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Gross

The Sunday Minefield – June 21, 2020

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice! Today marks the day where we will start losing sunlight. Alaskans all around the state are enjoying the solstice, albeit aware of the rise in COVID cases around the state. The August 18 primary is less than two months away. As usual, many legislative races will be decided in the primary. And problems persist with the federal COVID aid and grants to Alaska businesses.

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No on 1

The Legislature

Problems persist with the federal COVID aid Alaska received. $290 million was meant to be used for grants to Alaska businesses, but getting it out has not been easy. The House Finance Committee met this week to discuss the issue. When the program was created Alaska businesses that received any federal money were not eligible. Turns out a lot of Alaska businesses were ineligible. Who knew! They have made some changes to the program to increase eligibility but it’s still a mess. This Midnight Sun article provides more detail. Some legislators want to go into a special session but at this point that seems unlikely. To call themselves into a special session requires 40 votes as well as support from legislative leadership. Alternatively, Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska) could call them into a special session. He could say that there are problems with the program that need to be fixed and that the legislature needs to do that. If he calls them back he would likely be attacked by many legislators because he was the one who originally allocated the money. But at this point they just need to find a way to fix the problem and not point fingers. The closer we get to the primary the less likely it is there will be a special session.

Other Happenings

Congressman Don Young (R – Alaska) held a fundraiser on Monday at the home of Mead Treadwell. It was organized by Bernadette Wilson. I was told over 100 people showed up, including many young people. Yes, that’s a pun. The crowd sang him Happy Birthday (he turned 87 on June 9) and also Forever Young. He is holding another fundraiser tomorrow at Little Italy in South Anchorage. Check out Akis, whose family owns Little Italy, in the background! There are some big names on there.

If you have traveled on the Seward Highway at all in the last week you probably dealt with some major traffic issues. Last Sunday someone reported a major traffic jam to me. I posted about it and heard from dozens of people who had problems. You can see some of the comments on this Twitter thread. The traffic issues have persisted this week. It sounds like one of the construction companies had a long section of dirt road that caused the traffic issues. One person told me it took two and a half hours to go ten miles. Yikes!

The infamous McCandless bus was removed this week by the Alaska National Guard. It has been reported by news outlets all over the world. Check out the Landmine take from our own Paxson Woelber. I did a poll about this in February. People were not interested in the Landmine removing the bus. I wonder how the public feels about the state doing it? We have heard from some that have said they wish there would have been some public comment. But the bus was on state land and did create a lot of problems. What do you think? You can vote on this Landmine Twitter poll.

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Young

Linda Hobert, who filed to run against Representative Andy Josephson (D – Anchorage) in the Democratic primary withdrew this week. This gives Josephson the win as there is no one else running for that seat. This makes nine legislators who are running unopposed, only two of which are Republicans – Representatives Laddie Shaw (R – Anchorage) and Mike Prax (R – North Pole). The deadline to withdraw from the primary is June 29.

Governor Dunleavy signed a proclamation this week honoring Juneteenth Day in Alaska.

There was a candidate forum held in the Valley on Thursday night. It was a real doozy. You can watch it here, courtesy of Politidick. Senator Mike Shower (R – Wasilla), who is not up for reelection this year, made a cameo. It was loose! It starts at 1:28:00. I think maybe the weirdest thing was a comment by Jesse Sumner, who is running against Representative David Eastman (R – Wasilla) in the primary. Sumner has been described as the “normal one” in the race. When asked a question about ending abortion, Sumner (who says he is pro-life) joked about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dying soon, to which the crowd laughed. The irony is incredible. You can watch it here:

Campbell Lake public access continues to be an issue despite the State of Alaska and Municipality of Anchorage affirming that it is a public lake with public access. Check out our latest article on the situation here.

 

This Week’s Loose Unit 

This week’s Loose Unit was REALLY easy. This week’s Loose Unit is the District 30 Republicans, which is chaired by Randy Daly. They came out and endorsed Ron Gillham this week in the Republican primary. Gillham is one of three Republicans running in the primary, along with Representative Gary Knopp (R – Soldotna) and former Representative Kelly Wolf. The endorsement of Gillham itself is not all that loose as many party types are unhappy with Knopp. But what is loose as what the District 30 Republicans had to say about Gillham not even two years ago. Gillham nearly beat Senator Peter Micciche (R – Soldotna) in the 2018 Republican primary. He went on to run as a write-in against Micciche in the general. The District 30 Republican Party ran a radio ad that hit Gillham hard.  It was actually voiced by Tom Wright. I have tried hard to get a copy of the audio but have been unable to get it. But I have the text! Check this out:

This is paid for by the District 30 Republican Party, Neil DuPerron, chair 204 Lawton Drive number 3, Kenai. Ron Gillham, District O write-in candidate, claims to be your PFD protector. Really? Are you sure? Here’s some facts: in 1989, Ron Gillham lied on his resident hunting license application. Later that year, Gillham killed a moose and a black bear while pretending to be an Alaska resident. In 1990, Ron lied again on his resident hunting license application, and later that year, he killed a Dall sheep and a caribou while pretending to be an Alaska resident again. Ron Gillham was convicted for taking big game while claiming to be an Alaska resident. In court, Ron admitted he knew he wasn’t a resident, but he applied for a resident hunting license. And to top it all off, in 1991 Gillham applied for a dividend. PFD protector? I don’t think so. How can Ron Gillham get a PFD when he can’t qualify for a resident hunting license?

