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HomeNews and NotesMonday newsletter for Feb. 26, 2018

Monday newsletter for Feb. 26, 2018

Do you get the Monday newsletter in your inbox? If not, here’s your complimentary Feb. 26 edition, a glimpse of what 11,000 Alaskans receive on Monday mornings. Sign up for the newsletter at the right-hand side of this web site.

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The plow-out edition from somewhere in Alaska … Plowing out the mainstream media with Must Read Alaska … Anchorage has the largest municipal operating budget in its history, topping $520 million dollars (up from $474 million in 2015), yet the streets are still knee-deep in the biggest shovel-ready project in the state …At least it’s keeping the car thieves from getting too far with your new truck … But first …

Hawkins

DON YOUNG ON TOUR

Steve Tyler of Aerosmith makes a cameo appearance with Congressman Don Young.

Between Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks, more than 450 Alaskans attended one of three “Young Guns” events celebrating the 45th year of Congressman Don Young as Alaska’s U.S. Representative. In Juneau on Wednesday evening, Sen. Lisa Murkowski gave gracious remarks about the congressman, and Capital City Republicans Paulette Simpson, Andy Mills, and Ben Brown produced a video about Young’s storied life. The video was shown at all three events across the state.

EXCLUSIVE! Watch the video here. 

(See if you can spot the photograph of a young mini-skirted Lisa Murkowski, working as an intern in his office).

NATION

PEACE OUT, OLYMPICS

With the Olympics in the rear view mirror, the US and South Korea will announce dates for their next joint military exercises, which had been put on hold. Stay tuned for jets leaving JBER.


STATE DINNER AND A SHOW

Gov. Bill Walker, head shown on far right, listens to President Donald Trump at the White House dinner for governors.

A smaller-than-usual group of governors gathered at the White House for the annual dinner with the president; 36 governors and their spouses attended, including Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker. Those not attending were Democrats. They’re in D.C. for the National Governors Association meeting.


CONGRESS IN SESSION

The U.S. House gavels in today and considers a resolution to allow the late Rev. Billy Graham’s body to lie “in state” in the Rotunda on Wednesday. H. Con. Res. 107.

The Senate gavels in this afternoon to consider a judicial nominee.


GUN OWNERSHIP IN AMERICA

40 percent of Americans live in households that have guns (62 percent of Alaskans).
48 percent of Americans grew up in a house with a gun.
67 percent of gun owners cite protection as their number one reason for owning one.

More about Americans and attitudes toward guns at Pew Research.

Are these numbers understated? Probably. A lot of gun owners are skeptical of polls that question whether they own a gun and how many they own.


PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION DUES AT SCOTUS

Today, the Supreme Court will take up the case of Mark Janus, who objects to the $45 per month he is forced to pay to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Janus doesn’t belong to the public employee union but has to pay dues.


UNIVERSAL INCOME? YOUR TAX DOLLARS NOT AT WORK

Widely shared by the mainstream media  (because Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has made basic income his cause) is research coming from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, which says the Alaska Permanent Fund represents a form of universal basic income, and getting it doesn’t cause people to quit their jobs.

Therefore, the research infers, everyone in America should receive a basic a income just for being here.

It’s a shame that publicly funded universities are producing this level of work. Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend has always been highly elastic — it was as little as $330 and as high as $2,072. And with half of it being sequestered now by government, it’s not exactly something people can count on. Alaskans are not going to leave their jobs for $1,000 a year, ($2.74 a day).


STATE
‘CULTURAL APPROPRIATION’ MOMENT OF THE DAY

Juneau’s Rep. Justin Parish and Bethel’s former Rep. Zach Fansler wear traditional kuspuks on the House floor in this file photo. Is it appropriate for these and other non-Iñupiaq to wear kuspuks? Doesn’t it fall under the new liberal crime of “cultural appropriation” of style? We’ll ask the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council for a ruling.


DAN SULLIVAN AT 11

Sen. Dan Sullivan will speak to a joint session of the Legislature at 11 am today. Watch it via internet at  360north.


AN UNFORTUNATE OVERSIGHT … OR SNUB

Normally, the Governor’s Office lowers the flag when a former Alaska legislator passes, but although Joe Hayes, Republican and Speaker of the House from 1981-1983, died on Feb. 16, there has been no mention of it 10 days later by Gov. Bill Walker, who has been in Washington, D.C. for several days and who dined at the White House last night.

Must Read Alaska’s obituary of Hayes, plus many kind remembrances from friends and colleagues here.

Surely Gov. Walker will lower the flag for the late Rev. Billy Graham, whose son Franklin Graham has done so much for Alaska with disaster relief on the Yukon and elsewhere, and restorative retreats for war veterans and their spouses. Surely Walker’s office will say something.


REP. ZULKOSKY

On Thursday evening, House Democrats confirmed Tiffany Zulkosky’s appointment as House District 38’s representative. One of her first orders of business will be to take the sexual harassment training mandated by Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux after former Reps. Dean Westlake and Zach Fansler both got themselves kicked out of the Legislature for inappropriate touching — butt slapping for Westlake, and (upper) cheek slapping for Fansler.

Calendar note: The next training date is Tuesday.


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WHITE FLAG OF SURRENDER

The House Majority has sent up the white flag. Last week Speaker Bryce Edgmon said he doesn’t see how they’ll be done in 90 days. That’s because the Senate doesn’t seem interested in the governor’s proposed budget, which is even larger than what he proposed last year.


