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Alaska: State, Federal Mediator and IBU Hold Weekend Contract Negotiations; Still no deal to end of strike and restart the Alaska Marine Highway System By MARY KAUFFMAN -  The Alaska Department of Administration announced this afternoon, that after more than 20 hours of negotiations this weekend between a Federal Mediator, the State of Alaska and the Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), the Federal Mediator has recessed talks until a later date – further extending the IBU’s strike that began on July 24, 2019. The state is calling the strike illegal.

Alaska Marine Highway System operations remain suspended, following the IBU’s decision to walk off ships during peak summer travel which the Depatment of Administration says is costing the State over $200,000 a day in lost revenue.

“Unfortunately, the IBU’s out of state negotiators don’t understand Alaska law and are currently making the situation worse by misleading Alaskan employees,” said Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka. “Repeatedly, they’ve sent wage offers that are not legally permissible. The law is the law, and it can’t be broken.”

Over the weekend, the State of Alaska offered four package proposals that agreed to many of the IBU’s demands, however, the Dept. of Administration says IBU has insisted on maintaining legally impermissible provisions. The State also proposed IBU employees contribute to their health care plan, but IBU said only if the State provided a “bonus” that covered the cost of those premiums and paid members more than $700,000 extra.

“While we were encouraged the IBU finally returned to the negotiating table with the Federal Mediator, this strike and the harm it’s inflicting remains a significant concern to the State, Marine Highway System employees, their families, and the entire coastal region,” said Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Commissioner John MacKinnon. 

Commissioner Tshibaka also expressed disappointment with a letter the State received shortly before the first mediation meeting from an out-of-state law firm representing the IBU that misstated the facts and the law surrounding the strike. According to the Commissioner the letter was released to the media just as mediation was scheduled to begin.  (Read the full letter pdf)

The 07/26/19 letter titled Cease and Desist Notice Regarding AMHS’s Unlawful Coercion of IBU Bargaining Unit was written by Dmitri Iglitzin the General Counsel for the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific of the law firm Barnard, Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP based in Seattle, Washington.

Iglitzin's letter asserts that "economic strikes by public employees are fully lawful under Alaska law. Under Alaska Statutes Section 23.40.200(d), public employees who do not fall within certain specialized categories, such as police and fire protection, public utility, snow removal, sanitation and education employees, 'may engage in a strike if a majority of the employees in a collective bargaining unit vote by secret ballot to do so'. There are no preconditions or procedural requirements that limit this right. As you are also aware, not just a majority, but an overwhelming majority of the employees represented by the IBU did vote by secret ballot to strike. Thus, the current strike is lawful."

Also the letter said, "You [DOA Commissioner Tshibaka] also assert that employees could be disciplined for engaging in such a strike. Given that this is clearly untrue, your statement is nothing more nor less than an illegal threat intended to coerce IBU- represented employees into not exercising their legal rights." (Read the full letter pdf)

Iglitzin writes, "The bottom line, much though you [Commissioner Tshibaka] dislike the fact, is that Alaska law gives public employees such as those represented by the IBU an absolute and unlimited right to strike and our members cannot lawfully be retaliated against in any way for exercising that right. They cannot be terminated, suspended, or disciplined in any way; nor can they be interrogated as to whether or not they are choosing to strike on dates that they were not otherwise scheduled to work (I am referring to workers who are not currently “fit for duty,” who have been subjected to such interrogation). Nor, crucially, can they lawfully be threatened with any of those things, which is what you have repeatedly done."

"You [Commissioner Tshibaka] also assert that employees could be disciplined for engaging in such a strike. Given that this is clearly untrue, your statement is nothing more nor less than an illegal threat intended to coerce IBU- represented employees into not exercising their legal rights," writes Iglitzin.

While negotiations were ongoing this weekend, Iglitzin's writes, " ....this egregious misconduct by AMHS must end immediately. The IBU has repeatedly offered to recommence mediation with the State. Instead of informing the federal mediator of your willingness to do so, you have represented to the federal mediator that there is no point because your position will not change. That intransigence serves no one’s interest. Until it ends, the strike will continue, notwithstanding the State’s increasingly desperate and illegal conduct as described above.

“Let’s call it what it is: an intentionally misleading press release dressed up like a letter to misinform IBU members and the public about the truth,” said Commissioner Tshibaka.

