Inside/Outside morning news update for Jan. 9

  • Gallup has released its latest poll on how Americans identify themselves.  This poll has been done annually since 1992 and while 38% identify as conservative and 34% as moderate, this year marks the highest percentage ever of Americans identifying themselves as liberal at 24%.
  • Austin Baird with KTUU has the details of legislation heading to Juneau.  As Rep. Les Gara (D-ANC) put it, “This is going to be a session of bills that don’t cost money.” On deck? A bill that will open up the primary system, which is closed on the GOP side to Republicans and Independents.
  • The AGDC board has slashed spending to the tune of $90 million, but the Dispatch reports that they are seeking clarification from the governor on confidentiality provisions.
  • The Keystone Pipeline has just been gifted the clearance of a major hurdle by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Politico has the details as to why and how this state Supreme Court ruling is important.

  • While the price of Brent crude oil is continuing its downward spiral, the Juneau Empire reports that North Slope construction is shaping up to be one of the strongest on record.
  • The Washington Examiner has Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s plans for comprehensive energy legislation.
  • APRN wonders if SB21 working.
  • The diesel fuel spill by an Alaska Petroleum Distributors Inc. tanker will be taken over by the EPA according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, because the responsible parties lack adequate insurance coverage and lacked the financial capabilities to complete the cleanup.
  • The New York Times outlines Pres. Obama’s plan to make the first two years at a community college free for many students.
  • The Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor wants to bring the borough’s old oil and gas liaison. According to the Peninsula Clarion, the position would total $67,000 for FY15.
  • Ron Wyden (D-OR) is reintroducing legislation that will prevent mobile phone companies from being forced by the government to build “back-door” codes that would allow the federal government to listen in to Americans’ conversations without a warrant, per The Hill.
  • The Peninsula Clarion lists the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s economy’s pros and cons. State economist Alyssa Rodrigues believes that the borough will weather better than the state as a whole with about a 3.5% job growth.
  • Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced yesterday that she would be retiring when her present term ends in 2016.  This has caused The Hill to speculate on the potential $1B Senate Race that officially begins today in CA, but one thing is for sure; Condoleezza Rice will not be throwing her hat into the ring.
  • The Ketchikan Daily News was on hand when the Ketchikan City Council began looking at how to cut $361,000 from its services and contracted services budget.
  • Politico Magazine lays out its case as to why Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will stay put in the U.S. Senate instead of entering the grueling and bloody professional sport that is a U.S. presidential race.
  • The Juneau Empire has an article about one of the casualties of Gov. Bill Walker’s budget cuts:  Chinook research funding.
  • The Frontiersman has the details for application submission for those that would like to replace former assemblyman Jim Colver as he begins his new representational job as state legislator.
  • The cover art on the latest edition of the Alaska Journal of Commerce is causing Twitter to be all a flutter.

13 thoughts on “Inside/Outside morning news update for Jan. 9

  1. Billiam

    Could you explain what it means when it says Mike Fleagle was Superintendent at the Municipality of Anchorage? What job is that?

    Mike Fleagle, of Anchorage, AK, joins Senator Sullivan’s office from the Municipality of Anchorage, were he served as Superintendent. Fleagle has over 14 years’ experience in appointed leadership for fish and wildlife management in Alaska, including the Alaska State Chairman of the Board of Game and the Chairman of the Federal Subsistence Board. He is a member of the Doyon, Limited Board of Directors, and has also worked for the McGrath Bulk Fuel Association and McGrath Native Village Council.

  2. Lynn Willis

    Why would any party do what you propose – run two strong candidates and have one resign? So what? That is only possible if they are the “top two” and that would reflect the will of the voters to have one of them anyway.
    You cannot force someone to run for office or stay affiliated with any particular party. Walker pulled it off in no small part because of the strength of his opposition. You cannot control political reality.
    The voters should decide who is the best candidate and I want that decision power returned to them and certainly don’t want to keep funding the system that functionally narrows that choice. .

  3. AH HA

    So the easy way to circumvent the system would be for the ‘party’ to chose between the two candidates that made it through the primary… have one ‘resign’ just prior to the general election leaving…a ‘Party’ chosen unopposed candidate?

    Sounds sort of familiar….

