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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Hopes for the 32nd Alaska Legislature

 Finding The Best Glidepath For Lawmaking

(2022©donnliston.com)


 

One abiding trait of a good teacher is ability to make instruction interesting and compelling to students. We teachers must instill the glory of the universe together with the wonder of a simple grain of sand. There are many ways to do this. So, when two teachers get together to talk about why one of them is in public office--and what is being accomplished in that role--the teacher who is asking questions must put the lesson into context.

 

Donn, you have been here and you know it is about relationships, and how to have relationships with all the people in the building, explained Chugiak/Eagle River District 13 Rep. Ken McCarty, on a Zoom call from his Capital office. To be an effective legislator means using good arguments to present a bill--or to question a bill--whether to make an amendment or not make an amendment to bills. But in the end it has to do with relationships. I see in this building a lot of varied relationships.

 


 

With one master’s degree in Education and another master’s degree in Counseling, McCarty uses an instructional voice and specific examples to explain the lesson:


 


A couple of days ago I proposed a bi-partisan letter to be sent to Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, from the Alaska Legislature, explained McCarty. Speaker of the House Stutes had said the day before: “we want to change the dynamic here and we want to be able to work together.”  So, by one o’clock the Republican group was concerned that the letter would be hijacked by the Democrats and they would submit it before I could get it out by 6:00 or 7:00 that night. I told my Republican caucus members: “One, if it does happen that’s too bad but at least the letter gets to Trudeau, and two, if that happens it will counter what the Speaker has said just the day before.” Fortunately the letter was not intercepted by the Majority. I had gathered a bipartisan group whose signatures were on it, and it was sent to Prime Minister Trudeau.[1]

 



 

McCarty continued: I think my efforts were successful because I am trying to have a healthy relationship with all players here, which doesn’t mean I agree with everything said, but where we are hyper-polarized we don’t accomplish things. Some don’t agree with ANYTHING from the other side. That behavior doesn’t get us very far and doesn’t result in the kind of statesmanship we need for good political outcomes.

 

It took 30 days for the minority to organize the Alaska House of Representatives at the start of this legislative session in 2021, after certain so-called Republicans aligned with with the Democrat minority. District 14 Rep. Kelly Merrick, gained a spot as chair of the Finance Committee to continue Alaska’s special interest big government spending spree as reward for Machiavellian political betrayal.[3].

 

Rep. McCarty did not talk about Rep. Merrick. Her actions speak for themselves.


 

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

 


It is important to be able to differentiate between what is important and what isn’t, continued McCarty. We must separate crisis from the Tyranny of Urgency; what is the priority from what is a distraction acting like a priority?

 

In the 1960s, Charles Hummel published a little booklet called Tyranny of the Urgent, and it quickly became a business classic. In it, Hummel argues that there is a regular tension between things that are urgent and things that are important—and far too often, the urgent wins.

In the business world, this means that demands of your boss, your client, or petty office relationships can often take priority over things that actually matter, like thoroughly completing a task before starting the next one, or building unity in a work team that would instill camaraderie and longevity.

The urgent, though less important, is prioritized, and therefore the important is put on the back burner.[3]

 

As a businessman himself, does McCarty believes this may be why so little is getting done in Juneau?


 

Read AK Roundtable story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/12/what-is-ak-roundtable.html


I see this all of the time, said McCarty. There is a Tyranny of Urgency now in data collection. I say: “Show me the evidence from an objective position.” It seems many people are swayed by data that is selective and when questioned on how does this relate to certain specific variables, they don’t have an answer.

 

McCarty continued: Covid is a classic example. Look at the data before Covid; this is what the flu season was, and this is how many people got it, the deaths from many things and how many are in the hospital, due to whatever. Since Covid, meaningful data has became obscure. Now everybody has gotten Covid and very few people died from anything else. Everything is Covid!

 

How is Omicron different than flu season? Kids are going back to school and all of a sudden some are sick with the flu. In the past we didn’t freak out like is happening today, said McCarty.

