SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


On corruption...
By Geoff Brandt


December 16, 2008

Back, a lot of years ago, I sent a "care-package" or two up to Palmer and my friend George Holman, the former state senator and Power Broker from Bethel. Maybe it was '82, or '83? Have to look it up when I have time...

What I do recall is that Russ Meekins, who I'd term the Snidely Whiplash of Alaskan politics (at that time -- God knows, there've been others) accused ol' George of taking some kind of bribe. To me, at least, it seemed most unlikely and stupid a charge because the amount was so trivial, like $3,800 or so maybe?

But, as I recall, it was Christmas Eve, or Christmas Eve-eve, and we were all "having a few" in Yancy Derringers, Juneau's prime bar/lounge/restaurant at the time, the jury came in and George left. We were flat-out astounded to hear that he'd been convicted.

A few days later, maybe a week or so, when the dust had settled -- or maybe the slush... had him on the KJNO talk/call-in show, "Action Line." Now, admittedly, I'd never been a fan of Meekins, but, couldn't help asking/commenting to the in studio guest, State Senator Holman: "You're not that dumb to accept a bribe of that piddley type, are you?"

As I recall, he replied, "add a few zeros and I might've entertained the thought, but, no."

Hey, I don't know, he may have been guilty. But candidly, don't think so. My guess is that he was kinda railroaded, though I sure couldn't guess why.

Pardon the nostalgia, but, wow, those were sure mighty interesting times! We were all on a "first-name basis" with Governors Sheffield and Cowper; you didn't have to be on-the-radio to know these guys and appreciate the uniqueness of The Great Land. Even talked Bob Ziegler into doing some commercials for me! The whole state was kind of like a small town. I admit it, I had a blast. And three fine upcoming citizens were born up there at Bartlett Memorial Hospital too.

Later, was nowhere near as crazy about the Socialist Soviet of Sitka, after the pulp mill closed and the TedTurner-types started moving in...

And, later still, dodging raindrops with Tom Friesen, Kent Colby and even OK Owens in Ketchikan - - my 22-plus years in Alaska were among the greatest of my life, that's for sure!

Yeah, I admit it, we moved South, and to the Texas Gulf Coast, largely for the weather, and the professorial opportunities for my bride (who is doing very well, thank you!). But I still have an Alaskan flag on our boat, and I miss its people to this day.

Have a great Christmas, and a Happy, prosperous New Year.

Geoff Brandt
Quintana, TX

Received December 15, 2008 - Published December 16, 2008


Related Column:

When it Comes to Political Corruption, Alaskans Try Harder! by Dave Kiffer

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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska