Energy Emergency in Rural Alaska.

26 10 2008

The Alaska Federation of Natives on Saturday called on the state and federal governments to declare an energy emergency in rural Alaska, and to cap the price of heating oil and gasoline in villages across the state. 

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said the governor will continue appointing Natives to state posts.

Some village residents pay twice as much as city dwellers for heating oil and gasoline, and rural delegates meeting for their annual convention in Anchorage voted to ask the government to pay the difference.

That should last until low-cost, alternative energy projects are up and running in rural Alaska, said Loretta Bullard, president of Kawerak Inc., a Native nonprofit operating in the Bering Strait region.

AFN delegates also demanded that Gov. Sarah Palin appoint more Natives to influential state posts and commissions, saying Natives have “suffered from inattention.”

“It was an extreme struggle to get an Alaska Native on the Board of Game,” Timothy Andrew, chairman of the Native village corporation in Marshall, told the crowd.

At her recorded announcement to the AFN convention on Thursday, Palin announced that she was creating a new sub-cabinet to deal with energy issues, and the related migration of rural dwellers into Alaska’s urban areas. Energy costs in rural areas can be as much as 40% of a family’s household budget, and many family’s are being forced to reluctantly relocate so they can afford to stay warm.   Heading up this new sub-cabinet will be Attorney General Talis Colberg.  And no, he is not Native.

Talis Colberg, you’ll remember is the Alaska Attorney General who was the subject of a petition submitted to Palin’s office last month, and a whopping giant protest rally – the biggest in state history.  More than 1200 “Alaskans for Truth”  signed a petition demanding the removal of Colberg from office for advising state employees to ignore legislative subpoenas.  What did the governor think of this loud and clear statement from her constituents?  Apparently not much, since Colberg just got this shiny new appointment.  I’m guessing he’s not fearing for his job.  I think Alaskans can confidently say we’ve been roundly ignored.

Back to Native issues.  Try to follow this very Palinesque thread of non-logic.  Natives say she doesn’t appoint Natives.  She says she will continue to appoint Natives.  And then she creates a sub-cabinet to deal with Native issues, headed up by a non-Native.  I have to believe that Alaskans are catching on to this.

So what will Palin do now?  Rural Alaskan families are facing a crisis this winter.  According to Senator Lisa Murkowski, fuel is being rationed, and prices are prohibitive.  Palin has been asked by her constituents to help.  So will she allow families in rural Alaska to go through a life-threatening winter without adequate heat?  Or will she be one of those dreaded socialists that she is constantly vilifying on the campaign trail? 

 

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Les Gara and More on KUDO Today. UPDATED! (Mike Doogan)

24 10 2008

Apologies everyone.  Sounds like there has been a last-minute change.  Rep. Mike Doogan will be today’s guest on The Demo Memo.  Mike is a popular former columnist for the Anchorage Daily News, a writer of mystery novels, and a current Alaska state legislator.  He is always entertaining, and will likely have an interesting take on the events du jour.

Link and times are still the same!

“Cutting Edge” with CC on KUDO progressive talk radio in Anchorage will be well worth tuning in to today. Rep. Les Gara will be hosting “The Demo Memo,” and CC will be talking quite a bit about the latest Palin issues from an Alaskan perspective.

Les Gara is well-known to Mudflatters for his various acts of chutzpah during the Troopergate fiasco, for facing down the worst of the McCain “Truth Squad”, and for recently requesting that the Alaska AG Talis Colberg hire an independent investigator to look in to allegations of potential witness tampering in the Troopergate investigation now under review by the Personnel Board.

You can hear KUDO streaming live by clicking >>>HERE<<<

The show runs from 3:00 – 6:00pm Alaska time. (7:00-10:00pm EST, 4:00-7:00 PST)





State Employees Will Now Testify in Troopergate Probe.

5 10 2008

The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot, and turn up the heat slowly enough, the frog will not realize it’s being cooked until it’s too late.  But if you turn up the heat suddenly, it will spring to its senses and leap out of the pot, thus saving its life.  I give you, Alaska State Attorney General Talis Colberg.

Talis Colberg, the erstwhile Mat-Su Valley lawyer specializing in worker’s compensation claims, found himself hitched to Sarah Palin’s rising star.  When she was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, his reaction was “Wow. I work for her.”  >>>>HOCKEY BUZZER<<<<<  Actually, the Attorney General is supposed to be working for the people of Alaska.  To help our Governor and our AG remember this, a grass roots group spontaneously emerged, calling themselves Alaskans for Truth.

This group, organized a rally in part to demand the resignation of Talis Colberg for telling state employees that they didn’t need to comply with legislative subpoenas issued as part of the ethics investigation that has become known as “Troopergate.”  This smacked a little too much of Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Meiers for many Alaskans, and 2000 signatures were toted down to the Governor’s Anchorage office and presented to Palin spokesman Bill McAllister, (when Lt. Governor Sean Parnell chose to remain in the comfort and safety of his office).