Loose! I guess since Neal DuPerron has left and Randy Daly has taken over they have had a major change of heart on Gillham. I wonder how Senator Micciche feels about this? Talk about loose!

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One Alaska - No on 1

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 [email protected]

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3 months ago

Here’s my nomination for Loose Unit: Jeff Landfield, who claims to be a journalist (and has a Capitol press pass) yet runs for office. No ethical journalist runs for office and continues to practice journalism. It’s an obvious conflict of interest, as was Jeff’s 2018 “Let’s Back Revak” campaign. A person could never get James Brooks to have a beer with you if you worked for the legislature, because James knows a conflict of interest when he sees one. James is ethical. Is Jeff?

3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

If you want to pretend to be a journalist, stop running for office. If you want to run for office, stop pretending to be a journalist. The two are mutually exclusive. For anyone who has any ethics.

3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

You know it’s totally normal for people who run for office to have day jobs, right? People do all kinds of things before being elected to office. We’ve had plenty of actors, comedians, celebs and other media figures elected to office in the US. I’m sure you can think of a few. A journalist running for office isn’t very common, but it isn’t that weird. Can he do the job? That’s all that matters, really.

3 months ago

You’ve totally sidestepped the issue of conflict of interest and journalistic integrity. Yes, elected officials come from various professional backgrounds. That’s obvious, but doesn’t address the problem–it is a problem–that when a “journalist” (as Landfield thinks he is) has an axe to grind and uses that axe against Rep. Millett (Let’s Back Revak), that journalist has crossed an ethical line. Just as there is prosecutorial misconduct, there’s journalistic misconduct. It is “that weird.” Running for office while purporting to be a journalist is misconduct. It’s unethical. Quitting journalism to run for office is fine.

Maureen
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

Disco Ray Metcalfe, even if a moniker from his personal interest in dancing, is not how a journalist reports on a political role. Jeff it shows bias-and is not journalism.

MKC
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

Jeff is delivering a lot of good reporting and doing it free of charge. We are well served by having his viewpoint in the mix. Reporters can run for office just like entrepreneurs, tourism industry employees, oil industry folks, career politicians, and trust fund babies. If journalism and public discourse is to have a rich future it is going to be with diverse viewpoints and people making up their own minds. The world of Cronkite and Murrow is gone. The market can barely support one Brooks. I’ll take the Jeffs of the world being involved and they shouldn’t have to… Read more »

3 months ago
Reply to  MKC

“Reporters can run for office” if they want to be seen as unethical, if they want their reporting to be suspect as tainted by politics. Journalists, real, trained journalists with degrees, expertise and ethics, deal in unbiased facts. When they run for office, they stop publishing their journalism to avoid conflicts of interest and to maintain standards of journalistic integrity. I never argued against a rich future of public discourse, which I, of course, support. And, like you, I want diverse viewpoints and I want people to make up their own minds. None of that makes it okay for Landfield… Read more »

3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

Is it okay to be the linebacker AND the referee? Calling someone a loose unit is a kind of refereeing. Is it okay to direct a film AND review that film? Is it okay for a cop to chair a commission on police conduct? Is it okay for Boeing to conduct the safety evaluations of their new jetliners, instead of an impartial government agency conducting those reviews? If Landfield were elected and an internet advertising bill came to the Floor, Alaska’s laws would require him to declare a conflict of interest (if he still published the Landmine and sold ads… Read more »

3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

BTW, my complaint isn’t just about Jeff, with whom I hope to sip some single malt some evening. My complaint applies to others who have conflicts of interest between working in the media and running for or serving in public office. Example: Don Smith while running for state House in 1996. Example: John Davis operating KSRM radio while serving on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in the 80’s.

MKC
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Atkinson

Tom, thanks for your great points and thoughtful responses. I agree with a lot of them, maybe most. Have a great day.

Maureen
3 months ago
Reply to  MKC

So that he provides fact finding for free we should give him a break in regards to ethics?

akbright
3 months ago

Sure, Mr Landfield is reporting for free. (pay no attention to the “Donate Now” button behind the curtain near the top of the page)

Paison Latro
2 months ago

FOX News = a TV show pretending to be the news. Glad it doesn’t have any political bias or have any “con” flicts of interest.
Binkley owns the ADN, any “con” flicts there? Anyone’s dad run for guvner? Anyone’s sister getting started in valley politics?
Look before you leap…

1 month ago

The Alaska Landmine on 8/3/20 at 15:42 tweeted, “The Muni has confirmed that Falsey is not leaving as municipal manager. Being municipal manager and a candidate for mayor is super loose!” Yet, Landfield, responding to my comments following his 6/21/20 Minefield, wrote, “You know it’s totally normal for people who run for office to have day jobs, right?…Can he do the job? That’s all that matters, really.” Jeff wrote that in response to me nominating him as Loose Unit because he continues to practice his “journalism” while also running for the legislature, a clear conflict of interest. So, why does… Read more »