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.

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