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Scott Woodham

Alaska's oil production tax should not be subject to a popular vote. But here we are, about to vote on immensely complex legislation that means billions to the state of Alaska and a group of private companies that the state's existence has come to depend – unfairly for both parties -- almost entirely upon.

Here we are, voting on “Alaska's future” through a haze of campaign spending so thick that people in Fairbanks might think there's an inversion.

Our legislators have passed the buck to us. And no matter what, we'll get it wrong. We don't have enough information to vote with our heads, so we'll vote with our hearts. And our hearts are full of fear because of so many pronouncements of doom...

Scott Woodham
TO: Santa Claus SUBJECT: Welcome to the million-barrel team

Dear Santa,

It's us again, The Concerned. Sorry we've been such strangers. We're sorry we don't write you any other time of the year. We imagine your mailbox is kind of empty in June, and that can't feel good. It has been a long time since the last time we wrote, but we're very concerned and need a favor to ask of you. We hope we're not too late with this last-minute appeal.

Please don't forget the state of Alaska this year when you're out there giving gifts to all the children of the world. We know you've been watching us, Santa, and we know Alaska is on your “nice” list. It just has to be...

Scott Woodham,Alex DeMarban
Primary Category: 

Dust off your dirndles and lederhosen, folks. It's that time of year again when people all over the world gather to celebrate Bavarian food and culture....

Scott Woodham

Sarah Palin, newly rehired as a commentator on cable's Fox News Channel, is wasting no time going after elements of the Republican party she disagrees with. On Saturday morning, she stated her displeasure with the current direction of the Republican Party and suggested that if it continues to "back away from the planks in our platform, from the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan," she and others like her may have to declare independence from the "private majority parties" and register as neither Democrat nor Republican...

Scott Woodham
Primary Category: 

After emerging from a "spring from hell," Alaska's summer is now official. In case you haven't noticed, and, as baseball funnyman Bob Uecker might say, judging by the attendance you haven't, the Alaska Baseball League is back to play its 2013 season...

Scott Woodham

On Thursday morning, oil and gas attorney and former Valdez mayor Bill Walker became the first major candidate to declare his intent to run for governor in the 2014 Alaska Republican primary.

About 30 people gathered for the announcement at the Walker family home in West Anchorage. Ermalee Hickel, the widow of former Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel, was in attendence, and her late husband's legacy was invoked several times during the event.

Aggressive action on behalf of Alaska was a defining theme of the event. Walker's wife, Donna, introduced her husband as "a warrior" who will defend Alaska, not special interests. "Alaska needs an Alaskan to the core," she said just before her husband came to the podium...

Scott Woodham
TO: ConocoPhillips CC: BP, Exxon Mobil, Patton Boggs SUBJECT: Employees of the Month

Dear Conoco,

As you may already know, the Alaska Legislature is about to create the biggest revolution in Alaska oil tax collection since the clipboard...

Scott Woodham

A new political survey indicates that Alaska's Democrat in the U.S. Senate could have an easier time getting re-elected in 2014 than people may have first thought. The results of this early Senate poll are adding nationally to Alaska's reputation for confounding political stereotype, as well as boosting early enthusiasm for Sen. Mark Begich's next campaign...

Scott Woodham

2012 in review: Key debates explored in Alaska Dispatch

As public debate goes, 2012 was full of contention. The newsmakers, public intellectuals and spinmeisters were indeed busy making sense of the world around us.

The past year featured some blockbuster debates and expensive campaigns, as well as some grassroots political and cultural battles. And, in hindsight, some of the debates did not even come close to being settled this year. Alaska's high court has recently ensured, for example, that the debate over the state's redistricting process will stay alive for at least another year. And fish and wildlife have been a contentious issue in Alaska since long before statehood, even since before Raven deeply insulted Salmon Woman.

What's more, some of the answers arrived at in the past year by consensus and argument simply created new sticking points. The end of oil tax reform looked pretty much settled with the implosion of last year's special session, but will that billion-dollar debate split into dozens of constituent pieces and related arguments in 2013?

For that matter, will the rancorous rift exposed in the Alaska Republican Party affect its apparent new legislative dominance in 2013? Will coastal zone management arise from the dead? How will Alaskans continue addressing the epidemic of suicide and violence that plague their communities? When the international community arrives in the rapidly opening Arctic, will Alaska be ready?

Below, relive some of the most significant opinions published in 2012 by Alaska Dispatch. And in reading them, imagine you're glimpsing the future.

Scott Woodham

The White House announced on Tuesday that it intends to appoint prominent Iñupiat leader and former North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.

The seven-member commission functions as the federal government's central Arctic policy and research body, charged with easing cooperation among federal, state and local governments as well as other nations with respect to basic and applied Arctic research. Council members serve four-year terms. Fran Ulmer, the former Alaska lieutenant governor and former University of Alaska Anchorage chancellor, serves as the chairperson...

Scott Woodham