JUNEAU OFFICE ASSIGNMENTS: Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, evidently doesn’t want one of the offices assigned to the House Finance Committee co-chairs. He’s decided to move into his late father’s office (Rep. Richard Foster) at the opposite end of the Capitol, one floor down from the Fifth Floor Finance corner, where all the budget action takes place.
Foster, who was appointed to represent the Nome area after his father died in office of a heart attack, was previously part of the bipartisan, Republican-dominated majority, but joined with the Democratic-led majority this fall, which earned him the plum spot leading Finance, where he has served for just one year.
Foster is known to show up late and leave early, work out twice a day and not do much heavy lifting in the Legislature. His role on Finance may be merely ceremonial, with Vice Chair Les Gara, an Anchorage Democrat, doing the real work on budget and legislation.
Richard Foster’s office was legendary in the Capitol for Friday parties with food, music, and camaraderie.
Word is that Gara is taking the office of Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks), who is the current co-chair of Finance.
‘SAFE AND SECURE’ AND DEADLY ANCHORAGE
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz ran on the slogan “safe and secure.” But halfway through his mayoral term, he is reigning over the deadliest year in Anchorage history, with 34 murders and a lot of associated mayhem, much of it drug-related.
The last record was set in 1995 with 29 homicides.
In September, after a rash of unusual killings, Anchorage police warned citizens not to travel alone at night or in isolated places.
American cities generally saw a rise in homicides in 2016. Chicago has had more than 720 murders, a 56 percent jump over 2015, and was the site of more murders than New York and Los Angeles combined.
Anchorage makes the list of the top 25 most deadly cities in America, coming in at No. 22. But what makes Anchorage unusual on the list is its poverty rate, which is under 10 percent and the only city listed with a poverty rate in single digits.
‘NO NAZIS’ ALLOWED AT OAHU CAFE
Heading to Hawaii for a quick dip in the sun? Keep your politics to yourself if you voted for Trump because Hawaii went solidly for Clinton and some are taking the loss hard.
At least one restaurant is telling you they don’t want your business if you voted for Trump. Honolulu’s Cafe 8-1/2 posted a handmade sign that reads: “If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis.”
While the land of Aloha is not exactly throwing out the welcome mat for Republican travelers, if you do go, you might want to avoid Oahu anyway, as President Obama and his family are there until Jan. 3, which typically makes it difficult to navigate.