Friday, December 31, 2010

7651 Local Idiots; 10,231 Peninsula Idiots

Yeah, name calling is a juvenile and mostly Republican occupation, but here I am calling the 10,000+ Kenai Peninsula people and 7000+ central peninsula folks who voted for Joe Miller, idiots.

I just can't think of a more appropriate word to describe the insanity of that fact.

Every day prior to the election, new stories came out about that slime ball's hypocrisy and lies.  He applied for an in-state hunting and fishing license before he lived in-state for a year AND applied for the license for poor people - despite building a $400,000 house that year.  He's against things like gov't services for the unfortunate, but had no trouble enrolling most of his 8 kids in Denali Day Care.  He is against federal largess, but received federal subsidies for farmland.  He was reprimanded for hacking the computers of his fellow workers and then using those computers to send illegal political messages while employed by the Fairbanks borough.  He then had the gall to say it was the fault of his co-workers for not securing their computers better.  His hired thugs roughed up a reporter who had the audacity to ask him some questions.  He refused to answer questions about his unethical behavior.  He lied about each of his opponents positions on almost all of the issues.  He was heavily subsidized by Outside corporate sponsors that definitely don't have Alaskan interests at stake. He continues to try to disenfranchise Alaskan voters and will announce sometime today if he will appeal to a Federal Court.  So much for the state's rights that he and his followers profess to espouse.  Jeez -what more proof does one need that this man is in it for his own ambition and that truth, integrity and sincerity be damned.

But more 10,000 of our neighbors on the peninsula with over 7500 of them from right here in the central peninsula still voted for him.  What is up with that?

It can't mean anything else but that we are surrounded by folks that have no critical thinking skills, are easily manipulated by phony ideological rhetoric, and that have absolutely no common sense.

In a word, idiots.  We are SOL in SOLdotna for sure.

The final vote tabulations:
4783 - McAdams

10, 231(7651 from the CP) - Miller -

6702 - Mercowskee

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Let me begin by dispelling the rumor that my long absence was the consequence of being placed in protective custody at Wildwood.  Let's just say I had to leave the country for a while.  The federal government was only slightly involved.

I did pay attention while I was in places where English wasn't spoken and did come away with some consistent observations:

1) I didn't see any obese people (other than some tourists from the US).  Most towns/cities had vibrant central business areas where most folks shopped/did business on foot.  Not much pre-processed food available.  I saw one Hummer (driven guessed it, someone from the US).

2) China.  I was no where near that country, but they are everywhere.  They are providing developing countries with what they need: cheap consumer goods ranging from home appliances to little motorcycles.  Guess what?  They have also cornered the alternate energy market.  Even in some very remote and impoverished places that have no (or unreliable) power sources, most every home has solar panels from China that provide enough energy to run  a few lights, a TV and a satellite dish.   Small-scale is good.

3) There's a powerful and growing middle class in developing countries.  The growth of the bourgeoisie is bringing (relative) political stability, prosperity and safety to these countries.  And many of the economies have experienced more growth than what we've had here.

4) Environmental protection laws are a good thing.  I know SOLdotna, anyone who recycles here is a considered an extreme whacko greenie,  but if you think that protecting the environment is a bad thing, go check out countries where those laws don't exist or where no one even thinks of enforcing them.  It's horrific.  But it was encouraging that it is the local, ordinary folks, the ones who live with the consequences of putting profits ahead of safety and poisoning the land (and humans), that are insisting that rules are put in place and enforced.  So far, greed and corruption still have the upper hand.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SOLdotna Rules

Good Time Charlie's and Bristol Palin made the the show Real Time with Bill Maher last night.  In his New Rules piece, Maher noted: "There's got to be an easier way of teaching the rhythm method. Oh, I'm just kidding.  Lay off Bristol Palin.  You know, her mother's a dingbat, but she's just a young girl having fun and the skills she learns on the dance show will serve her well in her future career at Southern Alaska's finest strip club, Good Time Charlie's".

It's about time a Palin dealt with the naked truth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Election Selections

The editorial staff here at SOLinSoldotna realizes that by coming out in favor of something/someone just might be that icy kiss-of-death for the issue/candidate.  With that in mind, the reader will just have to wonder if the endorsement is meant to promote or distract.

First up and despite having picked on the poor guy, SOL gives the nod to Kyle Fisher for Soldotna City Council. Rather than point out hypocritical political beliefs, there is no doubt that Kyle cares about SOLdotna.  He's on the Kenai Watershed Forum Board and has been behind some local quality of life issues.  His opponent seems like  one-issue guy with a grudge against the police department.

SOLdotnans should also consider backing the bond issue for the library expansion.  Its a fine facility that could be even nicer. I hope they increase the bandwidth for wireless internet access.

For the SOLdotna seat on the Kenai Borough Assembly, Linda Murphy gets the nod.  She's smart, approachable and even if you can't agree on all the issues, Linda would have an open-mind about them.  Her opponent is a militia 5th columnist who has taken a middle-of-the-road approach, but belies these stances with his membership/leadership in the AIP.

Maybe it's about time to have a borough manager making the big decisions and relegate the mayor's job to ribbon-cutting and other such innocuous duties.  It might provide stability and consistency to the management of the borough and keep politics out of practical matters.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Taking Back Conservative (and Joe Miller is not one)

The world is so neat and tidy when people can put others in categories that fit their own agendas.  I hope that I'm less concerned about labels and more about having integrity: that one can defend one's own actions because of rational thought, good conscious and even change one's mind when presented with reasonable and sound alternatives.  You can't have integrity if you don't have an open mind.

So, it's been a delightful political season here in Alaska and things are becoming more and more interesting every day. 

I'm especially curious about Joe Miller, with his populist Tea Party support and his chest-thumping conservative label.  But what a scam that all is.

The latest news this week exposed that Mr Miller, who has railed against sucking on the teat of big government, has been caught in a big white lie.  Yes, he too has sucked hard.  While he blows on about the deficits, he has admitted taking farm subsidies for his fallow land in Kansas.

Nothing illegal of course, but just plain slimy. And dishonest.  And hypocritical.  And self-serving.  Just the sort of political qualifications we want in DC, I suppose.

So, Mr and Mrs Soldotna T. Bag, help me out here - just what is a real conservative?

Is it one who conserves?  That would be what I'd think.  And I think I am one of the most conservative people in SOLdotna. Really.  If cutting back on spending is one of the solutions for over-spending, cutting back on consumption is one of the solutions for the energy crisis.

I think a conservative doesn't believe in being wasteful - yet Joe Miller parades around Alaska accompanied by Hummers - the very symbol of wastefulness.   Shouldn't we have leaders who are willing to lead by example? We are never going to break our addiction to foreign oil if we think it is our god-given right to buy and use the biggest gas-guzzlers on the planet.  When Al Gore preaches about conserving resources and cutting down on our carbon footprint (all fine conservative principals), but lives in a huge and energy-guzzling home, that too is hypocritical.

I was at Fred Meyers the other day and saw a big Ford Excursion (Excruciation?) with a Don't Tread On Me decal on it.  And just what is the message? That you'd rather put American soldiers in harm's way risking their lives in the middle east so we can guarantee the right to be wasteful?  And of course, don't even think of making anyone pay taxes to cover the trillion dollar costs of the wars. 

