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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

We have Options

Election Reform Bait-And-Switch

(2021©donnliston.com)





Many Alaskans appear to be in denial that our modern elections could be circumvented by forces of evil. They seem to think the Alaska Ranked Choice Voting proposition that barely passed in 2020 is about taking power away from the established Democrat and Republican parties.[1] Other concerned Alaskans continue to comb the Alaska Division of Elections’ sanitized voter rolls, asking questions and identifying election problems, in search of the smoking gun of election fraud.

Https://www.elections.alaska.gov/results/20GENR/data/sovc/ElectionSummaryReportRPT24.pdf


But what if the circumstances of the diseased election were manipulated so that the symptoms are all we can discern? Smoke but no fire.

I am myself extremely concerned about Ranked Choice Voting that passed in this state, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member and Fox News Contributor, Kimberley Strassel explained to a group of conservative Alaskans gathered Saturday, September 20. I realize it must go through one voting cycle, but it is an issue we should not just let pass. It needs a lot of attention because that is also part of the game: To change very trusted and tried systems not because it is viewed as necessary voting reform but rather as a means to gain political dominance.




What we face as Alaskans

As a colony of the United States of America we in Alaska are easily manipulated by other states. We cannot look to our nearest neighbors, Russia or Canada, for help. We must run our state in accordance with laws of Mother America. Still, Alaskans must stand our ground when faced with policies and practices foisted on us by outside interests with ulterior motives who do not share our long-term values.

So, we look to Washington, to Oregon, to California and wonder: Why would we do what THEY are doing?


Read Sheldon Air Service story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/08/what-would-don-and-roberta-sheldon-have.html


Strassel: We know Democrats used Covid as an excuse to change all the rules in a way that would help them on election day. The reason we know this is very telling: when Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker again in 2018 the very first bill she brought up to the floor for consideration—long before Covid—was about election reform.

The Democrats called it an “anti-corruption” bill.[2] Haha.

Strassel writes the Potomac Watch column and podcast for the WSJ helping international readers understand correlation between actions in DC and politician’s words.


Read Alaska Chalet BNB story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-best-thing-about-being-in-anchorage.html


Strassel explained: Whenever a new majority takes over in the U.S House of Representatives the first bill they bring up is considered their greatest priority, and it gets the title HR 1. House Speaker Pelosi and her people had campaigned on all kinds of things--healthcare, immigration reform, cost of living--but yet, when they took over, their number one priority HR 1—was Election Reform. That tells you everything you need to know about what has happened in the subsequent two years.

This is called duplicity (deceitfulness; double-dealing).

That election takeover bill they pushed in 2018--and that they are pushing now—and that they want to break the Senate filibuster rule for[3], is a bill that replicates what we saw in the Covid Emergency: Same-day voter registration, all mail-in balloting, ballot harvesting—In which people are paid to go out and collect voter’s ballots to turn them in. You can’t know what is happening behind the scenes, continued Strassel. This is essentially the system they have in California; Pelosi wants to “California-ize” the entire country’s election laws by a federal election takeover.

Big government politicians and bureaucrats must understand: ELECTIONS ARE RUN BY THE STATES.


Read about Mike's Quality Meats here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/11/an-eagle-river-institution.html



As residents of a modern-day colony of the US, Alaskans know what federal takeover means. We have seen policies regarding access and development of our natural resource bounty played like a football at the Super Bowl. Medicaid has swamped our healthcare system, giving better benefits to people on the dole than to Medicare seniors who earned their benefits over years of working and contributing. If it weren’t for our strategic location on the globe Alaska might be relegated to a federal preserve for the US Park Service.

Oh, and don’t forget: The filibuster they now want to replace has traditionally been a tool of the Democrats. The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina's Strom Thurmond, who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.[3]

Strassel continued: Democrats will say “we need this because it makes it easier to vote and it will cause greater voter participation. If you don’t believe in this, then obviously you are for Jim Crow and you are racist.”

What ABOUT California voter participation?

If you look at the statistics from the past four presidential elections, do you know what state has some of the lowest participation rates--at the bottom of the pack in presidential elections? Over the past four presidential elections it has ranked 46th, 49th, 49th and 43rd in voter turnout—CALIFORNIA! By contrast, do you know what state has some of the toughest voting laws in the country? NEW HAMPSHIRE!