POLL IN THE FIELD

There’s a poll being conducted in Alaska. Someone — likely a candidate — wants to know:

1. What you think about these candidates or potential candidates:

(They were read in alphabetical order)
  • Mark Begich
  • Mike Chenault
  • Mike Dunleavy
  • Scott Hawkins
  • Lisa Murkowski
  • Dan Sullivan
  • Donald Trump
  • Bill Walker
  • Don Young

2. Your likelihood to vote next state election.

3. Are you more or less likely to vote for someone who supports or opposes (on a sliding scale):

  • Income tax
  • Sales tax
  • Using a portion of Permanent Fund dividends for state government
  • Drastically cutting state government costs
  • Large increases in state spending to fight crime
  • State funding of abortion
4. If state had to raise funds to balance the budget, which would you prefer:
  • Income tax
  • Sales tax
  • Permanent Fund Dividend


LOCAL

ANCHORAGE

Planned Parenthood is issuing endorsements in school board races with greater frequency, and Tasha Hotch of Anchorage got the latest nod.

Why? Because Planned Parenthood sells sex assistance (contraceptive) kits to schools. Our story from Sunday.

WRANGELLThe City of Wrangell has declared a water shortage and asks residents to cut their water usage by 10-20 percent. Yes, in Wrangell, where the shortage is due to a lack of rain. The measure went into effect Friday and will last indefinitely, or until another deluge hits.

SITKA 

Unlike Wrangell, Sitka is looking at a proposal to sell water to Cape Town, South Africa, which is suffering from severe drought. Sitka has a permit from the State to sell 9 billions of gallons of water per year from Blue Lake. Such proposals have gone on for years, and so far, not a drop of water has been sold, but maybe this one is the breakthrough for a thirsty world.

JUNEAU

The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council bent to the wishes of the radical left and removed art from an exhibit because one person judged it as  “cultural appropriation,” a new and very elastic artistic crime.

Then JAHC apologized to everyone concerned and said the council should never have let the work of art go in the wearable arts exhibit in the first place. That story is here.

Now, some Juneauites on Facebook are posting a protest on their profiles:

PEOPLE

Weston Eiler left his job in the Legislature, where he worked for Sen. Mia Costello, and now works for Miles Baker, the University of Alaska lobbyist.Grace Jang, former communications director for Gov. Bill Walker, now has the title “Deputy to the Chief of Staff.” At least on her LinkedIn page, if not on the State’s directory.

Sam Kito, Juneau’s representative, made a big stink in the Capitol Building because there were two chairs placed outside his office and people were sitting in them and talking. Kito lost his head and flipped the chairs over.

Andy Pennington, above, is the new publisher of the Anchorage Daily News, coming from Idaho, where he has been publisher and president of  Idaho Falls Post Register, Idaho State Publishing in Pocatello, Standard Journal in Rexburg, and Teton Valley News in Driggs.

Kyle Hopkins, once at the Anchorage Daily News, is back at the Anchorage Daily News as special projects reporter. He had been at KTUU, where he had done some outstanding work. Michelle Theriault Boots and Erica Martinson both are back after family leave.

Chris Dimond, above, has filed a letter of intent to run for the House District 33, Juneau downtown. Dimond….Dimond….rings a bell. That name goes back to even before Judge Dimond. Chris’s great grandfather, Anthony Joseph “Tony” Dimond was the Alaska Territory delegate to the United States House of Representatives between 1933–1945 and was an early champion of statehood.

Tony Dimond was also a territorial legislator and a Democrat. Chris Dimond has filed as an undeclared. He’s a union guy and a Douglas boy who has worked all over Southeast.

Rep. Mike Chenault had a birthday on Sunday and spent it at home in Kenai.The candle tells the whole story about what happens when you get to a certain age.


JOBS

KTUU has a listing for an investigative reporter. Those Kyle Hopkins shoes will be hard to fill.

INTERNSHIPS

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. has an internship for the summer. That would burnish a young resume.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK:

WHAT IS THIS SYMBOL?

A student in Louisiana thought another student had drawn a picture of a gun. Police were called. On Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, and even searched the home of a student who had been completing a math problem that required a square-root symbol.


MUST READ’S BOOK OF THE WEEK: 

Back in the 1950s, when spying was so simple, Witness became a bestseller. Whittaker Chambers had just participated in the Alger Hiss trial, and claimed Hiss was a spy for the Soviet Union. Chambers, himself, claimed to be a former member of the Communist Party and said he was once a spy for the USSR. He beae an informant for the FBI, and later became an editor for Time magazine.

In hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Chambers made accusations against Hiss that resulted in Hiss’ eventual conviction for perjury. This is Chambers’ autobiography.


POETIC

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” – The Rev. Billy Graham

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I asked the survey taker who was paying for survey. The caller stated “We don’t have that information. My guess is the Boy Mayor is behind the survey.

  • My hometown rock star and my Congressman hanging out together. How cool! What is the story there?

    And thank you, Suzanne, for honoring the great Rev. Billy Graham today with quoting him and reaching out to Gov. Parnell to share his memories with him. It is shameful that our current governor did not lower our flags or honor him in any way while the billions of Christians mourn his loss. Even the secular mainstream media acknowledged Rev. Graham’s life and legacy.