Loose Lips: Begich takes it to the Koch brothers, an Arctic something or another, and an expensive war on judges.

Loose LipsSince I started my column in the Anchorage Daily News, I haven’t been keeping up as much with the daily prattle which people really seem to like. Instead, in the true tradition of “real” journalists everywhere, I’ve been spending my days deciding not to give people what they really want, but instead what they need.

Right now at least, I’m so over all of that. So here are a few items that nobody really needs to know but seem to like knowing:

Alaska state Sen. Lesil McGuire and Rep. Bob Herron, who serve as co-chairs of the Arctic something or another committee, are going to Seattle for some sort of Arctic dealeo and are having dinner with White House staff Thursday. Sorry to sound less than excited about this. I only get about 8 million emails a day about all the impending Arctic development, while all I see is lots of ice and companies trying to hightail it out of there.

Pete Peterson announced he’s running for Anchorage Assembly. There’ s a party for him Thursday at Café Del Mundo. I’ll be there, if for no other reason than because boxing champion Regina Manteufel will be there also. A towering woman, Manteufe has spent the last few years trying to get clothes for women who are out of prison and need to go to job interviews. But she hasn’t given up on competitions. Last year, she won second place in the women’s water-hauling contest at the state fair.

From Sen. Mark Begich’s Facebook page about the Koch Brothers’ owned North Pole Flint Hills refinery, which announced on Tuesday that it is closing:

The Koch Brothers will close the Flint Hills Refinery and lay off an estimated 90 Alaska workers. They’re doing this while pushing an agenda that’s out-of-touch with Alaska and spending tens of millions on political attacks. I’m born-and-raised in Alaska and I’d never bet against Alaskans.

Yeah, tell that to those 90 workers who will be losing their jobs and the Alaska Railroad, which is losing its biggest costumer.

One of my favorite reporters in this state was recently pumping out stories for the Juneau Empire. Now she’s not. More to come.

I haven’t yet been to the state capital this session, but word is that a fight is brewing behind closed doors, whereby BP and ConocoPhillips are quietly aligning themselves against Exxon and TransCanada over the large diameter pipe dream of a gasline that everyone knows will likely never get built.

This one was predictable: From an email send out by Jim MInnery from Alaska Family Action regarding an Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock’s ruling to stay new Medicaid abortion regulations as requested by Planned Parenthood:

Many of you have asked what you can do to protest Judge Suddock’s involvement in this case, since his former law partner once helped represent Planned Parenthood in an earlier lawsuit over Medicaid funding of abortion. It’s outrageous that Judge Suddock is still even on this case. We recommend that you file a complaint with the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Expect the fight to continue and to get nasty and costly. The last big fight over Medicaid and abortion was in 2001. Abortion rights were upheld by the Alaska Supreme Court and the state ended up paying up $618,000 in 2001 dollars. As Sen. Berta Gardner recently wrote, court challenges are likely going to cost the state a million or more this year, a year that is supposed to be the beginning of some sort of state austerity program.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com 

Correction: In an earlier version I called Sen. Berta Gardner Rep. Berta Gardner. That’s bad, but not as bad as misspelling Beth Kerttula’s name in a headline recently. Also, I once called Mead Treadwell Mean Treadwell, which is all wrong in all sorts of ways. The lesson? I need an editor who’s willing to work long hours, for free, with no particular goal in mind and who’s willing to be universally disliked for it all.


3 thoughts on “Loose Lips: Begich takes it to the Koch brothers, an Arctic something or another, and an expensive war on judges.

  1. Mae

    Hide your daughters!
    Minnery is near by!

    Don’t trust the guy one bit. He seems obsessed with the uterus.

  2. Lynn Willis

    I see no problem with the Koch Brother owning the Flint Hills Refinery and also being very involved in Alaska politics. The problem I see, especially if the legislature gets involved at all in this refinery closure, is with having Alaska legislators addressing this refinery issue who have aligned themselves with the Koch Brothers by actually joining the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which receives financial support from the Koch brothers. Joining a group, to me, is much more a sign of allegiance than simply receiving a campaign contribution or other political support. Legislators, while open to suggestions and information, should not actually join the lobbyist groups providing that information.

    ALEC is not like a professional or fraternal organization or even like a political group oriented toward a single general objective such as the NRA is with 2nd Amendment rights. ALEC is intended to have these members introduce and support “model legislation” provided by ALEC covering a range of social issues. ALEC does not bother with an argument to support a law – they provide the actual law to be implemented.

    So how exactly does an ALEC member of the Alaska legislature not have a serious conflict of interest when the Koch Brothers want to gain fewer restrictions on the level of pollutant that must be mitigated at the North Pole Refinery or other issue? Can these legislators feel free to do what might be best for Alaskans or do they risk losing membership and access to the support of ALEC and their fellow ALEC members in the caucus? The influence of the individual Alaskan in the political process is diminished a little more each day.

    Here is a link to the ALEC Model Legislation Web Site: http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/. See if you recognize any of this showing up in Juneau recently.

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