“The strike is unlawful because it is based on demands that are illegal under Alaska law. The IBU was made aware that its demands were prohibited by law even before the strike began. Unfortunately, the IBU refused to change all of its unlawful demands before going on strike, ignoring both the law and the significant damage a strike would do to our coastal region’s economy,” said Commissioner Tshibaka.  - More...
Monday PM - July 29, 2019

Alaska: Alaska House & Senate Restores 80% of Governor's Vetoes; $400 million added back to budget; Governor Comments on Actions Taken in Alaska State Legislature By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Alaska House of Representatives and Senate each voted today to pass legislation that restores funding for many essential programs and services that were vetoed by the governor.  House Bill 2001 passed the Senate 17-1 today and was sent back to the Alaska House of Representatives for a concurrence vote. The House concurred this evening with a vote of 23 to 15 (with 2 members excused). The legislation will next be transmitted l to the Governor.

Overall, two-thirds of Alaska lawmakers voted for  House Bill 2001, which restores 80 percent of the governor’s vetoes to state efforts to improve the public safety, health, and education of Alaskans, while also providing for a Permanent Fund Dividend of approximately $1,600 per person.

In a prepared statement after the vote, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) wrote, “Alaskans spoke loudly in favor of striking a balance between the Permanent Fund Dividend and essential programs and services that were vetoed by the governor. With broad bipartisan support, lawmakers today finalized a plan which embraces the fact that we need to right-size government through difficult cuts but also acknowledges that we cannot cut our way to prosperity.

"The Alaska House Majority heard the outcry and thanks the thousands of people who took time out of their busy lives to advocate for the type of policies we enacted today. We encourage supporters to stay engaged by urging the governor to sign our plan without making additional damaging vetoes,” said Speaker Edgmon.

“Today’s vote is about moving Alaska forward,” said Senator Natasha von Imhof , R-Anchorage, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “This compromise bill restores funding to programs affecting the life, health and safety of Alaskans while also paying out the largest dividend we can afford.”  

A law enacted last year caps spending from the Permanent Fund at a sustainable rate. Without reforming the decade’s old dividend formula, lawmakers could not find agreement on a dividend larger than $1,600.  

“Our predecessors had the vision to protect Alaska’s oil wealth for the future, and we must do the same,” said Senator Bert Stedman , R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “The Permanent Fund is not for us to squander. We must do everything in our power to protect it for future generations.”

The Alaska Legislature today also approved a capital budget, Senate Bill 2002, providing the state’s private sector with $1 billion in federal matching funds for highway and construction projects.

“We appreciate the governor adding the capital budget to the agenda,” Sen. Von Imhof said. “With its passage, we’ll save thousands of Alaska jobs and bring in more than $1 billion in federal matching funds.”

After the vote today, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) issued the following statement: “Today is about putting the state back on a path of hope and opportunity for all Alaskans. By restoring these vetoes, young Alaskans will have access to a quality University of Alaska, veterans will continue to receive services, and seniors will have the support they deserve. Through these votes, the Legislature is standing together. I can only hope the Governor will choose to stand with us in defending all Alaskans as we move this state forward.

Begich wrote, “The process set forward by the House and Senate majorities was fair, and I thank them for involving the entire body. This is the way representative democracy should work, and it works well.”

Begich also said in an evening newsletter, the Legislature is not done yet. "There is an elephant in the room, and it comes in the form of oil tax credits equaling more than $1.2 billion dollars a year."

"This inequity must be addressed. The wealthiest corporations in the world must also contribute to creating a safe and stable Alaska during this time of budget crunching," wrote Begich.

The bill also addresses the ‘reverse sweep’ issue, which will save scholarships for 12,000 students, reduce energy prices in rural Alaska by protecting the Power Cost Equalization program, and provide grants to organizations that combat domestic violence and homelessness.

Senate Communications' spokesperson Daniel McDonald clarified for SitNews what this bill addresses for the University of Alaska's funding: "Last year's (FY 2019) university funding from the state was $327 million. The Legislature's $5 million reduction plus the governor's $130 million veto brought the university's state funding down to $191 million. HB 2001 restored about $110 million, bringing the university's funding total to $302 million for FY 2020, which is still $25 million less than last year." 

