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November 04, 2019
Behind the Westflight building.
Front Page Feature Photo By THEODORE PEMBERTON ©2019
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Alaska: Grounds for recall of Governor insufficient; Recall group plans to challenge By MARY KAUFFMAN – Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson completed the legal review of the application for recall of Governor Michael J. Dunleavy today and concluded that the statement of grounds for recall failed to meet the factual and legal requirements under the controlling statutes.
“I asked the legal team to do a deep dive into the Alaska constitution, discussions at the constitutional convention, the statutes, legislative history, and case law, including looking at authorities from other states, in order to understand what standards must be met in the recall context,” said Attorney General Clarkson. “As a matter of law, recall cannot be premised upon disagreements with the elected official’s policies.”
With respect to the application to recall Governor Dunleavy, Attorney General Clarkson stated “in order to meet the ground for neglect of duty, which is the only legally pertinent ground here, applicants must show an inability, willful neglect, or outright illegal intent on the part of the elected official. They must also show that this inability or intent is directly related to carrying out the substantive duties of the office. Mere procedural or technical failures are not enough. The violation must be substantial in order to qualify. Moreover, applicants must show that the elected official was personally responsible. Elected officials cannot be recalled for the acts of subordinates of which they were not aware and did not specifically authorize. The recall application failed to make these showings. The grounds of incompetence and lack of fitness, as a matter of law, were not applicable here.”
Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer sent a letter to the recall sponsors today notifying them of his review of their application for the recall of Governor Dunleavy that he is denying certification of their application. Meyers stated, "My decision is based on the legal advice received from the Attorney General that the grounds for recall do not satisfy the legal standard for the three statutory grounds for recall alleged in the application - neglect of duty, incompetence, and lack of fitness."
According to the denial letter, Meyer wrote, "The Attorney Gen4eral determined the technical requirements of the recall statues were met, however the statement of grounds for recall are not factually and legally sufficient for purposes of certification.
Governor Dunleavy wrote a public post on his official facebook page stating. "Today’s opinion by the Attorney General appears to be well reasoned. As I have always said, the allegations by the recall group are not legitimate reasons to overturn the outcome of the statewide election held barely a year ago."
Dunleavy continued, "My administration will continue governing the state as we have since the election in a manner that is consistent with the fundamentals of good government. My priorities continue to be making Alaska safer for all Alaskans, growing the economy and enacting a solution to the state’s budget deficit."
This week, the governor and First Lady Rose Dunleavy are visiting Japan.
An afternoon news release from the Claire Pywell, Campaign Manager of the RECALL DUNLEAVY CAMPAIGN, stated the group's recall effort will seek to overturn today's decision by the Alaska Division of Elections.
The Recall Dunleavy group is challenging the Division of Elections' decision to deny its application to begin collecting signatures in the second phase of the recall process. The petition application was signed by 49,006 Alaskans and submitted September 5, 2019.
"Without question, the recall application submitted to the Division of Elections meets the standard under Alaska law. This rejection is without basis, and we will now turn to the courts for a remedy. We do so with confidence that we will receive fair treatment and we will prevail," said Jahna Lindemuth, Counsel to Recall Dunleavy. "Alaskans should expect a prompt resolution on this dispute. The recall will continue forward." - More...
Monday PM - November 04, 2019
Alaska: Governor Dunleavy and First Lady on Trade Mission in Japan - This week, Governor Michael J. Dunleavy and First Lady Rose Dunleavy are visiting Japan, one of Alaska’s top trading partners and longtime friend in the North Pacific region. The purpose of the visit is to promote Alaska’s abundant seafood and natural resources, meet with leaders in the energy, minerals, and seafood industries, and to build upon the long-lasting relationship between the peoples of Japan and Alaska.
“Alaska has long and mutually beneficial business and cultural relationships with Japan – my goal is to strengthen our existing trade relationships and pursue new opportunities for investment,” said Governor Dunleavy. “When I say Alaska is open for business, that includes pursuing international opportunities in the Pacific Rim and elsewhere around the world. Alaska has so much to offer.”
The Governor and First Lady will participate in several events while in Japan: - More...
Monday PM - November 04, 2019
Alaska: Review of Alaska Public Defender Agency Released - Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka today released results of a report, conducted by the Oversight and Review Unit (O&R), on the Alaska Public Defender Agency (PDA). The review was initiated 8 months ago with the former Public Defender to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the PDA’s management practices and operations.
“The State of Alaska is committed to both adequately fulfilling its obligation to provide indigent public defense services and making its Public Defender Agency the primary defense agency in the State,” said Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka. “We as the State have a constitutional duty to provide competent and quality representation for defendants in criminal cases when they are unable to afford counsel. The findings of this report show how we can improve the PDA to best serve Alaskans.”
The key findings of the PDA review include: - More...
Monday PM - November 04, 2019
Alaska Historical: An American forester who spent much of his career supporting the development of the Alaska Territory By DAVE KIFFER - B. Frank Heintzleman's place in Alaskan history primarily comes from his stint as one of Alaska's final territorial governors in the 1950s.
Alaska Territorial Governor B. Frank Heintzleman (1888 – 1965), who served between 1953 and 1957
Courtesy Alaska State Library Historical Collections
Heintzleman was known as a "lukewarm supporter" of statehood at a time when most of the state was strongly in favor of it. He was also an opponent of Native land claims. But, in Southeast Alaska, Heintzleman would have a greater legacy, as the main proponent of the timber industry. As a primary US Forest Service official in Alaska from the 1918 to the 1950s, Heintzleman was a constant promoter of what he hoped would be a permanent timber industry.
When Heintzleman died of a heart attack in Juneau in June of 1965, the 77-year-old was called "instrumental in the construction of two huge pulp mills in Southeast Alaska," in an obituary in the New York Times.
"Widely known as 'Mr. Alaska' by his colleagues in the Forestry Service, he was one of the best informed men in the territory on its history, people and resources," the Times concluded.
Benjamin Franklin Heintzleman was born in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania on Dec. 3, 1888. He attended public schools there and then received his Bachelor in Forestry from Pennsylvania State College in 1907. In 1910, he received a Master of Forestry Degree from Yale University in 1910.
Almost immediately, Heintzlman joined the US Forest Service and was sent out west to work in Washington and Oregon. In 1918, he was sent to Alaska to oversee a lumber production operation that harvested Sitka Spruce to be used in military airplanes during World War I.
He immediately loved the possibilities of Alaska.
"Everything here isn't card filed and cross indexed," The New York TImes reported he told a friend when he was sent to Alaska. "As a Pennsylvania Dutchman, I like it."
From 1918 to 1934, he served as the Assistant Regional Forester, based in Ketchikan. He proved to be a strong proponent of a growing timber industry in the territory. He was also involved in several USFS studies that argued for a greater use of the region's timber resource.
"Southeast Alaska is essentially a timber producing region," Heintzleman wrote in "Pulp-Timber Resources of Southeastern Alaska," a USDA pamphlet written in 1928. "There are no climatic factors which prevent or seriously hinder the operations of woodworking establishments throughout the year. The main seaways and most of the small inlets are free of ice throughout the winter, so water transportation is possible at all times. The logging season is usually considered as covering eight months, April 1 to December 1, but winter logging is practicable in many localities and some concerns are operating for periods as long as 11 months." - More...
Monday PM - November 04, 2019
Analysis: Impeachment resolution: 3 reasons the House voted even though the Constitution doesn't require it By JENNIFER SELIN - For something with such important consequences, the Constitution is surprisingly vague when it comes to impeachment.
Most of the language in the Constitution lays out what happens once Congress decides to impeach. But there is no particular process that the House must follow in the lead-up to an impeachment vote.
The House of Representatives votes today on a resolution that lays out a process for the inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
But is the resolution constitutionally necessary? What exactly does it do?
How Congress approaches impeachment is largely a political decision determined by House leadership.
The House has initiated impeachment proceedings more than 60 times since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Many impeachment targets have been federal judges. Each proceeding has been different.
Under modern practice, the House typically introduces a resolution calling for a committee investigation into impeachment.
For example, in the cases of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the House introduced a resolution authorizing an impeachment inquiry. In each of those cases, the resolution came after congressional committees were already considering the issue.
The same is true today. The House formally began its investigation into the impeachment of Trump on Sept. 12, when the Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to investigate “the alleged obstruction of justice, corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.” - More...
Monday PM - November 04, 2019
DAVE KIFFER: Cabins and boats and all that poppycock! - A week doesn't seem to go by without someone asking me why I don't have a boat.
I guess they feel that since this is Ketchikan that everyone should have a boat. It makes sense. We are a water community and boats make it easier to get places where there are no roads. It is also possible to get places where there are fewer people, which seems to be a thing (see below).
Maybe it is that weird human trait that says "I have a boat, everyone else should have a boat too".
Kind of like how married couples are always encouraging their unmarried friends to get married.
Some folks say the married folks are just trying to share the joy they feel. Others say they just want the single folks to stop having more fun than they (the married ones) are having.
But I digress.
Anyway, I have a standard answer - to the boat question - that goes along the lines of "My family has sunk more boats than you will ever own" and that usually stops the conversation.
This, of course, may or may not be specifically true. Some people have indeed owned a lot of boats. But my family has sunk quite a few over the years. Often we have managed to raise them back up. So we can have the pleasure of sinking them again. It's a Kiffer thing.
And since I have successfully abandoned ship a few times I guess I just don't want to further tempt the odds. Whether you are leaving a boat that is sinking in the middle of the night in a local harbor or you are exiting a burning boat in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska, it is not - I repeat - not a good thing. - More...
Monday PM - Novermber 04, 2019
Political Cartoon: Medicare's Cost
By David Fitzsimmons ©2019, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.
Open Letters: Concerned With Executive Session & Request for Documents By Mike Holman - I am concerned that the executive session convened by the City Council on October 10th violated the Alaska Open Meetings Act. Therefore I am requesting that the Council immediately cure the violation by holding another meeting in compliance with notice and other requirements of the Act and conduct a substantial and public reconsideration of the matters considered during the executive meeting. See AS 44.62.310(f). I also request a copy of the log of the private meeting tape recording required by KMC 2.04.025(c)(2) of the executive meeting.
Because any action taken in violation of the Open Meetings Act (Act) is voidable by the Superior Court, I strongly encourage the City’s legal counsel to consider the following reasons why a public meeting of the Council must be convened to correct the unlawful executive session on October 10:
• The motion for the executive session was vague (“negotiation options and strategies related to the Request for Proposals”) and failed to clearly and with specificity describe the subjects to be discussed. Thus one can only speculate about what was discussed and decided during the private meeting. Was it about which members of the Council would be involved in the negotiations with prospective bidders, and how so, or was it about a methodology or the criteria for ranking proposals or use of a certain “matrix” after proposals are received? Or was it about both these things - or something else? There is no way to tell from the recommended motion what was the subject matter of the executive session. Clear delineation of the purpose of the meeting is mandatory so the public can better determine whether the stated purpose is allowed under the Act.
• Insofar as the City is not currently in any contract negotiations related to the RFP and the processes for reviewing proposals and negotiating with proposers who respond to the RFP are (or should be) fully set forth in the RFP itself, any discussion about these processes in a private meeting was inappropriate and unnecessary. These processes should be fully known by the public in advance of any such review and negotiations and public knowledge of these processes cannot possibly have a clearly adverse effect upon the finances of the City. See, A.S. 44.62.310 (c)(1) To the contrary, any adverse effect would result from the public being kept uninformed about these processes. After all, the subject underlying all this is the potential alienation of one of the largest pieces of public infrastructure in the City for which voter approval by referendum is provided in its Charter. Likewise, there would be no clear adverse effect upon the finances of the City for the public to hear a discussion or debate among councilmembers about what these processes should be prior to the receipt of any proposals or conduct of any actual negotiations. - More...
