It's summer. I don't watch TV in the summer. I fish. So I first heard about the Domino's ad, "powered by pizza," with its slam on halibut, by reading the Mudflats blog. Yes, I know, Domino's "thought halibut was a funny word." The ad shows a lonely man in a dark room spitting halibut into a pie plate as the announcer says, "No one ever had a world-changing idea over halibut. No way."
Having just returned from my hometown, the "Halibut Capital of the World," Homer, Alaska, I had almost 20 pounds of fresh halibut fillets on ice. (Thanks, Pop!) I decided I'd see if I could eat halibut all week and come up with something to change the world ... or at least my little piece of it.++
This is what I came up with:
Bill Walker / Bill Wielechowski 2014 -- for governor and lieutenant governor.
Powered by Halibut!
Alaska is in crisis right now. There's water coming in the boat. People like Sean Parnell, Mead Treadwell and Commissioner Dan Sullivan have options if this thing sinks -- they can go directly onto the oil industry payroll. The multinationals owe them big time for the billion-dollar oil tax giveaway they ramrodded through the Legislature.
But you and me? We'll have to swim. The water is cold. We need to bail enough water to get to safe harbor. The three oil company stooges are already in their survival suits, standing on deck, waiting for the Exxon-Conoco-BP helicopter to whisk them to safety.
The repeal of SB 21 -- the governor's giveaway -- will be on the primary ballot next August thanks to the signatures of more than 50,000 Alaskans. This matters to us. The state has saved $19 billion since passing ACES in 2007. Re-elect Parnell and all that will be gone in just a few years.
Don't take my word for it.
This week the state released deficit numbers for the first time in years. Yep, the "conservative" Republican administration and Legislature gave away money for nothing (15 percent of our general fund budget) while continuing to spend like they hadn't. This isn't sustainable, although I suppose there's always that Permanent Fund to raid.
How much more damage will we let Parnell -- completely unchecked by a compliant, rubber-stamp Legislature -- inflict on us? While the governor was pushing his oil tax reduction, he was opposing any effort to stop gasoline and heating-fuel price gouging.
Give billions to the oil industry while Alaskans pay the highest gasoline, heating oil and electricity prices in the nation. Let us heat with tundra! While we stare at the specter of fast-approaching $3-billion-a-year deficits, Parnell grows the state budget to all-time highs. While tens of thousands of state retirees hold their breath in the hope our retirement system will remain solvent -- a result of chronic underfunding decades ago by then-co-chair of Finance, Sen. Sean Parnell -- Gov. Parnell continues to oppose the additional funding needed to pay down the retirement debt he helped create.
We need an administration that understands what it's like for regular Joe Alaskan to wonder, year after year, if his way of life is going to be auctioned off to some foreign company. We live under an administration that blatantly ignores science whenever it's politically advantageous. Just last week, state government deemed mining through a salmon stream to be a "suitable" use. That's insane.
Three years ago, the day after Joe Miller won his primary against Lisa Murkowski and Bill Walker lost his against Sean Parnell, I called Mr. Walker. I begged him to run as an Independent.
Why? Because I had been watching Sean Parnell and was convinced his pipeline of bad policies needed to be shut off. The Democrat in that race was talking about supporting an oil tax giveaway. I thought we needed someone in the governor's chair who wasn't a lobbyist, a lackey or a panderer.
This time Walker is running as an Independent.
You don't exactly have to climb in the wayback machine to see that Alaskans will vote for an Independent even if they have to write in her name.
So while throwing back halibut and capers it occurs to me: We, the Independents ARE the MAJORITY PARTY in Alaska. We're 53 percent of registered voters. Yep, let's get us a bang-up ticket and do this!
Wielechowski seemed an obvious choice. He's worked with Walker, a member of the Backbone group on oil and gas pipeline issues. He understands what it means to take an oath to the Alaska Constitution -- such a quaint formality to some. He represents the military installations and is recognized nationally for it. He likes salmon. He has an A+ rating with the NRA.
People, neither Bill is perfect, from where I sit. But they are the best by far with respect to things we all should care about: Alaskan, not corporate, sovereignty. Protecting salmon. First-class public safety and public education. Rational development. More passing lanes between Anchorage and Kenai.
This wouldn't be a 100 percent Democratic ticket, but it would be 100 percent Alaskan. I hope to heaven every Democrat would throw his or her support to a Walker/Wielechowski ticket. Please, everyone, lend a hand and help stop Parnell from sinking the boat.
Eat some halibut, and then let's change our world.
Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio.