Alaska Ear: We win again (6/30/2013)

WE WIN AGAIN ... Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan national watchdog organization, has awarded our apparently eternal Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) its Golden Fleece award.

Our last winner was the Bridge To Nowhere in Ketchikan.

For earwigs who just returned from Saturn, KABATA is a government-funded agency dedicated to building a multibillion-dollar bridge from Anchorage to the part of the Mat-Su where nobody lives, a bridge the feds have rejected multiple times, a bridge legislative auditors concluded was noticeably divorced from reality.

Most important, it's the nonexistent bridge that's been officially named "Don Young's Way." For that reason alone, Ear loves it.

You can find a list of reasons for the award at

WEIRD APPROACH ... The Gimme Season for the 2014 elections is well under way, as evidenced by the send-money letter from Joe Miller to any number of Republicans. The letters offers a novel return on your dough:

For a reasonable donation to his campaign for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, Honor Code Joe promises to save you from the Republican Party.

In the same race, our current Lite Gov and Republican candidate, Mead Treadwell, fired off an emergency plea for contributions Friday. He wants to have the most money and biggest number of contributors for the FEC report period that ends today.

REGULAR APPROACH ... Lesil McGuire's Lite Gov campaign kickoff Wednesday at the Campbell Lake home of John and Amy Oney was a big success, based on the crowd of people who attended and the more than $30,000 reportedly raised. The long of list of sponsors was also impressive and included only three or four McGuires.

Rumors persist that mainline Republicans are not happy with the Lite Gov candidates who have signed up so far and are still recruiting for the job. Ear doesn't know why that would be so.

OUT AND ABOUT ... Taking a break from fundraisers (maybe), a bunch of politicos showed up Thursday for the dedication of the new Lile's Garden at the Alaska Botanical Garden. Earwigs spotted Sen. Anna Fairclough, Reps. Max Gruenberg and Lora Reinbold, Mayor Dan and three generations of Rasmusons.

However, the star of the event was the garden. It was hard to believe ABG staff turned the wilderness of last year into this year's beautifully sculpted enclave. FYI, it's named after the Rasmuson Alaskans mostly don't remember -- patriarch Elmer's first wife and mother of all the Rasmuson "children," including NBA Ed. Her garden at 10th Avenue and G Street was a showplace during her lifetime.

JUST SAY NO? ... Ron Spatz, godfather of UAA's Alaska Quarterly Review, was amused to get a letter from folks making an indie dramedy (no, Ear did not invent that word) called "5 to 7." They wanted a rejection letter.

Turns out "5 to 7" is about an aspiring novelist and opens with the young writer receiving rejection after rejection "from the country's most prominent literary magazines and reviews," the letter said. To keep it real, the director wanted "form rejection letters and emails that include your logo and letterhead."

Who could resist such an appeal? Ron said yes.

The movie, currently shooting in NYC, stars Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the 2009 "Star Trek" remake and Kyle Reese in Terminator), Glenn Close and Frank Langella.

FLYING FACTOID ... President Obama created something called the White House Council on Native American Affairs on Wednesday, with a whole list of important Cabinet-level and federal agency members, plus just one non-Beltway notable: Alaska's Joel Neimeyer, head of the Denali Commission.

OOPS ... Yes, Corrective Ears, Mike Heatwole no longer works for Alyeska. He's at Pebble now. Mea culpa.

ACORN-TREE ... Nine-year-old Rowan Bean of Seward is going to the White House for dinner with Michelle Obama and 53 other kid winners in one of the First Lady's "Let's Move!" efforts: the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Recipe contest. Rowan's recipe was Alaska ceviche with mango, developed with her dad, Chef Erik Slater of Seward Windsong Lodge.

Wasn't dad just named one of the best chefs in America?

For earwigs with no taste, ceviche is marinated raw fish.

ON THE MOVE ... Two insiders who will be missed retired this week:

Assistant Attorney General Mick Hawley, the appeals king of Alaska criminal law, wound up a memorable career of more than 30 years. He was the go-to guy for zillions of new prosecutors. As one fan put it, "Before there was, there was Micklaw."

Nellen Budd, who worked for six Anchorage mayors, from Knowles to Claman, then moved over to Sen. Begich's Anchorage office, also retired this week. You may not have known her name, but if you ever visited the mayor, she was the first person you met.

The interesting thing about Nellen is, she was an at-will employee, yet survived all those different politicians -- all those supporters who surely wanted the job. Hmmm. Bet she knows where the bodies are buried.

BYE-BYE BLUES ... Invitations are out for the retirement ceremony of Capt. Robert Forgit, Reserve Chief of Staff, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area.

Earwigs probably know Robert better as a weatherman (KTUU-Channel 2) and actor ("The Frozen Ground").

The ceremony is July 12 in Alameda, Calif. Required uniform is "Tropical Blue with combination cover." (Cover? Think hat.)

Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila at 257-4341 or

Compiled by Sheila Toomey