 

So what legislation is McCarty trying to get passed in Juneau?

 


 

McCarty was eager to discuss his offerings:

 

HB 142 says military members who move out of state will no longer receive a Permanent Fund Dividend payment, explained McCarty. Last year the Permanent Fund Corporation paid out $20,000,000 to people who no longer live here but keep collecting PFD checks under the guise of “intend to come back.”

 

I ask: where is that crystal ball? A lot do not return but keep getting paid for themselves and their kids, said McCarty. It isn’t right.

 

One might ask: Why haven’t any previous legislatures addressed this issue?

 

What is interesting, is military people who have retired and stayed in Alaska don’t think it’s right either, said McCarty. When the PFD was first proposed to be paid on a sliding scale according to length of residency it was determined to be illegal by the courts. I would say what is happening now is illegal because if you say this particular group of people can enroll and leave the state and keep receiving the dividend then you must say ANYONE who leaves the state should be able to continue receiving the Dividend.



Read this story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/08/arrogance-of-entitlement.html

 


Another bill that McCarty is sole primary sponsor: HB 53 has passed the House 40-0 and is in Senate Education Committee now, continued McCarty. It has been presented once and will be presented again this week before moving on. It is about allowing military families “PCSing” to Alaska to be able to sign their kids up for school before arrival so their kids can get into the classes they need.

 

It’s an easy bill, everybody in the House likes it so we will see how it is received in the Senate, he said. I was pleased it passed 40-0![5]

 

HB 278 says that if you have had Covid you are naturally vaccinated. You cannot lose your job, and if you test and have the antibodies that is all you need. You don’t have to keep being tested because you already have the antibodies. That bill was presented on the house floor and is in committee.[6]

 

What about education?

 

HB 108 provides for trade training for students while they are still in high school. The unique feature of this bill is that “anybody who is a master in the trades, using nationally recognized curriculum, will be able to become certified with an “M” Certification, and  can teach high school kids starting at age 14, in the trades, explained McCarty. This would mean students graduating with actual trade certification. A piece of paper that says you have attended classes means nothing in the trades; this law would empower kids in high school and also gets the community involved in education through these individuals who are proficient in particular trades providing training.

 

King Career Center is a great example of a school that is providing trade training, but this bill says all schools will have the option of doing this by connecting with entities in the community who will be able to help educate our kids for career success.


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

 


 

For example, continued McCarty, Chugiak High School has Birchwood Airport just down the street. If a kid wants to learn airport maintenance or management or aviation mechanics--or wants to become a pilot--they would do some things at the school and also go down to the airport and get concurrent enrollment in a related trade. This provides recognition of the trades and recognition of the high school.

 

We are getting a lot of letters about this bill, endorsing this concept. Alaska balladeer Ken Peltier has, already agreed to do Hobo Jim’s “Educated Man” song on a video to promote it.

 

Rep. McCarty has also co-sponsored a number of other bills. Readers may find all the bills with his name on them here: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Member/Detail/32?code=mcc#tab7_3



Read Nail Time & Spa and Kim’s Cuisine Story Here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/12/another-local-business-pandemic-survivor.html

 


 

What is the big picture from Juneau?

 

I am big into education as you are, Donn, and I want to see Alaskans who leave the state to get educated coming back, said McCarty. For example, my son is going to med school in Idaho—I visited him at Thanksgiving—along with four others who are from Alaska. Unfortunately, there is no residency program with that school in Alaska. So what are we doing to entice our people to come back to Alaska and maybe entice others to also come to Alaska for high skilled positions here?

 

We invest a lot of money in helping Alaskans gain higher education and our economy needs certain skills over others.[8]

 

I am an optimist! It is early in the session but last year we didn’t do a good job—we only passed 37 bills—so I say we need to work together, we need to make things happen. Let’s present the arguments and move along to fly the plane.