And then Joe Miller wants to do away with Social Security and Unemployment, both insurance-type programs that we all pay into, but then he has no problem cashing in on farm subsidies that is nothing but a giveaway program. 

Joe also wants to do away with the National Park program that was brought about mostly under Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican that knew that conserve was the root word of conservative.  How do we preserve our natural wonders if we don't conserve?

Lisa Murkowski is going to run as a write-in and both are tripping over themselves as being true conservatives, but the only thing either really wants to conserve are the tax breaks for the super-rich and the sweetheart deals given to the most powerful in the country.

I hope that readers will seriously consider voting for Scott McAdams for senator.  He's a working guy without an ivy league law degree.  He doesn't come from a connected background - he has earned everything he has from actual work. He doesn't say things to pander for votes and has an open-mind for practical and needed legislation.  And he is not funded by the Koch Bros.

Big Time

We got an off-hand mention in the Alaska Ear section of this past Sunday's ADN.  Nice.  Well, it was about a post more than two years old, but news out of SOLdotna does travel slowly I suppose.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Agreeing to Disagree With Kyle Fisher

I received an email from Kyle this past week and he took exception to the things I posted about him  last week.  To be fair, no matter how unbalanced either of us may be, the following is a point-counter-point exchange.

Kyle:You base your entire blog on the fact that I am a member of the Tea Party.  The clip that you reference I added the caption "Check out this trailer.. you will love it."  I posted it strictly for its entertainment value, and similar to your blog, to insight discussion.  Nowhere did I say I agree, endorse, or encourage the message in the trailer.  The subject matter of the clip has to do with national spending policy, and has very little to do with a local election.

SOL: (This is in reference to a post on his FB page) Well, you don't really have any post from a sane point-of-view.  What you don't say in your response to me is if you sort of agree with the caricatures that are presented in the clip.  If you didn't, why would you post it?  If you are so easily hoodwinked by the message of that clip that you posted, why should you get the vote of people who are looking beyond partisan politics to find solutions to very real problems here on the local level?  So, is you is or is you ain't a TP sympathizer?

Kyle:  You reference Beck and Rush.  I agree with you that just because Beck or Rush say something enough, it doesn't make it true. The fact that you elude any of these entertainers would persuade my deductive reasoning or civic logic is offensive.  It would be the same as equating George Clooney and John Travolta as source of your political views and opinions.  I seriously doubt that you are that shallow.
SOL: Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt.  I jumped to that conclusion because of that clip on your FB page.  By posting it, you seemed to have swallowed the propaganda of those who would rather make stuff up rather than engage in serious debate and offer real solutions to problems.  Once again I ask - what the heck do you really believe?

Kyle:You question my motivation for running and infer I will cut quality of life expenditures.  First, I'm not sure where you got the idea that I would do that.  Second, as you probably already know, as a member of the Soldotna City Council, you are required to live within the city limits.  Would it be logical to cut the quality of life that me and my family enjoy?  That doesn't make sense. 
SOL: Well, none of the tea bag philosophy makes any sense to me.  If that is your real political point of view, they are all about cutting back government services and cutting back quality of life expenditures.  Except when it benefits them.  And only if someone else will pay for it.  So, once again, the question that must be asked, is have you really swallowed the TP/Beck/Rush/Palin kool aid, and if so, just how will that affect how you vote on the things that make SOLdotna a livable place?

Kyle:You question the sincerity of my pledge to protect the Kenai River for all of the users groups.  I don't know why you question this, but I will address it.  This year I was approached by the Kenai Watershed Forum to join their board of directors.  I believe that speaks for itself.  If we do not protect the river, not only will we lose a great treasure, but will lose the biggest economic engine in our region.  To be frank, I doubt Soldotna would survive a major permanent catastrophe in the Kenai River.  We must all do our part to protect the Kenai, but I would be naive to think it could be done without governmental regulation.  

SOL: Yes, I am aware that you are on the BOD for the KWF.  And I am glad that you are sincere that the river must be protected and the only way that will be done is with government regulations. Without those, we would quickly over-fish, use the river as a toilet bowl, fill-in feeder streams, and cut down all the riverside brush. Maybe you are a closet progressive liberal? 

One last question, are you going to vote for Joe Miller?  You do know that he would say to screw the river, and make it easy for pig farms on the peninsula and vote against all fed $ and money to help protect the Kenai River and all other salmon streams in AK.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Tea Party and the Militia Want To Represent SOLdotna

There are two candidates wanting to represent SOLdotna that perhaps are being somewhat less than honest about their views on politics and about what their agenda is.

Take JR Meyers, the candidate for the borough assembly.  JR and Linda Murphy answered some questions about their views in a recent forum and, according to the PC, their views were the same for the big issues.  But sometimes people sometimes say more by what they don't say.  Myers is the vice-chair of the Alaska Independence party and that party's most notable other candidate, is his buddy, Ray Southwell, the anti-government militia-man from Michigan that now wants to represent us in Juneau.  Hmm...does Myers pal around with terrorists? The AIP, aside from wanting to secede from the states, is against regulations, especially environmental regs and wants to end property taxes (sounds good?  OK, then, just how do we pay for stuff?).  Do check out the AIP's platform before you vote.

And then there's Kyle Fisher who is running for SOLdotna City Council.  If you are on FaceBook, check out his page  - it's got this Tea Party animated clip comparing Obama's and St Ronald's economic policies.  Ah, history is just so easy to reconstruct.  Just because Rush and Glen say things a million times, it doesn't make so.  Just for the record Kyle, when Reagan took office in 1981, taxes were $517 billion and outlays were $591 billion, for a deficit of $73 billion. When he left office in 1989, taxes were $999 billion and spending was $1.14 trillion, for a deficit of $153 billion. The deficit went as high as an 5 percent of GDP during Reagan's term. As a result, the national debt soared by almost two-thirds.In contrast (despite the cameo by BC in the animation), Clinton cut spending 3 times as much as Reagan (and left us with a surplus). W, by not funding his two wars and by cutting taxes for the richest 2%, turned that surplus into a deficit of 9% of the GDP.  Obama now has increased that by another 2% - a smaller increase than either RR or GWB.  We still have not paid for the wars and then this little problem with the economy erupted at the end of the W years. And what brought the country out of the Great Depression?  The massive amount spent on WWII - that was paid for by a modest tax increase. But why let facts confuse us?

So, as a tea-bagger, just what is Kyle Fisher's real agenda?  And how will he go about it?  Of course, a seat of the city council is far removed from the problems we have as a country, but if Fisher's viewpoint is what it appears to be, will he cut all quality-of-life expenditures?  Does he really care about protecting the river (that means regulations, Kyle)? His FB page has his slogan displayed: It's time for Soldotna to be more concerned with the living residents.  I dunno, is he suggesting that we ignore what the people want?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Politics in Action

My fellow Soldotnans,

Do you need help deciding for whom to vote for in the upcoming Borough Assembly seat that Pete Sprague is vacating due to term limits?  The two candidates, Linda Murphy and JR Myers will present their political views this coming Wednesday, Sept 1 at 5:30 at the Reel Cafe, on the corner of Funny River and the Seward Hwy (right in front of SBS).  Be informed.  Be there.