Monday PM - November
City approach on Cruise Ship Docks Headed in Wrong Direction By Chris Parks - The City has made some pretty significant mis-steps regarding the development of the cruise ship docks downtown. If things do not change course, it could be even worse.
In April 2018, the Cruise Line Association (CLIA-AK) wrote the City Manager expressing the need for 2 docks which could accommodate the larger ships and committed to help provide funding for the projects. The industry met their commitment by working with the Legislature to secure millions in new money which could be used to upgrade any of the berths.
But look at where we are now. Alaska’s largest cruise ship, the Ovation of the Seas, bypasses Ketchikan for a full day in Victoria. The second and third largest ships, the Norwegian Bliss and Joy, are heading out to Ward Cove, along with all the other NCL ships.
There is no question, the city’s inaction in moving forward to secure larger berths will impact many local businesses downtown and cost the city millions of dollars in docking fees and sales taxes which support our harbors and other government services. For me, it was frustrating to watch many other ports such as Juneau, Hoonah, and even Skagway add infrastructure to meet the demand of the larger ships, at the same time our community was paralyzed with inaction.
As a result, the private sector stepped up an we now have the Ward Cove project moving forward, constructing two large cruise ship berths. It is no wonder the city opposed the Corp permit, as the city stands to lose $9.50 for every passenger that lands outside the city boundaries.
It’s not just about losing the revenue; the city is in a much more precarious position. Ward Cove will have 2 berths, which can accommodate up to 14 ships per week. Project owners are already working hard to fill as many of those spots as possible. - More...
Saturday AM - November 02, 2019
Proposed changes to ethics regs By Andrée McLeod - The Dunleavy administration’s proposed regulation changes to the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act (AEBEA) is best described by Mark Twain as ‘The new political gospel: public office is a private graft.’
Diplomacy aside, the proposed changes are not only questionable, they are ludicrous. They give the governor and attorney general the ‘discretion’ to determine whether public money, our money, ought to be spent to defend the misdeeds of our top officials when ethics complaints are deemed to be in the ‘public interest.’
Simply put, the proposed changes enable bad corrupt practices – the kind of corrupt practices that caused the AEBEA to be put on the books in the first place and rein in conflicts of interest when folks get into positions of power and become heady with authority.
According to a recent memo from legislative counsel, these proposed changes potentially violate numerous clauses of the Alaska Constitution and include the public purpose, the separation of powers, and equal protection clauses.
Additionally, the proposed changes clash with the AEBEA’s prohibitions on gifts, favoritism, self-enrichment, use of state property and resources for personal benefit and financial interests, use of official actions for personal purposes, coercion of subordinates to perform services for private benefit of public officers, use of state resources for partisan political purposes, intentionally securing unwarranted benefits or treatment, among others.
In my view, these proposed changes to ethics regulations violate common sense. - More...
Saturday AM - November 02, 2019
Blundering Untrustworthy President By Donald Moskowitz - After President Erdogan of Turkey spoke to President Trump an inept decision was made by Trump to pull our military forces from northern Syria. This allowed Turkey to invade and attack the Kurds.
Syrian Kurds have been loyal allies of U.S. armed forces since 2015 when they helped to clear ISIS from Syria at a significant cost to themselves. The Turkish invasion and displacement of the Kurds has allowed some ISIS prisoners to escape from prisons guarded by the Kurds, and it appears ISIS could make a comeback in Syria.
Trump's desertion of the Kurds led to the signing of a defense pact between the Kurds and President Assad of Syria. Now Syrian, Iranian and Russian military forces occupy northern Syria. - More...
Saturday AM - November 02, 2019
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