CAN’T TWEET HIS WAY OUT OF THIS ONE
Union Boss Vince Beltrami has a journalism degree from University of Alaska Anchorage, and boy-howdy, he knows his way around Twitter in an #olddognewtricks sort of way.
Beltrami is the well-shaved head of the AFL-CIO in Alaska, and he decided it’s also time for him to be a state senator. He can be both!
Beltrami makes $180,000 as the union boss plus he can pull down another $50,000 as a senator, which might enhance the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed.
But the “What-Me-A-Democrat” candidate for Senate District N ran into the social media buzzsaw last week like a rookie.
Beltrami on Twitter tried to deny that he supports a state income tax.
But the equally media-savvy people at Alaska Americans for Prosperity produced the document with Beltrami’s initials on it. On Beltrami’s own letterhead.
Like a boss, AFP.
Beltrami wasn’t happy to see that AFP actually had the resolution by the Alaska AFL-CIO and wasn’t afraid to post it, in all its glory. He rebutted:
“Never personally stated a position, but initialing a resolution from a statewide body is close enough for you? #dontbeslimyAFP.”
Exhibit A is the resolution in which Boss Beltrami makes it clear, by use of his union president letterhead and his initials, that he supports Governor Walker’s income tax legislation.
BEFORE THAT, BELTRAMI SUPPORTED STILL MORE TAXES…
Jeremy Price of Alaska Americans for Prosperity, was getting a chuckle over the photo above from January, when he was working on getting the tax cap, Prop. 8, on the Anchorage municipal ballot.
New Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, a Beltrami ally, was blowing past the historic tax limits, and voters were having none of it (the petition easily received the required signatures and Prop. 8 passed with 60 percent of the vote).
Boss Beltrami? He wouldn’t sign the petition and came down on the side of higher property taxes.
Price said he’s made it his Facebook profile picture through the November election. Good times.
NICE-TO-NASTY ON FACEBOOK
Not to be outdone by his Twitter prowess, Beltrami posted his latest video ad on Facebook, in which he is benignly playing in his yard with a child, perhaps his own.
“Hate me?! How could anyone? If you really know me, it’s not possible from rational human beings. Can I get an Amen?” Beltrami wrote on Facebook.
The chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, Tuckerman Babcock, must have been up late because he fired back on the Facebook feed:
“What a charlatan! This is the same bossman who totally backed Barack Obama, Mark Begich and then demanded the Democrats drop their candidate and join with Walker. Posing as an independent: he is one of the the biggest frauds on the campaign trail. When the big boss sits on both sides of the public employees negotiating table what do you think will happen to the state budget? The sky will be the limit… This has nothing to do with ‘hate’, but everything to do with responsible, honest leadership.”
That’s when Beltrami transmogrified from his “Nice Twinkle-eyed Daddy” persona in the video to his Stink-Eye Junkyard Dog:
“I feel like I’m arguing with a kindergartner,” Beltrami snarled back at Babcock. “You obviously don’t have your facts straight which is why I ignored your query. But like a petulant child I’m sure you won’t stop until you get an answer. And I don’t want you to hold your breath and stamp your feet, so…no I wouldn’t be on both sides of the table. You, of all people, from your MEA union busting days, know that’s not how collective bargaining works. And no, I made no such demands of anyone in the gubernatorial race. All I said is what was published in the ADN article. And then I went fishing.
So, on the policy issue, you think I’d have a conflict but that management employees of oil companies who happen to be senators (and whom I like) have no such conflicts when dealing with oil and gas issues? Your hypocrisy shreds your own assertions.
Feel free to have the last word, as I’m sure you’ll be unable to resist yourself.”
So much for not fitting into a box.
PUNCH, DODGE, WEAVE
Monday’s candidate forum at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce gave Beltrami a chance to go on the record on fiscal issues. But he either didn’t want to or he just couldn’t.
The candidates were asked to first introduce themselves, and most did just that. But Beltrami used his introduction to begin a volley of missiles at incumbent Sen. Cathy Giessel, a popular nurse practitioner from South Anchorage who he hopes to unseat. He introduced himself as having run the largest job training program in Alaska.
He was the only candidate present who refused to say whether he supports using the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve to balance the State’s budget.
When asked more about the budget and whether State spending reductions are called for, Beltrami emphatically said that State of Alaska employees “were the only ones to give last year to fix the fiscal crisis.” In Beltrami’s own well-used Twitter insult…