesting light on the Denali Borough as the home to the state’s oldest population with 1/3 of the population ranging from 50-69 years old compared to just 9% of the state’s entire population.
Another OUTSIDE law firm will be receiving money from the legislature, this time at a cap of $350,000 to study Medicaid expansion and reform. The Dispatch reports that the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee has hired Virginia-based The Menges Group.
The Alaska Republican Party’s Vice Chair, Frank McQueary, wrote an op-ed in The Hill where he explains what Obama missed during his trip to the Last Frontier.
Congratulations to Nathan Wallace on his appointment by the Palmer City Council as their new City Manager! The Frontiersman attended the public Meet & Greet and painted a pleasant picture of the evening and camaraderie between Wallace and council members.
Photo Credit of the Frontiersman
Don’t get too excited about the mondo money heading into the state coffers from the LNG pipeline so sayeth the State Legislative Joint Resources committee via KTVA. While the Peninsula Clarion explains that the reason for the delay is to give the stakeholders (i.e. Alaskans) a better investment by reformulating the pipe diameter and also paying a whopping $100,000 a month to an OUTSIDE consultancy.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is getting major props for her work on two pieces of legislation. One bill permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the other concerns the Voting Rights Act Restoration.
The latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyreport is out by the ever-endearing Sue McClure!! In a nutshell, $3 million was approved to fund the Central Peninsula Hospital project to include the ability to treat cancer and the area’s aging population. Their annual meeting will be in Homer on September 15.
Rep. Don Young was suspiciously absent during Pres. Obama’s tour and APRN found out where he was “hiding”. Hint, he was at his traditional August bolthole in Fort Yukon enjoying the joys of an August break with his enchanting newly wed.
The US Labor Department has released the unemployment rate for August 2015 with good news! The jobless rate fell to 5.1% and we are now consistently making pre-Great Recession rates.
Graphic Credit of US Bureau of Labor & Statistics
The Mat-Su Borough Assembly did in fact cobble together enough votes to veto (at 5/2) Mayor Larry DeVilbiss’s veto on a 55% excise tax on vapes, e-cigarettes and their corresponding products. As the Frontiersman explains, they will remain in the same tax category as traditional tobacco products.
Get those champagne glasses ready because APRN has cheer worthy news! The Alaska wage gap between genders is on its way out with YWCA anticipating equal pay for equal work by 2025!
Secretary of State John Kerry will be touching down on Alaska soil on August 30th, per the Seward City News!
Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) and Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) both gave a Twitter shout-out to the awesomeness that is strong women with the right to vote (both in the ballot box and on the legislative floor) to commemorate the 19th Amendment.
Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) is going to have heavy competition going into the 2016 election season. Just with the August primary she will once again face Jeff “I’ve never met a speedo I didn’t rock” Landfieldbut also former Anchorage School Board member Natasha Von Imhof! Whoever wins the GOP primary for District L; they will face the Democratic force that is Forrest McDonald.
The latest Borough Assembly Report by one Sue McClure is HERE! It is complete with news on Mayor Navarre’s official trip to Japan, upcoming public hearings, ballot proposition summaries for the Oct. 6 election and so much more.
One of my little birds took umbrage at yesterday’s Roundup by pointing out that Sen. Dan Sullivan “is following in [former Sen. Mark] Begich’s footsteps” regarding the move to rename Mt. McKinley à Denali. Fair enough.
Image credit of CQRC Engage
Medicaid Expansion appears to have the stuff to become Gov. Bill Walker’s legacy issue. After the joint state senate/house’s decision to sue the governor over the legality of his decision, there was a flurry of press releases each making it quite clear where the battle lines are currently drawn: Senate Minority via Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage); House Minority via Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau), Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage); House Majority via Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla), Rep. Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River), Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole).