Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shane Says So Long

SOLdotna City Council member Shane Horan has announced his resignation from his post.

Shane has been a consistently reasonable member of the council. Most of his decisions have been based on logic and integrity and we'll all be a bit more SOL in SOLdotna without his voice.

Shane's resignation comes shortly after his bill to ban smoking in public places failed to be considered for the lack of a second when the motion was introduced. Curiously, the bill was introduced by Scott McLane and Shane could have seconded the motion - but sat as silently as the other council members.

Shane's replacement will be made by the SOLdotna City Council. Those interested in filling his seat until the October municipal election should monitor the City of SOLdotna web site for details (and what's up with that yellow text on a yellow background?)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sneering From The Sidelines

The central Kenai Peninsula's state Senator, Tom Wagoner, was interviewed by the PC the other day. Tom had nothing good to say about the 26th Legislative Session - the budget was too high, the Dems will probably raise taxes, a legislative pay raise was passed without a vote, and Feb 2 is now Marmot Day.

What Tom fails to mention is that he chose to sit out any active participation in the session by refusing to join the across-the-aisle collation that all but four senators became part of. So all Tom got to do was vote. This is the third session in a row that Tom has doodled while most everyone else at least attempted to debate, compromise, figure things out, or whatever they do down in Juneau.

Tom had his to say about the collation: ""They won't take on any hard philosophical issues, both left and right, so you have a middle of the road Legislature doing middle of the road things."

Um, Tom - isn't that what the voters wanted? After years and years of failed right-wing policies and corruption scandals, maybe the voters wanted some sanity. I believe you were elected to represent us. Sitting on your ass and letting the other senators hash things out and then complaining that you didn't like what they did seems a bit whiny.

To his credit, Wagoner did vote against Palin's choice for AG, Wayne Ross. But why? Only because Ross supported Tom's opponent in the last election. Oh, I see. Tom thinks that being vindictive is one of those hard philosophical things.

I've got to give him props for voting against Marmot Day. But then again, maybe that's the best we can expect of the folks we send down there. At least that law is fairly innocuous and made some 5th graders happy.

Tom closed the interview saying he is going to attend a state legislature's conference in DC and promote opening ANWR and make sure that east coasters don't keep the refuge closed.

That's it Tom, sit out the entire AK legislative session and then go on a free junket to DC. There needs to be some sort of eligibility for senators like there is for high school athletes. If you don't do your work, then you don't get to travel with the team.

And just how are you going to keep those east coasties from keeping ANWR closed? If you haven't been paying attention, the lefties overwhelmingly won the last election. Maybe if you promise to return all of the subsidies that Alaska gets from the taxpayers in all those blue states, you might get some traction with that. Otherwise you're asking those east coasters to pay to help run our state without giving them any say. Hmmm...taxation without representation is tyranny.

Or maybe you really don't want to take on any real hard philosophical issues.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Meet the Kellers - SOLdotna's Tax Protest organizers

Bill and Carol Keller were two of the organizers of the April 15 tax protesters at the SOLdotna Y this past Wednesday.

Bill's a disabled veteran with a prosthetic leg and he never fails to mention his disability at any given opportunity. He did so at the Kenai/SOLdotna Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday that featured Mark Begich.

What Bill doesn't mention is that his missing leg is the result of falling off of his roof. It has nothing to do with his time in the service. Word is that he was poaching a cable TV feed when he fell off.

Anyway, Bill moans and groans a lot about paying taxes - that fits with the tax protest thing. A while back he wrote a letter to the editor complaining about a 37 cent monthly SOLdotna City tax on his phone that he felt was unfair because he lives outside of SOLdonta, but has a city POB.

But Bill likes to leave out details. Like that he has a river-front home and property on the K-Beach side worth over $1,700,000 and just downriver from SOLdotna. Man, aren't you glad there's a sewage treatment plant in SOLdotna - you would literally be SOL otherwise. And don't you drive SOLdotna streets when you pick up your mail? 37 cents a month is a small price to pay for those services.

But I digress.

