Juneau puts out banana peel welcome mat for OMB director - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 23, 2021
HomePoliticsJuneau puts out banana peel welcome mat for OMB director

Juneau puts out banana peel welcome mat for OMB director

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Juneau is a government town, except for May through September, when it’s a tourist town.

But the best jobs in the Capital City are with state and municipal government, and locals treasure them. Especially valued are the union-protected jobs.

Maybe that’s why one woman decided to verbally harangue OMB Director Donna Arduin as Arduin was shopping in a local (and locally owned) store on Seward Street.

The woman was described by witnesses as emotionally overwrought and hostile, but she didn’t present an actual threat.

A posting on Facebook shows that such encounters could be more common for Arduin in this Big Government, Big Public Employee Union town.

Malena Marvin, a Bernie Sanders supporter, posted a request that people in Juneau “educate” Arduin, and post videos of themselves doing so onto their Facebook timelines.

Marvin’s post has now been shared more than 212 times, and by many Juneauites.

Arduin is in charge of producing a budget that is no more than the actual revenues that Alaska has, which is $4.6 billion. She’s made $1.6 billion in cuts from the budget offered in December by Gov. Bill Walker (which had grown substantially from the year before.)

Should Arduin be assigned a security detail? Must Read Alaska has asked the Governor’s Office to comment on whether the OMB director needs a body guard or if she’s going to have to fend for herself, but has not received an answer.

However, the first step has already been taken: As of 10 days ago, the door to the offices of OMB have been locked for the protection of the workers.

Juneau, it should be noted, is the third wealthiest city in Alaska, after the Denali Borough and Skagway. Juneau has 1,109 millionaire households out of a total of 12,986.

[Read: Juneau tops small cities with most millionaires.]

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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

  • Shannyn Moore recently told other crazies to confront her if they see her out in public.

  • I called her office and left a very positive message and a welcome to Alaska.

    Simple thing to do and in this case will most likely be appreciated.

    • good idea

  • Hi. Long time listener, first time caller.

    Juneau isn’t a mob. In communities across Alaska it’s common practice to approach public officials at the grocery store or shoe store or wherever you chance across them. They are our neighbors after all and it’s often easier to have a real conversation without our work hats on.

    The security system in OMB is theatrics. It was put in place before anyone had the gall to introduce themselves to Donna in public. I think this paranoia and distrust demonstrates the budget director doesn’t know the first thing about the city she chose for a ten month layover.

    Her budget might lack nuance and an understanding of Alaska but I don’t think she needs to lock herself in a tower over it. Especially in Juneau. We’re a bunch of hippies, artists, ski-bums and political junkies. The worst she’ll get is a debate on the Laffer Curve. (Which, by the way, indicates that Alaska should be seeking to put in place an income tax. We’re at the zero end of the curve and need to move towards the middle by design. I mean, I do realize it’s pedagogical junk science and only supposed to used by ideologues to argue against taxes but that’s what it very clearly indicates.)

    And for the record, I sent Donna a welcome note and invited her for a conversation when she first arrived. No response.

    • Pat, you surely don’t believe that telling people to “educate her” on video, then post it is a reasonable conversation over the cabbages at Foodland? Do you know if OMB has been receiving threatening phone calls and emails? Because I am also certain they have if the reaction so far is any indication. Perhaps it isn’t paranoia and distrust but a reasonable caution against people who can’t conduct themselves in a civil manner.

      • I don’t think people should attempt to record confrontations with her and of course I don’t know if she has received threats. It’s possible she feels threatened even if she hasn’t received threats, people are frustrated and angry right now.

        Susan writes that the security at OMB went in 10 days ago, well before the budget dropped. It appears preemptive and unnecessary. I visited my legislator today and didn’t see any increased security in the capitol.

        I’m not saying that Donna Arduin shouldn’t do everything she needs to do to feel safe in our city. Does she need a security detail as Susan writes? I don’t think so. It’s a little Joe Miller and doesn’t really make scream “responsible spending.”

        • Pat, a preemptive strike is way better than cleaning up a mess afterwards. I’m pretty sure you would agree with that. And, none of us know what kind of threats or comments may have been delivered to OMB that we don’t know about – hence their reason for putting up a bit of security.
          Good on you for extending an invitation; however, she has probably been a bit busy. I understand the small town life, and the Juneau life as I lived there for many years. But, I disagree with just going up to public officials after work hours and talking to them about work. She isn’t an elected official. She doesn’t need to be harangued on her personal time. Good Lord, the woman might need a break. Let’s remember she is a human being and she has been tasked with a job that few are going to like the outcome but Alaskans need to face the music. Be careful what you wish for folks because if AK continues down the same old path, we are toast.

