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We Build Alaska

The Sunday Minefield – December 10, 2023

Christmas Eve is just two weeks away and Hanukkah started this week. More snow is on the way to Southcentral, with many areas under snow or blizzard warnings. A bizarre special meeting of the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) was held to hear a complaint about the anti-ranked choice voting people. Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska) named Emma Pokon the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. And some idiots from the Party for Socialism and Liberation Anchorage interrupted an Anchorage Assembly meeting.

A friendly message and reminder to all our readers. The Landmine is made possible by myself and a team of awesome Alaskans. I am heading back to Juneau in January for my sixth session in a row reporting on the Legislature. If you enjoy the content we provide, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation. You can click here to donate. We have a donation system that makes it super easy. We would really appreciate it. And thanks to everyone who has been supportive!

Weird APOC Meeting 

APOC held a special meeting on Wednesday (12/6/2023) to take up a complaint filed by attorney Scott Kendall on behalf of Alaskans for Better Elections against Alaskans for Honest Elections, represented by former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson. It lasted several hours and was really weird.

It all stemmed from an affidavit from a man named Gregory Lee. Mr. Lee claimed the Honest Elections people were secretly operating in a church and working with a consultant they did not report. There was a lot more but that is the gist of it. The really weird thing is the Better Elections people claimed they knew nothing about this Mr. Lee character. He just seemingly came out of nowhere with an affidavit and a recording of a conversation he had with a woman working with the Honest Elections people.

At one point Philip Izon, who is with Honest Elections, started yelling at Scott Kendall, claiming he was lying about their group. The hearing officer had to tell Clarkson to talk to him and keep him in line. Later, Izon lost it while he was testifying when he was being questioned by Kendall. Izon said he was done answering questions, but after he was told the refusal to answer could be used against his group, he agreed to answer.

A few days later, APOC issued a decision denying expedited consideration. Instead, they will have staff investigate the matter and then take it up at their next meeting in February. The signatures to a have a repeal of ranked choice voting on the November ballot are due before that, so it won’t really matter what happens.

Other Happenings 

Governor Dunleavy named Emma Pokon as commissioner for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Pokon was named acting commissioner when Jason Brune resigned as commissioner in August. This is from the press release:

Emma Pokon joined DEC in February 2020 from the Alaska Department of Law where she most recently served as a Senior Assistant Attorney General assigned to support DEC. Previously, Ms. Pokon represented the North Slope Borough in natural resource and environmental matters and was a law clerk for the Fairbanks Superior Court. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in chemistry from Hamilton College. She also achieved a JD and a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska is holding a meeting on Wednesday. Agenda item three is about the looming shortage of natural gas in Cook Inlet. It’s such a joke and failure that a state with so much oil and gas is facing a gas shortage.

Mark Begich’s company, Northern Compass Group, hosted a holiday party on Monday night at their Downtown Anchorage office. There were a ton of people there, including many politicos. And the spread was amazing. Even Mayor Dave Bronson made an appearance. Mark Begich really knows how to throw a party!

This is very interesting. Santos merged with Oil Search two years ago. And now they might merge with Woodside, Australia’s largest oil and gas company. Santos is currently working on developing the Pikka project, which could add 80,000 barrels a day into the pipeline.

Representative Sarah Vance (R – Homer) picked up a Republican challenger today. Michael Daniel is the president of the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center.

ANS Crude prices have below $80 per barrel since December 4. Governor Dunleavy’s budget and the Fall Revenue Forecast come out on Friday. Lower oil prices won’t be good for revenue projections.

I was on an Alaska Airlines flight back to Anchorage last night from Seattle. Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson (D – Anchorage) was also on board. During the flight an announcement was made that she was becoming a million miler on the flight. Congrats to her on big travel milestone!

This Week’s Loose Unit 

Like last week, this week’s designee is a bunch of anti-Israel idiots. This week’s Loose Unit is the Party of Socialism and Liberation Anchorage. On Tuesday (12/5/2023) a bunch of useful idiots from their group showed up at the Anchorage Assembly meeting to protest Israel.

Several of them interrupted the meeting and some were even kicked out. Classic Loose Unit behavior. At one point their interruptions got so crazy that Assembly Chair Chris Constant called an early dinner break and ordered the room cleared. Very loose.

If you have a nomination for this week’s Loose Unit, or if you have any political news, stories or gossip (or any old pics of politicians or public officials) please email me at jeff@alaskalandmine.com.

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Allen
2 months ago

“It’s such a joke and failure that a state with so much oil and gas is facing a gas shortage.”

But see https://alaskapublic.org/2023/12/05/persily-perforates-alaska-natural-gas-lines-prospects-in-gasonomics-talk/