 


 

Some might say the 32nd Alaska Legislature spent the first half of this session with great difficulty learning to land.  Now it is time to learn how to fly.

 

References:

 

[1] Letter from Alaska Legislature to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

repkenmccarty.com




[2]The Art of Simple; fighting Tyrany of the Urgent

https://www.theartofsimple.net/fighting-the-tyranny-of-the-urgent-at-home/

 

[3] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince: “The first and most persistent view of Machiavelli is that of a teacher of evil…Machiavelli’s version recommends that a prince go to the “effectual truth” of things and forgo the standard of “what should be done” lest he bring about his ruin. To maintain himself a prince must learn how not to be good and use or not use this knowledge “according to necessity.”

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Niccolo-Machiavelli/The-Prince

 

[4]HB 142, "An Act relating to eligibility for the permanent fund dividend."

http://www.akleg.gov/PDF/32/Bills/HB0142A.PDF

 

[5]HB 53, "An Act relating to residency requirements for public school enrollment for certain children of active duty military and National Guard members."

http://www.akleg.gov/PDF/32/Bills/HB0053B.PDF

 

[6]HB 278,

"An Act relating to vaccination equivalents for the COVID-19 virus; and providing for an effective date.”

http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/32?Root=HB%20278

 

[7]HB 108, "An Act relating to concurrent vocational education, training, and on-the-job trade experience programs for students enrolled in public secondary schools; relating to child labor; and providing for an effective date."

https://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/32?Root=hb108

 

[8]Job Considerations to stay in Alaska

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2022/01/jobs-considerations-to-stay-in-alaska.html

 


_____

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

ACPE Higher Ed Opportunities

Consequences from Life Choices

(2022©donnliston.com)

 

Brother, Dana Scott Liston had a terrible accident in Hawaii and this photo was taken when our mother, half sister Becky McLaughlin and mother’s husband, Gil Martin, came to see him at the hospital. Scott has been a quadriplegic since 1989.


Looking back over a life of making good and bad choices I have been blessed to have arrived at a time today where the bounty of my Alaskan life has become self-evident. Having two younger siblings who have taken distinctly different paths, it is easy to see what could have happened were it not for my independent nature and people who gave me good advice at crucial crossroads—the first being right out of high school.

 

My younger brother, Scott, once told me of the time he tracked our IBEW Union, Anchorage Telephone Utility worker father down--at a local golf course--and asked him for help paying for college. Dad’s reported response: Get a Job. 


In fact, Dad could have encouraged Scott to consider entering the IBEW Apprentice Training School and he would have had a good chance of being placed there as a union member’s offspring. But that wasn’t the way our father operated.



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

Dad kicked me out of the family home mid-way through my senior year at East High School but I graduated on my own. I then got a job during that summer of 1969 cleaning up a construction worksite for Alaska Legislator, Nick Begich and taking care of his four kids. Begich was from Minnesota and came to Alaska as a public school teacher. At this time Begich was an east Anchorage senator who had license plate No. 6 on the family’s Coppertone Chrysler station wagon I sometimes drove for errands.

 


View of 23rd oil and gas lease sale for Alaska inside Sydney Laurence Auditorium in Anchorage, with map of North Slope area in Alaska on sign in background. Alaska Governor Keith Miller holds microphone, while Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Kelly stands at far right. Also from sign in photograph: "Map courtesy of Alaska Map Service, Inc. $ ,900,220,590." Sept. 10, 1969. Photographer: Ward W. Wells. Original photograph size: 8 1/8" x 10".

Mentors Can Make a Difference

 

Sen. Begich spent some quality time with me in the evenings while answering constituent mail. We talked about the prospect of a state rich from oil wealth as a result of the 23rd oil lease sale held earlier that year. The possibility of a settlement of Native Land Claims different from the traditional reservation dependency system seen across the continental United States was expected to lead to construction of a Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Alaska was going to be rich! We could be innovative in addressing needs of this state, and my generation would have a tremendous responsibility to assure the bounty was used and invested for immediate needs and opportunities for future generations.