McDonald also wrote in an email in response to a question concering Alaska Marine HIghway funding, "In terms of unrestricted general funds (UGF), the marine highway received $86 million last year and is now, with the $5 million addition, at $51 million.  - More...
Monday PM - July 29, 2019


Alaska: Fish ‘savings accounts’ from test fishing, license receipts spared from Dunleavy budget sweeps By LAINE WELCH - As Alaska lawmakers continue their struggle to keep the state afloat, commercial fisheries dodged a bullet that would have removed millions of dollars from its budget. 

An obscure procedural action within the capital budget called a ‘reverse sweep’ prevents dozens of program-specific pots of money from being automatically drained into the budget reserve, as Governor Dunleavy aimed to do.  

“The sweep is money that is not spent in a single year. In this case, it comes from certain sources, such as test fish receipts, commercial crew licenses and sale of Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission permits and licenses,” explained Doug Vincent-Lang Alaska, Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. “There is usually unexpended funds within the budget that typically carry over by the reverse sweep into next year’s budget, and they are integrated into the department’s operational budget as there is an expectation those moneys will be available.” 

There was a lot of confusion about what the sweeps swept up, he added.  “From the ADF&G perspective, there was an initial document that showed all of those different pots of money are sweepable. However, we have since learned that the actual budget that was signed by the governor and passed by the legislature included language that makes the test fish receipts, crew member licenses and the CFEC licenses non sweepable.”   

Money from test fish receipts comes from sampling salmon or other species that are caught by the state to gauge run strength and collect other biological data and then are sold.  

Crew license sales and CFEC dollars from permits, vessel licenses and other fees go into separate savings accounts; more comes from General Fund Program Receipts, primarily from crew license sales.

 “The test fishing receipts are on the order of $2.5 million, crew licenses bring in $2.5 to $3 million and those are built into our management program for the next year,” Vincent-Lang said. “We use them for doing things like crab and shellfish management to herring management, conducting aerial surveys and running weirs and sonar operations.”  

 Vincent-Lang said the commfish division is working out the details of a nearly one million dollar budget cut, which he calls “not life threatening.” 

“There’s going to be impacts on some weir operations and sonar operations, but we we’ll be able to manage around them,” he said, adding that things would have been far worse if the test fishing and license receipts were swept away.

“Not all of that would’ve been spent in a single year, but it would have meant somewhere on the order of $2.5 to $4 million worth of unexpected budget impacts to the division of commercial fisheries,” Vincent-Lang said. 

The approved FY20 budget for the commercial fisheries division is about $71 million of which $52 million is from general funds. - More...
Sunday PM - July 28, 2019

Alaska: State Reminds Striking IBU Members About Pending Loss of Free Health Coverage - Friday morning Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka sent a letter to all Alaska Marine Highway System employees represented by the Inlandboatman’s Union (IBU) and participating in the strike. The letter said if the strike continues past August 1, the premium for health insurance for those participating in the strike will not be covered by the State because they will not be receiving compensation for employment. Those who participate in the strike will also not receive unemployment benefits.

Quoting the news release, many IBU employees cannot afford those premiums and could lose health insurance coverage for their families if they remain on strike.

“I am deeply concerned what losing health insurance coverage could mean for our workers, their spouses and children because I represent them too,” said Commissioner Tshibaka. “We can prevent this from happening - but only if IBU leadership joins the administration’s negotiating team by contacting the Federal Mediator and returning to the bargaining table to work this out in the short amount of time we have left and thus end this strike.”

According to the Department of Administration, starting August 1, 2019 striking employees will be responsible for paying the entire cost of their health insurance premium, in accordance with COBRA. Monthly rates are approximately $1,000 a month for an employee, and $2,800 a month for an employee and family.

Commissioner Tshibaka added, “I strongly encourage striking workers and family members that face the loss of their current health coverage to contact IBU leadership to learn for themselves what unresolved issues remain in the contract negotiations and to ask what it will take to get them back to the bargaining table. IBU leadership is playing politics and until that stops, our employees are the ones who are suffering.”


The letter stated the State is working diligently to reach a resolution with the IBU and have notified the Federal Mediator of the willingness to meet with union leadership at the Mediator’s earliest convenience. "We do not want our IBU employees to go without pay or benefits. We do not want our ships stuck in port and the AMHS shut down."

The letter provided AMHS employees information on what their financial cost will be if they wish to continue health coverage for self and/or eligible dependents and how to set up those payments.

Quoting the news release, many IBU employees cannot afford those premiums and could lose health insurance coverage for their families if they remain on strike.

The Associated Press reported, "Robb Arnold, a union spokesman, said wages and health care are side issues compared with how he said workers are treated. He said workers are frustrated by a lack of communication on what cuts to the ferry system budget could mean for them."

During the special session which is still ongoing, the Alaska House inserted on July 24th an additional $5 million in the Capital Budget for the AMHS and HB 2001 was referred to the Senate for consideration yesterday, July 27th.

The Capital Budget has yet to be passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. The legislature will resume sessions again Monday morning.- More...
Sunday PM - July 28, 2019

Alaska: Bipartisan Group Rejects House's PFD Bill, Says There Was No Compromise - Members of the Alaska House Majority passed HB 2003 Friday morning by a vote of 22 to 12 stating its intention to pay a Permanent Fund in the amount of $1,336, effectively changing the formula to a 70/30 split, favoring more funds for government programs according to those rejecting the legislation. Six members were excused.

The Alaska House Republicans were joined by Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage) in rejecting this piece of legislation. 

“Even after negotiating through the week to try and find common ground with the Majority, we still find ourselves at an impasse on a number of issues,” said Rep. Cathy Tilton (R-Chugiak/Mat-Su), Republican Finance Leader.

Tilton said, “You can’t just label something as a compromise without consent of the other negotiating party. We certainly would not agree that violating the statute is, in any way, an acceptable compromise.”

HB 2003 was referred to Senate finance Saturday, July 27, 2019. The next sessions are scheduled to resume Monday morning.

Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) wrote on FaceBook yesterday, "The Senate Finance Committee just passed a compromise bipartisan operating budget that restores about 75% of Governor Dunleavy's vetoes and includes a full statutory $3,000 PFD. There are still total cuts of about $400 million to the budget. Senior Benefits, University funding, Medicaid and Power Cost Equalization have been largely restored. The bill now goes to the full Senate floor, probably on Monday." - More...
Sunday PM - July 28, 2019

Alaska: State files motion to dismiss in ACLU lawsuit over court budget veto - The State filed a motion Friday to dismiss the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska's (ACLU) lawsuit against Governor Michael J. Dunleavy over his $334,700 line-item veto reduction of the Alaska Court System appropriation.

"The governor exercised significant line item vetoes regarding the executive to help balance the budget," said Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson. "In comparison, the veto reducing the court system’s appropriation was minor. And yet, as a result of the ACLU’s complaint we are now having to spend finite legal resources defending what is clearly within the governor's express constitutional veto authority."

The motion to dismiss reiterates what the Alaska Constitution specifies shall occur in the constitutional budgeting process: "The Constitution… specifically leaves it to the legislative and executive branches to decide how much funding the court system, along with other state departments, requires."

The issues raised by the ACLU are political questions and must be resolved by the political branches of government through the constitutional appropriations process. This process already includes sufficient checks and balances - the legislature passes the budget, the governor can strike or reduce specific budget items, and the legislature can override those vetoes. - More...
Sunday PM - July 28, 2019



RICH MANIERI: Ultra-Progressivism Leading Dems Down the 'Maintenance Hole' - I have a long history of dumb ideas. 

It was my idea buy a used, 1999 diesel Volkswagen Beetle. There's a reason you don't see many of them on the road today.

It was my idea, as a boy, to play darts near our old gas furnace. How was I supposed to know a dart could puncture a gas line? The fire department was wondering the same thing.

And it was my idea to put a pan of burning oil under a running faucet. The little mushroom cloud that followed generated a surprising amount of black smoke.

Expect for the dart incident - for which half the block was evacuated - my dumb ideas have been generally victimless, unless I count myself as a victim.

When governments come up with dumb ideas and create laws to support them, the consequences can range from insignificant to far-reaching.

For example, in the city of Wells, Maine, it's illegal to advertise on your tombstone. Fortunately, someone had the foresight to see that cemeteries would eventually be an untapped marketing resource. 

Neither Republicans nor Democrats have the market cornered on bad and/or dumb ideas. American history is replete with legislation aimed at scoring political points with various constituencies. - More...
unday PM - July 28, 2019


MICHAEL SHANNON: Do D.C. Employees Want Taxpayers to Keep Their Distance? - The Washington Post (WoePost to regular readers) recently had a very ominous quote. Sandra Salstrom, a lobbyist for the American Federation of Government Employees, told an eager stenographer, "It seems like if they are successful here, this could just be the tip of the iceberg. We don't know who's next."

What inhumane, outrageous and bigoted Trump administration policy has attracted the attention of Ms. Salstrom? Has someone purchased a one-way ticket to Somalia for Rep. Ilhan Omar? 

Not exactly, but the outrage does involve travel. The Trump administration is planning to move portions of the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Land Management closer to where agriculture happens and land is managed. 

Placing swamp bureaucrats closer to the people over which they rule is evidently inherently offensive. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Barnacle) warned, "In the White House, there is, among some people, a real disrespect for federal employees, animated by their disrespect for the government generally. So if you're hostile to government, you're then . . . hostile to those who work in government."

For the USDA this means part of that behemoth will be moving to the Kansas City area. And if I lived in either Kansas or Missouri, I'd be offended. But the left is acting like the destination really is Somalia - not that there's anything wrong with that!

The WoePost, which slavishly covers the federal workforce, even has a swamp columnist. Joe Davidson writes the impending move of the Economic Research Service portion of the USDA has caused employees to "quit in droves."

Which only proves the "drove" isn't what it was formerly cracked up to be. The total head count of this "drove" was six employees. That doesn't even qualify as a crowded elevator, but it's typical of the sky-is-falling response to any change in the bureaucracy. - More...
Sunday PM - July 28, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Democrats' Medicare for All

Political Cartoon: Democrats' Medicare for All
By Taylor Jones ©2019, Hoover Digest
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Opinion

The PFD By Michael Fitzgerald - I agree that some of the programs affected by the Governor’s vetoes must have their funding restored. But I’m shocked by the careless disregard shown by those that support accomplishing that goal by taking $$ away from those Alaskans that can least afford it. Think about it for a moment... every $1.00 by which the PFD is reduced or (gasp!) eliminated comes out of the pocket of EVERY Alaskan - essentially a regressive tax that hits the poorest the hardest! How can ANY fair minded person really support that? How can someone that considers themselves “Progressive” support that? There are at least 2 separate issues here that need to be addressed. In my opinion, they cannot be addressed until they are separated:

1) How the payout from the PFD is calculated MAY need to be adjusted. The political truth is this will only ever be accomplished by a vote of the people. This will require a level of leadership and statesmanship heretofore not seen from the current batch of folks. - More...
Thursday PM - July 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: Correction of the Record, “Transboundary Mining: Alaska’s senators are working hard. Now let’s lock it in.” By R Brent Murphy - I am writing to correct the statements made in Frances H. Leach's opinion editorial titled, “Transboundary Mining: Alaska’s senators are working hard. Now let’s lock it in.” published on July 11, 2019 in SitNews.

The opinion article states, “As they’re currently being permitted, B.C’s large-scale, open pit transboundary mines threaten all of that (commercial fishing).”

This statement is inaccurate and does not stand true for Seabridge Gold’s KSM Project. The proposed KSM Project underwent a rigorous independent joint harmonized BC-CANADA Environmental Assessment over a seven-year period (2007-2104), a regulatory review that also involved both US Federal and State representatives working alongside Provincial and Federal regulators.

As noted in the decision statement of the Canadian Minister of the Environment: The project is not likely to cause adverse environmental effects as defined in the former Act, taking into account the implementation of mitigation measures described in the report ... the mitigation measures and follow up programs described in the Report are appropriate for the project.

The British Columbia Ministers of Environment and Energy and Mines concluded, “the project will be constructed, operated and decommissioned in a way that ensures that no significant adverse effects are likely to occur.” - More...
Thursday PM - July 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

Measles & Vaccinations By Amanda Mitchell - There was a single case of measles of an unvaccinated youth being reported in Alaska.  It is being said that there have been no cases of measles in Alaska in the past couple of years.  