If you're concerned about the direction that CPGH will take in regards to governance and ownership, you might want to consider attending the Sept 7 Borough Assembly meeting where this will be one of the hot topics on the agenda.

Become informed, get the facts, vote responsibly.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Primaries, Politicians and the Press: Part 4

I can't make up my mind about it...should I be happy that only 329 folks voted for Militia-man Ray Southwell, or should I be scared that there are at least that many motivated, paranoid, gun-toting, irrational people in the central peninsula?

Joe Miller still has the lead this AM.  The teabag vote is a reality in Alaska.  Of course, I hope that y'all read the story about the Koch brothers (see the link in the previous post), if you think Miller will call the shots.  He is in their pocket.  Where do you think he got the funding for his campaign?  The Tea Party movement was conceived and is hugely funded and totally manipulated by the Kochs.  

Was there any encouraging news?  Ballot measure 1 did fail by a wide margin.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Primaries, Politicians and the Press: Part 3

Alaska and Alaskan issues have had some coverage the national press lately.  The most direct piece was the NY Times article about how we get the most federal dollars per capita than any other state. The reporter skewered those Alaskan politicians and citizens (particularly Republicans and tea baggers) that have no trouble cashing in on largess of the Feds, and yet at the same time bitch and moan about how the US is Alaska's enemy.

If you know (or are) a Tea Party member, a Cato Institute fan, or don't think the recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited and hidden cooperate sponsorships of political causes is such a bad thing, you should read the article in the New Yorker, Covert Operations, about the billionaire Koch Brothers who have provided not only seed money for the teabag movement and the Cato Institute, but continual funding and operational control of both organizations and for many of the "Citizens for..." organizations that run political attack ads.  The Koch Brothers are the the third richest Americans and operate oil refineries in Alaska and control thousands of miles of oil pipelines in the lower 48.  They also helped finance Joe Miller's run for US Senate and have been friends and supporters of Sarah P. Apparently they supplied much her information (also debunked) about polar bears.

The Cato Institute, a conservative think tank (is that an oxymoron?) are one of the primary global warming/climate change deniers, yet all of their claims against warming have been debunked (remember that university in England that the deniers have claimed cooked the books? Well, that wasn't true after all).  Yes, the Cato Institute is almost completely funded by the Kochs.

Another read about the North is Disaster At The Top of The World, a look at just how dramatic climate change is in the Arctic. 

Hey, you live in Alaska.  You should know something beyond the political slogans and the opinions of the Corrupt Bastards of the state.

As I write this, Joe Miller has a 2 point lead over Murkowski in the Republican primary.  If he is us, we're SOL for sure.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Primaries, Politicians and the Press: Part 2

Both the Kenai Borough Assembly and the Soldotna City Council will have new representation this next term.

Term limits have prevented Pete Sprague, Paul Fisher and Gary Superman from seeking re-election.  The only seat that has more than one candidate is Sprague's.  Linda Murphy and J.R. Myers are both running to represent SOLdotna.  Linda is along-time Alaskan and has been involved in various public service roles for quite some time, most notably as borough clerk.  Mr Meyers, recently from Montana, is the vice-chair of the Alaskan Independence Party.  Just what is agenda?  If he get elected to office, will he move to have the borough secede from Alaska?

Residents of K-Beach will select Brent Johnson, a commercial fisherman from Clam Gultch and Nikiski will have Raymond Tauriainen, an oil-patch electrician as their assembly person.

It could be an interesting political season.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Primaries, Politicians and the Press: Part 1

Oooh, boy.  The political season is well underway, and it is such great entertainment to see the issues get spun and the candidates spar.

I was so disappointed that my work schedule had me out of town for the Murkowski/Miller debate in Kenai this past Friday with Merrill Sikorski acting as moderator.  I hope that Merrill made some of his infamous quips.  According to the PC, most of the issues brought up were about health care.  Both candidates tripped all over themselves trying to show who was most opposed to the new legislation.   But in true Republican fashion, no sensible solutions were offered.  Miller proposed health savings accounts and free-market solutions.  But where have those free-market solutions been these last 50 years?  And what about kids who have parents who don't save?  And what about those of us who do save, but saw the markets collapse after the unregulated free-market crash and subsequent recession since?  At least Miller wasn't as silly as their last debate when he suggested not to fund anything that wasn't mentioned in the Constitution.  Lisa then pointed out that the Air Force isn't mentioned in that document and wondered if Miller would cut funding for it?  Gotcha! 

And that's the thing about those who say they are Constitutionalists.  Raise your hand out there, Soldotna.  OK, how many of you then are opposed to giving those born here, even if their parents aren't residents, citizenship?  Yep, that is one of the Republican platforms these days, but isn't that right granted in the Constitution?   Keep your hands raised now.  How many think the Muslim cultural center (the so-called ground-zero mosque) shouldn't be built a couple of blocks away from the WTC? What about the 1st Amendment - making no law respecting the establishment of religion? If we are the land of the free, does it mean freedom and justice for just us white Christian folk? Do you pick and choose only those rights that your agenda agrees with - or do protect and defend the whole document?  

When she was first appointed to the US Senate, Lisa seemed a bit sensible - not a party-line hack.  But that is what she has evolved into since she ascended to Republican Party leadership roles.  The health bill that passed is quite close to what she said she wanted when she was at the Sports Center for the town hall meeting last year.  If you remember that, Lisa had absolutely no answers for those who asked her what she would do for them - hard working folks that had no health care and who had kids who required extensive help.  Lisa still has no answers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Godzilla in Japan

While reports about the hi-jinks of Borough Mayor Dave Carey and his visit to Japan are just now trickling in, the consensus has been that there has been some boorish behavior by the mayor and some borough employees.  SOL has no intention of embarrassing most people and will hold off on some of the stories that I've heard, but if you were there officially and might want to explain a thing or two before something gets posted, do send me an email.

One thing to relate - at an official reception Mayor Dave couldn't find his gift for the local mayor.  Carey then said in front of everyone that he had given the box with the present in it to a young Japanese woman there to help him.  She then carried the box up to the banquet. But the gift wasn't there and the young lady was very embarrassed as people thought she had lost some of the contents. Turns out that Carey left the gift in his hotel room.  Nothing like sloughing off blame to an underling, especially in a society that values dignity.

Maybe the funniest thing was a public FB post (now thankfully removed) of buck-nekkid borough muckety-mucks with only a small towel covering their naughty bits, but not their ample personages. I can see Jr High kids doing something like that but...?

I did save that photo, but no worries, that won't be (ur-rumph) exposed here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lack of Progress Days Parade

Somehow the organizers of Soldotna's Progress Day Parade managed to keep MC, Merrill Sikorski, on a tight leash during this past Saturday's event.  Although he slightly strayed off-script once or twice, I was very disappointed that he did not say one inappropriate comment.  I mean, that's the whole point of enduring that parade.

There was a marching band for the first time I can remember, and that was good, but the rest of the parade consisted of fire trucks, race cars, hummers, evangelical church groups, Shriners without zany antics, conservative politicians and such.  Oh, yes, and borough Mayor Dave with his 49 star flag stopping every few feet to remind us that we are a nation under God.

Why not just smile and wave to the crowd like mayors Peter and Pat?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Setting a Fine Example

What's wrong with this picture?
Addendum: after reading the comments, I suspect that the PC was
mistaken in identifying the people in the boat at CES personnel. Most likely, all were Kenai Fire Dep't. Apologies to CES for originally running with the Clarion's version of the facts.

This photo was in the PC the other day and shows the rescue crew going out to look for the man who fell in the river and is presumed to have drowned.  There's been at least 3 drowning deaths in the central peninsula the last week or so and none of the victims were wearing their pfds.

And here are the pros, the ones that tell us all to wear our life jackets.  That's right, not one of them is wearing their own.  Hopefully the boss on the dock is giving them the what-for on that!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Murkowski EPA Resolution: More Wars, More Spills, More Deaths

The US Senate will probably vote today on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski's resolution that would limit the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  The bill, written by the oil industry, would also gut the Clean Air Act and increase our dependence on foreign oil.

Murkowski's resolution would strip the EPA's ability to promote fuel consumption standards,  especially for larger vehicles. Why would oil companies be against increased mpg efficiencies? The more oil we consume, the more money they make.  Of course, we would then have to import more oil from such friendly places like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.  Just how many soldiers and civilians have been killed in the oil wars?

Of course, the more oil we consume, the more pollutants are put into the air.  Oh, I know it is far-fetched, but maybe there also might be an oil spill or two associated with drilling for the stuff.

But Lisa would spin it a different way.  She would have us believe that Congress should be the ones that regulate. But doesn't that route promote partisan politics, the power of industry lobbyists and propaganda rather than facts in determining energy policy? Senator Murkowski worries about the costs to the oil and gas industries and major power-producing companies.

We Americans are mostly blind to all of the costs.  How many hundreds of millions of dollars will it cost to clean up the Gulf spill?  How much will it cost the fishing, tourism and other industries shut down because of it?  How much does it cost to fund our military and pay for the oil wars?  How much does it cost to pay for the medical problems associated with dirty air?  What about medical issues like diabetes, obesety and heart disease that would be dramatically reduced if we would get out of our car and walk or bike whenever we could?

Now imagine if we could take the money we wouldn't be spending on pollution/lifestyle-caused health care problems; the money not spent on the military's involvement in the oil wars; or the money spent to clean up toxic spills and instead promoted non-polluting renewable energy, mass transit, and etc.

How in the world can Lisa be anything but a tool of the industry and an enemy of freedom, self-sufficiency and the future of Alaska and the US.

It's been a beautiful week here in SOLdotna.  There's no excuse for not walking or riding your bike to work or to the store.  Try it for one or two days a week and you cut your fuel consumption by nearly 20% this summer.

Or you can keep on keeping on and blame everyone else for the spill, the wars and etc.  Pogo was right: We have met the enemy and he is us.

Addendum: Murkowski's resolution was defeated 53-47 with Mark Begich voting no. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Spending it Down

What is a poor school district to do?

Flush with stimulus money and an increase of per/student funding from the state, the KPBSD has managed to accumulate a healthy surplus.  As we all know, the school district initially received $4 million less than it requested from the borough assembly.  The assembly later added $2 million of funding, but the district knows that as long as their bank account is awash in black ink, the odds are good that the borough will fund under the cap.

The solution?

Spend, Baby, Spend.

Quite a bit of the surplus money is designated for the district's several charter schools, so these schools have been ordered to make the money go away. This summer, these school have hired teachers and administrators at per diem (from $250-$500 a day) to come work an additional 20 days.

That's 20 days without kids.  Doing what you might wonder?  Work that teachers in traditional school are expected to do on their own time: planning lessons, cleaning up the classrooms, placing orders for next year and etc.

Teachers in these charter schools are already given extra contact days without students (and thus more money) than teachers at traditional schools and this latest boon seems like ploy that has just one purpose - to get more money from the borough.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Much To Do About A Lot Of Nothing

One has to be careful about taking small-town politics too seriously and, in the process, making big problems out of not much at all.

Here are a few recent examples that belong in the molehill hole.

The silliest is Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche's radio spots where he wanted the public to identify Soldotna city workers who were doing a good job and, as a reward, Peter would take them out to lunch on his own dime.  Yeah, the mayor paid for 1/2 of the plugs and the city covered the other half and the spots sounded a bit like he was campaigning, but I think his intentions were good, despite a bit of self-promotion.  It was curious that the PC interviewed folks at the PO to get their opinion and one of those was Carla Anderson, wife of recently elected councilman, Nels.  What a coincidence. She wasn't happy, and her response sort of came across as bitchy.  Considering the not-so-clean campaign the anti-Redoubt cemetery folks ran, maybe Carla's comments were revenge.

In other city news, the Mayor M is trying to duck a little responsibility by removing himself as the decider when it comes to conflict-of-interest cases.  Shea Hutchings's particular case comes to mind as his parents own property needed by the Soldotna Creek Park expansion.  Yes, it is a conflict-of-interest.

Not to be outdone in self-promotion, borough mayor Dave Carey took out an ad in the PC last week because it was radio dispatcher appreciation week.  Fine, but the mayor had his handsomeness's picture taking up about 2/3 of the ad.  Just who do you want us to appreciate?

Carey is also trying to give out some more pay raises, but at least this time he is up-front about his largess.

A couple of weeks ago, I chastised Dave about recommending that the borough not fund the schools to the cap.  He had proposed giving the KPBSD about $200K less than what they had requested.  But then the assembly outdid the mayor and underfunded the school district by a whopping $4.2 million. I can't get too worked up about that because the school district simply didn't offer a compelling reason for receiving the money.  They have a huge savings account, are flush with federal stimulus money and didn't point to a single thing they would have done with the extra cash.  In today's political climate, if the school district didn't see the need for a more exact accounting of what they were doing with their money,  show why they have a such a big surplus and explain why they wanted so much from the borough, that shows some insular and out-of-touch thinking.

Sue McLure, the assembly person from Seward demonstrated that she has no backbone and changed her mind about the dual-service conflict-of-interest ordinance. The voters know if a person is has more than one political office - shouldn't they decide?  Carey has threatened a veto and it might be one of the few times I would agree with hizzoner.

Despite all of this light-weight political news, there was one thing I did find particularly disturbing.  A Soldotna police officer is under investigation for misusing his authority.  The PC picked up the story and within minutes, the comments began - including one that named the officer and what he may have done.  The comment section for ALL articles was then pulled.  A couple of days later the comments section for other stories was back, but the original story about the cop vanished.

I don't know if Soldotna police officers have that much pull, but this is the second time in recent memory that stories about them or their families have been kept under wraps by the PC.  Certainly everyone deserves a right to privacy and folks are innocent unless proven otherwise, but who else, especially public employees, gets stories pulled?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tee'd Off at the Tea Baggers

Darn if I can figure out the anti-tax protesters out demonstrating on the Y last week. Claiming that they are taxed enough already, they are also worried about the direction that the country is going.

But their protests don't quite jibe with reality.

I'm sure that most of you have come across the recent Tax Policy Center's factoid that 47% of American households didn't pay a dime in income taxes.  If you were married and had two kids and your adjusted income was under $50K, your income tax was $0.

