In 1971, the dream of the trans-Alaska pipeline was becoming a reality. The Native Claims Settlement Act was being settled. Steel was being ordered. Tractors being juiced. The Teamsters were dreaming in dollars. Texans and Okies were packing their bags and Reverend Jerry Prevo saw him a big chance to build a big church and save lots of souls. As a business model, it worked. Throughout the years, the Anchorage Baptist Temple has turned into a powerhouse of God and politics. On Sunday, ABT celebrated its 43rd pastoral anniversary. About 1800 parishioners attended the ceremony including Gov. Sean and Sandy Parnell, Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie, Rep. Don Young and his fiancé Ann, Sen. Cathy Giessel and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.
A group of Alaskans including Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell, University regent Kirk Wickersham, and Bering Straits Native Corporation President and chair of the state’s retirement fund Gail Schubert, were seen earlier this week in New York City, where they were spotted following former general and CIA Chief David Petraeus into a banquet room, and were never seen again. (Ha!) Petraeus is now the chairman of the recently created KKR Global Institute, a subsidiary of the giant KKR private equity firm. Chances are the Alaskans were all at an investment conference where the former general was wooing them in hopes of securing state investment dollars for future KKR investments and leverage-buyout deals.
Meanwhile, later in the week in the Big Apple, a trio of other Alaskans were seen on Broadway, in “Kinky Boots.” If you’re wondering, quit: It’s a very popular Tony Award-winning musical.
On Friday, as far away from anything to do with kinky boots, the hot political event in Soldotna was a Parnell – Sullivan campaign fundraiser at the home of David and Linda Hutchings. About 50 showed. Among those spotted: Rep. Kurt and Barbara Olson, Rep. Mike Chenault, Sen. Peter Micciche and his daughter, Sophia (who presented the First Lady with a homemade necklace), Sue Carter, Dr. Jason and Anna Lattin, Soldotna City Manager Mark Dixson, ASHNHA’s Dennis Murray, James and Renee Duncan, Challenger Learning Center CEO Marnie Olcott and her husband Greg, Regina Daniels of Davis Block & Concrete, Kelli Brewer, Gary and Helen Knopp of G & H Contracting, Chad Schaefer of Cruz Companies, McDonald’s proprietor Scott Cunningham, and Dick & Stephanie Erkeneff. Continue reading →
On Monday evening, the Parnell-Sullivan campaign showed host Mead Treadwell how to pack a house for a fundraiser. With more than 150 guests coming through the doors, the caterers were quick to run out of food. Some faces spotted in the crowd: Dick and Mary Stallone; Dana Pruhs; Rep. Bill Stoltze; Deantha Crocket from the Miners’ Association; Greg Chapados and Tina Pidgeon from GCI; John and Amy Oney; Mary Dodge from Inlet Drilling; Dr. Mike McNamara; Northrim Bank’s Joe Beedle; Jim Brady; Stan Foo with Donlin Creek; Dr. Leon Chandler; Joe Mathis of NANA; Dan Coffey; Tim Worthen of Premier AK Tours; Judy Eledge; Dr. Matt and Stacey Heilala; Liz and Hugh Ashlock; real estate developers Terrie and Ed Zehrung; former Mayor George and Brenda Wuerch; Mike Nizich; Mark Hylen; Architect Marvin Ungerecht. Lots of money in the room. Lots of worry in the room.
Will the National Guard scandal die down before the election? My prediction? No. Will six-minute Parnell videos trying to explain why he didn’t take immediate action released the same day that a detailed story breaks about raping and plundering National Guard recruiters help at all? My prediction: No.
Republican state House candidate Anand Dubey also had a fundraiser Monday evening at the Petroleum Club. What was most surprising was that pro-labor lefty Nick Moe, was not only present, but actually co-hosted the event. (As Elstun Lauesen put it: “Matt Claman seems to inspire progressives to go nuts when he runs for office.” Why this is the case is a mystery, and nobody seems interested in explaining it to me. It seems to have to do with making Shelia Selkregg cry, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.) Among other interesting mix of attendees spotted: Speaker Mike Chenault; Craig Fleener; Kokayi Nosakhere; state House candidate Liz Vazquez; Chris Birch; radio personality Glen Beagle; and former Republican party chair, for at least 15 minutes or more, Russ Millette. Continue reading →
Quite a crowd of well-known political and business types gathered at the Alaska Aviation Museum Thursday evening for Ted Stevens’ defense attorney Rob Carey’s book signing of his recently written “Not Guilty: The Unlawful Prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.” Spotted at the reception: Rep. Don Young; Ben and Elizabeth Stevens; Julie Fate Sullivan; Greg Chapados; Ken and Myrna Maynard; Governor Sean and Sandy Parnell; Laurie and Matt Fagnani; Orin Seyberts; Art and April Hackney; Randy Ruederich; Mayor Dan Sullivan; Father Norman Elliott; Curtis Thayer; Frank and Jeanne McQueary; George Walton; Jim Jansen; Jerry Hood; Maynard Tapp; and, Paulette Simpson who flew up and back to Juneau the same day just to attend the event.
