This morning, I got my first talk since July 2008 with recently elected Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mayor, and former Alaska Attorney General, Talis Colberg, in Palmer, where we both were at the annual Colony Days Parade.
A lot of what we talked about is off limits here - catching up on our families, and a few details about his job as attorney general that I don't think he shared with Progressive Alaska in mind.
About the only detail on his work as AG that I've been critical of that he seemed willing to share was his thought that in the controversy over access by University of Alaska Prof. Rick Steiner, to correspondence by state-employed scientists, on the classification of Polar bears, Colberg feels that had Steiner's initial query been far more focused, a different result would probably have come from that focus. I told him that I thought Steiner's query was more focused than the state made it out to be, and that Talis' response to the ensuing publicity about the dispute was the first sign I felt I saw that Colberg was going to become more and more uncomfortable with the Palin administration's lack of transparency and growing anti-science stance.
We discussed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's choice of Wayne Anthony Ross to be Colberg's successor as AG. Colberg described Ross as "a fine attorney in his sphere," but ultimately agreed with me that Palin's nomination of such an intensely polarizing figure as W.A.R. was inappropriate. Talis felt that had Ross' confirmation vote come up a week earlier, he would have passed muster. He may be right.
I had to go back to playing with the Mat-Su Band, a group that I led or co-led at 14 Colony Days Parades, but before I did, I got to snap a picture of Talis, who used to teach at Mat-Su College, with our mutual friend, Bill Tull, one of the founders of Mat-Su College, and Alaska's best jazz clarinet player.
I've stayed away from most performances of my former band in the 19 months since I left, partially to give my successors a totally free hand in taking the band in a new direction.
I'll be playing with the ensemble more now, though, and enjoyed our hour together immensely, playing Sousa, Henry Fillmore, Henry Mancini and Karl King favorites on a misty, windless morning.