 

Education was a priority for use of natural resource wealth and some of us have stuck around and tried to take our responsibility seriously.

 

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

 


Five concrete bunkers for the Anchorage Community College had been built at the giant mudhole on Providence Drive at Lake Otis Parkway, a considerable upgrade from previous evening classes at West High School. Nick urged me to get enrolled there in the coming fall, and pointed me in the direction of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) for financial assistance, which I did. I earned my bachelor’s degree in 1974 and paid off my ACPE loans thereafter.

 

Read AK Roundtable story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/12/what-is-ak-roundtable.html

 


Today I am a commissioner of the ACPE, appointed in 2020 by Gov. Michael Dunleavy for two years, and reappointed again this year for another four years. As a young man at the end of the 1960s--facing an uncertain future--I had no idea of what higher education resources were available to me or how to access them through a State agency. Nobody taught that in the Anchorage School District.

 

ACPE now conducts extensive levels of public information outreach in cooperation with many Alaska school districts.

 



 I serve on the Institutional Standards Committee of ACPE. Our committee meets on an ad hoc basis to make recommendations to the Commission for final action regarding initial authorization, renewal authorization, program changes, and institutional compliance with statutes and regulations for Alaska institutions.

 

Alaska higher education schools wanting students who qualify for ACPE Loans to gain training at their programs must qualify and maintain a certain caliber of Institutional integrity. At quarterly meetings ACPE commissioners review information about various schools so we may vote on whether to allow State funds to go to training students at those schools. Students who take loans to attend at these schools and training programs will be required to pay back those loans at a favorable interest rate, as I did.

 

Read Nail Time & Spa and Kim’s Cuisine Story Here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/12/another-local-business-pandemic-survivor.html


Students are also able to borrow from ACPE to attend Outside schools.

 

Commissioners participate in a deliberative process. Representatives from various other state educational organizations like the State Board of Education, the Alaska Legislature and the University of Alaska Board of Regents are also on the ACPE. In formal meetings we ask questions and vote to affirm or deny programs. My vote is 1 in 14.

 

At the ACPE Winter Quarterly Meeting, held January 12, 2022, we worked through 18 agenda items in about six hours with an hour for lunch. The packet is 123 pages. We heard a presentation from University of Alaska Interim President, Pat Pitney. It is no surprise that the UA System is facing huge challenges and this institution receives a major infusion of capital from ACPE student loans.

 


What We Did Recently as a Commission

 

Four institutions applied for Renewal of Authorization, two for Initial Authorization due to Ownership Change and two for program amendments during the recent quarterly meeting. Each of these application changes required presentation of the particulars with overview by staff and a vote of the commission to affirm or deny.

 

Executive Director Sana Efird provided overview of the ongoing efforts of the organization and political considerations for the upcoming second regular 32nd Legislative Session in Juneau. We have an interest in a number of pending bills.

 

Read Private Property Rights story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/08/arrogance-of-entitlement.html


It should also come as no surprise that loan originations are down. Many who might have anticipated going for higher education training during the Covid-19 pandemic may have decided to wait until health concerns subsided. Emphasis in the portfolio now seems to be on refinancing current loans.

 




 

As number of loans declines the Commission has embarked upon cost-saving measures including reduction of personnel. The highest costs are related to personnel so outsourcing of professional services has been set on a schedule to reduce overhead and maximize funds available for student loans.

 



 

As a certified Alaska teacher beginning in 2003 I learned early-on that kids whose parents had not graduated high school were probably not going to graduate high school either. This caused me to gravitate my career to Adult Basic Education to help the estimated 25 percent of Alaska students who began in an Alaska kindergarten and do not graduate high school. The ABE program is run through the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the adults I worked with mostly needed direct instruction in Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. And, once they are able to work through the material enough to anticipate graduating, I urged them to consider career ladder possibilities, utilizing an important ACPE resource: Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS)--a cost-effective online platform for comprehensive career, education, and financial aid information. It is an interactive planning tool with a personal, portable online portfolio. ACPE makes AKCIS available across Alaska at no cost to sites through a single statewide license.