KTUU – Channel 2 dedicated their main studio, at their new building, in honor of Al Bramstedt, Sr., a real pioneer in Alaska broadcasting, who put Channel 2 on the air in the 1950’s, and Al Bramstedt, Jr. who carried on his father’s legacy and built KTUU into what it is today.
The Sullivan for Senate campaign announced this week that they raised almost $2.8 million in the third quarter which ended September 30th. FEC campaign reports are due no later than October 15th.
Wasilla City Councilwoman Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, just two days after being re-elected in Wasilla, hosted a wine and cheese fundraiser in her home for the Republican Valley Women State House Candidates: Reps. Shelly Hughes, Lynn Gattis, and candidate Cathy Tilton. Around 20 women showed including: Julie Nystrom; Becky Huggins; Margaret Sharp; Councilwoman Gretchen O’Barr; Beth Fried; Pat Purcell; and, the sole guy, the Mat-Su coordinator for the Sullivan for Senate campaign, Continue reading →
APOC Deputy Director Jerry Anderson is leaving his current position to become the staff director for the Legislative Ethics Committee. He’s replacing another Anderson, Joyce Anderson, who was the former director and was taking the job temporarily after Reggie Drummond left unexpectedly. Many legislators, staffers, and journalists have had dealings with APOC’s Anderson, who knew that agency’s conflicting and confusing rules better than anyone there. Yet there have been allegations about Anderson. One former APOC lawyer said in a written exit interview that Anderson and Director Paul Dauphinais ordered her to do something that might get her disbarred. However, Anderson appears to be a more politic candidate than Drummond, who tended to be outspoken about his political views, particularly guns and Obama, on twitter.
The most current party registration numbers are in: As of Oct. 3, 1,488 more Alaskans are registered as Democrats and 3,208 more are registered as Republicans since June 3.
On Monday, the Lucky Wishbone was the place to be and be seen. In one booth was Perry and Gloria Green, across the room was Joe Law, the Republican-go-to political sign guru. At another table was John Odom talking to the proprietor of the restaurant George Brown. Standing in line, waiting for a table were two faces familiar to many Alaskans: Gov. Sean Parnell and former Gov. Bill Sheffield who were lunching together. While waiting, both governors were busy chatting, laughing and shaking hands with the customers at the ever popular establishment.
Later Monday evening, about 150 people filled an over flowing banquet room at Evangelo’sContinue reading →
The Alaska Support Industry Alliance held their annual dinner Thursday evening at the Captain Cook Hotel. The organization’s executive director, Rebecca Logan, had to be pleased with the turnout. About 500 people showed. Gov. Sean Parnell was joined at the head table by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, who has been endorsed by the organization, stopped by briefly before the dinner started and then headed to his own campaign event across town.
At the first gubernatorial debate of the general election, Bill Walker declined to say who he was supporting for the U. S. Senate by saying that, “the only sign in my yard is a Walker – Mallott sign.” On Thursday evening at John Oney’s residence on Campbell Lake, Walker’s former running mate, Craig Fleener, appears less circumspect. Fleener attended a Dan Sullivan for Senate fundraiser. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell introduced Sullivan, even though he was confused why he was doing so. “I’m not sure why this guy needs an introduction after some 2500 television ads,” he said. Everyone chuckled politely. They actually laughed when someone else piped in: “Since yesterday.” Others spotted: Sen. Lesil McGuire; Joe and Tyra Chandler; Curtis Thayer; Republican Party Chair Peter Goldberg; Amy Saltzman; Tom and Terri Gimple; Dawn Kelly; David and Patti McGuire; Bob Bell; and Dr. Michael McNamara.
Think community council meetings are boring affairs where do-good citizens with too much time on their hands talk about swing-sets and sidewalk cracks? Well, Katie didn’t bar the door at the last Abbott Loop Community Council meeting, Continue reading →
This past week the earthquakes reminded me of the strength of our spirits and the volatility of our politics. Actually, that’s not really true. But I aspire to be the kind of person who has such thoughts. So there’s that. Anyway, this one’s a short one. I’m working on a longer project for another publication and haven’t gotten out much. But hopefully I and Loose Lips will be back in full force later this week. Until then, here’s at least some of what’s gone on the past few days:
Jared Kosin is the new Deputy Commissioner at the AK Department of Revenue. Kosin is an attorney with an M.B.A., and has spent his career in public policy. Most recently, he worked at the AK Department of Health and Social Services. Prior to moving to Alaska, Kosin was the Policy Director and Legislative Director for the Colorado Speaker of the House, and a policy advisor in the Michigan Senate Majority Policy Office.