This is not entirely true. We have had cases of measles in Alaska in the past couple years, but which were caused by the vaccine. Shannon Ballard, on January 23, 2015, posted an article titled, ”The Disneyland measles outbreak may have reached Alaska.” In this article (which you can no longer find) they blamed the unvaccinated for 1 year old Rivki Webb testing positive for measles. Robert Herriman on January 24, 2015 published the follow-up stating after an investigation by DSHS, the child had symptoms and tested positive for measles, but it was from the child’s recent vaccine. The ‘measles case’ was then reclassified to a reaction to the vaccine.  There are similar cases out there, however, because of the pervasive bias towards vaccine efficiency and safety these events get downplayed, blamed on the unvaccinated or not covered at all.  - More...
Thursday PM - July 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

Our Public Lands Must Be Part of the Climate Change Solution By Alison Kelly and Briana Mordick - The millions of acres of public lands that belong to all Americans should be part of the solution to the climate crisis, but mismanagement by the federal government is making them part of the problem. The fossil fuels found on our public lands are significant sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Instead of addressing this problem, the Trump administration is downplaying or outright ignoring it to benefit the oil, gas, and coal industries.

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a dire warning about the rapidly shrinking window of time remaining if we want any hope of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, such as extreme temperatures, flooding and drought, sea level rise, and species loss and extinction. Yet the data show we’re still going in the wrong direction - a recent report found that America’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion rose by 2.7% in 2018—the second largest annual increase since 2000 after three years of continuous decline. While our emissions are still down overall, we’re not cutting them anywhere near fast enough to meet Paris Agreement climate goals, let alone the more ambitious target of holding global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that federal lands are a big contributor to U.S. emissions. The researchers found that together, coal, oil, and gas produced on federal lands account for approximately 25 percent of the total fossil fuels produced annually in the United States and that, on average, emissions from combustion and extraction of those fossil fuels accounted for 23.7 percent of national carbon dioxide emissions, 7.3 percent methane emissions, and 1.5 percent of nitrous oxide emissions from 2005-2014. - More...
Thursday PM - July 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

The SQUAD By Rob Holston - Trump wants to send congresswomen who were born in the U.S. back to…? Back to where? He believes they are foreign born? It’s a bit of a stretch for me to defend Trump on this particular verbiage. However I’m sure he was referring to these women’s not too distant removed homeland of lineage.

Think of some black NBA players who return to their ancestral homeland, finance and set up foundations for the betterment of youth, Trump sees the NBA guy as a hero who embraces the USA and it’s opportunities and wants to change the rest of the world for good…….. while these freshman congresswomen seem to detest the USA and want to make changes that Trump sees as leading our country backwards into 3rd world country status. - More...
Thursday PM - July 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

Israel Is Essential For Survival Of Jews By Donald Moskowitz - This is the 81st anniversary of the Evan-les-Bains, France conference conducted July 6-15, 1938 to discuss the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany, and develop and implement a plan to rescue them. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated convening the conference of 32 countries and 24 relief agencies.

Adolph Hitler said he would agree to allow the Jews to leave Germany and emigrate to the 32 countries represented at the conference.

Unfortunately, 31 countries refused to take in any of the Jewish refugees. Only the Dominican Republic agreed to allow in some Jews. All kinds of excuses were stated. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King said "We must … seek to keep this part of the Continent free from unrest and from too great an intermixture of foreign strains of blood." The British, who controlled Palestine, refused to allow the Jews to emigrate because of the ongoing conflict between Arabs and Jews. The French said they could not help. The U.S. State Department, who had at least one Jew hater in a prominent position, blocked entry to the U.S. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama said they wanted no traders or intellectuals. Argentina said it had enough immigrants from Europe. Australia said it had no racial problems and did not want to create any.  - More...
Thursday PM - July 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

Transboundary Mining: Alaska’s senators are working hard. Now let’s lock it in. By Frances Leach - United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) is grateful to Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan, as well as the senators of Idaho, Washington and Montana, for coming together across party lines to urge British Columbia Premier John Horgan to clean up B.C.’s mining sector and to work towards alleviating the threat B.C.’s large scale open-pit mines pose to the province’s downstream U.S. neighbors. All eight senators representing B.C.’s four U.S. border states wrote Premier Horgan on June 13, informing him on what they have been doing to monitor and sustain rivers that flow from B.C. into their states and requesting he increase the province’s efforts to do the same. - More...
Thursday AM - July 11, 2019