      • Ok, small town, I checked with an OMB employee. No threats. Just a Ring system that doesn’t always connect to the wifi.

        Note for anyone using Ring, privacy concerns abound. Welcome to the panopticon.

        • Any system that relies purely on WiFi connectivity is only as good as the connection that’s for sure. If they are serious about protection they should do better. I just know that when I worked in position that dealt with a lot of the public, I sometimes nearly disguised myself just to run to the store. Nothing prominent, but when you just want to pick up groceries on a Sunday afternoon and you’re recognized by a client, you don’t want to be asked a bunch of questions if this or that has been processed, etc. Just for a day you want to be “normal” and do your “normal” stuff and not be bothered.

          • Any system that relies on Wi-Fi in a State building relies on the State network and the union is looking over your shoulder any time it wants to.

            When I taught supervision classes my instruction to State supervisors and managers was to never put anything on the State network that you didn’t want to see on the front page of the ADN and the Empire. If I wrote a briefing or decision memo on the network or discussed something with principals in an email, it was because I wanted it leaked. Try finding anything other than published final documents with my name on it.

          • People living in small town Alaska, who work in public positions, get asked work questions often. This budget is a very big issue and someone from outside Alaska has to expect folks to share their thoughts if they see her.

    • Juneau is a mob. I spent twenty years as a management representative dealing with State employee unions and as a Republican political appointee in Juneau. What you do and who you do it for dictates who you associate with, who you date or marry, where you eat, where you hang out, where you live, what events you go to, who your kids can associate with, virtually every aspect of your life.

      Try being a single guy representing the State on the General Government contract when almost every single woman in Juneau is a General Government employee and just got a flyer from the union today telling her what an evil person you are. After a couple of years I was powerful enough and dangerous enough that I didn’t care and the lefties usually didn’t dare. One of Juneau’s more notorious loud-mouthed lefties presumed to get in my face at The Hangar one night when I was director of labor relations; I gave him a rundown on his ancestry and sexual proclivities and shouted him out of the place. People bought drinks for me for the rest of the evening and I had to take a cab home.

      I actually liked Juneau, raised four kids and had a nice life there, but Juneau has a death wish. Juneau is a lefty enclave in a mostly conservative, Republican state. Most of the people who come to Juneau with the Legislature are not lefties. Most of the people who work for Republican governors are not lefties. Most of the people in Juneau work for State government and need those jobs. If you make the people who run the government hate you, don’t be surprised if they don’t like you and aren’t particularly concerned for your welfare.

      • WOW, Art! Calling Juneau a mob is pretty harsh don’t you think? The majority of people who live and raise their families here are good people just trying to get by. Yes, we certainly have our share of lefties here, as does every capital city in America – they tend to congregate where the seat of power is.

        I have no doubt the people you dealt with might have been of a mob mentality, but, unfortunately, that’s politics. It wouldn’t matter where the seat of government resides, politicians will still be politicians. Condemning the good people who live here because of a handful of people is just not right.

        Maybe I took your comment the wrong way. If I did, I apologize.

        • What Art is conveying is the “mob mentality.” Most state workers in Juneau develop a group think about the importance of their work and the entitlements that go with it. They tend to think alike and hate people who who espouse free market economies as do Trump and Dunleavy. I often wonder how Sarah Palin survived Juneau.

        • No, I don’t think it is harsh. I had several of my suit jackets tailored so that a Walther PPK in a Galco Miami wouldn’t print. I’ve sat across the table from union bargaining teams who were all carrying, and I’m not talking about the Troopers and ASOs; they make a point of always showing up in uniform and carrying because they think it is intimidating, but you know they won’t do anything stupid.

          It isn’t even an entirely Democrat and Republican thing though Juneau is generally harsh to Republican appointees and people who cooperate with them. The upper levels of the bureaucracy think that they run the State and they don’t take well to some elected or appointed official who isn’t one of the “insiders” telling them what to do. I’ve had high level employees defy commissioner’s office or Governor’s office directives. In the Cowper Administration we had people refuse to serve on bargaining teams because they disagreed with the Governor and we had to remove some people from bargaining teams because they couldn’t be trusted to engage in any strategic discussions. If you’re far enough up in an administration that is in conflict with the unions you can’t do anything in Juneau without somebody dropping a dime to your boss, your wife, or some lefty legislator. In my later years with the State I wouldn’t have dared driven home from town after having dinner and a bottle of wine with my wife; the cops would have been waiting at the parking lot entrance.

