The Summer Solstice has come and gone once again. Alaskans celebrated the solstice at a variety of venues all over the state. 49th State Brewing Co. held their Solstice Brewfest in Healy, there was the annual Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks, and the Downtown Summer Solstice Festival was in Anchorage. The annual Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon also happened this weekend. Political candidates all over the state are running in a different type of marathon, the race to the primary and general election.
The primary is just under two months away – August 21, 2018
The general is just over 4 months away – November 6, 2018
Fundraisers and Events
Downtown Anchorage house seat candidate Zack Fields held a fundraiser on Tuesday (6/19/2018) at the home of former Mark Begich staffers Moire Duggan and Jason Bockenstedt. Around 60 people were reported to have been there. It was described by one attendee as a “Begich circle jerk.” Mark Begich was there and made sure to update folks on his campaign for governor. Fields used to work for the Walker administration. Leslie Ridle, Walker’s Commissioner for the Department of Administration, was also in attendance. That must have been awkward. Union boss Vince Beltrami was reported to jet right before the speeches began. YES! This is probably representative of the ensuing awkwardness as progressives decide between Walker and Begich. Representative Les Gara (D – Anchorage) and Senator Bill Wielechowski (D – Anchorage) were also there. It seems the establishment Democrats are going with Fields over Elias Rojas or Cliff Groh.
Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan held a fundraiser at his home for gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday (6/20/2018) evening. It was a well attended event with many of the usual suspects. Dick Randolph, who served in the Alaska Legislature as a Libertarian from 1978-1982, was in attendance. He is one of Dunleavy’s campaign co-chairs. When he spoke he stood on a chair next to Dunleavy, even then he was still barely taller than the extremely tall Dunleavy. Randolph is quite the Alaska legend.
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R – Anchorage) held a constituent coffee meeting on Saturday (6/23/2018). The only reason I am mentioning this is because of what she calls these meetings – Gabbing with Gabby. Talk about a legit name. I wish more legislators would do cool events with alliterative names for their constituent meetings. Here are a few suggestions:
Representative Scott Kawasaki – Karate with Kawasaki
Representative Tammie Wilson – Tanning with Tammie
Senator Bill Wielechowski – Whining with Wielechowski
Representative Chris Tuck – REDACTED
If you have other funny suggestions, let us know!
Fellow blogger Matt Buxton from the Midnight Sun also reported on some events in his Friday column, Friday in the Sun. One of the events he reported on can be seen below. I didn’t know Matt Buxton was a time traveler. That event is not until June 28. Maybe he knows who is going to win the governor’s race too! Matt, leave Anchorage to me, buddy.
It seems Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is shaking things up in his administration. There has been a recent number of high profile “resignations.” These include the directors of Payroll, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Information Technology, and the Fire Chief. Word is one of them was recording employees without their knowledge and another was not properly dealing with employees making racist comments. Ethan – can you make me a director of something? I won’t record people without telling them and I will deal with racists.
Abul Hassan, former Director of Public Transportation and expert on recording devices, is not happy about losing his job. Check out this email he sent to Anchorage Assembly members encouraging them to not confirm Jamie Acton. Tell us how you really feel, Abul.
A source confirmed the release of a big report about Anchorage’s SAP debacle. I have not seen the report but am trying to get a copy of it. The SAP project, started under former Mayor Dan Sullivan, is tens of millions of dollars over budget and has yet to be fully implemented. SAP is an Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that was supposed to streamline things like payroll and leave for the city of Anchorage. Some municipal employees have reported they have been directed to no longer say SAP at work. I’m sure that will solve the problem…
The Resource Development Council held their annual membership luncheon at the Dena’ina Center on Wednesday (6/20/2018). It was a packed house with many of the key players in resource development, as well as many legislators, in attendance. The keynote speaker was Susan Dio, Chairman and President of BP America. Talk about a high level woman!