At the chamber meeting, one man told Sen. Mark that he wished he could get his veteran medical treatments in Anchorage, rather than fly down to Seattle -it would cost the government less and make it more convenient. Then Keller told Mark that he was happy that the VA flew him to Seattle for treatment - a chance to have a bit of a vacation on the gov't tab.

What a scam Keller is - wanting more of our tax dollars to treat something caused by his own activities.

And then he has the nerve to protest taxes.

He has nearly 2 million dollars of untaxed property value on the Kenai and the guy is screaming as if he is a pauper.

Soak the bastard is what I say.

Bill went on to accuse Senator Mark of voting for the stimulus without reading the bill. Senator Mark responded that he actually DID read the bill and the revision, made notes on both and then could even explain the difference between the two. And then Mark explained that there's a good chance the stimulus bill could even generate a 6% rate of return.

And Bill and Carol shut up and sat down.

As one SOLdotnan said - It was bee-yoo-tee-ful

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Big Tax Protest of '09: Tea Time for Twits

Alrighty - all of you big bad tax protesters. How about walking the walk. Stay off the roads (paid for by taxes), don't call the fire dep't when your house burns down (paid for by taxes), don't call the cops when there is trouble (paid for by taxes), forget about the military keeping you safe (paid for by taxes), send back the PFD and any medicare/medicaid/ss benefits (paid for by taxes), close the schools (paid for by taxes), stop treating sewage in Soldotna and Kenai and pump it right in the Kenai River (paid for by taxes)...get the point?

No one likes paying taxes, but as Oliver Wendel Holmes said - It's the price of having civilization. Get a grip on reality. We Alaskans live in a tax-gain state (PFD v no state income or sales tax),and get subsidized by the tax payers of the east coast and California (now THEY might have something to protest: Stop sending my tax dollars to Alaska). Oh, yeah - the KPB has one of the lowest tax rates in the country.

Can you imagine what it would be like if all that federal tax money went away or the state oil taxes went away? Imagine if you had to actually pay for all that we get here? We get off cheap.

And you know that you are the first ones whining when your road needs grading or plowed (paid for by taxes).

Just Saying No to W.A.R.

A quickie update that I am sure everyone has heard about already - but Wayne A. Ross has just been resoundingly rejected as Alaska's Attorney General.

Every Democrat in the Legislature voted against Ross as well as nine Republicans, including the Senate president and House speaker.

"I think he is too controversial for the state of Alaska. We've got in some people's mind a controversial governor and I think that he just has too many controversies out there," said House Speaker Mike Chenault, a Nikiski Republican.

W.A.R. is SOL in Alaska!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

W.A.R. What is He Good For? (Absolutely Nada!)

Wayne Anthony Ross, Sarah Palin's pick to be the Attorney General of Alaska has some solid SOLdotna credentials. He's the lawyer who represented Jeff Webster, the super-soaker clown who doused 80-year-old women with buckets of water in below freezing temperatures on two separate occasions as they were protesting the invasion of Iraq at the Soldotna Y back in 2003.

Back then, Ross said that Webster was harmlessly expressing his free speech and that it was dangerous for folks to protest the war. Ross went on to say that he couldn't understand why the state would prosecute someone whose son was fighting for the country.

Harmlessly expressing his free speech? What about the old ladies - weren't they harmlessly expressing themselves when they were assaulted not once, but TWICE by Webster? And yes, as long as you make excuses for physical assaults on free speech, it will continue to be dangerous for folks to protest. Kinda like it's dangerous to protest in countries were there are few freedoms. Now, if W.A.R. was to be appointed AG of North Korea, China, or Iran - well, that would be a nice fit.

Ross, in his confirmation hearings this week, now says as AG he wouldn't be OK with pressing charges in the Webster case, but would do it anyway. Yeah, Right.

We Americans are entitled to legal representations, but shouldn't our lawyers advise us to suck it up when we do something boneheaded? So, Mr. Ross - was it your legal advice to Webster to plead innocent and not to apologize?!?

