Alaska Ear

The divine appendage

September 11, 2010 

IS SHE OR ISN'T SHE ... The brain twister occupying earwigs around town this past week was if and how Lisa can win an Alaska write-in campaign when no one else has. If she decides to run, of course. She's not exactly a dynamic campaigner. If she were, she probably would have won the primary.

Anyhow, the first hurdle to a possible write-in win disappeared when elections director Gail Fenumiai said voters won't have to spell "Murkowski" correctly, as long as she can figure out who they intend to vote for. Just "Lisa" might be a problem but "Lisa M" would be acceptable, Fenumiai told the politics blog. (See Erika Bolstad's story there.)

We all know voters can't use stickers on a ballot and Fenumiai has apparently ruled that rubber stamps also can't be used.

According to people who pay attention to this stuff, the biggest problem is voters writing in her name but failing to blacken the oval next to it. Fenumiai's office confirmed that write-in votes don't count if the voter doesn't fill in the little bubble next to the name. The little bubble is the actual "vote."

Some write-in advocates are touting elastic bracelets, those colorful bands people wear for a variety of causes or just for adornment. They think she should distribute 50,000 of them that say "Lisa M. Write in and Fill in." Or words to that effect.

REWORKED AGENDAS? ... Some Republicans are talking unkindly about Mayor Sullivan. It seems Our Dan was invited to a small inner-circle strategy meeting with Lisa last Saturday to talk about her options and give her advice. An earwig reports Sullivan urged her not to run, arguing that the voters had spoken and she needed to accept defeat.

The very next day, Sullivan issued a public statement supporting Joe Miller. But only "after I had had a full day to consider the pros and cons of Sen. Murkowski's continued pursuit of the senate seat," the mayor said Friday in a written comment.

Sullivan apparently neglected to mention he was considering such a move, but hey, that's politics.

And that wasn't the only strategy meeting featuring readjusted alliances last week. Earwigs report spotting a Miller confab Wednesday at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel featuring GOP heavies who, two weeks ago, were Lisa's best buds.

Darlings, repeat after Ear: It's politics.

COMING MERGER? ... Earwigs say an Alaska Native corporation is planning to announce a merger this week with a motion picture production company. We allegedly have "an emerging film industry" here -- who knew? -- and the corporation wants to position itself on the red carpet.

OUT AND ABOUT ... Among those who gathered last week for a "soft fundraiser" for Ron Spatz's UAA Honors College: Arliss Sturgulewski, Talis Colberg, Mead Treadwell, John Minge (he's BP Alaska president), Dr. Tom Nighswander and Sharon and Bruce Gagnon.

• Seen having lunch at the Spenard Roadhouse, Rep. Mike Doogan, all recuperated from surgery and as acerbic as ever.

DO SEND A FONDUE ... Longtime Anchorage conductor and all around Queen of the Classy Music Scene Elvera Voth got married Aug. 6 in Hesston, Kan. The groom is Lester Ewy. The bride is 87.

Elvera, who once had a sandwich named after her at a local restaurant, came to Alaska in the 1950s and for 30 years directed or was instrumental in founding the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Anchorage Opera, Basically Bach Festival, UAA Chorus and Alaska Children's Choir. She went back to Kansas in the 1990s and organized a male convicts' chorus in the Kansas prison system.

Of course she did.

INTERESTING DIVORCE ... Anchorage personal injury lawyers Bill Azar and Frank Schlehofer, who have practiced together since law was invented, appear to have split. They used to advertise their partnership on TV annoyingly often. They're still advertising annoyingly often, but separately.

NO COMMENT ... The Anchorage Republican Women's Club has changed the name of its longtime newsletter from "The Trunk Line" (elephants, get it?) to "The Pumpline." Oil, right? Nope. A high-heeled shoe.

Yeech. Back to the '50s. Do they even use the word "pump" for shoes anymore?

TOURISTS ... This may be the best one of the summer:

After returning from a trip to Barrow, a woman tourist announced she was shocked, just shocked at the extent of clear-cutting that had taken place all across the North Slope. She could see the barren earth left behind from her window seat on the plane.

Here's another one, from a clerk at a Fourth Avenue gift shop: A couple came in looking for mammoth ivory jewelry. After making a selection, the woman asked: "Are the woolly mammoths still in Alaska? Where else do they live?"

The woman seemed unconvinced when told they were extinct.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Find Ear online at Message Sheila at 257-4341 or

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