Read about MatSu Food Bank here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/07/feeding-alaskans-in-mat-su.html


The Constitution of New Hampshire sets a high bar for voting integrity.

It is written in their state constitution that you MUST vote in person in New Hampshire. There are a few exceptions--for serving overseas or for disability--but otherwise you must vote in person, explained Stossel. They don’t have “provisional ballots,” where a voter says: “oh, I forgot my ID so if you will just let me fill this out, if it is necessary after the election you can verify it,” because New Hampshire has a rule--again in their Constitution--that says every ballot has to be opened on election day and must be called out in a public square at the end of the day. And each voter must show an ID.

Alaska’s Constitution provides for suffrage and elections in Article V.[5] The two suffrage issues which generated the most controversy at the constitutional convention were voting age and literacy requirements. Our voting age is 18 and the requirement that voters must be able to read and write English has been eliminated.

And of course, running elections is the biggest job of the Lt. Governor. This writer has written previously about election management concerns.[6]

Lt Gov. Kevin Meyers is responsible for Alaska elections and responded to concerns at a recent meeting of the Alaska Roundtable in Anchorage.

A national effort to bring accountability continues and legal action is explained here: 
https://fix2020first.com/


Historically New Hampshire has had to stand its own ground.

As one of the original 13 colonies, control of the New Hampshire colony changed several times before the colony declared its independence. It was a Royal Province prior to 1641 when it was claimed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was dubbed the Upper Province of Massachusetts. In 1680, New Hampshire returned to its status as a Royal Province, but this lasted only until 1688 when it again became part of Massachusetts. New Hampshire regained independence—from Massachusetts, not from England—in 1741. At that time, the people elected Benning Wentworth as its own governor and remained under his leadership until 1766.[6]

We share some similarities. Alaska was first owned by the Russian/American Company under the relentless dictatorship of Lord Aleksandr Baranof. In the 1950’s a Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower asked why a state that was wall-to-wall Democrats--and broke--should become a state? Alaska statehood became possible by bringing in Hawaii--which was rich with sugar production and wall-to-wall Republican. Tit for tat.

How things have changed!

Since the 2020 election many Alaskans have become exercised about election integrity. They are combing the Division of Election databases and a lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of Ranked-Choice-Voting. I have posted the legal filing in its entirety in References.[7]

Read Cozy Interiors Story Here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/01/destiny-happens.html


In her talk to Alaskans, Strassel further reflected on conditions that have made New Hampshire a bastion of election integrity and strong voter participation:

They have a great Secretary of State there, named Bill Gardner, who is the longest serving Secretary of State in the nation, Strassel said. He has been there for something like 24 consecutive two-year terms, and he is a Democrat. But he came to Washington DC to rail against Pelosi’s bill, and he made the point that what we should want in elections is both ease of voting—don’t make it difficult for people to vote—and we must have belief and trust in the system. THAT is what encourages people to come out and vote.

Many Alaskans who care about this state are longing for the same thing.

References:

[1]Happytalk about Ranked Choice Voting

https://campaignlegal.org/democracyu/accountability/ranked-choice-voting

 

[2]HB 1 presented as “anti-corruption” legislation

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/30/18118158/house-democrats-anti-corruption-bill-hr-1-pelosi

 

[3]Senate Filibuster Rule

https://www.senate.gov/about/powers-procedures/filibusters-cloture/overview.htm

 

[4]Alaska Constitution

https://ltgov.alaska.gov/information/alaskas-constitution/

 

[5]What if Alaska’s Election was hacked?

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/04/what-if-alaskas-election-was-hacked.html

 

Are Honest Alaskans Being Played for Fools?
https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/03/alaska-election-questions.html

 

Fighting for Election Integrity

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/04/what-if-alaskas-election-was-hacked.html

 

[6]ThoughtCo.com: New Hampshire Colony

https://www.thoughtco.com/new-hampshire-colony-103873

 

Must Read Alaska Explanation of Ranked Choice Voting, July

https://mustreadalaska.com/ballot-measure-2s-jungle-primary-ranked-choice-voting-set-for-court-monday/

_____

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Addendum: Legal filing for Ranked Choice Voting Lawsuit:



















 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

An Eagle River Institution

 

Mike’s Meats Aspires 

to Provide Alaska Food Security

(2021©donnliston.com)

The metal gate is raised so a truckload of cattle from Delta can be marched through a dark gangway to a pin at Rocket Ranch on a cold night last January. These were some of the last to be processed at Mt. McKinley Meats & Sausage before the plant was put on the market for sale.