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Argument Proved: State Spending Increasing By Rodney Dial - I was going to keep the debate going and write a long response to Rep. Ortiz; then I realized that he essentially proved my argument…. that state spending is increasing. He previously proved it was unsustainable when he advocated for additional taxes on top of increased use of the PFD earnings. - More...
Thursday AM - July 11, 2019

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Protect our Seniors and Students By Rep. Dan Ortiz - As the Alaska Legislature debates how to resolve the amount and sustainability of the PFD, and what services should be funded and at what level, I pledge to continue caring for our children and our seniors. Legislators may disagree on many of the ‘hows’, but we should stand together in protecting our most vulnerable. - More...
Thursday AM - July 11, 2019

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CHLORINE STILL IN KETCHIKAN? By Florian Sever - Does the City of Ketchikan filter the drinking water it provides to the public? - More...
Thursday AM - July 11, 2019

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Assembly and School Board Need Immediate Fiscal Plans By Dan Bockhorst - A Borough Assembly member (writing as a private citizen) recently expressed legitimate concerns about practices of State officials that have caused acute fiscal troubles throughout Alaska. The concerns expressed boil down to four points: - More...
Sunday PM - July 07, 2019

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RE: Governor's Vetos By Rep. Dan Ortiz - I would like to thank Rodney Dial for the letter he submitted to SitNews published on June 30, 2019. Even more I would like to thank Assemblyman Dial for his commitment to public service by serving on the Ketchikan Borough Assembly. I offer the following facts that counter many of the points raised by Mr. Dial but I do so in the spirit of open communication and with respect for the arguments being made by him. The following facts & figures come from the non-partisan Legislative Finance Division and are viewable by the general public. - More...
Sunday PM - July 07, 2019

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Open Letter: RE: Boondoggle By Al Johnson - Good to hear from you Rep. Ortiz during you busy break (I agree with the Senate President as to the Governor calling the location, I disagree that it has to be. I would if asked, suggest that you attend where the Governor has indicated while the lawsuit proceeds (Deal with the determination). That too, disturbs me that the separated powers are in this fix. .- More...
Sunday PM - July 07, 2019

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RE: Boondoggle Looking For A Place To Happen By Rep. Dan Ortiz - In response to the letter submitted by A.M. “AL” Johnson entitled “Boodoggle Looking For A Place To Happen”, I agree with the sentiments/concerns expressed by Mr. Johnson. His concerns centered around SB 92, the “Derelict Vessels” bill, sponsored by Senator Peter Micciche. The bill was submitted at the request of Harbor Masters across the state because of the problems encountered statewide with vessels being abandoned with no or little way law enforcement personnel could trace who were the owners of the boat. - More...
Sunday PM - July 07, 2019

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Boondoggle looking for a place to happen By A. M. Johnson - Regarding the upcoming LIO Ortiz Ketchikan meeting, I will not be attending, however were the chance to give Representative Ortiz a piece of my mind on a particular matter it would be:   Title registration of boats over 24 feet.  This legislation is a SNAFU big time. What a mess this will be.

Having to register in person at the DMV office, not on line, required paperwork on boats owned for years without any formal information on the transaction or worst, lost paper work never thinking of this worthless goal legislation would be approved. The worthless intent alone should have told legislators that it will be a nightmare effort to police. More it appears to be a avenue for revenue over the stated intent of its being. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 03, 2019

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RE: Governor's Vetoes By Elaine Taylor - I read with great interest the letter to the editor from Rodney Dial.   In high school we were taught that when you have a complaint, valid or not, you also offer a remedy.  Dial did not offer any real suggestions. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 03, 2019

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Governor's Vetos By Rodney Dial - So the Governor has announced his vetoes, cutting $444 million from the budget. Assuming these cuts stand, just about everyone will feel some pain, and it will have an impact on local taxes. - More...
Saturday AM - June 29, 2019

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Cuts Could Have Been Avoided By Ray Metcalfe - The University could have avoided all these cuts had it recognized years ago that we Alaskans, unlike any other state, have a collective responsibility to manage a cornucopia of valuable resources that were given to the people of Alaska to develop and sell on the world market as a means of supporting our schools and other governmental needs. - More...
Saturday AM - June 29, 2019

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