The rally and the petition drop-off were covered quite well by our local news media, and thanks to this and the efforts of several determined and ticked-off bloggers, it got some national play as well.  Multiple complaints have been filed against Colberg to the Alaska Bar, and despite a lawsuit claiming the subpoenas are illegitimate, a judge’s ruling this week said, basically, “I don’t think so.”  An emergency appeal was filed with the Alaska Supreme Court which will be heard this coming Wednesday.

So there’s the set up for you.  Talis Colberg = frog.  Pot of water = Blissfully lounging in Palinworld and feeling all invincible.  Flame turned suddenly up to the highest setting = Alaskans for Truth + media + the law.

It seems as though the old adage has worked, because Colberg has suddenly launched himself out of the pot, and landed squarely on his soggy rump.  Seems like those seven state employees who were told by Colberg that showing up was optional, have had a change of heart.

All seven employees have decided, in light of Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski’s decision, to cooperate with the legislative investigation, according to a statement today from Colberg’s office.

“Despite my initial concerns about the subpoenas, we respect the court’s decision to defer to the Legislature,” Colberg said. “We are working with Senator Hollis French to arrange for the testimony of the seven state employee plaintiffs.”

How about that… Can a frog tuck its tail between its legs?

Meanwhile, Alaska First Dude Todd Palin is now back in Alaska.  He has agreed to testify to the other investigation into Troopergate by the State Personnel board.  Palin initiated this investigation of herself, claiming that the legitimate investigation which came about through unanimous, bipartisan approval had become “political” once she joined the McCain ticket.  Will the Supreme Court ruling have any affect on whether Todd has a change of heart and testifies to the Legislative Council?  And how much will this delay the report? Further developments are anyone’s guess.





Palin Throws Alaska Under the Bus.

17 09 2008

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is effectively turning over questions about her record as Alaska’s governor to John McCain’s political campaign, part of an ambitious Republican strategy to limit embarrassing disclosures and carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country.

That’s the lead in from the Anchorage Daily News story about the latest GOP strong-arm tactics to perform what many Alaskans feel is an outside political takeover of the state’s Troopergate investigation.  A pack of high-powered east coast lawyers are the new artisans of the Palin “image”.  If anyone has a question about Palin’s 20 months as governor, ask the McCain campaign, because apparently no one else can give you  the answers.

This is not going over well in Alaska.  I’ll use my usual caveat that there are lots of Alaskans who happily subscribe to the “Sarah right or wrong” mentality, and will continue to do so.  However, the progressive take on this whole latest mess is only slightly short of taking torches and pitchforks and surrounding the Attorney General’s office, demanding an end to the stonewalling.  I’ve watched Alaskan progressives that I personally know go from saying, “Wow! I can’t believe I voted for a Republican!” to, “She’s doing OK.  I don’t agree with everything, but I don’t regret my vote” to being so furiously seething angry they just can’t say anything.

This means that there’s a shift, and shifts tend to bring along all people to a certain degree.  If there’s one way to tick off Alaskans it’s by bringing in ‘outsiders’ to try to control state affairs.  Imagine if you will how a small independant nation would feel being invaded by the superpower next door.  It’s like that.

I’ve even lived to see the day that Republican State Senate President Lyda Green (often vilified by Democrats over the years) agreed to do an interview on the local progressive talk radio station, and was practically hailed as a hero.  Why?  For simply stating the investigation should and will move forward despite the fact that the Attorney General, under the influence of McCain lawyers, said that state employees would defy their subpoenas. “Nothing has changed,” she said. “Our job is to find the truth.”  Real integrity coming from either side of the aisle is what Alaskans want.  It’s in desperately short supply these days.

And again, and again, I hear Alaskans quoting that now infamous promise of our governor (who is still our governor by the way) to run the state with “ethical, open and transparent” government.

It remains to be seen how effective the so-called “Truth Squad” is in ‘shaping her image’ in the rest of the country, but they are not doing her any favors here at home.  I’ve never heard so many people say they can’t wait to see her new approval ratings.

Meanwhile, the opposing side, not to be outdone by a goofy name, has come up with  “Alaska Mythbusters,” a nod to the popular television show. This white hat version of the Orwellian “Truth Squad”  is made up mostly of elected officials who have opposed or know Palin and who criticize her work.

So what does the Attorney General Talis Colberg have to say for himself?  I know a couple people who know Colberg, and respected him deeply until recently.  I heard from a friend of his that this whole thing is really taking a toll on him. “He’s really a decent guy,” says my bewildered friend. So, what say you sir?  Hello?  Are you there? 

Oh.  Talis Colberg just went “on vacation” to Kansas.  You can’t make this stuff up. 

Beware of tornadoes, falling houses, and flying monkeys!  Nothing would surprise me any more.