Pebble Mine opponent running for mayor of Lake and Pen

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch
EPA photo

Lake and Peninsula Borough sprawls across more than 30,000 square miles of Southwest Alaska. With fewer than 2,000 full-time residents, it's among the least populated places in the United States. And while few seem inclined to live there, it's become hot property in a national fight over the proposed Pebble Mine project -- one of the world's largest undeveloped gold and copper deposits -- which sits on the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world's largest wild salmon run.

This fall, borough residents will pick a new mayor. Current and longtime Lake and Pen mayor, Glen Alsworth, has been accused by mine opponents of supporting Pebble over salmon, though he hasn't endorsed or opposed the project. Alsworth will face a well-known mine opponent in the race.

George Jacko Jr., who was involved with the group that sponsored last year's contentious Save Our Salmon municipal initiative in Lake and Pen, has qualified to run for mayor, according to a list of candidates released Sunday.

Yes, that George Jacko, the former state senator whose political career took a dive many thought it would never recover from. Through most of the 1990s, Jacko was dogged by scandal involving bizarre sexual harassment, ethical violations, and a criminal conviction for violating a restraining order barring him from contact with a 16-year-old girl.

Two Lake and Pen Assembly seats also are up for election. So far, seven people have filed for the three seats. Still others might file, too; the deadline for write-in candidates is Oct. 1, according to a press release from the borough. Read the full list of candidates (PDF).