Alaska Ear: A pair of chairs (4/14/13)

A PAIR OF CHAIRS . . . Let's see, darlings, where were we in the ongoing drama of the state Republican Party?

Oh yes, they had scheduled a meeting this past Monday to kick out their newest leader, party chair Debbie Brown. Debbie tried to cancel the meeting and changed the locks on the clubhouse door. Maybe she moved some computers to a secret location. Maybe not.

The people trying to take her job ignored it all and kicked her out as planned, then elected a new chairman, Peter Goldberg. He's the party's fourth leader so far this year.

Debbie declined to accept her dethroning and took off for the big Republican National Committee do in Los Angeles, billing herself as head of the Alaska Republican Party. Peter also went to the convention, billing himself as head of the Alaska Republican Party, where one assumes they both voted Friday to reaffirm the GOP's opposition to same-sex marriage (news reports say it passed unanimously).

The anti-Debbie people say canning her wasn't a move against the tea party/Ron Paul crowd that snatched the leadership last year -- just a question of poor management. Sure, guys, everybody believes that. (Details in Kyle Hopkins' story).

Whatever. The Divine Appendage may be loving it, but people are talking. Esquire magazine's Politics Blog called the tale of two chairs insanity, a result of Ron Paul supporters' "unique brand of sanctified paranoia." The column is titled "See what happens when governors start quitting in the middle of a term?"

However, Alaskans know this is nothing new, certainly not a Palin invention. Back in the '80s and '90s, the Alaska GOP averaged a new chairman a year -- 10 in 10 years. So now, in a valiant effort to beat their own record, they're going to try two at a time -- maybe they can have 20 chairs in the next 10 years.

The real question is, will they be too busy fighting each other to focus on beating Begich next year? Stay tuned.

THE END TIMES . . . Earwigs noted a pair of apparently unrelated danger signs for any number of people in Juneau as we approach the end of the session:

Former Sen. Rick Halford, in one of the Capitol stairwells, talking into his cellphone. Lefty columnist Shannyn Moore, applying for official press credentials.

THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS . . . Comment overheard in a Capitol hall during a conversation between two legislators about a flood of emails and phone calls opposing HB 77, which rolls back protection for fish streams:

"None of that stuff bothers me," one said. "I actually laugh at it."

DOING WELL . . . Friends of former state senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chancy Croft were alarmed to learn he had a stroke April 1 in a Seattle hotel. Turned out his location was lucky: First of all, he wasn't on a plane yet, and second, the nearest hospital is accustomed to airport emergencies so it has a state-of-the art emergency room, according to Chancy's wife, Toni, who is now passionately preaching the wonders of IPA treatment.

Actually, her message is the same as Maria Downey's after her heart problem: If you think something's wrong, get to the hospital fast. It's better to be wrong and embarrassed than disabled or dead.

Toni says Chancy is back to normal and back at work in Anchorage.

KUDOS . . . Sven Gustafson of Romig Middle School and Dan Gallego of Bartlett High have been named principals of the year by the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals.

TRANSLATION PLEASE . . . An April 3 press release from the state Division of Natural Resources boldly announced:

"Final decision issued for Tok biomass sale"

Huh? The state is selling body parts?




Dead wolves?



A FACT . . . On Thursday, the Legislature unanimously designated a 7.5-mile portion of Minnesota Drive and O'Malley Road, from 15th Avenue to the New Seward Highway, as the Walter J. Hickel Parkway.

It will no doubt join the Eisenhower Corridor in our hearts and minds (OK, admit it: You don't know where that is, or even that it exists).

JUST FUN . . . Suggested headline: KIBOSHED KABATA KAPUT

A QUESTION. . . What's the most pathetic story you heard when snow buried spring last week?

People who timed their arrival back from Hawaii to miss the end of winter don't even count.

Ear's favorite so far is the procrastinator who decided that this year was going to be different. This year she wasn't going to leave the big tire changeover until the last minute. No waiting hours or fighting other stragglers this year. So she had her snow tires removed the day before the storms started.

Another favorite (if you're a sadist) is Doug Tryck, announcing the opening of his new Tryck Gardening School, with workshops starting later this month. "Actual hands-on learning" -- in his fabulous outdoor nursery on Rabbit Creek Road. (


OK, maybe not this month. Doug has moved the opening classes to May -- though if Ear recalls, we once had snow on May 20.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila at 257-4341 or