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

 

 


 

I am gratified to be part of an ACPE organization seeking to provide education and training for Alaskans beyond high school. That choice has made a tremendous difference in my own life.

Back to circumstances of my brother, Scott. He kicked around in the carpentry trade and fathered five children. In 1989—the same year I gained my Master’s Degree in Education at University of Alaska Southeast—he hooked up with some buddies in Hawaii and had a terrible accident. I have been told by family members he and the others were using intoxicants when he grabbed up a hang-glider, launched off a mountain, and crashed.

 

Scott became a bitter man, estranged from all of his kids, but I am in occasional communication with one daughter in Washington who now has had a long career as a teacher.

 

Success in life is all about choices and good choices made early in life can be the most important.

 

 





_____

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

How will this Nightmare End?

Expectations of The People

(2022©donnliston.com)

 


 

Our Alaska Constitution states clearly in Article I Section 2. Source of Government: all political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole.

 

Elected officials represent The People.

 

Once elected, many don’t seem to care about The People anymore. They flock to backwater Juneau for the annual session, to be immediately kidnapped by special interests who issue ransom notes for their return. These elected officials—empowered by our votes—then form majority coalitions to accommodate special interest demands. They conspire to see how long they can keep the ball in the air before returning to their Districts with mostly crumbs. For one example of the legislature’s belligerence, The People asked by referendum in 2006 for session to last 90 days.[1]

 

It has seldomly ended within 90 days.[2]

 

Once in Juneau elected representatives of The People embark on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, patronizing voters from afar. The People watch as though we have fallen into a rabbit hole and everything is a wonder.

 

`And how many hours a day did you do lessons?’ said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.

`Ten hours the first day,’ said the Mock Turtle: `nine the next, and so on.’

`What a curious plan!’ exclaimed Alice.

`That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: `because they lessen from day to day.’[3]

 


Read story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/12/what-is-ak-roundtable.html


The author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass used these fantasies to teach his daughter and her friends how to play chess. But Alaskans are tiring of the games being played in Juneau and would like to see their number one concern addressed: Restoration of the statutory formula for payment of the Permanent Fund Dividend, and payment of full balance owed. Time is of the essence.

 

CHECK.

 


 

Let’s view this Through The Looking Glass. When exactly can we, The People, expect our legislators to meaningfully address the largest issue they are trying to ignore—whether to follow THE LAW AND PAST PRACTICE for Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Distribution?

 

It’s a fair question.

 

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

The legislature cannot change the law without a vote of The People, so they skirt the law and manipulate the law--while continuing to increase the state budget as many are forced to leave the state--and they count on Alaskans trained for ignorance in our failing government schools to accept their arrogance. But, as former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond (one of the founders of the Permanent Fund) had anticipated, the PFD would cause Alaskans to become strong supporters of the Permanent Fund to assure it carries on to future generations.

 

That is happening now.

 

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

 

We have seen a legislative spectacle in Juneau over at least the last decade. Now The People must reveal and target those who will be replaced in elections looming later this year. We cannot count on voters educated in government schools to know why they are being denied their share—especially in rural Alaska or the poverty districts of Anchorage controlled by public sector unions.

 


 

Readers might recall The People replaced about half of the legislators we needed to defeat in the last election. I wrote one year ago about the incoming legislature. This will be the second half of the 32nd Alaska Legislature. So far it has been a do-nothing legislature going for 217 days and passing the fewest bills (37) of any full session in the state’s history.

 

Pay, benefits and per diem are the dividend THEY extract from State government. Recently some have the guts to say they need a raise!

