Alaska Ear: Room for More

ROOM FOR MORE . . . Earwigs figured the big fun ("fun" meaning nasty battle) in next year's election would be the U.S. Senate race, but the ho-hum governor's race looks to be heating up. Maybe.

Word is, Byron Mallott is seriously considering running -- but hasn't decided whether to file in the Democratic primary or go straight to November and run as an independent. Heaven knows, he's got the resume for governor and more. He's been a mayor, a commissioner, a CEO, an executive director, a chairman of the board -- you get the idea.

Of course, a three-way split in the anyone-but-Parnell vote probably guarantees Capt. Zero's re-election but, hey, Ear is in it for the theater.

THE OTHER SHOE . . . To the surprise of absolutely no one, Rep. Mia Costello last week amended her official APOC notice of intention to run for re-election from "not specified" to Hollis French's Senate seat. If Hollis runs for governor, as he has announced, Costello, a Republican, won't be facing a Democratic incumbent.

Earwigs figure she's got a good chance either way. Hollis won his last race, against Bob Bell, by a scant 59 votes.

COMPLICATED . . . It's easy to recognize the head of the Alaska Family Council's political committee in a crowd: He's the one tied in knots with both feet in his mouth and his hands over his ears.

The council has issued a clarifying statement regarding its support (or lack thereof) for Mead Treadwell's U.S. Senate race. Ear hates to be too snarky (just kidding), but his contortions provided the biggest laugh of the week. They went something like this:

The council is holding a fundraiser at Mead's house, but it's for themselves, not him. It doesn't mean they support him. But it doesn't mean they don't. And BTW, just because Mead is polite to Lisa Murkowski doesn't mean Lisa isn't going to hell. (OK, they didn't put it exactly that way).

To bolster the idea that political enemies can be friends, they illustrated the statement with a cheery photo of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill who, they claim, once prayed together.

Listen, Ear can't do this justice. Check it out for yourself.

ON THE MOVE . . . Or, to be more accurate, parked nearby: Earwigs spotted the super yacht Octopus anchored off Seward last week. Billionaire Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, owns it. According to online sites that follow big boats, its previous port of call was Australia.

The Octopus reportedly carries two helicopters on the top deck, two submarines and a 63-foot tender tucked into its 414 feet.

Rumors claimed Allen was onboard but no earwigs said they actually saw him. This being Alaska, the most excited speculation was about him maybe coming to invest money here.

Really, darlings, begging is so pathetic.

OUT AND ABOUT . . . And by "out," Ear means out of the federal pen: Joe Millionaire, better known in federal indictments as Josef Boehm, was spotted a couple weekends ago at the Eagle River AIH store, apparently having served his sentence for a variety of sex and drug stuff.

Hard to believe it's been 10 years.

OOPS . . . Mark Swanson, executive director of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, got the attention of his board and staff when he sent them an "update" reporting he met former Gov. Wally Hickel at Bill Sheffield's house on Aug. 8. (The update spelled it "Hickle.")

Ear feels certain Wally died three years ago but maybe he's still taking meetings. You know Wally.

Swanson also reported chatting with "Mayor Tim Sullivan" at the same event. A correction memo called them "honest cocktail party" mistakes.

Pour Ear a shot of that stuff.

BETTER THAN SEATTLE . Allstate Insurance Co. annually ranks America's 200 largest cities according to their traffic accident rates. Good news is, we're not the worst.

Bad news is, we're pretty close: No. 132, down four slots from last year.

Anchorage drivers are 15 percent more likely than the national average to have a collision. Ear notes that cities with good rankings are mostly in the fly-over states. We wouldn't want to live there just to avoid a fender-bender, right?

And we are better than Seattle (no kidding), NYC, LA and DC.

ON THE OTHER HAND . . . Another Outside organization has decided an Alaska city is best at something: Get this: Nome is one of the nine best places in America to "Reinvent Yourself."

Well, sure. If you want to reinvent yourself as someone who lives in Nome.

Get real, darlings.

Selling points include a higher than average cost of living, a higher than average unemployment rate and it's a "hot spot" to find men -- assuming you want a man who lives in Nome ("grizzled prospectors" is what the pollsters call them; Alaska women have other names.).

Other cities on the list include Buffalo, N.Y., Leadville and Trinidad, Colo., and the other Houston. The ranking agency is some online real estate outfit.

Real estate? Nome?

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at or 257-4341.

Sheila Toomey |