Although it wasn't much, for the rest of us who made less than $200K, we were the recipients of Obama's tax cuts.  Yes, tax cuts.  For me I made 25% more in 2009 than in 2008, yet I paid $300 less in taxes.  Thanks, Mr Obama.

According to a Gallup Poll survey, 45% of people claiming to be teabaggers made less than $50K - so likely they paid little to no federal income tax.  I would bet that the number that make less than $200K pushes close to 90-95% of the protesters, so the rest received tax cuts under Obama.

Shouldn't they have been out there THANKING the President?

And the many seniors that were out there receive a $300K property tax exemption from the Kenai Borough.  Since there are no state taxes and we all get a PFD check, it is likely that quite a few of the demonstrators are in a tax-gain situation.

So, they are protesting the taxes they don't pay.

And that is not even counting those folks at the Y who are on medicare/medicaid or receive SSI benefits, or have a city/state/school district/borough/veteran/federal pensions, which, of course, are taxpayer supported and a form of the very socialism that they are complaining about.

Not one of them offers a realistic solution of course - well aside from cut spending and taxes.  But don't cut those programs that benefit them.  And not a mention of the nearly trillion dollars spent on the Iraqi War (I didn't see ANY of this crowd protesting at the Y when we were invading Iraq).  How about the billion dollars spent for the fence along the Mexican border that is nowhere near completed nor is it at all effective.  How about the 'star wars' missile defense program that has sucked billions and billions, but doesn't work? Just how much have we spent over the years on the war on drugs, yet there has been no prolonged reduction of drug use? 

If anyone is really fed-up with the feds, please walk the talk.  Give up all of your government benefits and start paying for your share of the federal money that comes to Alaska and subsidizes your lifestyle. Stop using parks, highways, airports, ambulances, fire and police departments and all of the government run and subsidized programs.

Does the US have a spending problem? Undoubtedly yes.  But I've yet to hear some serious, non-politicized discussion about what to do about the deficit. I do see the easily hoodwinked being lead around by the Limbaughs and Becks of the airwaves.

If you repeat lies, it doesn't make them true.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prankster Wanted: Apply at

We slammed John Davis and his radio stations on this blog a few weeks ago, but if there is anyone out there that REALLY wants to annoy Mr Davis, I suggest that you log on to

It isn't there.

Apparently John forgot to renew his domain name and now it is up for auction.  For $79, you can begin bidding on his URL.  And what fun one could have with the call letters:

Kenai's Shameless Republican Machinations
Kenai's Self-Righteous Moron

Just click through Backorder Domain and let the hijinks begin!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Putting a Cap in Education

What's a borough mayor to do? You've already come out against funding the school district to the cap, but aside from the vocal hysteria from the ACT folks, there's absolutely no traction with that idea anywhere on the Kenai.  As a former teacher, Dave might have some insider-information about waste in the school district, but the change of administration over there has been a bit more above-board and Carey really can't point out anything that is obviously egregious spending.  The move to offer distinct programs at the three central peninsula high schools and letting students enroll in what meets their needs has been a positive change and big potential cost-saver as programs wouldn’t be duplicated in these schools.

So, Carey announces that three assembly members support cutting back what the KPB gives the KPBSD.  Only Carey won’t say which three.  In today’s PC, the Clarion reported that they called all of the assembly members, and only one could remember having that conversation with the mayor.  Assembly President, Pete Sprague is in favor of funding to the cap though.  Gary Superman did not respond to the reporter’s phone message, but even if he agreed with the mayor, that would just be one person.

Perhaps Dave is stalling for time, appeasing the ACT folks and trying to build up support.  If an assembly person is in favor of cutting back the borough contribution, they should just come out and say so.  Without that, Carey’s words are empty and an example of political doublespeak.

Does Carey have a point though – should the KPB no longer fund the KPBSD to the cap?  Unless Dave can point out specific things he thinks are unnecessary, all he is doing with his stance is thumping his chest and pandering to the tea-baggers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bad To The Bone: Borough Animal Control The Carey Adminisration Way

When Duane Bannock took over as Acting Chief of Staff, he promised that he was going to eliminate a position from the borough payroll.  Well, in what can only be a bone thrown to the ACT folks, the Carey administration, through Sue Wilcox, fired Ares, the search and rescue dog that CES has already spent over $10K on for training.  Technically, Ares works for the borough for free, but his handler, Dale Lawyer, a CES paramedic, is required by FSLA  (Fair Labor Standards Act) to receive 3.5 hours a week ($7400/year) for maintenance of rescue dogs. 

Part of Ares' duties  has been to go to schools and instruct kids what to do if they ever get lost.  The program has been very well-received.  

The Kenai has quite a bit of wilderness and it is reasonable to expect that eventually, some tourist, hunter, hiker, snowmachiner, skier or kid is going to get lost. $7400/year is small insurance that might help someone have a happy ending to a bad day.  Ares is also trained in avalanche rescue and we've been hammered with avalanches this year. 

Just one of the pay raises that Carey gave his staff would have more than covered the annual cost for Ares.

Who knows, maybe the dog pee'd on one of Dave's red, white and blue fire hydrants?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


There is SO much to write about, I just don't know where to start. I think I'll just post some questions that are a foggin-up my mind these days.

1) Why are some of those most vehemently opposed to the health care reform bill also the recipients of public-funded socialized medical insurance? If you work or have retired for the city, borough, state, feds, or if you're a veteran, a teacher or a senior on Medicare and are bitchin' about the bill, why is all right to subsidize you, but it is not OK to make sure all also have insurance?

2)Did Mike Chenault really work every day of the past year? He claimed per diem for them all. When he went on the all-expense-paid trip to China, did he also claim his per diem? Mike collected more money than any other legislator - nearly $90,000.  Really, he never went fishing, never went on a vacation, never took a day off...what dedication.  Considering what laws DO get passed, maybe he should think about taking a day or two off.

3)Sean Parnell recently went on a cruise ship convention junket to Florida and now wants to reduce the $50 tax that the cruise ship passengers pay to help mitigate the problems the hordes create in those port towns and to monitor the sewage and garbage the ships dump at, all one has to do is wine and dine the guv and he becomes a lapdog?

4)A couple of rich Texans want to put a coal mine right through the Chuitna River drainage across the inlet, and then sell the coal to China. And Mayor Dave thinks that this might be a good idea? So, we should destroy a healthy salmon stream for...?

5)Alaska Department of Fish and Game shoots collared wolves just outside of Denali National Park and kills off a pack that habituated the park. In a recent OpEd piece in the PC, Corey Rossi, writing as the assistant commissioner for AK Fish and Game, defends aerial hunting stating that it was designed to put more food on Alaskan tables. Why did he fail to mention that Board of Game also refused to prohibit Outside big game hunters from shooting moose in those same areas? If there so few moose for subsistence hunters that we have to shoot animal predators, why is there enough for rich dude predators from the lower 48 to come and take some too?

