Friday, March 18, 2011

Allowances Must Be Made

Breaking news is that the AK legislature just voted to double the office allowance of the elected officials.  House members now can get $16,000 and Senators $20,000.  The kicker is that if they don't spend this money on office expenses, they get to pocket all of it.

OK, I'm not automatically against cost-of-living increases. But if it was based on the real cost-of-living data, the increases would have been under $2000 instead of the $8000 and $10,000 they voted for themselves.

Certainly there are office expenses that our legislative representatives will have and certainly these expenses, to a point, should be reimbursed. But shouldn't office expense reimbursements actually be used on office expenses?  I mean like show your receipts and write up a little justification: basic bookkeeping demands.

Those are the rules that most all of us probably have to follow.  But apparently these rules don't apply to our elected officials

This is nothing but a back-door pay raise and it seems quite shameless to boot. Our representatives don't have to account for a penny of the money, and get to put it in their pockets rather than actually buy staples, tape and sticky notes.

Mike Chenault did vote against this.  Bravo Mike.  But guess what?  Chenault and the other central peninsula legislative representatives, Tom Wagoner and Curt Olsen took the entire office expense check and put it in their pockets.   Not one penny went to paper, pencils or pens.  I guess leaving a paper trail is not a good idea for these guys anyway.

Mike, the best way to vote against the raise is not to take the money.  Who do you think you're foolin'?

Of yeah, the knuckleheads that keep electing these three.

Tell me again about how we elect Republicans here on the Kenai because they are fiscal conservatives?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Suckers for Cox

photo by D Petri from the PC

It was just two years ago when Schaeffer Cox (the dapper gent in the hat pictured between Bob Bird and Tom Wagoner) came to the Kenai to promote his philosophies of unrestricted gun-ownership and sovereign citizen political action.  He was welcomed with open arms by Bob and Tom and given an email endorsement by Dave Carey.  Since then, Cox has been arrested a few times.  Once for beating his wife and then once for not informing a cop that he was packing heat as Cox responded to a Liberty Bell (the Sovereign Citizen phone tree) call when a fellow member was arrested.  Then yesterday, Cox was one of five arrested for plotting to kill five AK state troopers and a judge.  You can read about that incident here.

Those in the Sovereign Citizen movement claim that they are above the law and don't need to follow any rules.  There's been an uptick of SC related incidents since Obama became president including the shooting deaths of two policemen in Arkansas and the shooting of Gabby Giffords and others in Arizona a couple of months ago.

But this blog post isn't about Cox, it's about peninsula politicians.  Obviously, Wagoner and Bird are suckers for Cox's, um,  ideas, but so is Mayor Dave Carey.  Norm Olson and Mike McBride of ACT were among Cox's handlers and Gary Superman was recognized.

While Congressman Don Young isn't from the Kenai, he does represent us down in DC and Don has been a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment Task Force, of which Cox is the president of the Alaska chapter.

And why all of the political support?  Do they all really believe that we all need to be locked and loaded at all times?  Do they really believe that we should disobey the law?  Do they think that we should kill the representatives of the law?

Maybe they were just pandering for votes among from the right wing-nuts here on the peninsula.  Remember, we voted overwhelmingly for Joe Miller this last election.

If peninsula politicians don't really buy that gov't conspiracy black-helicopter stuff,  maybe they shouldn't pal around with those who do.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mike Chenault: One Definition of Insanity..., of course, repeating the same mistake and hoping for different results.  We keep electing Mike Chenault to the State House and the results don't get any better.  Let's take a look at some of the inane things that have happened under Mike's watch as Speaker of the house.

The Goose Creek Prison construction project up in the Matsu Valley tops this list.  Already $50 million over budget and not completed, Mike admitted that the fault was probably the Alaska Legislature (which he is in charge of the State House ) for not watching the project more closely.  The prison, originally approved to be built closer to Palmer, was moved to near Pt McKenzie and had to have all utilities and a road brought in at great expense.  Yep, contractor buddies are getting rich, but tax dollars are being poured down the hole.  Even if and when the prison is built, it would still cheaper to house prisoners in Arizona and Colorado.  

Yesterday, the legislature did not approve Governor Parnell's proposal (and endorsed by Chenault) to give the oil industries over $2 billion annually for...well, for no reason since there was never anything attached to the give-away.  And then completely contrary to Parnell and Chenault's contention that exploration is being stifled by the ACES tax structure, two new players announce multi-billion dollar plans for the development of gas and oil WITHOUT the give-away these two wanted.

And then there was the closure of the Nikiski LNG plant that caught Mike by surprise.  That's hard to believe that he didn't get a head's up about that coming, but Mike's only idea?  Let's give away more state money to help out the filthy-rich oil companies. 

So, as long as it is a so-called conservative offering government bail-outs to successful business, it is OK?  What about the free-market?  The gas/oil in the the ground here in Alaska isn't going to go away if it's not drilled for right now.  Already the price of oil is jumping because of the new turmoil in the middle east.  We don't have to cut the oil companies any deals.  As soon as the price is right, things like the gas pipeline will be more economically feasible.  But that time is not now.  Regarding natural gas, the market price is low because of the development of lower 48 reserves that are cheaper to get to buyers.  For oil, well, Great Bear's and Repsol's ( a Spanish oil investment firm) decision to invest nearly a billion dollars, and again, without the give-away of state money, shows that the free market has the answers and that government isn't needed to subsidize business.

Do check out Shannyn Moore's Moore Up North Show for an interview with Senator Wielechowski and the straight scoop about ACES and the Parnell/Chenault scheme.

Monday, March 07, 2011

KPBSD - Unprincipled Principals

OK, here's your challenge: name more than 5 principals in the entire KPBSD that are genuine educational leaders (and not just former coaches), are honest and fair with both students and teachers and are occasionally willing to buck the whims of the Central Oriface and actually let some building decisions be hashed out by parents and faculty.  For years, both the CO and the building leadership positions have been prime examples (with a few notable exceptions) of the Peter Principle - the incompetent rise to the top.

The latest crop of new principal hires might have a few promising candidates, but OMG, Norma Holmgaard (shudder), currently the federal programs director for the district and now the newly appointed replacement for the failed principal at Kenai's Mt. View Elementary, hasn't a clue about education, has poor people skills and a way of being pompously self-righteous. Once, at a public meeting, without ever being able to back up her statements (despite being asked to provide such evidence), proclaimed that bright kids don't need extra challenges in school, and that such challenges were actually harmful to them.

Now, there's some educational leadership for you - if you want to be led down the path to mediocrity.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Political Junkies on Political Junkets

You know the conservatives are in charge when the state and borough credit cards come out and the politicians fly off to DC to meet with lobbyists.  The big story is that 28 state legislatures are off to Washington DC to attend the three 1/2 day Energy Council sessions.  Really - 28?!?  Included in that list is the central peninsula's Tom Wagoner, asleep at the wheel ever since elected, who has forever sat in the sidelines of the state senate and just got caught unawares about the Conoco LNG shutdown.  Is there a golf course nearby?!?

Couldn't a small committee be sent and reports then filed? And three 1/2 sessions are all that is on the agenda? 

Our local borough assembly members, all nine of them, are off to DC next week to attend sessions for some national counties organization.  The borough had to appropriate some $16K for this junket.  Again, do all assembly members really need to go?  And when budget cuts to essential services are in the works, how does this make any sense?

Someone please tell me about the connection between republicans/teabaggers and fiscal responsibility.

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