Cattle lagging behind are urged down from the upper deck of the trailer at Rocket Ranch by Greg Giannulis at 3 am..


The herd of cattle moved toward the far end of their enclosure after a long haul from Delta.


An immigrant from Greece, as a youth Greg Giannulis had worked in the fields picking grapes and olives, but his life changed when he started selling produce purchased from farmers in the afternoons and weekends. He also worked in a livestock slaughterhouse and learned how to harvest and butcher animals for sale.

 

I was making more money in 2-3 hours than I was making working all day in the fields, explained Giannulis. And I learned to live within my means--whenever I borrowed money I paid it back quickly.

 

Read Cozy Interiors Story Here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/01/destiny-happens.html

 


Ultimately Giannulis joined the Merchant Marines, worked as a bull cook aboard ships, and jumped ship in Houston, Texas.

 

He knew this was the land of opportunity.

 

I was an illegal immigrant. I left Texas to go to Chicago, Illinois, continued Giannulis. I stayed there about 8-9 months before I came to Alaska.

 

From Chicago, Giannulis became a modern Alaskan cheechako.[1]

 

Read Alaska Chalet BNB story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-best-thing-about-being-in-anchorage.html


Giannulis continued: Long story short, I went back to Greece and came back to Alaska through Canada and I have never left. I got married in 1987 and we had eight kids.

 

That’s right, eight kids raised in Eagle River with this business, now grown.

 

I worked at pizza places, I did many jobs, reflected Giannulis’. I went to school to become a licensed heavy equipment operator. I fished in Bristol Bay for several years, and I butchered animals for individuals.

 

Read Sheldon Air Service story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/08/what-would-don-and-roberta-sheldon-have.html


Giannulis bought
Mike’s Quality Meats  in 1990. He explains: It was a retail store and a guy named Mike was running it. I went in as a partner and within 2-1/2 years I bought out his share.

 

He jokes that he kept the name because he couldn’t afford to pay for new signage to change it.

 


Read about Mike's Quality Meats here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/11/an-eagle-river-institution.html



Today Mike’s Quality Meats has wholesale and retail divisions serving Alaskans in every corner of the state. Giannulis' office is at the retail store at 12112 Business Park Blvd. in Eagle River, and includes two nearby warehouses. Most days Giannulis can be found at his desk taking orders and scheduling shipment. He has a firm grip on everything that happens in his operation, which also includes Rocket Ranch in Palmer.

 



Prices for Alaska meat for restaurants and individual consumers have generally been decided by Seattle, where most of the meat has come through over the last 30 years Giannulis has been in business.

 

But he has aspired to change that dynamic.

 

Greg Giannulis


When I built Rocket Ranch I dropped the prices on livestock; pigs and cattle, said Giannulis. You must make a profit on everything you sell but you cannot gouge people. I put a reasonable price on everything I sell. A lot of producers objected to the overall price reductions I caused, so they tried to boycott me through the state-owned slaughterhouse, Mt McKinley Meats & Sausage (MMMS). Since the State of Alaska owned the slaughterhouse some didn’t think they should have competition for price of meat processed there.

 

I love competition. Bring it on! he enthused.

 



 Selling the MMMS plant to a private owner was necessary since the State was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on it each year, according to Giannulis. It had been offered for sale by the Alaska Department of Agriculture through a Request for Proposal (RFP) a number of times before Giannulis paid cash for it in 2017. Having a private company buy it saved the USDA stamp for Southcentral Alaska.

 

Read about MatSu Food Bank here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/07/feeding-alaskans-in-mat-su.html


That stamp is worth millions,
Giannulis declared. It isn’t about whether you can make money or not make money. It is about providing food for Alaskans.[2]

 

The USDA stamp assures a quality standard that is the best in the world for human consumption. A secured office provides administrative support for USDA inspectors at the processing plant. This stamp assures the food safety standard is met from the time the first knife is picked up until the last cut is made and the meat packaged for sale.

