Ortiz truth-stretching catches up in Ketchikan




KETCHIKAN – The House race between two well-known people in Ketchikan is heating up with reports that Indie-Democrat Daniel Ortiz has claimed  an all-important endorsement — one that he hasn’t received.

Ortiz, incumbent for District 36, sent a letter to voters saying he has the endorsement of United Fishermen of Alaska. He doesn’t. He did in the 2014 cycle, but this time, not so much. UFA has not given an endorsement in this race.

His challenger, Republican Bob Sivertsen, has been a gentleman about the false endorsement statement, as Ketchikan is a close-knit community and people are reluctant to call others out on matters such as this. But the fishing community has been talking. So have other leaders that Must Read Alaska spoke with this week.

In fact, Ketchikan conservatives say Ortiz is taking credit for the same things that other Democratic incumbents are proud of:

He “worked closely with independent Governor Walker,” Ortiz notes in his letter to voters, saying he is a “steady, consistent voice calling for the Legislature to adopt a fiscal plan.”

Ortiz leaves out the key piece: He and the Democrats forced the Legislature into four special sessions. Because of his unwavering allegiance to the minority’s refusal to pass the budget, the spending ballooned back up with his support.

The Ortiz pattern of taking credit continued as he claimed he alone protected the funding for the Ketchikan Airport access project.

But Ketchikan political observers point out that the money is federal transportation funds earmarked by Rep. Don Young with SAFETEA-LU, and cannot be removed from the Ketchikan area without a change in federal legislation, or if for some reason Gov. Bill Walker found a way to move it by fiat.

Ortiz was the test case for Democrats in the 2014 election cycle, using a long-time Democrat to run as an “independent,” and then caucusing with Democrats.

It’s a pattern being rolled out across the state by the Alaska Democratic Party in the 2016 cycle, as they cannot successfully run candidates under the ADP flag any longer.

Several Democrats are now running as independents, including the boss of the AFL-CIO, Vince Beltrami, who is making a play for Senate District N.

Ketchikan is a conservative part of the state, but the race could be close, because many voters are not yet aware that Ortiz is part of a bigger plan for Democrats to take over the House and to weaken the Senate, so they can push through an income tax that will fund government payroll.

Bob Sivertsen was born and raised in Ketchikan, and is in his third term on the Ketchkan Assembly. He worked for the City of Ketchikan’s Public Works Department for thirty-eight years at duties that ranged between carpentry, dog catcher, sign painter, heavy equipment operator, and float builder.

House District 36 serves Wrangell, Hyder, Meyers Chuck, Loring, Ketchikan, Hydaburg, Metlakatla, & Saxman.

A debate between the two candidates is scheduled for Oct. 19 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in Ketchikan. Will the moderator ask Ortiz to defend his claims of productivity? Or will the debate be “Ketchikan nice”?