Every election cycle there is inevitably some kind of controversial issue. This is the nature of politics. In addition to the high profile and contentious governor’s race this year, there is also the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative. This is highly controversial. The initiative was initially denied by Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott. So the group appealed it all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court. A decision has yet to be made. According to State Solicitor General Joanne Grace, a decision has to be make by September 5 for Division of Elections to be able to print ballots properly.
Another group, Stand for Alaska (you can see their ad on the Landmine), formed to oppose Stand for Salmon. Many in the resource industry feel the initiative goes too far and will shut down resource development projects in Alaska. I gotta say, the name Stand for Salmon is pretty good. Who is against salmon? But whoever came up with the name for the opposing group, Stand for Alaska, knows how to throw a counter punch.
Both groups have a lot of Alaska businesses listed in their coalitions. The Stand for Salmon group is made up of a lot of lodges, breweries, and outdoor organizations and businesses. The Stand for Alaska group is made up of a lot of resource development and support businesses, labor unions, and Alaska Native Corporations. You can see their coalitions here:
I received a tip that a few of the members of the Stand for Salmon coalition were not exactly willing members. One of them is 229 Parks and Tavern, which is owned by Laura Cole. She made it clear to me that she no longer wanted to be on their list and asked for her name to be removed. This is an email she sent to the Stand for Salmon people on June 25, 2018.
229 Parks and Tavern was finally removed on Friday (6/29/2018). I spoke with Ryan Schryver from Stand for Salmon. He told me they have something in writing from each member of their coalition. He forwarded me an email sent to 229 on April 18, 2018. On April 23, 2018, after a follow up email, 229 agreed to be a part of the coalition.
Ryan added, “I know these [Stand for Alaska] are your people. They are paying you a lot of money for their ads.” I told him they are not paying me that much for theirs ads and that most of my ad revenue goes back into the Landmine. I also added that I contacted him in April about selling him an ad and never heard back from him. I will sell an ad to almost anyone except hate groups. By the way, if you want to buy an ad, click here for more info. Very affordable!
I spoke to some other businesses in the Stand for Salmon coalition who asked not to be named. They told me they do not get involved in controversial political issues and were not aware of how controversial this issue is. Maybe the Stand for Salmon people are asking business owners, “Do you support salmon?” Here is a link to their pledge form. You decide if it provides enough explanation.
This is not the first time Stand for Salmon has deal with a departure. In November, Brian Kraft, who owns the Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge in Bristol Bay, withdrew his name from the initiative. The Landmine broke that story. You can read that article here:
You would think with such a controversial initiative they would make damn sure everyone who is part of their coalition are fully informed about what they are signing up for.