Alaska Ear

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM . . . Sen. Lesil McGuire's Valentine's Day engagement to Anchorage lawyer Jason Skala is surely the most publicly hyped diamond deposit since Kate and Will.

No, wait, Ear is wrong. The Royals didn't have video cameras at the actual proposal.

A couple of weeks ago Ear reported a rumor that someone well-known was going to be surprised with a proposal at APU's Valentine's Day fundraiser. Ear was skeptical; who would want such an important personal moment to be so public?

Ear should have known better. Local television stations were tipped off to the time and place that "a VIP Alaskan gentleman is proposing to his VIP significant other."

Lesil wore red. Jason dropped to one knee. He maybe said love is friendship set on fire and quoted Dr. Seuss as the captive audience looked on.

The next day Lesil's legislative office issued a press release so saccharine reporters were gagging in the Capitol halls. (The press release helpfully included a link to the video). Of course, political reporters -- and the Divine Appendage -- are generally not inclined toward sappy stuff so maybe it was actually romantic and not just vulgar. Watch the video on KTUU's website and decide for yourself.

BTW, everyone who thinks the "surprise" proposal was actually a surprise, raise your hands. Your Ear licenses are hereby revoked.

The wedding, Lesil's third, will be in Hawaii later this year, according to the press release.

QUESTION . . . An earwig who saw the item last week about Lisa Murkowski and Mead Treadwell heading up the Romney campaign in Alaska wonders if this isn't a conflict of interest for the Lite Gov. It's obviously poor judgment, as one of Treadwell's few duties is to preside over the fairness and accuracy of elections.

For a moment Ear almost got sucked into checking with state ethics people but quickly plugged back into reality. Conflict of interest is the Alaska way, darlings. (Unofficial state motto: "My conflict is in your interest.") As long as Mead doesn't hock the state seal to underwrite the campaign, who cares?

JUST FOR FUN . . . Speaking of issues, lobbyists roaming the second floor of the Capitol were amusing themselves last week wondering whether colleague Frank Bickford's constant playing with his iPad in public was an ethics violation all by itself. Frank is the registered lobbyist for Dell Computers.

OVERHEARD . . . Also in Juneau: When asked, before the recent ANWR junket to Washington, D.C., who the traveling lawmakers planned to meet with, Rep. Lance Pruitt told a reporter it was still being firmed up but definitely "not Doc Hastings." Which made sense. Congressman Hastings, R-Washington, heads the U.S. House committee that got the open-ANWR amendment through so he didn't need any pro-ANWR strong-arming from our guys.

Rep. Dan Saddler had stepped away from the interview to take a call and missed the exchange with Pruitt. When a reporter asked the same question on his return, "Who are you going to meet with?" he replied: "Doc Hastings."

Oh yeah, those junkets were carefully planned and really necessary.

ON THE MOVE . . . Earwigs report Lori Tipton, recently of Channel 2, just started a new job as interim news director for Channel 4 and Channel 13 (Fox and ABC -- they have combined news operations).

IT'S JUST WORDS, RIGHT? . . . An earwig enraged by the Parnell administration's rewriting of the Department of Natural Resources mission statement -- noted here last week -- sent in the rewrite for another department, the Governor's Office.

Old mission statement: "Ensure that state government is responsive to the needs of the citizens of Alaska, and that compelling needs within the state are recognized and addressed appropriately by providing support to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the policy issues and management of the Executive Branch of state government."

New mission statement: "Advance the Governor's priorities and ensure the Executive Branch of state government responds to the needs of Alaskans."

The mission debasement is not as egregious but it admirably clarifies what's important to this governor, replacing "responsive to the needs of the citizens" with "advance the governor's priorities."

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