 


 

Alaska voters have experienced a learning curve as former Gov. Bill Walker and legislative majority coalitions decided to ignore the more than 40 year tried and true formula for distribution of the Dividend to Alaskans from earnings of the Permanent Fund. This was done to accommodate the public sector unions and other special interests wanting to buy more government. Voters saw some of these lawless legislators refuse to meet in Wasilla at a Special Session called by Gov. Dunleavy--who is specifically charged with determining where the Special Session shall be held. Instead, the mongrel majority met in Juneau in defiance of the governor and the Alaska constitution. Voters have also learned over the last year about the organizing tool of a Binding Caucus as a means for a few legislators in positions of power to muscle the rest into ever increasing budgets that nobody is accountable for. So now that the 2020 elections are over let’s look at who is--and is not--going back to Juneau. At this time the House is having trouble organizing again as it did in the last session. So let’s consider what we might expect from the 32nd Alaska Legislature convening January 19, 2021.[4]

 

Background of the Permanent Fund

 

Formation of the Alaska Permanent Fund was an attempt to keep from wasting our mammoth resource wealth by annually distributing half of the earnings to The People for their own use. You may review that history at the Permanent Fund Corporation’s website:[5]

 


 

There you will find a description of the mechanics leading to creation and institution of The Permanent Fund and the Dividend, meant to give The People a stake in the resource bounty they own. An axillary goal of this wealth account should be efficient and honest state government.

 

From that site:

 

Alaska’s Constitution does not allow for dedicated funds, so in order to direct these oil revenues into a permanent fund, the Constitution had to be amended. Placing the founding language for the fund in the Constitution had the added benefit of helping protect it from being spent by the Legislature without a vote of the people. A Constitutional Amendment requires a majority vote of the people of Alaska, and the item was put on the 1976 statewide general election ballot. By a margin of 75,588 t o 38,518, a Constitutional Amendment establishing the Permanent Fund was approved.

 

The first Permanent Fund Dividend check for $1,000 was issued in 1982, following a bruising court battle, in which the initial plan for a distribution of dividends–with amounts given on a graduated scale based on length of residency–was ruled unconstitutional by the Alaska Supreme Court.


 

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


In his book “Tales of Alaska’s Bush Rat Governor, Hammond explains the genesis of the Permanent Fund:

 

…as governor I believed the best approach was to divert money into a dividend-dispersing investment account, in which all Alaskans were “stockholders.” To promote this idea I initiated the Alaska Public Forum, a traveling town meeting, to whip up support for a program…

 

Public response was underwhelming. Despite lack of encouragement, I introduced a bill to create : ”Alaska, Inc.” by amending the constitution.

 

Under this proposal, Alaska, Inc. would receive 50 percent of all natural resource lease, bonus, royalty and severance tax dollars, and put them virtually out of easy reach by requiring a statewide vote before the principle could be invaded. Annual earnings from the account would be divided in half: fifty percent would be dispersed in cash dividends, to all Alaskans, in the form of one share of dividend-paying “stock” for each year of residency since statehood…

 

Since absolute equity was a necessary objective I preferred to let each Alaskan—not the politicians—decide how he or she should spend some of the resource each owned.[6]

 

The formula for determining how much would be given out for dividends was changed then to accommodate legal requirements and placed into statute. It has been used now over four decades until 2016 when Gov. Bill Walker and a renegade legislature changed practice without changing the law.


Read Nail Time & Spa and Kim’s Cuisine Story Here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/12/another-local-business-pandemic-survivor.html

 

 


In his 2011 book Diapering the Devil, Hammond examined some of the events that had occurred regarding the Permanent Fund since its formation, describing how he debated all candidates for governor in 1990 during which time former Republican Gov. Walter Hickel promised to veto any appropriations of The Permanent Fund for other than inflation-proofing or dividends if re-elected. Following Hickel’s single term, Democrat Gov. Tony Knowles, in 1999 insisted a fiscal plan passed by the Legislature, including use of fund money which otherwise could be used for dividends, be placed on the ballot. It was defeated by a whopping 83% of the voters, largely be cause no lid had been placed on the amount of dividend dollars that could be so spent.[5]

 

The Permanent Fund was the third rail of Alaskan politics—the one that can electrocute any politician who so much as touched it. Gov. Walker and the Majority Coalition of the Alaska Legislature bridged that rail and now it is up to The People to correct this electrical fault.