6)The same Corey Rossi was just appointed as the Alaska Director of State Wildlife Conservation. Turns out the man has no wildlife qualifications. He's not a college graduate and has had no training in that field. Well, he did take a biology course at a JuCo and he was once paid $11/hour to trap rats. Apparently the man is a personal friend of the Palins and had the assistant commissioner job created just for him (note to Tea Baggers, SP increased the size of gov't). A few people who have some real knowledge have raised a fuss (and read the ADN OpEd piece here). So, we are worried about our kids falling behind in math and science, so we put a political appointee with no credentials in a job where some education and understanding might be an asset? Those darn real scientists ruin everything.

I'm not out of questions, just out of time right now...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Praise the Lord, Pass the Ammo...and the Haldol

Here I am thinking I'm SOL in SOLdotna because of the suburban sprawl, strip malls, and the over-crowded chaos on the Kenai River.

But every time I pick up the PC, Norm Olson and Ray Southwell are putting on their Paul Revere tri-corners and spreading warnings about black helicopters, the feds, space aliens and the coming Armageddon. Along with Bob Bird, Schaeffer Cox and the 2nd Amendment Task Force, these two have been promoting the Alaska Citizens' Militia, their club of angry, gun-toting, mostly fat old white guys who don't want to pay taxes, but want their roads plowed.

Well, Bob is not fat and Schaeffer isn't old or fat, but angry he is. He was arrested last week for domestic violence. With their kid in the back seat of his rig, Mr. Cox tried to strangle his wife as they were driving to a show.

At least he wasn't texting.

Where did the militia last meet? In the taxpayer-funded auditorium at KCHS. I wonder why they don't support a capitalist local business? Well, I don't know of too many businesses who would want a crew of over-aged, locked-and-loaded paranoids hanging out on the premises. And besides, that crowd doesn't like to tip. Or pay for anything besides the latest armor-piercing ordinance.

But maybe these guys are on to something. Maybe we should be very afraid. And maybe these are the guys who will save us from the conspiracies that lurk behind every delusional thought they have.

So I did a quick search. The first click brought me to the New World Order's official web site. Yep, they recognize that Norm is their nemesis and Olson has repeatedly thwarted their plans for taking over the planet.

I'd like to direct Olson and Southwell to three more very imminent threats to Alaska and freedom: Canadian World Domination, The Evil League of Evil, and Terrorist Squirrels!

I know I'll feel a lot better knowing that the militia might focus on threats just as whacked as they are.

One reason the Kenai attracts the angry old white guys with guns who don't want to pay taxes is that we encourage them to move here. Yep, once you are 65, you get a $300,000 property tax exemption. Norm has 2 years to go before he gets to really whine about the taxes he is (not) paying, although he currently qualifies for a Nikiski senior tax break. I'm all for cutting slack to seniors who are in need - especially those who put their time in locally to build this community, but the break goes to anyone that qualifies for the PFD and it doesn't matter if one's annual income is $0 or a million bucks. So Norm, Ray and their ilk move up here and we all will subsidize their craziness.

In related breaking news, bigots from around the US are worried that the development of new racial slurs aren't keeping pace with the rise in mixed-race births. Read about it here.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Think About It: John Davis Doesn't Think

Radio Kenai's five stations dominate the local commercial airwaves. John Davis, the radio media magnate, has infused right-wing propaganda through most of the syndicated shows that he broadcasts. John, and his partner in opine, Joe Nicks, offer their own profundities in the Think About It series. At best, their ideas are insipid, but more often they are, in the satirical way Rush uses the word, retarded.

Let's look at a sampler of what they want you to think about.

Joe wants to keep anyone over 60 from running for political office. They're too out of touch with the youngsters. So no Bush I, Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower or Truman. I think we all would have preferred the old George over the youngster W.

He also wants to give one-time tax credits for those who quit smoking or enroll in weight-loss programs. Simple...or maybe just simple minded. Ok, so you quit smoking, take your tax write-off, and celebrate by lighting up? Is the gub'mint going to put their spies out to make sure you really quit? The same for weight loss credits. Does he want the Feds to come and weigh you to make sure? And if you gain the weight back, do you pay the credit back? If not, what's the point? This is how you propose we solve the health care issue? How about we give those ideas at least a couple minutes more thought Joe?

But it is Mr. Davis who really demonstrates what little thought he is capable of. John gussies his platitudes with faux-folksy tales of his past and equates old-time parental discipline as a sure way of getting the Feds back in line. Well, he's a little short on specifics, but those might confuse him. The government has chipped away at gun rights over the last 100 years. Well, we can't own atomic bombs, so I guess he's right. John, what specific laws are you talking about?

He also rails against the Patriot Act, just one of the many doublespeak laws passed in W's watch, but there are no specifics, just his cutesy musing wondering what type of soap the government will use on those who speak out. I don't think the government should do warrant-less phone taps on citizens, force librarians to turn over the titles of books that citizens check out and etc., but why does he complain now and why did he remain silent when some of those laws were passed and why the silence when W's justice department violated the existing rules on wiretapping and torture?

I did get a big laugh over his delineation of liberals and conservatives. A liberal vegetarian wants to outlaw meat. A liberal wants to surrender gracefully to Osama Bin Ladin. An atheistic liberal only wants to promote 'foreign' religions. A liberal person of color only sees himself as a victim.

John, if you need to believe all of this to feel good about your ignorance, that is your right. But if you call that thinking,maybe you should think again.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Acting Chief of Stuff: Duane Bannock

There they were just a couple of days ago, Charlie Pierce and Duane Bannock, parked in one of the handicapped spaces at the OEM Building and deep in conversation.

And the Press Release today maybe reveals what that conversation might have been about: Duane is the new acting Chief of Staff, replacing Scooter Chumley who resigned a couple of weeks ago.

Mr. Bannock is a former car salesman, who served on the Kenai City council, was fired as Director of Alaska's DMV, and most recently, the political appointee in charge of the Spruce Bark Beetle Mitigation Program. In the shuffle, Michael Fastabend will act as head of the SBBMP, and Susan Wilcox will be the Admistrative Officer for the KPB.

Some of Mr. Bannock's political views have included his support of industrial pig farms for the Kenai, state issued ID cards, private prisons, Moms, Apple Pie, and Dodge trucks.

Included in his business views was selling cars "to not very smart people". But this practice came to a legal halt, when a developmentally impaired man, under the legal guardianship of his parents, bought a car from Kenai Chrysler when Duane was the general manger. When the parents tried to return the undamaged car the next day, Mr. Bannock refused to recognize the validity of the guardianship and would neither cancel the sale nor return the man's trade-in. The parents took Mr. Bannock to court where Duane lost the verdict and the appeal.
But maybe it explains why he was parked in a handicapped parking space.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Walk To The Park: The Soldotna Community Playground

What’s not to like about the Soldotna Community Playground? A group of moms saw a need in the area, so they got together and are making something good happen. Inspired by the custom playground in Seward, some local parents contacted the private enterprise that sold that playground equipment in Seward and several other locations around the state (and nation) and began to raise the needed funding to begin construction. The community has generously responded and ground breaking is scheduled to begin this May.

The location seems ideal. Soldotna Creek Park has become a showcase for our town, especially after the DOT exchanged the land adjacent to the old park for their present location adjacent to ARC Lake. The expanded park now offers boardwalk fishing, hosts the Kenai River Festival, weekly farmers’ markets, and will be the site of the Kenai Watershed Forum’s headquarters. A new park plan is in the works and it will feature a gazebo, a veterans’ memorial, a (not nearly as big as the first revision) parking lot and some needed landscaping.

