Tomorrow Sullivan will cross a union picket line to preside over a highly partisan "Unity" dinner, that will replace Anchorage's annual "Diversity" dinner. Meanwhile, two blocks away, a "True Diversity" Dinner will be presided over by Anchorage assembly member, Elvi Grey-Jackson.
Wednesday, ethically challenged Anchorage assembly member Bill Starr accused former Anchorage mayor Mark Begich of manipulating city policy, perhaps in a criminal way, to negotiate union contracts that Starr claims leave the city in a precarious position. Although the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU-TV covered the story yesterday, including the late-breaking statement by a representative of one of the unions involved, neither traditional outlet put Starr's veracity to the question it surely deserves.
It took Alaska blogger, Shannyn Moore, to do that:
Hmmm. It’s hard to put much stock in anything coming out of Mr. Starr’s mouth. He asked us a few years ago to ignore what he’d said in a “private” conversation between him and Assemblyman Dan Coffey. Coffey “butt dialed” Assemblyman Allan Tesche’s home phone and inadvertently left a damning message several minutes long. You can listen for yourself here.
Their conversation was laced with vulgarity and Mr. Starr had some nasty things to say about the police union.
In the first part of the recording, Coffey and Starr discussed raising money for their favorite “conservative” candidates. They were doling it out $250 at a time to “show they cared.” In the case of Dick Traini, who was running for re-election, it would be used as leverage to ensure Traini voted the way they wanted him to. After the tape went public, Coffey claimed it was just a joke. They referred to Dan Sullivan as “Sully” and were giving him money to hold. Funny joke.
In another section of the recording, Starr was mad the Anchorage Police Department’s union (APDEA) wasn’t endorsing him. Starr had supported a shooting range, but had been against them driving their police cars home to the Valley at night.
Mr. Starr: “…You go my way or the freeway, you know. Here’s–I got a call from Del Smith today and I’m going to tell those sons-of-bitches to fuck themselves…”
Mr. Coffey: “...down on the mudflats…and up your ass…”
Wow, Mr. Starr…Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? When the “butt dial” recording went viral, you told us your own voice and words caught on tape weren’t true…so why would anything you say now be gospel? You have been a muppet for Dan Coffey and Dan Sullivan for years. Your contempt for the unions is articulated in your own words. Your willingness to compromise the truth for “Team Dan” is evident. Your family values seem a little fetish.
Here's a link to the transcript of the entire Coffey-Starr-Sullivan shakedown cruise butt-dialing episode, at the Alaska Report.
Why can't our local mainstream media put the continuing corruption of this gang into better perspective? Reason one that our progressive bloggers need to be here.
II. Wednesday Linda Kellen attended the quarterly meeting of the State of Alaska Personnel Board. She will be returning for the rest of the session's meetings. No Alaska media covered day one. Perhaps they will be covering the continuing hearings. Today the board will probably take up the matter of the exemption from the3 laws on financial disclosure requested by former governor, Sarah Palin.
Here is some of what Linda wrote about the probable material to be covered in today's hearing:
The staff will present their recommendation to the Commissioners tomorrow, immediately before the public comments period. I called the APOC staff and they do not know if the Commissioners will deliberate and make a decision before the public comments or not.
1) No one as of yet has made a complaint regarding specific gifts missing from Palin's 2008 gift disclosure. I'm not sure if they will be able to act on anything unless they have specific evidence of missing gifts.
2) Regarding Arctic Cat...following the Staff Recommendation sets a dangerous precedent regarding disclosure for ALL public officials in Alaska. A spouse of ANY public official could simply choose NOT to tell that official about their income (wink, wink) yet still use that income for the benefit of the family, including that public official.
3) Business could "pay" these spouses in "discounts" to avoid disclosure.
4) Even if these "discounts" from Arctic Cat do not qualify as "income," they most certainly qualify as "gifts" which directly benefit Sarah Palin. While "other income" must be reported if it is over $1,000 (according to POFD instructions), gifts over $250.00 must be reported...this includes the amount.
5) Sarah Palin has NOT answered any direct questions about the Arctic Cat income, though she DID report it in 2007...that means she consciously witheld it. Sarah Palin did not provide the sponsorship amounts from ANY Iron Dog sponsor on her 2008 POFD.
Sarah Palin in NO WAY has satisfied the questions about the Arctic Cat sponsorship. IN NO WAY has Sarah Palin followed the disclosure laws regarding the Arctic Cat sponsorship per APOC's POFD form instructions.
Public Comments are accepted in written form as well as verbally in front of the Commissioners.
III. Mel at Henkimaa, in a post on the True Diversity Dinner vs. the un-Diversity Dinner, after giving some astute analysis of Moore's post on Sullivan, presses on, on the importance of understanding this ongoing battle against organized labor and the middle class:
But what’s this got to do with True Diversity Dinner and the Mayor’s Unity Dinner?
(Besides, that is, the fact that Shannyn Moore will be the keynote speaker at the True Diversity Dinner.)
This: that Mayor Sullivan’s dinner will be held at the only hotel in Anchorage under boycott by workers because of bad faith negotiating by Columbia Sussex, the Hilton’s owners. I hadn’t known about this situation before, & thank Shannyn for providing that context. I got additional information through an article penned in June by Brendan Joel Kelley of the Anchorage Press,[Ref #3] while I was preoccupied with the battle for the Anchorage equal rights ordinance. The mayor’s choice of venue goes hand-in-hand with the union-busting tactics being used against IBEW and the police union (and one must also hasten to wonder about Mayor Sullivan’s valuation of the city’s other first responders in the Anchorage Fire Department, about which Brendan Joel Kelley has also written [Ref #4]).
Mayor Sullivan appears to care as little about fair terms for Anchorage police, fire, electrical, and hotel workers as he does about LGBT workers. Are unionbusting, bad faith bargaining, and unilateral attempts to get out of contracts part of the Mayor’s platform of diversity — or rather, er, unity? As for me, I think a strong diverse workforce is rather essential to both, and unions are part of that.
Shannyn also points out the partisan credentials of the Mayor’s keynote speaker, former Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, who will also be getting a hefty fee for headlining a Republican fundraiser while he’s in town. “Unity”? Looks more like Republican party-building to me.
True Diversity Dinner program
Meanwhile, planning for the True Diversity Dinner proceeds — and we’re almost there! Our speaker line-up includes Rev. Marquita Pierre, Diane Benson, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Shannyn Moore, and more. We’ll also have performances by Yup’ik dancers and singer Steven Alvarez, plus a dance afterwards. We’re gonna have a great time!
But here’s time for a plea for help: the $10 being charged for tickets to the dinner only begins to cover the dinner’s cost; much of the cost has been coming out of our pockets. Any help you can give will be appreciated — just go to the True Diversity Dinner web page and use the handy Donate button.