 


 

Today The People are outraged. We know exactly how much is owed by elected citizen legislators who have done pretty well for themselves financially since 2016. Some of us have received every dividend check, and our Alaska economy has benefitted greatly from our use of dividend funds, but our patience is running out.


 

Read this story here: https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/08/arrogance-of-entitlement.html


What the Legislature Must Do.

 

Watch what happens when the Alaska Legislature convenes in Juneau this year. There will be a lot of hoopla about pre-filed bills to do all kinds of wonderful things. These are distractions. We will hear about how Legislators are impacted by the weather in Juneau and how we can call into any hearing and our voice will be heard. More distractions. Meanwhile the pittance PFD The People received last year would not be enough to pay for a round-trip to Juneau from the population center rail belt to visit legislators we voted for last election.

 


 

They don’t care. You don’t have a lobbyist whispering in their ear at every opportunity. But they are whistling past the graveyard:

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has proposed three constitutional amendments to protect our Permanent Fund Dividend:

1)   Constitutional Amendment – Affirmative Vote of the People for Taxes SJR 7 remains in Senate Finance Committee. In the House HJR 8 was given three committees of referral and remains in the first one.

2)   Constitutional Amendment – Vote of the People to Change the Dividend Program SB 53 Transmittal Letter attached. Written public testimony is strident.[6]

3)   Effective Constitutional Spending Limit; Savings Plan (SJR 5/HJR 7).


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



If the Alaska Legislature were truly accessible to The People, these games would not be the same. Statehood was about severing the economic and political stranglehold Seattle had on Alaska. More than 60 years later we are still in the grip of Seattle through its suburb of Juneau. Nothing demonstrates this like the tone deafness of the Alaska Legislature when it comes to statutory requirements for PFD distribution.[9]

 

How many of these legislators will have X over their picture after November?


Let your legislator know how you feel about this duplicity. Why don’t they want The People to vote on constitutional amendments proposed by Gov. Dunleavy? Tell your legislators they have ONE JOB and when they complete that job we might be ready to reflect on what has happened since 2016, with prejudice--as Alice did.

 

`Wake up, Alice dear!' said her sister; `Why, what a long sleep you've had!' `

 Oh, I've had such a curious dream!' said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange Adventures of hers that you have just been reading about; and when she had finished, her sister kissed her, and said, `It WAS a curious dream, dear, certainly: but now run in to your tea; it's getting late.' So Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.

 

The People will prevail. Our system of government depends upon it.

 

References:

 

[1] Ballot Initiative to limit Legislative Sessions to 90 days, Alaska Division of Elections:11/07/06 117,675 FOR, 113,832 AGAINST https://www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/forms/H26.pdf

 

[2]Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency

https://akleg.gov

 


 


 


 

 

[3]Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll,

https://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/

[4]Hopes for the New Legislature

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/12/legislative-hopes-for-this-year.html

[5]Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation History of the fund

https://apfc.org/who-we-are/history-of-the-alaska-permanent-fund/

[6]Gov. Jay Hammond, Tales of a Bushrat Governor, Epicenter Press, 1994, Pg 247-248

[7]Gov. Jay Hammond, Diapering the Devil, Published by Kachemack Resource Institute, 1520 Lakeshore Dr., Homer, AK   99603, 2011, P 36

 [8]SB 53 Transmitting Letter

 


 

[9[One represwntative packet of testimony on this bill:

http://www.akleg.gov/basis/get_documents.asp?session=32&docid=67545



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Hopes for the 32nd Alaska Legislature

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