Thursday was Colleen Starring’s last day as president of ENSTAR Natural Gas Company. She was the first female president of ENSTAR and served in that capacity for seven years. She’s headed to Vancouver, B.C. where she will continue her career at ENSTAR’s parent company, AltaGas. Continue reading →
Karl Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, had a film crew in Anchorage this week filming. But then again, who didn’t?
Aki, whose real name is the awesomely unpronounceable Vasilios Gialopsos, has accepted a position with the AK Department of Revenue to serve as the commissioner’s special assistant / legislative liaison. Previously, he served as a legislative staffer to Rep. Charisse Millett. Aki’s family owns the Little Italy restaurant in Anchorage.
On Tuesday evening, Sens. Kevin Meyer, Mike Dunleavy and Pete Kelly held a joint fundraiser at the Petroleum Club. During the short campaign speeches, it was proudly pointed out to the pro-development crowd attending, that all three of the senators received an “F” rating from the Alaska Conservation voters. About 40 people were there, including: Eddie Grasser; Pebble Partnership’s John Shively; Steve Nerland; John and Jan Ellsworth; GCI’s Tina Pidgeon; Rebecca Logan; sports fishing enthusiast Bob Penney and his grandson Curtis from Northwest Strategies; Sen. Cathy Geisel; Steve Colligan; Judy Eledge; Kara Moriarty; Miles Baker; soon to be elected senator Bill Stoltze and Anchorage mayoral hopeful Dan Coffey.
Concurrently, the Marijuana Initiative hearing was taking place at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage and former KTVA reporter, “Ms. F##ck it,” Charlo Greene, testified, to no one’s surprise, on behalf of legalization. Greene, whose real name is Charlene Ebg, brought her potty mouth and her gang of hecklers with her, all of which seemed to make staid Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell uncomfortable.
Meantime, just another Sunday at KTVA, only this time going to pot and potty mouth when reporter Charlo Greene, the Anchorage girl who came to the new station from WOWK in West Virginia, took to the mic, in a moment that will go down in broadcast history:
What you missed on this video (and what you can see in others that don’t include the infectious laughter) was Greene’s admission that she owns the Alaska Cannabis Club. Greene has done multiple stories on the pot initiative and the anti-pot folks had for a while been complaining about her attitude, complaints which were supposedly brushed off and complaints that will come back and haunt the station manager, particularly when the first FCC complaint gets filed in three…two… one…bong!
The anti-pot folks wasted no time. They sent out a fundraising email two hours after the incident entitled appropriately, “loss of local control.”
If you’re up at 7 a.m. on Monday, tune into the Dan Fagan and Glen Biegel show. They’ll be talking to Brad Keithley about some of the charges leveled at him. Tune in at 95.5 FM, and 1080 AM in Anchorage and 92.5 FM and 1020 AM in the Valley. Or listen on line here.
Well, that didn’t last very long. Reggie Drummond, who became the administrator for the Legislative Ethics Committee in June, resigned effective September 15th. Drummond was a combat vet who did three tours in Iraq and one in Bosnia, and was most recently an Inspector General for the Army in Alaska. Joyce Anderson who previously served in this position will serve in an acting capacity until they find a replacement.
Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey is nothing if not ubiquitous. Hang out in a coffee shop? There’s Coffey, interviewing an expert on waste disposal. A restaurant? There he is, talking to the waiter about what he could do to make the city better. A bar? Well, he doesn’t drink, but he still likes bar owners. On Saturday, September 6, he and his wife Pauline put on their finest and headed to the Anchorage Symphony. After that was over, still wearing his tux, they stopped by a birthday party for twins of a long-time friend, Mike McKenna. He stayed for about 45 minutes. As he was leaving, he noticed a stretch Hummer limo, and Todd and Sarah Palin milling about in front of it. He also noticed someone with his shirt off standing outside with a group of guys. Did he think it was strange? “No. I’m glad I left early,” he said.
Kate Giard, the new chief financial officer for the Municipality of Anchorage, took the reins of the city’s finance department this week from Lucinda Mahoney who retired effective September 12th. Giard served the city in the same position from 2000 – 2003 and was then appointed to serve on the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.