  4. ZTop

    Senate President Kevin Meyer has undermined the Senate Majority’s ability to be an effective counter voice to the new administration. Meyer has diminished the senate’s voice by being callous and insensitive to the state’s fiscal problems.
    Hiring McHugh Pierre will undoubtedly stand out as the 2015 political blunder of the year. What were they thinking? Pierre is little more than a well-connected political hack that is being paid by the Senate majority because of a favor Pierre’s father in law did for Meyer by hiring his wife. Meyer’s wife has been on the state dime since he became a state legislator I think. Interesting. Is dhe too incompetent to get a job in the private sector?
    Meyer has embarrassed himself, the institution of the state senate and looks like a corrupt politician. If his senate majority colleagues stand by him, I will be disgusted and forces to criticize each by name.

  5. reformist

    ^ This, a thousand times this!

    I would love to see Gruenberg’s bill get AT LEAST get a hearing this session. It would make certain political sychophants sweat. Honestly, to me, election reform is the most important thing facing American politics today. Everything else trickles down from who, and how, your people are elected.

  6. Lynn Willis

    You bet! Two candidates from the same party certainly could (and often would) proceed to the general. If your political party cannot relate to the actual voters than you deserve your fate.
    Then again, two independents candidates ( perhaps more beholding to the actual voters instead of special interests, party bosses and caucus leaders) might proceed to the general. That idea scares the hell out of some.

  7. AH HA

    So in our last gubernatorial election it would have been Parnell -V- Walker (both as republicans) with no democrat represented?

    Hell, Why not just save time and money? How about no primary at all? Let’s just have one winner take all election and be done with it.

    I know, they will be calling me a heretic shortly…

  8. Mark Springer

    Here, at Alaska Business Monthly, is a more complete article and list of Senator Sullivan’s Washington and Alaska staffing.

  9. Lynn Willis

    Regarding state funding of primary elections, we need “new blood” in Juneau and a “top two” primary might just allow that to happen by encouraging the participation of independent candidates. But wait; because nothing unites the proponents of the two party system like a common threat, a loss of the state-funded process to choose candidates, which also gives them all the political momentum, is terrifying.
    HB 13 (Short Title: NONPARTISAN PRIMARY ELECTIONS) was introduced by Max Gruenberg during the last legislature . It gained one sponsor and died before House State Affairs when Chair Bob Lynn refused to hold a hearing. Now HB 17 (Same Short Title) has been reintroduced and probably awaits a similar fate or will be amended beyond recognition.
    If the Government is going to fund primary elections than I am very much a supporter of the the “top two” primary process. Let both the independent and party affiliated candidates appear on a single primary ballot, with the two candidates who glean the most ballots proceeding to the General Election. Anybody else should still be allowed petition to run in the General Election as they can now. If the Political Parties don’t want to participate in a state funded primary than they should be allowed to do what they want to do to select candidates for the General Election.
    Why should any political party be entitled to a government subsidy to aid in the operations of that Party? Support for the closed Republican Primary support comes from the same folks whose new mantra is “the cost causers should be the cost payers”. OK then, put your money where your mouth is. If you don’t want me selecting your candidates for office to run in the General Election than please quit expecting me and my fellow Alaskans, who are not members of your party, to pay for your selection process. Same message to the Democrats. To select your slate of party candidates, you can have a party convention, drawing of straws, or a paintball fight for all I care – but don’t expect me to pay for it.
    At this time a citizen wanting to appear on the state funded primary ballot can declare him or herself a party member and they earn a place on the primary ballot. That seems to be motivating the least qualified to run for office as they hide behind a facade of belief and group membership.
    Also, under our current primary system, political independents are routinely ignored by the press before the state primary. Therefore all that media created momentum goes to the party candidates with the independents remaining unknowns.
    I do wonder if Bill Walker and Sean Parnell would have emerged from an open “top two” primary as the general election candidates?

  10. AH HA

    And It’s official… Andy Halcro announced he is running for Anchorage Mayor. My prediction is that shortly, either Mark Begich or Hollis French will jump in as well.

  11. AH HA



    Rent: Negotiable but must be able to obtain and maintain insurance and must be able to play well with others.

    * Media Freud/ Marijuana activist types need not apply.

  12. AH HA

    “Gifted” is probably a poor choice of words when referring to the Keystone pipeline win in the Nebraska Supreme court. If would take some research to find the exact numbers but I’d venture a guess that it cost the winner close to a million dollars to litigate that case all the way to the state supreme court.

    Such is the price of ‘justice’…..

  13. Crude is Rude - Gas is Groovy

    Keystone Pipeline is a duncepipe designed by “Delbert’s” to haul dilbit.

    click on my nick^

    After all this STUPID crudoil pipeline “crisis” goes away,
    people will realize it would have been far better to build
    the pipeline described by Dr.Paul Grant in the link above^

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