Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Daily News Sells Out Once Again - When Will We Learn?

It isn't surprising that the Anchorage Daily News editorial staff published an "Our View" editorial today that mildly, almost meekly chided Anchorage Mayor Sullivan for the obvious conflict of interest in regard to his collecting a check for $193,000.00 for the Sullivan Family Trust, without informing the body voting on the disbursal - the Anchorage Assembly - that he was and is the trust's executive authority.

It isn't surprising that the editorial makes no mention of the facts that:

1.) The Municipality of Anchorage is not authorized by state law to have disbursed the "insurance" payout the way they did.

2.) There are serious questions emerging about whether or not City Attorney Dennis Weaver may have defrauded and extorted the people of Anchorage, by portraying a contractual relationship to have existed between the MOA and the SFT in ways that wouldn't have been legal, even if something that might be construed as a "contract" actually does exist.

3.) There are serious questions emerging about who knew what when over the course of this illegal agreement that are beginning to indicate that the current Mayor Sullivan has been aware for some time that the deal was questionable, and may have sought to hide that while serving on the assembly.

I'm vexed, though, that some have chosen to laud the ADN for essentially hanging Sean Cockerham, Mel Green, KSKA's Len Anderson, Harriet Drummond and the preople of Anchorage out to dry. The fact that these usually solidarity-prone writers know that Mel is currently working on a deep investigative article regarding some of the missing pieces of the puzzle, makes this praise of the ADN's small-minded, perhaps intentionally misleading editorial even more disconcerting. These endorsements of one more ADN sellout by people who had been strongly supporting Cockerham at a time when he's probably being pressured to drop the story (that is why the editorial was printed, my friends), are disturbing, to say the least, mostly because we've seen the ADN do this before, and should have learned.

The ADN promised to allow Cockerham to stay on important stories that he was then forced to walk away from before. For instance, on July 10th, Cockerham promised further stories on the depth of lies coming out of the Palin governor's office regarding where and how much state money was being spent on ethics complaints.

The ADN failed Alaskans on Wayne Anthony Ross. They failed Alaskans on the degree that Palin lied about ethics complaint expenses. And they are failing Alaskans now by putting Sean Cockerham under pressure to move on.


Anonymous said...

Another issue that the editorial failed to address is the tax treatment of the payout. Insurance proceeds are paid income-tax free while payments in respect to a decedent are taxable. Insurance is regulated by the state so the determination of whether or not this payment qualifies as 'insurance' would probably be made by the Alaska division of insurance.

AKPetMom said...

I'm going to play the defeatist card and say "the rich always get richer" often on the backs of the poor. That's the way the world works.

Donald Trump has declared bankruptcy 4 times; he uses it as a financial tool. Those worth less than a few million use the same tool and they are screwed financially for at least 5 years.

There are different rules for those with power and money. I don't believe that we can ever change that. Sullivan is simply exercising the benefits of his birthright and his wealth.

Nancye said...

Maybe the city has a lot of business with ADN and Sullivan's people threatened the editor with less "news nuggets."

It sickens me that ADN is the only news paper in Anchorage.

Just another taxpayer said...

Will there be any actual consequence to his action other than a slap on the wrist? How did he get paid so fast?

Celia Harrison said...

Good for you. I once had a reporter at the ADN tell me a lie to get me to stop asking them to report something. They fail on native issues, DOL malfeasance, and the problems in the prison system also. They out and refuse to print a lot of information the public really needs to know. They won't write the stories until something happens that forces them to. They recently printed a very misleading story that went to all over the country tell a false tale.

Anonymous said...

I just gotta wonder what it really takes to get the FBI involved. Did Uncle Ted scare them off? Good grief!

And AKPetMom is exactly right. There is a ruling class in Alaska. The insulting thing is that they lack charm, intellect and most of all, class.

Anonymous said...

You have made several important and valid points. Thank you for your analysis, in particular the perspective that ADN's editorial may be an effort to end their coverage of the story. However, a not so thinly veiled attack on those who approached this issue differently is unbecoming to you and detracts from the more important points of your post. It adds pettiness to your otherwise very astute and valuable observations.

RoseMontague said...

That ADN article is pretty amusing. It is interesting that a newspaper would focus on the least offensive possibility regarding this payout.

OMG, this Sullivan fellow might just be involved in a conflict of interest!!!! I have no clue about the high praise given this editorial by AKM. She seems to me to be much smarter than that.

The deal with the decreasing "premiums" needs more examination, in my opinion.

Philip Munger said...

Anon @ 12:40 a.m:

I am easily old enough to be the dad of my two colleagues I criticized. When your kids publicly praise somebody for hiding the truth, or back up some other kid's cover story, do you merely chastise them in private?

My kids are now grownups, but when they publicly came out in support of a bad idea that undercut either another of their friends' or undercut the morals our family lived by, they sometimes were criticized for it in front of their friends.

As you may know, when people have been critical of things written here, I have gone so far as to open up the blog for their essays that openly and sometimes severely criticized me.

As you probably don't know, my irritation may be elevated by the fact that when I visited my doctor on Monday, he told me that had I not seen him then, I would probably have been dead by today, and will be undergoing emergency surgery tomorrow.

Something about enabling Alaska's culture of protecting the powerful in those two posts reminded me of my efforts dating back to 1973, to expose corrupt practices in Alaska, in the face of thinking about how little time someone may have, made me feel it was necessary to call a spade a spade.

RoseMontague said...

Best wishes and hope for a speedy recovery Philip. Friends sometime disagree with each other, if not, I don't believe they are truly friends.

clark said...

damn, philip.
hope you're going to be OK!

Anonymous said...

Reading the ADN is like eating cream of wheat with sour milk.

Best wishes on your procedure and recovery, Phil!!

Scott, no nickname, just Scott said...


So Dennis Weaver has been resurrected form the grave AND he's city attorney.