In Wasilla country, where campaigns are run on whispers, a particularly pernicious campaign is spreading against Loren Means, a political newcomer, who’s said to be a nice guy with nice teeth, which is something to note in the Valley. He’s also been endorsed by the Wasilla’s District 7 Republicans. Means is running to be Wasilla Mayor Vern Rupright’s successor. Except that Rupright has already chosen his successor and it isn’t Means. He wants his city administrator, Democrat turned Independent Bert Cottle, to be in the seat that he’s vacating, and is pulling out all the stops to try to make it thus. An email chain is passing through the tubes that relayed a conversation that Means had with the city’s police chief about stalking some Las Vegas cops in the 1980s with a deer rifle. In another conversation with the chief, Means supposedly talked about anarchy and the possibility of shutting the government down and something else to do with a crowded theater, where he envisioned a big brawl, a brawl for which he would be armed and ready, The chief described him as both “matter of fact” and “excited” when talking about such things. The chief reported him supposedly at Rupright’s suggestion, to Homeland Security, which will likely do nothing but turn Means into a Valley hero.
One of the big pieces of news to come out of Thursday’s gubernatorial debate in Kodiak:
Parnell re: 2016 “If I wanted to run for Senate, I would have done it this time when I was recruited to.” #akgov#aksen — Alexandra Gutierrez (@alexgutierrez) August 29, 2014
Parnell: I’m not running against Lisa Murkowski. I called and told her so. #akgov — Amanda Coyne (@Amanda_Coyne) August 29, 2014
Speaking of the governor’s race: Remember that ill-fated W²-dream ticket, where Bill Walker and state Sen. Bill Wielechowski would somehow team up and save the state, or the day, or at least the news cycle? Continue reading →
For a while, there were tres amigos in the Valley who were running as independents against incumbents. Now, uno went adios and now there are dos. Independent hopeful candidate Steve Jacobson failed to obtain the requisite 50 signatures in House District 8 by the deadline to be placed on the ballot. Consequently, incumbent Republican Rep. Mark Neuman will only face one opponent, Democrat Pam Rahn, who only got 561 votes in the primary to Neuman’s 2215.
No one knows what is going to happen with the makeup of the Legislature following Election Day. My crystal ball, which I have to say myself was crystal clear about the primaries, is pretty cloudy right now. But one thing is likely: there will be at least a few more women in the House, and if they band together, they could be pretty powerful. One thing that isn’t for certain: that the women can band together at all. The last I checked, they couldn’t even agree that affordable child care for their constituents was a priority, say nothing of what to do about it if it were a priority.
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is getting a little help from his friends: Monday, Sen. Begich hosted a round table discussion with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – Hawaii) at the Alaska Veterans Museum with Alaska women vets to discuss the need for reforms and resources at the VA. Later that night, Gabbard joined Sen. Begich and the Alaska Democratic Party for a fundraiser to benefit their Alaska Victory Fund at the Anchorage home of Russ and Sharon Winner. On Tuesday evening, Begich is getting some more help, Continue reading →
Did you know Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was in Anchorage this week? Me either. I must have missed that press release. Gillibrand was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Hillary Clinton’s appointment to be Secretary of State. She is best known for her leadership in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and to end sexual harassment and violence in the military. In Alaska, however, she’s known as being a “liberal, anti-gun Democrat.” In 2013, Alaska Republicans made a big deal out of a visit, claiming that she and Begich were parading around the state, raising money. Wrong. Turns out that Gillibrand was here to conduct a round-table with Begich on sexual assault, and that Begich didn’t attend the fundraiser with her last year. This year’s an even worse year to be seen with a “liberal, anti-gun Democrat.” So on Saturday, the Alaska Democratic Party celebrated her presence quietly. Spotted at the event through a Facebook posting: state House candidate Laurie Hummel, Kay Brown and Rep. Geran Tarr. Not spotted: Mark Begich. Continue reading →
Christopher Clark, the always helpful and gracious long-time Juneau fixture and top-notch staffer to Rep. Cathy Munoz is said to be retiring in October. Munoz has hired Crystal Koeneman to try to fill his big shoes. Most recently. Koeneman worked for Rep. Lora Reinbold. Before that, she worked for Commerce as the commissioner’s special assistant and legislative liaison. (Bumper sticker idea: Once a cushy state job in Alaska, always a cushy state job in Alaska.) Rumor has it that Koeneman has been rumored to be looking for a new job for some time. Reinbold’s not been great at keeping staff. Here’s hoping that Koeneman’s replacement, Dean Williams from Eagle River, stays around for a while. Williams served as the superintendent of the McLaughlin Youth Center and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Anchorage School Board.
I was traveling through the Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski area earlier this week and saw lots and lots of No on #1 signs. The GOP Senate sign war in this area seems to be won by Joe Miller with Dan Sullivan in a respectable chase. Continue reading →