But what is not included is access across the highway for the kids who might want to go play in the soon-to-be very cool playground. There is no crosswalk and no traffic light, nor is there a ramp over or tunnel under the Sterling. The closest protected crossing is either by the Y or on Binkley St.

Just about all of the kids in town live on the other side of the highway, don't they?

Do you think that the new kiddie park might attract the attention of those 7-12 year-olds, some who are just learning to ride their bikes, who probably have not yet developed sane unprotected-highway crossing skills. While Soldotna Creek Park already gets unsupervised youngsters, the number of those free-range kids will undoubtedly increase.

Soldotna has been lucky that no child (to my knowledge) has been hit by a car or truck while crossing the Sterling or Spur Highways, but the odds of that happening will increase as we offer an attraction that makes them dodge our crazy summer traffic. To not have a safe highway crossing plan in place the day the new playground opens up is simply flirting with disaster.

The residential area of our town is very friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians. One of the goals of the city-sponsored Envision Soldotna 2030 is to promote walking and bike riding – it’s a good idea for everyone’s health, for relieving traffic congestion, and for making the city more livable. For kids, having parks where they can safely walk or bike to gives them some fun, freedom and exercise. It gets them out of the house and out from underfoot.

The only way to get to the proposed playground safely will require that someone drive the kids there – completely contrary to SOLdotna’s grand development plan.

Not every parent has the time or means to get their kids there when the youngster might have some time to play. And isn’t it a better idea that when the parents do have the time to take the kids to the park, that the family walks or bikes there together?

It’s hard to believe that the planning department, parks and rec, and the playground group asked themselves the basic question: Where is the best place for this new playground? While Soldotna Creek Park might be the most aesthetic, it isn’t the most practical and without a controlled crossing, it isn’t the safest.

Wouldn’t a central Soldotna location be a better choice? Why not close Park Ave between Binkley and Fireweed to traffic, remove the blacktop, and put the playground there? It would be less than a mile from most every home in the residential area, there would be no unprotected major roads to cross, kids from both Soldotna ad Redoubt Elementary could take mini-field trips with their classes and the residents of the nearby senior housing could watch the great-grand kids romp around.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that a car, no matter where the playground is located, won’t clip some boy or girl, but I don’t like the odds of that happening if the playground is installed at SCP without some sort of traffic control at Birch Ave.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


SOL has been getting a lot of comment posting lately, and that's great. But there are so many anonymous postings, it's tough to keep everyone straight. So, I've just changed the settings requiring you to create an online name to make a comment. You can still be anonymous, but now you have to at least have a fictitious name.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Lisa’s Murky-Air Proposal: Let’s Create Some Jobs By Killing Thousands Each Year

I know, I know…SOL rarely takes on state or national figures, but Lisa Murkowski has written a few opinion pieces in the local rags lately that offer poorly thought through ideas. Since Lisa has invaded my turf, I think a SOL response is order.

I wish I could say that I was using a bit of hyperbole with my headline, but unfortunately that’s what will happen if the US goes along with Lisa Murkowski’s proposal that’s before the Senate. Lisa wants to relax the EPA’s toxic emissions standards regarding greenhouse gasses and then give politicians, you know, those folks that you love and trust so much, the ability to decide how many American lives we can eliminate so that big business can become even bigger. That’s right, Lisa wants to create a real-life Senate death panel that will determine what the proper balance is between preserving fossil-fuel related jobs with the number of people who will die or become sick due to the increasing amount of hazardous gasses emitted into the atmosphere.

Lisa, what ratio do you propose? Create two jobs per death? Ten new asthma cases for each new job?

While greenhouse gasses alone don’t immediately kill people, according to the World Health Organization, they are directly responsible for the nearly 140,000 annual worldwide deaths.

Let’s connect some dots.

The more fossil fuels we burn – especially coal, the more toxins like mercury we put in the air. By reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, we also reduce those amounts of dangerous particulates that are also produced in the process. There’s no dispute that the increased incidents of asthma, bronchitis, and other lung diseases go along with releasing poisonous toxins into the atmosphere. And then consider the brain damage to kids that is caused by the increased mercury levels in the air that we breathe.

Worldwide, illnesses that cause death such as dysentery, malaria, and dengue are on the rise as the pathogens that trigger these diseases and the carriers that transmit them and are all increasing their range due to global warming. One Alaskan example is the number of deaths and hospitalizations due to allergic reaction to yellow jacket stings. These incidents have increased as dramatically as the yellow jacket population has.

And then there are the increased world-wide deaths from malnutrition as the number of areas experiencing severe droughts expands. The resulting crop failures and the loss of arable land is causing tremendous suffering in Africa right now.

The limits that the EPA wants to set would cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 13 % and annually stave off 64,000 premature deaths according to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The regulations would also prevent over 60,000 cases of chronic bronchitis and 37 million days of work loss by 2020.

Lisa says that the proposed EPA emission limits, currently based on indisputable scientific evidence, will eliminate jobs and destroy the economy. The coal and petro-chemical industries would certainly have to adjust, but won’t those jobs be absorbed by the increased demand for truly clean energy and those industries such as solar, wind, tidal, and etc?

But Lisa says that permitting even more greenhouse gasses emissions will create jobs.

What jobs?

More undertakers? More coffin and tombstone makers? More health workers to take care of the increasing numbers of people suffering from the effects of these gasses? More pharmaceutical and health-insurance executives?

And the costs? She speaks of the added costs of cleaning up the fossil-fuel industries, but is silent about skyrocketing medical costs that those industries cause.

It’s also curious that in Gov. Parnell’s State of the State address (you know the speech where he announced that Alaska is at War with the Feds) he says that the TransCanadian Pipeline needs to be built because Alaska gas burns cleaner (and would be better able to meet the EPA Guidelines than natural gas produced from oil shale fields). If Lisa gets her way, there will be less of a need for that clean, Alaskan gas. Lisa, Sean…do you guys talk?

Save me from the denials of those that loudly shout that global warming is a hoax. Despite the noise, there is scant evidence to the contrary. But even if it turns out that the consequences of climate change aren’t as dire as they probably will be, let’s say we create a country and a planet that provides for energy independence through the development of clean renewables, creates sustainability with green jobs, provides for more clean water and air for all, and reduces the costs of medical care due to toxins in our environment.

In other words, what if we create a better world – even if the consequences of global warming are exaggerated (and they are not).

Would that be such a bad thing?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Little Davey Lost His Scooter

It is official. Scooter Chumley has submitted his letter of resignation citing a need to spend more time with his family.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Baby Wrote Me A Letter

A translation of Scott Walden's resignation letter:

Yo - Mayor Dave,

I am submitting this letter of resignation because of my health. Since I have nothing to lose, there's a few things I have to say about the lousy way you run the borough.

1) Stop worrying about making ACT happy and do what is right for the borough. Having integrity means not breaking the rules then blaming it on others. You don't have to have a re-enactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral every time the Assembly disagrees with you.

