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In Hawaii, Anchorage mayor missed a big chance to make history

Andrew Halcro
Suzanna Caldwell photo

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan broke away from his family reunion in Hawaii this week to be sworn into office via Skype. Critics have blasted him for being absent and not taking the ceremony seriously. Balderdash I say. I think he needs to be blasted for taking the ceremony too seriously.

Mr. Mayor, You took your oath of office looking like a Hawaiian bank executive on casual Friday.

You should have worn flip flops, cargo shorts and a tee. You should have been holding one of those ubiquitous ABC Store bags while frantically tapping on your iPhone to find the best Mahi Mahi this side of Kalakaua Avenue. Instead, there you stood dressed in slacks and an aloha shirt, like a senior VP at the Bank of Hawaii.

Look, Mayor, we just went through the longest, coldest, snowiest winter since anyone can remember. You endured six long months of critics ignoring the record-shattering snowfall and bitching about slow snow removal. You endured people complaining about parking, potholes and dog parks. And oh yeah, you won re-election during that same time.

You had earned some 'you time'. You could have lived a little bit baby. 

Since your Hawaii trip was on your dime and not taxpayers', you had every right to get sworn in via Skype from anywhere but a stuffy conference room at a Honolulu law office.

You could have Skyped poolside with a Mai Tai in your hand or hanging off the back of a catamaran giving us the “Hang Loose,” sign. You could have taken the oath while strolling down Waikiki Beach wrapped in an Alaska flag or just before hopping on stage to sing a duet of "Tiny Bubbles'" with the local Don Ho impersonator.

You could have done a lot with the stagecraft that Hawaii provides, but instead you left the tomfoolery to others. I'd say that's way too serious, especially since you could have created an indelible moment in Alaska political history: "Hey do you remember Sullivan getting sworn into office via videoconferencing wearing a grass skirt while drinking a Blue Hawaiian? Priceless."

So Mahalo our Waikiki warrior, don't let the naysayers rain down on your luau, and don't forget that Macadamia nuts are incredibly healthy for you. Especially the ones covered in chocolate. So say the people at those ABC Stores on every corner with crates of them to sell.

Shaka bruddah.

Andrew Halcro is the publisher of AndrewHalcro.com, a blog devoted to Alaska issues and politics, where this commentary first appeared. He is president of Halcro Strategies and Avis/Alaska Rent-A-Car, his family business. Halcro served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003 and ran for governor in 2006 as an Independent.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch. Alaska Dispatch welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.