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We Build Alaska

The Sunday Minefield – January 7, 2024

It’s the first Sunday Minefield of 2024! The second session of the 33rd Alaska Legislature starts in nine days. Legislators and staffers from around the state are already heading to Juneau. Pre-filed bills should be released this week. The group attempting to repeal Alaska’s new voting system claim they have enough signatures to get it on the ballot. A hearing is scheduled for the perjury charges against former District Court Judge Margaret Murphy. And the Anchorage Museum announced a new policy for free admission for those who identify as Alaska Native.

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 soon 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!

Ranked Choice Repeal?

The group attempting to repeal Alaska’s new open primary and ranked choice voting system claim they have the required signatures to get the question on this year’s ballot. But in addition to the number of required signatures, they must also have enough signatures from 30 of Alaska’s 40 House districts. That requirement could pose an issue for the group, whose signature gathering efforts have focused on larger population centers. Here is the January 2023 letter from the Division of Elections certifying the petition and laying out the requirements. The deadline to turn in signatures is February 7.

The group, Alaskans for Honest Elections, was recently fined more than $94,000 by the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) for campaign finance violations. Other complaints have been filed against the group, but have yet to be decided by APOC. If they do manage to get the required signatures to get the question on the ballot, it will be a loose and expensive campaign.

Other Happenings 

I recently had Senator Bill Wielechowski (D – Anchorage) and Representative Julie Coulombe in studio to discuss the upcoming legislative session. You can click here to watch that.

House and Senate Republicans are holding a fundraiser in Juneau next Monday, the day before session starts. Democrats do one too, but I have not got a hold of their invite yet. Legislators are prohibited from fundraising during session. That eagle tho!

A hearing is scheduled tomorrow for the perjury charges against former Judge Margaret Murphy. I finally obtained some court documents that shed some light into this. The grand jury perjury charge in May stems from, and I am not making this up, whether Murphy got a ride from a Trooper in McGrath during the 2005 trial of David Haeg for illegally killing moose in 2004. Since his conviction, Haeg has been on a jihad against the state. He’s convinced everyone involved in his conviction is corrupt. But it has consistently been upheld. Haeg seems to have stirred up some of these citizen grand jury types in Kenai. My bet is Judge Matthews tosses this lunacy.

This is interesting. I am working on figuring out why DOT asked for an extension to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), and if that has ever happened before. The STIP only comes up every 4-5 years and provides important federal money for state transportation infrastructure.

I am still trying to figure out why Mayor Dave Bronson posted three clapping emojis on a post about how an Anchorage man had a bunch of snow dumped in his yard. Really bizarre.

Official Filing for the April Anchorage mayoral race opens this Friday, January 12 and closes on Friday, January 26. Another candidate, Breck Craig, recently filed a letter of intent to run for mayor. This takes the total number of candidates to seven.

A Portland teacher found the door that blew off an Alaska Airlines flight in mid-air on Friday night. Some cell phones have also been found. Amazing no one got hurt. That Boeing 737 MAX is cursed.

This Week’s Loose Unit 

Between the hefty fines levied against the anti-ranked choice people and a panel literally flying off an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX in mid-air, there were many good candidates this week. But a development in Anchorage solidified this week’s designee. This week’s Loose Unit is the Anchorage Museum.

Recently, the Anchorage Museum announced a new policy in which those who identify as Alaska Native will get free admission to the. While the policy may be well meaning, it is yet another failed DEI policy that aims to separate us by race.

I remember as a kid when we were taught to be color blind and, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Now, many insist we must see race so we can determine who are the oppressors and who are the oppressed. The whole notion is ridiculous, and the Anchorage Museum’s loose new policy just perpetuates that.

And what is really loose is the policy is based on self-identification. So there is not even a way for them to properly implement the new policy. Classic Loose Unit behavior. The Anchorage Museum is also a public place that gets public funding, so the policy of charging different admissions based on race is not even legal.

We recently published this satire piece based on the new policy, “Anchorage Museum announces new progressive admissions pricing system based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and national origin.” My only reservation, unfortunately, is it’s not even that far from reality. 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

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Actual credentialed journalist (retired)
6 months ago

Seems like the only people upset by the museum’s new admission policy are people who never go to the museum 🤷‍♂️

6 months ago

I’ve gone to the museum dozens of times and I strongly disagree with this policy. Organizations taking millions of dollars of public money should not be engaging in racial price discrimination against patrons. Online I’ve seen defenders of this policy compare it to preferences for handicapped people, as if being Native is a disability. Weird, and gross. Some types of price discrimination make sense, but racial ones should NEVER be acceptable.

6 months ago
Reply to  Disagree

You have the right to identify as you wish (new world). Maybe when you go to the museum that day, you will feel like an Alaskan Native.

Dan Svatass
6 months ago

I’m not prepared to say that there could never be an acceptable policy by a public institution to base the price of admission on race.

But this one is not acceptable. It will be reversed soon, voluntarily, and rightly so.

6 months ago

Here here. I also think they should eliminate all references to “Alaska Native” art and history in the displays and replace it with something more colorblind, like “human” art and history.