Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Alaskans, You Should Read This Before You Vote on the Constitutional Convention Question


Proposition No. 1 on Alaska's ballot next Tuesday asks the voters to decide whether there should be a Constitutional Convention.   The Constitution itself requires that this question appear on the ballot every 10 years, and this is the year for that vote.

This is a deceptively simple question with big ramifications.   I have worked with Alaska Common Ground, an organization of which I am a board member, to develop a position paper on this issue.   Here is a link to it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Alaska Legislative Candidate Discloses Apparent Bribe Attempt from VECO in 1996 Regarding Private Prison


Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News does it again, getting an Alaska State Senate candidate to reveal that in 1996 he was offered engineering contracts and "a whole bunch of money" for his re-election campaign to the Anchorage Assembly if the official would support the effort of the now-defunct oil-services giant VECO and other companies to build a private prison in South Anchorage.

The legislative candidate--Anchorage Republican and consulting engineer Bob Bell--told the newspaper that he turned down  the money and did not support the prison but also did not report this apparent bribery attempt to authorities.

Mauer's article includes this exchange:

"Told that the offer of an engineering contract in return for his support of the prison as an Assemblyman could be a crime, Bell replied:

'It is?'"

The Anchorage Daily News story also reports that Bell had released a list showing that the oil producer BP was the biggest client of Bell's engineering firm in 2011, and in fact had paid more than $1 million.  

These revelations have the potential of shaking up a State Senate race that is a critical campaign in the efforts of Gov. Sean Parnell and oil producers to engineer a majority in the State Senate friendly to Parnell's initiative to cut taxes on oil production in an attempt to stimulate that production. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tom Anderson Likely to Get Off Probation Early


Federal probation authorities have made an unopposed request that ex-Alaska State Rep. Tom Anderson be released early from probation.    Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News has the report on the request, which would shave about nine months of Anderson's sentence based on the former Anchorage Republican legislator's compliance with the terms of his supervised release, including a substance abuse program.

It is always seemed odd in some moral sense that Anderson--who is obviously not the most culpable figure in the federal probe into Alaska public corruption--has served the most severe sentence of any defendant in the cases arising from that investigation.