2) Why are you giving big pay raises to Chumley and Wilcox who may not have the capacity to understand the complexities of borough issues? Oh, and more and more, those issues seem to be beyond what you are able to comprehend.

3)Just because you go to a meeting doesn't mean you are listening, understanding, or have any curiosity as to how or why things are done. You also need to appoint people who are qualified to do the job they are supposed to do. Duh!

4) To get good advice from the department heads, you need to create an atmosphere where they can disagree with you and your staff without fear of repercussion. If everyone agrees with you all of the time, keep in mind that they shouldn't. You are not God.

5)When the Assembly questions what you do, they are doing their job - they were elected to do that and then to try to make decisions for the good of all. Hiring qualified people is best for the borough. Being completely transparent when you give pay raises is essential.

6)Everyone knows that Charlie Pierce is your bee-atch. Paul Fisher tries to be, but he usually can't figure out what is actually going on during the Assembly meetings.

7) Don't make things up when asked questions during Assembly meetings. Come to meetings prepared. If you don't have an answer, make sure you get back with all of the facts ASAP. Don't have underlings take the heat for you or your staff.

8)Service boards make suggestions. While the borough's decisions can take their recommendations under consideration, the decisions that are made need to account for how the changes will affect all involved and probably should involve the folks that run the departments.

9) Ms. Miller is not qualified to run Human Resources (you had to change that job description to make it appear as if she did). She doesn't have the needed people skills, the backbone, nor the self-control to be a real professional.

10)Ms. Miller is a loose-cannon and because she doesn't play nice with employees and other department heads has created problems so big, that I've to consult with the borough lawyers in an attempt to make things right.

11)Ms Miller defers to too much to the borough employee union; what are we, a worker's paradise?

12)We are giving up too much to the union. Back to the salt mines you peons!

So, to sum it up: take this job and shove it.

Have a nice day,

Scott Walden

Well, OK, it is a loose translation. But Scott didn't tell Hizzoner Dave anything that we all already didn't know.

What's up with Walden's attacks on the union though?

Carey's response has had the typical arrogant and dismissive tones as whenever he has been challenged by the public or the assembly. What else can he do now though without seeming like a clueless loser?

Here's an idea. A meeting with a handful of selected current/former assembly members (Assembly President Pete Sprague, Gary Knopp, Bill Smith and Ron Long - none are Carey cheerleaders - but at least one is supportive, and all are reasonable and have been around a while) and maybe two non-appointed and completely respected department heads and come up with sensible plan of action for Carey to follow that ensures cooperation, transparency, and integrity.

And some appointed heads should probably roll.

Or Carey can throw a hissy fit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Local Football Star Makes $700

A few days ago, an anonymous SOL reader posted a comment wondering why an armed robbery in the FM parking lot happened to miss the Police Reports. The post implied that the incident was a bit too close to the Soldotna Police Dep't.

A few rumors began circulating, and then Saturday, on page 4 of the ADN, the story about the arrest of SoHi's former football star, Anthony Griglione, for faking a robbery in an attempt to steal drugs, was published. Michelle Quelland, Jesse Chumley-Lawson, Jesse Honrud, and a minor were involved in the incident. Griglione is now on the lam.

It's always a sad thing when kids go bad; sometimes the kids are from good families and sometimes from a dysfunctional ones. It's embarrassing to all who are related to the perps.

But it seems that if you are from a connected family, that somehow the story might be omitted from the local news or perhaps left out of the police reports submitted to the media. Michelle's father is a Soldotna policeman and Jesse is a relative of Scooter Chumley, Mayor Carey's Chief of Staff. The incident took place on December 29 - nearly two weeks ago. If some normal low-life was involved in the incident, it probably would have been front-page news the next day.

All this does is fed the rumor mill - and the faked drug deal/robbery has been the buzz of the town today. The most damning thing I've heard is that all were detained at the scene - but then, because of being connected, were later released.

But who knows?

The surest way to spread rumors is to suppress the facts about what happened

It's easy to pretend that this sort of thing doesn't happen in SOLdotna, but that is obviously not the case. While most of the student-athletes at SoHi are outstanding young men and women, this isn't the first case of the children of the powerful, including school-district administrators, being exempted from drug-related or other criminal investigations after being caught in delicate situations.

Given the hero-worship that is given to the stars of the Stars' football team, it is not all surprising that some youngsters get the impression that they can do no wrong.

Unfortunately, this is the way the world works.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Dave Carey: Many Wrongs Make It Right

Mayor Carey’s previous full-time job was as a high school social studies/government teacher at Skyview. I wonder what his reaction would have been if he had a student who forgot to turn in an assignment and the kid used the excuse that he didn’t know about it. Then, imagine if the student alleged (without any real evidence) that another student during a previous term also didn’t turn in an assignment, so that made it OK for him not to do it too.

And then, to make the matter go away, the proposed solution was to say OK, you don’t have to do the work. But this exception applies ONLY to you and no one else.

The other kids in the class might not think that was fair. And if ignorance was a legitimate reason to excuse an assignment, soon the whole class might make this plea. And because someone else may or may not have done the same thing, is that really an excuse for you?

This is what Mayor Carey and four assembly members tried to with Scooter Chumley’s failure to turn an Intent To Do Business With the Borough form and his no-bid deal with CES. For the sake of the appearance of clean politics, their proposal was voted down by the other assembly members. Gary Knopp, one of those trying to make an exception for Chumley, does business with the borough and somehow he managed to get the right paperwork in. Mr Knopp was able to find out what was required, so why has this been so hard for Chumley? Instead, the mayor and his chief-of-staff said the fault was with borough underlings. To blame un-named borough employees for Scooter's oversight is a cheap shot.

This isn't rocket science - it's basic political science. And didn't Carey teach Government classes?

Let’s just assume that Scooter honestly didn’t know that the form had to be turned in. It happens. What might have been the most up-front way to deal with the oversight? Why not admit the mistake, begin over and follow the law? And then rather than slough off any personal responsibility, be willing to accept any slap-on-the-wrist that might be meted out. Would the assembly seek criminal or civil repercussions? I highly doubt it.

Isn’t this what Mr. Carey, the teacher, would have said to the errant student? Do the work, and don’t let it happen again.

But rather than man-up, Carey and others are offering some lame excuses for the second-in-command. Scooter’s defenders are going on and on about his good name, but what is happening here is that Carey and Chumley are coming across as little baby whiners. If it was an honest mistake, just admit you messed up, apologize and move on. Don’t make excuses.

Carey has continued with his juvenile antics by complaining about the media. But all the newspapers have done is their job – they’ve reported that Chumley didn’t file the paperwork and was able to procure a no-bid borough contract. That’s it and that is what the news is supposed to do.

But Carey wasn’t done. At the assembly meeting, he claimed that you couldn’t really put this kind of deal out to bid because, says Dave, that maybe a company in Florida has a used tire changer. How would we be able to tell if it was any good?

There are very simple ways to check things like that out, and besides the borough is not obligated to necessarily go with the lowest bid. But Carey, the alleged fiscal conservative, has no problem by-passing the system. Maybe Scooter’s deal is good for the borough, maybe it isn’t. An open, honest bid proposal is the proven way to make sure.

Otherwise, you just leave the door open for abuse. That is why the law is there.

Large Visitor Globe