And you want to be AG for the State of Alaska?

I wonder what would happen if someone were to douse W.A.R. (or his hummer) with a few bucketfuls of water on a winter's day as a protest to his selection as AK's AG?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cemetery Update

Souldotna wishes to point out his maturity as evidenced by the lack of a bad pun in the title of this blog concerning SOLdotna's controversial Cemetery. Can you dig it? (Ooops)

But a potential new site off of Knight Drive has been proposed by the Unified Community Memorial Park Committee.

For a well-written synposis of the cemetery location problem, read this PC story from last year and this one from 2005

For an opinionated, but hopefully much more fun synopsis, read on.

SOLdotna doesn't have a cemetery. In the last election, voters recommended the Redoubt site. Many (wealthy and influential) residents of the Mooring by the River Subdivision opposed the site. However, no discernible reason was ever presented except NIMBY. One resident, who happens to drive a hummer, argued that the corpses would pollute the river (not as much as you car, Gary). See his post and this brilliant rebuttal. SOLdotna Mayor Petey M. a Redoubt doubter and early supporter of the airport site, has stated that the 10-acre Redoubt site didn't have the needed 10 acres to meet the needs of the soon-to-be-dead. WTF?!? The airport site, pushed by certain members of the council, proved to have the wrong type of soils and less-than-desireable peaceful setting wanted by those who wished to rest in peace.

Isn't this fun? You should see the vitriolic comments made to the most recent PC article. How come the only name-calling is done by the folks against the Redoubt site, who then accuse the CZ (Cemetery Zealots) of name calling?!?!

So now, the UCMPC has come up with the Knight Drive site. It seems to be more than adequate.

But we SOLdotnans OWN the Redoubt site. We have to BUY the Knight Drive sites - and there are up to six parcels we will have to pony-up for.

I say we charge it to the Mooring on the River Subdivision folks.

Mayor Davey: Do as I say, Not as I Do

Mayor Davey and outgoing Sup't of Schools, Donna P have been in a slap down of sorts lately as Dave is considering not funding Kenai Schools to the cap. Carey has accused the schools of being reluctant to share information about any budget surplus they might have. Here's an exchange reported in the PC.

"They give us a budget, they say that we need this, we give them everything they ask for right to the cap because they say that's what they need. Now to find out, and its been greatly increasing the last few years, there's $9 million more that they've been holding on to," Carey said.

Melody Douglas, chief financial officer for the district, said that presently the district has $19 million in its general fund fund balance. She explained that $9 million of that is in reserves per state statute...She also noted that information on district's budget is all available for public viewing on the district Web site.

Donna Peterson said the amount in savings could easily be wiped out by any of the unforeseen circumstances it is being set aside for.

"The way I look at it is, the amount of money we have in savings is minimal in our budget. It's more than we've had in the past, but far les than any business should have in savings," she said.

"It would take only a few things to wipe that out, like a couple months on increased healthcare costs, a rise in energy costs or if we miss the enrollment projections for next year. If we miss it, there goes the fund balance. Gone. It is not prudent to not have funds set aside."

Now, in Mayor Davey's own 90 Transition Report, the Kenai Borough has a $22 million unreserved fund balance.

Wait a minute - Davey doesn't want the district to have a reserve fund, but it's OK for the borough to have a reserve fund?

Might this be a little grandstanding by hizzoner? Gotta look like you're the little man with a plan to get spending under control. But it could be that his puppet strings are being pulled by ACT.

Mayor Davey's Pimpin' Ride

Davey Carey, the Kenai Borough Mayor, has traded in his old, gas-sippin beater for a new ride - a Lincoln Continental. As former average-joe teacher, the old car was just fine, but apparently not good enough for BOROUGH MAYOR.

Word is that Davey uses the new pimp-mobile to commute to work everyday to his office in the white house on Marydale.

Is this a problem? I dunno, but Davey lives right across the street. By the times he get the beast warmed up, backs out of the driveway, motors to the corner, turns into the parking lot, and then pulls into his reserved spot...well, he could have walked.

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