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Pebble

The Sunday Minefield – June 23, 2019

Happy solstice weekend! I hope everyone is enjoying this amazing weather. I spent all week working with Scott Jensen on the video on homelessness in Anchorage that we are making. A big thanks to everyone who donated to make the video possible. I saw a lot, spoke with many people, and learned a ton about the issue. It is an incredibly complex issue with no easy solutions. I will have more thoughts and reflections on this issue after our video is posted. The video will be out soon.

A friendly message and reminder to all our readers, the Landmine is made possible by myself and a team of awesome Alaskans. It takes a lot of work to provide the content we do. If you enjoy the content we provide, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation. You can click here to donate via PayPal. We would really appreciate it. And thanks to everyone who has been supportive!

It’s Solstice Weekend!

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Cori

I hope all of you are enjoying the weekend like I am (which means you likely aren’t reading this on Sunday). I am somewhere out hiking in the Chugach Mountains. So, I decided to basically take this week off. Not much really happened. Here are a few highlights:

Discussion continues on the upcoming special session at Wasilla Middle School, set to start on July 8. It’s going to cost more to hold it there and there are big questions about access for people who can’t be there in person. We are all wondering how it will go.

Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska) got very loose and testified at a meeting of the Permanent Fund Working Group in Anchorage on Wednesday (6/19/2019). His communications team was in tow. When he was finished he just got up and left. I guess he did not want to take any questions from legislators, or they did not have the grit to ask any. Bizarre. Remember when former Governor Bill Walker did something similar in Juneau? Both instances were very loose. Not long after, a video of his testimony was posted on Governor Dunleavy’s Facebook page. It seems the whole thing was really just a publicity stunt.

The Ambassador of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation (that title tho), Anatoly Antonov, was in Alaska this week. He spoke to several groups around the State. He also met with Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer (R – Alaska) and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. For a reason I cannot understand, he did not meet with Governor Dunleavy. I list that as an epic fail by Team Dunleavy. Nice work there, Governor Babcock.

I saw the Ambassador speak at an event in Anchorage that the World Trade Center of Alaska put on. He was extremely funny, personable, and genuine. I even managed to talk with him and get a picture! Also, Randall Kowalke was there and he told me he is going to run against Representative David Eastman (R – Wasilla) in the primary next year.

This week’s Loose Unit

I could not take a week off without naming the Loose Unit. This week was really easy. This week’s Loose Unit is the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, specifically Assemblymember Jesse Sumner. At their June 4 meeting, Sumner introduced an amendment to their budget that would remove the funding for the Borough’s membership to the Alaska Municipal League (AML). It passed 4-3, so they are leaving AML. So loose. Many were surprised that Assemblymember Jim Sykes voted for it. The AML fee is only $41,000/year. AML consists of 165 local governments across the State. Here is AML’s mission statement:

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ASEA

Secure general and municipal legislation at the state and federal levels which will be beneficial to the municipalities and inhabitants thereof, and to oppose legislation injurious thereto.

Some things AML has done for the Mat-Su Borough include:

  • Working with them on cyber-security
  • Assisted with assistance after the November 30 earthquake
  • Supported statutory disbursement of school bond debt reimbursement
  • Included Mat-Su officials in invited testimony during the legislative session
  • Worked with the Borough manager to educate other members about law enforcement
    challenges and planning

It all seems to be about Governor Dunleavy and AML’s opposition to his proposed budget. I didn’t realize they were such snowflakes in the Valley. Talk about loose! The cities of Palmer and Wasilla remain part of AML.

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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Did Governor Dunleavy “tip his hand” during his address to the PFD Working Group when he suddenly brought up the subject of citizen initiatives and referendums? Is that how he plans to bypass the Legislature to bring about his constitution amendments and statutes changes relating the PFD? This initiative/referendum process is allowed in Alaska; however it is loathed by the legislature (and those who maintain them in office). There are so many restrictions on the process now that the only way to overcome them is massive funding to hire the necessary help to collect signatures state wide in the limited… Read more »

Todd

Constitutional Amendments in AK require proposal/passage by 2/3 of the legislature and also by public ballot initiative in a general election, so an initiative or referendum would not be a work around. Ironically, there is no mechanism in the constitution for the Governor to propose constitutional amendments; it’s the legislature’s job.