          After the first few years of Knowles, the State workforce was unproductive and insubordinate. They’d become so accustomed to mau-mauing supervisors at ASEA’s direction that they basically thought they had veto authority over management directives. When I returned to the Executive Branch in ’99 to supervise Labor Relations, my directive from my commissioner was, “get ASEA out of my buildings and off my back.” In the early days of the Murkowski Administration we went on a conscious program to suppress some of the more obnoxious and insubordinate malcontents and radicals.

          If that picture of Vinny’s mob in front of the Capitol the other day had been taken twenty years ago, I’d have known and had files on most of them. Labor Relations hopefully has files on a good number of this generation’s malcontents as well.

          • Alaska law prohibits carrying in bars, Art…

  • This why Dunleavy needs to “MOVE THE CAPITOL.” Real Alaskans don’t reside in Juneau.

    • Trump = BUILD THE WALL.
      Dunleavy = MOVE THE CAPITOL.
      This will guarantee reelections for both Trump and Dunleavy.

    • Bwahaha omg. You live in this “Capitol city” and have to try and navigate and live here thru each tourist season. That’s about as “real Alaskan” as one can get! Pfft. Outlanders go home…

      • Cheechako! Fluff! Fake Alaskan! Anyone who lives below the 60th Parallel in Alaska is an “outsider.” Just like the tourists of whom you speak. Summer rats. Pretenders! Why do you think we avoid Juneau? MOVE THE CAPITOL……………..NORTH.

    • preferably out west. Bethel is my vote – or Kotz. I understand the historical reason for the capital being less inconvenient for Seattle pre-statehood, but now most of the population is north of SE. Having the capital in Juneau makes as much sense as not having the US embassy in Jerusalem.

  • It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood.

  • The Liberal Left Loonies are live and among us. Sadly, not a one of them believes that your or my money should stay with us. Even more sad, they’d rather tax and spend and not worry about how the budget will be balanced (we still require a balanced budget in this state don’t we?). They remind me of the Dawn of the Dead; only one mission to get at the brains/money of the living/public to live and thrive off of.

    Many private corporations have a behavior clause as part of employment; DUI or other felony arrest and you’re gone. Publicly embarrass the company or head of the company you work for, you’re gone. Using company property for personal use, like a Facebook rant, and you can be dismissed. Rumor has it that the State has similar rules, but, when attacking the Governor or the director of OMB, are the rules enforced.

    What ever happened to Alaskans being welcoming and having open arms for those new to the state?

  • The former governor, WALKER, was into FRAUD, WASTE and ABUS and so were his cronies. When you hear a sound financial budget, no one in Juneau or North of there knows what that is because they are still in shock…didn’t think WALKER would lose. Now we have good sense to count on with Gov. Dunleavy and its a challenge with a new budget. Shock and Awe! No fraud, waste and abuse! Just accountability!!!! Thank you! Donna!! Great to have you aboard….

  • Director Arduin,
    Welcome! Where the hell have you been? Keep your head up, plow ahead, and continue to respond to their screeches and screams with dispassionate logic. I never thought I would see it, a forensic look at every department line by line. Those that scream the loudest put us here. Please carry on! Your logical response to the ISER conclusions cemented my respect.
    Will in Anchorage

  • I assure you none one those millionaire households are government employees. Nancy Arduib is the highest paid government employee in Juneau.

  • Well, she doesn’t need a permit to carry concealed.

  • Harassing Ms Arduin is even less productive than harassing your neighbors dog! The budget is out. It is mostly out of her hands. Harassing her won’t put more money back in. Even Shannon Moore should know that. Time to speak to your Sen. and Rep. They’re the ones who now control the outcome! Folks in Juneau even have an advantage…………all the Sens. and Reps. are there. I hear many are in the bars in the evening and, hey, if your a woman……..I hear Scott Kawasaki has a real soft spot for you! Any of you who play the piano might garner Donny Olsen ear!
    But no matter how hard you staties cry, doesn’t the Gov. have line item veto!!!!

