ONE DAMN THING AFTER ANOTHER ... With the end of session looming, tensions are running high in the Capitol, but not because of oil taxes or bills stuck in unfriendly committees or trouble getting a seat on the plane home. The thrumming of nerves is all about reapportionment. The proposed plan was published Thursday and any number of veteran legislators, especially down Ketchikan/Wrangell way, may end up running against each other as districts collapse in response to shifting (and disappearing) population.
An earwig claims to have heard Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, railing against Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, at a Juneau meeting of Southeast Republican legislators and Juneau party leaders. The other rep in Stedman's Senate district is Kyle Johansen, R-Love Caucus.
Peggy must have been unnerved. Later Thursday she issued a press release that included the following Freudian typo:
"Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 3:49 PM
Subject: News from Peggy Wilson: Alaska Dedistricting Conceptual Maps"
At least Ear assumes it was a typo.
MEANWHILE ... No one's fixed the cracked glass on the men's room door that Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, broke last week when he slammed it in a fit of pique. Everyone's too busy discussing important issues like cellphones, license plates, wood buffaloes, flag songs and vitamin D.
QUESTIONS ... People with nothing better to do than sit through Redistricting Board meetings couldn't help but wonder why people who presumably have actual jobs were there during working hours: Earwigs report spotting Rick Solie of the Conoco/Denali Pipeline Co., Joe Balash, DNR deputy commish, and Tim Sullivan, an employee of the Department of Commerce.
DOPPLER RADAR ... Earwigs lunching at the China Lights restaurant in South Anchorage last weekend claim to have stumbled into a time warp. Gathered at a table, enjoying the buffet, were a bipartisan, bicameral collection of former legislators who meet now and then to rehash old times. Instigated by Mike Szymanski (who else?), the group included Arliss Sturgulewski, Chancy Croft, Vic Fischer, Loren Leman, Bill Parker, Gail Phillips, Willie Hensley, Mike Gravel (really) and maybe 25 others.
Szymanski calls the group the Fossils. He handed out Fossils pins.
QUOTABLE ... The approaching end of session must have inspired Anchorage Rep. Les Gara. The Alaska Budget Report quoted him as follows, from an April 8 floor speech during a joint House and Senate session:
"I like you guys. I look around here and somewhere between 50 and 60 of you are really nice people."
AND IN THE NEWS ... Bill McAllister managed to keep a low profile for two years as a flack for the Department of Law. Now he's headed back to reporting, this time for Channel 11, and he's popping up all over the place.
* A collective snort could be heard last week as Alaska journalists read stories about McAllister's run-in with a Northern Kentucky University professor over the idiotic claim that Sarah faked the pregnancy that produced her son, Trig. The professor suggested in a "research" paper that Sarah hired McAllister as a payoff for not revealing the "hoax" of Trig's birth. Or something like that. (The professor apparently missed reporter Lisa Demer's 2008 interview with the doctor who delivered Trig and confirmed her maternity.)
Instead of just ignoring the tired old nonsense, Prickly Bill emailed the professor a nasty letter that included statements like, "If we ever meet, I'll slap you," and "She hired me because I was the best known politics reporter in the state of Alaska" (not really), plus claims he'd "taken down" several politicians in Minnesota. The professor made the letter public. Bill and the professor traded slurs on Alaska Dispatch, including Bill calling the professor "the harlot" and "Mr. Charlatan." If you care, you can find the various missives at thenortherner.com or alaskadispatch.com
* And, in unrelated histrionics, McAllister is playing one of the leads in the current Cyrano's production, "Becky's New Car." They say he's pretty good.
So, short-tempered, back in the public eye, a heavy hand on the keyboard -- what's not to like about this guy?
SPEAKING OF ... she who was governor, Salon.com was purring over an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey that found Sarah's negatives are now 53 percent. (The good news: she's still more popular than Moammar Gadhafi.)
Sure darlings, keep telling yourself she's not a contender.
OUT AND ABOUT ... Former Anchorage Daily News writer Kim Severson, now N.Y. Times Atlanta bureau chief and a famous food writer, gave a reading from her book "Spoon Fed" at Barnes & Noble here a couple weeks ago. After the reading, one of the assembled foodies, a man in jeans and a Carhartt jacket, engaged Kim in a spirited discussion of risotto.
Who knew Lite Gov. Mead Treadwell was a cooking guy?
OLD FRIENDS ... Ruby is dead and Maggie is really bummed. Remember Maggie, the Alaska Zoo elephant flown in 2007 to a better life at a California sanctuary? Remember when we all checked the PAWS website weekly to see how she was doing? Alas, like so many other celebrities, out of sight was soon out of mind (Monica Lewinsky? Steve Cowper? Joe Miller?). Anyhow, an earwig who pays attention reports Ruby, one of the other three African elephants at PAWS, died March 29 at age 50. Close friends and herd-mates Maggie, Lulu and Mara are mourning but basically okay, PAWS people say. Elephants really do mourn. Check it out at www.pawsweb.org.
READY, AIM, GARDEN ... The 2011 Garden Snaps Map is due out this week at lots of nursery and garden supply places around Southcentral and Fairbanks. They've added Delta Junction and Manley Hot Springs shops and locations to those in Anchorage, Kenai and the Mat-Su. Gardeners now straining at the trowel can pick one up or print it out at www.gardensnapsmap.com.