Sneaky: Records show local newspaper knew in advance Navarre would be named temp mayor of Kenai Borough

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A digital trail shows that the Peninsula Clarion, the local newspaper for the Kenai Peninsula, already had its story queued up in advance of Tuesday night’s Kenai Borough Assembly vote to appoint former mayor Mike Navarre as interim mayor, when Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce steps down later this month.

In fact, the Clarion had started on its story a full day before the vote was taken by the Assembly on a matter that was “lay down,” a term to describe a last-minute item that has not been added to the normal agenda. Lay downs are for things that are considered emergencies. Evidently appointing an interim mayor without public knowledge is in the emergency category. The Assembly has known about Pierce’s resignation since Aug. 26.

The vote to make Navarre the interim mayor was passed, 7-2, with no public comment and no public notice. But the newspaper knew.

Whenever Google scrapes a website, it shows when the story was started. A search for the story on Sept. 7 at 5:21 pm shows the story was started on Sept. 5, one day before the Sept. 6 meeting.

The following coding shows backend information from the story that is available through the Chrome browser. It gives another view of when the story was started, highlighted for MRAK readers. It’s like a fingerprint for the story:

There is at least some indication of coordination between Assemblymen Jesse Bjorkman, Tyson Cox, Cindy Ecklund, Lane Chesley, Mike Tupper, Brent Hibbert, and Assembly President Brent Johnson, who said during the meeting that everyone already had the information, that multiple people had sent in names, and that time was of the essence.

The Assembly majority knew it had the votes, and Mike Navarre himself appeared at the meeting for the first time in many years. Another person who seemed to know the fix was in was Soldotna City Councilwoman Linda Hutchings, who plans to run again for Borough mayor. Such collusion by the Assembly, if proven, would be prohibited under the Alaska Open Meetings Act, which requires transparency in government decision making.

Assemblymen Richard Derkevorkian and Bill Elam were the two elected officials who voted against the resolution. Those two wanted to appoint a mayor on Sept. 20, which would have given the Assembly more time to involve the public.

“We just wanted to accept applications. I was going to encourage a few people to apply, but Tyson acted like no one else was qualified,” Derkevorkian said, mentioning that former Borough Chief of Staff James Baisden had applied and is very well qualified, but was not considered. The purpose of not including the public was to prevent protests against Navarre, he said.

The original story follows:

22 COMMENTS

  1. Very typical of this borough’s assembly, seems like some of the Anchorage assembly has splashed on them, with a little sprinkle of Minneapolis.

    Ever since Covid-2019 small town politics has so often evolved into clique-ish dictatorships.

  2. Why bother to allowing voting? Just let the Politburo make the decisions.

    Serfs aren’t smart enough to govern themselves.

    Tell me again Alaska is a red state.

    • “If you have to lie or cheat, how honorable is your cause?”. Do you see any irony in your assertion given the lawsuits against Trump, the subpoenas, the indictments and the convictions related to the Trump and the Big Lie?

  3. My Goodness, who knew that Kenai had an Assembly like Anchorage’s. Looks like the people of the penninsula are going to have to start paying attention.

  4. Mayor lands himself in controversy at a most opportune time. He resigns. He’s replaced by a well-known & respected local politician. The Press saw it coming.

    Yawn…

  5. Mayor lands himself in controversy at a most inopportune time. He resigns. He’s replaced by a well-known & respected local politician. The Press saw it coming.

    Yawn…

  6. The reporter for the Clarion is certainly a Democrat and supporter of Navarre. They all work together, not to report the news fairly, but to keep the power structure in their hands. No wonder people hate the mainstream media.

  7. Jessie can kiss his chances to win in November goodbye, it made himself out to be a real conservative, but instead another world in sheep clothing. I am not sure but I thought Tyler Cox was running in November and if so I hope he fails.

    Why do people on these assemblies have to be so dishonest, this should have been left to the people to decide. We have this whole Walker, Murkowsknki, Pelatola, rank choice voting mess that was created and orchestrated by the liberals and now they are infiltrating our small communities.

    The assembly should be tossed out.

    • Jessie is a Wolf in Sheep clothing.This man can not be trusted. 1.Pro Rank choice voting2.Anti Ivermectin 3Pro vaccine(remember his video at the assembly?)4.Anti-Veteran.

  8. Leaking, information salting, and strategic manipulation through information timing long ago became standard operating procedure in Washington DC. Why wouldn’t state and local governments follow suit? If our news media have chosen to become arms of our intelligence communities like other totalitarian regimes, one news entity can’t cry when another outlet has been chosen to be the tool in any particular operation.

  9. Even tho you never post anything that doesn’t agree with you… a bit disingenuous…Charlie Pierce cost us big bucks (lawsuits anyone?)and many great employees.

  10. Ban municipal assemblies in Alaska! Mayor’s and governors and presidents should have all of the authority they need to implement their policies and don’t need snarky assembly members deep stating them.

  11. Wait you seriously don’t know newspapers create URL’s in advance of stories they’ll have to write on a tight deadline? And you didn’t bother to call the paper and ask? Great journalism as always lol

    • Problem with your point. No one knew what was gonna happen. This end run was not officially listed as the business of the day.

      Meaning it was planned and executed with no public input and the Clarion knew it was going to happen.

      “Great” journalism would have run this tidbit of information. Propaganda arms (Clarion) sit on it for fear of upsetting the serfs.

  12. In this post-Covid world we now find ourselves in this type of behavior is becoming the norm rather than the exception. The most dangerous threat to democracy is giving small men(women), big powers. It is rife in Congress, the federal bureaucracy and now the cancer has spread to small town America. These people are disgusting examples of public servants.

  13. Don’t expect the Eunuch Governor to push for any investigations or holding these Office holding power abusers accountable. This is why Republicans lose. If Eunuch Mike was half the man as that of DeSantis, we would have triple the effective governor as Eunuch Mike.

  14. Alaska’s “Open Meetings Act” (“OMA”), AS 44.62.310-.312, requires meetings of most legislative or administrative state and local governmental bodies to be open to the public. The essence of the OMA is stated in its first sentence:

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