  • No one needs to ‘educate’ her. Her job is a tough one and I bet she’s done an admirable job! It’s not easy to live with a budget…it’s us citizenry that needs to ‘educate’ ourselves.

  • Why carry concealed in Juneau. Carry OPEN!

  • Oh for God’s Sake – approaching and having a convo with someone you recognize in govt during the legislative session is perfectly common – Juneau is a small town. Don’t work here if you can’t deal with some real Alaskan opinion. It’s not harassment to ask an outsider if she has any clue about the people for whom she has created a budget. One of the best things about Alaska is that folks can still talk one on one with their reps or PUBLIC SERVANTS. If she can’t take the heat, get out of the fire. No one is threatening her, asking questions and perhaps disagreeing sure. There’s a big difference. If you want to shop quietly for expensive shoes don’t be the person behind the decimation of funding for just about everything that is good in Alaskan government.

    • Juneau is a bubble and it should be deflated by moving the PUBLIC SERVANTS closer to where they can best SERVE THE PUBLIC.

    • I spent twenty-odd years as a Range 20 something or an appointee in Juneau; I was one of the people who ran the government. I worked for Rs and Ds; liked Cowper, was frustrated by Hickel, hated, really hated the Knowles Administration and went to work for the Legislature for most of it, and liked the Murkowski Administration until the wheels began to come off near the end. One thing that was consistent; I despised smartass Juneau lefties and union radicals, and you know what, most of the politicians, even the Ds, that I worked for did too. Among the very last things I wanted to do was have a “convo” with some smartass in the frozen food aisle at Foodland or SuperBear, and I’ve screamed a few out of downtown bars for getting in my face.

      I was far enough up the food chain for most of my career that I didn’t care and most of the lefties didn’t dare. I don’t remember the last time that I was in the same room other than public accommodations with a lefty and wasn’t being paid to be there. You simply don’t get that Juneau lefty opinions are not “real Alaskan opinion;” they’re smartass, self-deceived Juneau lefty opinions and the only people in Alaska who share your opinions are a few people in downtown Anchorage and the U-Med and a few people in the University district in Fairbanks.

      What mindless Juneau lefties think is “everything good in Alaskan government” is what most Alaskans think is wrong with Alaskan government.

      • On this we can definitely agree, Art. Juneau itself is a swamp and its stinking.

  • Get a life, Julie babe. How can Alaskans talk one on one with their Reps and Senators when the Reps and Senators are all in Juneau, away from 90% of Alaska’s population? The elected ones aren’t in Juneau to please all of you free-loader state workers. Go back and take Logic 101, or take a job in the private sector where you face the possibility of getting laid off when revenue sources become scarce.

  • FWIIW, Ms. Arduin may be safer in Juneau than in Fairbanks, where the proposal is to cut the University by forty percent. (The ferry system poses a different problem.) My analysis indicates that the traditional Juneau bureaucracy avoided significant cuts… which is really, really odd, Mr. Governor. Shouldn’t we be cutting overhead to preserve actual programs? That is what my conservative roots tell me.

  • Many of the millionaires in Juneau are commercial fishing interests who scam the state into covering a lot of their management costs, kick back bribes to local communities taking half of the fish taxes, and get subsidized hatcheries, harbors and loans. Most subsidized industry in Alaska. And the rest of the high line fishing club lives in Seattle.


  • How many of those millionaire households have more than two working adults or are Legislators, Governor’s appointees, or Federal employees?

    • Only a very few actually. Through most of the first half of the 20th Century Juneau was the richest town in America and probably in the World, and it was all from gold and fish, mostly gold. There is still a good bit of that old gold money there. A million bucks ain’t what it once was, but some of today’s millionaires may be lobbyists. If you’re a legislator, appointee, or federal employee who is a millionaire and wasn’t one when you got the job, you’re a crook; you can’t become a millionaire on government wages.

      • It’s been many years since I’ve been to Juneau. I seem to remember that there were ridiculously inflated property values in the neighborhood up the hill from JDHS and maybe also in the newer subdivision up the hill from the Pioneer Home. Perhaps some are millionaires on paper because they own property in these places and other similar neighborhoods?

  • @NOTFUNNY. No it isn’t. It isn’t illegal to carry much of anywhere in Alaska unless the place itself specifically proscribes carrying. You can get in some serious trouble for engaging alcohol related misconduct if you’re carrying but it isn’t per se illegal to carry even in a bar. Next time you get in legal trouble, call that idiot Landsfield to represent you.

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