 

The black USDA stamps are visible on these beef carcasses at MMMS.


With major investment into the MMMS plant, Giannulis was able to make a profit on production from the plant despite a lack of animals available in Alaska. The November 2019 earthquake followed by the Covid pandemic brought home the need for Alaska food security and Giannus began to seek recognition of this need by elected officials.

 

Here is a copy of one of the letters sent to legislators and select members of the Dunleavy Administration.

Response was disappointing.

 

$1-1/2 Billion is being spent per year to buy beef for Alaskans.

 

Giannulis continued: Mostly we need policy that will allow us to feed ourselves. I have traveled to Canada five times and spent a week each time to see how their agriculture business works. The smallest farm is 10,000 acres. They have 30,000, 50,000 100,000 acre farms raising animals for meat.

 

He will be required to bring meat from Seattle for his retail business until Alaska plans beyond having a network of subsistence farmers and gardeners supplementing the majority of food shipped here from someplace else.

 



 

Many were disappointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Lackluster speech to the 2021 Alaska Farm Bureau Convention at the Egan Center over Veteran’s Day weekend..

 



 

Alaska land policies favor vegetables and grains. But true food security for Alaska requires raising livestock. We do not have a commercial poultry farm. Havemeister Dairy was our last commercial milk producer in Southcentral Alaska.[3] If elected officials approved a plan for industrial agriculture in Alaska tomorrow it would take years to clear land and build infrastructure for this purpose.[4]

 

Having a plant that can process 300-700 animals per week is a step, but we need much more than that for true food security.[5]

 

 

References:

 

[1]Someone new to Alaska or the Yukon. Originally a reference to the Gold Rush newcomers.

https://dare.wisc.edu/words/word-of-the-month-archive/cheechako/

 

[2]How Can Alaska Gain Food Security?

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/06/how-can-alaska-gain-food-security.html

 

[3]Last Days of the Havemeister Dairy

https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2021/10/06/the-last-days-of-the-havemeister-dairy-alaskas-oldest-commercial-milk-producer-is-shutting-down/

 

[4]Alaska Has Food Security Options

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/alaska-has-food-security-options.html


[5]Steps to Alaska Food Security

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/11/steps-to-food-security.html



_____

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Friday, November 12, 2021

Steps to Food Security for Alaska

Palmer Slaughterhouse Gains new Owners

(2021©donnliston.com)

Mt McKinley Meat & Sausage owner, Greg Giannulis hands keys off to Todd Elsberry, new owner of the Palmer slaughterhouse, upon its recent sale.

The slaughterhouse formerly known as Mt. McKinley Meats and Sausages (MMMS) has been purchased by a North Pole Farming family and will return to processing red meat for Alaskans soon. The plant had been shut down and was on the market after owner Greg Giannulis realized it was not profitable given current in-state livestock availability.


A brief ribbon cutting ceremony at will be held at 11am Friday, November 12th, 2021, shortly after the Governor’s announcement and speech during the the Alaska Farm Convention and Trade Show at the Egan Center.  

Here is the link: https://fb.watch/9ey-Zp9gI9/

It is hoped that the facility will be open for business in a few weeks under a new name: Alaska Meat Packers Inc. DBA Alaska Meat.  Webpage: Alaskameatpackers.com Telephone: 717-500-MEAT

We had buyers who wanted to pay more to use the facility for other purposes, explained Bill Borden, broker at High Caliber Realty. But I told the director of the Division of Agriculture that we would try to keep it as a slaughterhouse if possible, and to Greg’s credit he will take less money, and I will forgo some of my fee, to make this possible.

Bill Borden is Broker of High Caliber Realty and Ken Peltier is Alaska Regional Manager.



Rumors that a group of farmers were attempting to purchase the facility are untrue. No state funds or federal grants are being paid in this deal. The owners will schedule processing of red meat animals from any Alaska farmers.


Read about MatSu Food Bank here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/07/feeding-alaskans-in-mat-su.html

Confidentiality agreements forbid revealing the price of the purchase, by Todd and Sherrie Elsberry of Elsberry Farm. This will put the facility into the hands of a producer of meats for slaughter instead of a marketer of products as is Mike’s Quality Meats, owned by Giannulis. Elsberry Farm produces primarily pork but the slaughterhouse will be available for cattle, pork, sheep and goats.


Mike’s Quality Meats is located at 12110 Business Blvd., Eagle River, AK 99577, (907) 696-1888, and ships boxes of meat throughout the state.
https://mikesqualitymeats.com/collections/all

Giannulis originally purchased the plant in 2017 out of frustration when State Employee managers slow-rolled processing his own cattle and hogs. It had been run at a financial loss with work done by Department of Corrections prisoners for decades. Gov. Bill Walker ordered it sold when a bill from Corrections was sent to the Department of Agriculture for employee and other operational costs.[1]

Challenges of Alaska food security due to the difficulty of the work and lack of animal availability have required artificial insemination of animals for genetic diversity. Robust 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs promote a future for agriculture in Alaska. [2]


Read Alaska Chalet BNB story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-best-thing-about-being-in-anchorage.html

Our Alaska dependence on Seattle for food has kept prices high, according to Giannulis. Seattle is the choke point for Alaska food imports. From there most food shipments land on the docks at Anchorage. [3]

Alaska policymakers have long known that food security is lacking. MMMS was a failure until Giannulis took it over and says he made a profit until recently. Giannulis estimates he has invested $2.5 million in his operation including the farm, storefront and processing plant, without taking out any loans.

When I came to Eagle River 40 years ago I had a pair of pants and a jacket with a hole in it, he proclaimed.[4]

All across Northern Canada commercial agriculture operations produce food for that country on 10,000-50,000 acre farms, while we in Alaska have many homesteaders on small plots with subsistence farms. According to former Natural Resource Manager for the MatSu Borough, Ray Nix: The challenges for a successful agriculture operation are sufficient infrastructure, viable products, and viable market. If any one of those elements are lacking successful commercial agriculture cannot succeed. Small operations can be successful, can succeed, but expansion is limited if they don’t have a road to the farm or power. Infrastructure is key.[5]

Read Cozy Interiors Story Here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/01/destiny-happens.html

Commercial agriculture requires large parcels of land which are available but will require years to develop. Denial seems to be easy in backwater Juneau where legislators are fed very well by Seattle.

On the other hand, Alaska has had agriculture operations here for a long time and some of the individual farms are doing pretty well, according to Director of Agriculture, David Schade: We have at least one farmer who makes more than $5 million per year in sales, 12 farms that make over $1 million per year, 66 making between 250,000 and a million, and 101 who make between $50,000 and 250,000, said Schade. But of the 990 farms in the state, 582 of them make less than $10,000 per year. So, I am not disagreeing with your assertion that we need more large commercial producers, but there is opportunity—the pie is huge![6]

Read Sheldon Air Service story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/08/what-would-don-and-roberta-sheldon-have.html


Putting the largest USDA slaughterhouse in Alaska back into production is an important step in Alaska Food Security. Bringing Alaska producers together to meet the demands of consumers is another step, but the question is how much livestock can be raised in-state to keep a plant capable of processing 300-700 animals per week? According to Giannulis it takes 4-5 acres per animal to raise cattle.

That will be the challenge of the new owners.

Resources:

[1] How Can Alaska Gain Food Security? June 2020

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/06/how-can-alaska-gain-food-security.html

 

[2] Who Dares to Farm in Alaska, September 2020

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/09/who-dares-to-farm-in-alaska.html

 

[3] Who is Making a Difference? December 2020

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/12/who-is-making-difference.html

 

[4] Food for Thought for Alaskans, December 2020

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/12/alaskas-food-security-options-2020.html

 

[5] Addressing Alaska's Hierarchy of Needs, February 2021

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/alaska-has-food-security-options.html

 

[6] Are Alaska agriculture efforts working? April 2021

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/04/steps-to-food-security-for-alaska.html



_____

Did you like this story? If so, please copy the link below and send by email or post to social media.

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/11/steps-to-food-security.html

If you would like to receive each new story by email, send message to me at donn@donnliston.com.

Advertising is available on this blog. I will write  your story and design a display advertisement with link to that story for continuous monthly reminders to customers or supporters. 

Contact me at donn@donnliston.com

 

  



We have Options

Election Reform Bait-And-Switch (2021 © donnliston.com) Many Alaskans appear to be in denial that our modern elections could be circ...