A new independent expenditure group, Alaskans Against Dunleavy, was registered on Friday (6/22/2018). It’s odd they use the word “Alaskans” because the Chair is a guy named Justin Matheson and the listed number is a D.C. number. Very swampy. According to Matheson’s Facebook page he lives in Washington state. He is the Director of Axiom Strategies, a conservative political consulting firm. Many are wondering if the group will be supporting Mead Treadwell over Mike Dunleavy. In a Facebook response Treadwell said, “I have no ties to any of the IE’s and also no choice in any set of names.” But Matheson recently posted pictures hanging out with Tom Wright on the Kenai Peninsual. Wright was listed as a co-host for a fundraiser Treadwell had in Kenai on Thursday (6/21/2018). I’m sure it’s all a coincidence!
The first expenditure report for the newly formed independent expenditure group, Let’s Back Revak, came out this week. It showed the first contribution to the group: $30,000! The group is backing Josh Revak over Representative Charisse Millett (R – Anchorage) in the Republican primary. #ticktock. Full disclosure, I am the Chair of the group.
Here is something interesting. Check out the listed addresses for the Must Read Alaska blog and Alaska Supply Chain Integrators (ASCI). Notice anything interesting? They are the exact same. ASCI is owned by Scott Hawkins, who is a Republican candidate for governor. Suzanne Downing rents space from him. She also runs his ads on her blog. I wonder how much he’s renting her the space for? Imagine what she would say if I was renting space from Mark Begich lmao. Mark, want to buy an ad?
Sometimes ads end up in the wrong places.
Speaking of Mama Grizzily, many of her supporters are angry with former State Senator Bill Stoltze. Stoltze is supporting Kevin Meyer over Grunwald for lieutenant governor. He’s been pointing out that Grunwald was fired as HR Director during the Alaska National Guard scandal. The Landmine pointed this out back in January. Now that Grunwald seems to be gaining traction it’s no surprise that her opponents are pointing this out.
This Week’s Loose Unit
For this week’s Loose Unit we are headed back to Anchorage. This is a first for the weekly Loose Unit – law enforcement. This week’s Loose Unit is a select number of Anchorage Police Department officers. Wednesday (6/20/2018) evening I got a tip from a friend who was riding his bike at Kincaid Park. He told me there were a lot of police cars and a helicopter and it might be worth checking out. I went to go check it out with the Landmine cameraman. When we arrived we saw a damaged car near the Kincaid Park sign, yet no sign of police. We drove up the road and encountered a bunch of cops in the parking lot located in front of the main gate.
We went up to them, I identified myself as a blogger with the Alaska Landmine, and asked them what was going on. They stared at us for a few seconds and then said it was a vehicle recovery. I asked if they could tell us anything else. They said no. So we drove away. But when we got back to where the damaged car we saw a woman going through it. She turned out to be the owner and told us what happened. The car had been stolen from her home a few days prior. A woman had noticed the car at Kincaid with kids in it. According to the owner, when the woman confronted them they mouthed off to her fled into the park on foot. She called the police, who later called the owner to say they found her car. These little fuckers took everything and managed to tear the wheel off the axle! Once we had the story we went back to talk to the cops again.
This time we parked the car. We got a bit of footage and then approached the officers to ask if they had apprehended the car thieves. Let’s just say they weren’t happy to see us back. Granted, I was wearing Adidas sweatpants and sandals, which itself is pretty loose (going to be getting some official Landmine jackets now). The officers referred us to APD Spokesperson MJ Thim and would not elaborate further. They then told us if we did not leave they were going to charge us with criminal trespassing, in a public parking lot. Some real Loose Units! We asked them if we could film them. They said no. We then asked them if we were KTUU or KTVA if they would still tell us we couldn’t film and threaten us with criminal trespassing. They said yes. I highly doubt that. Definitely some Loose Units! I’m sure they thought I was a Loose Unit too. I have a feeling I’m going to start getting pulled over a lot. Click here to see the story we did.
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]