Elise Patkotak

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something as pathetic as our esteemed leaders in Juneau begging the press corps to carry their message to Alaskans that there just isn’t enough money in the budget for frivolities like education or health care. There is obviously enough money for the really important things like Knik Arm Bridge but not to expand Medicaid to those people so silly as to have been born poor...

Elise Patkotak

Once again Alaskans are being treated to the spectacle of a Legislature unable to finish its business in the time allotted. This gives further credence to my theory that the reason Republicans are so hard on government employees is because they know that they themselves are some of the worse government employees imaginable.

Every year our legislators troop down to Juneau, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the challenge of creating the needed laws and budgets to keep the state going another 12 months. And every year we are treated to the sound of three months of hot air blowing out of the capitol buildings followed by the steam that ensues when the Legislature realizes that the end is near. Suddenly, everyone goes into overdrive...

Elise Patkotak

I have generally been impressed with Gov. Bill Walker. He seems to take a clean line down the middle of the ideological spectrum, which is where most of us live. He’s taking a pragmatic approach to the budget, doesn’t seem inclined to generating headlines for outlandish behavior, and appears to usually have the interests of all Alaskans at heart. But now that he’s taken such a hands-off approach to his administration’s joining a lawsuit seeking to reduce some of our citizens to second-class status, I find myself much less impressed...

Elise Patkotak

Like many people reading this column, I was raised by parents who survived the Great Depression. Their view of money was always going to be skewed by that experience. My father didn’t get a credit card until he was in his sixties. In his world, you didn’t buy something you couldn’t pay for...

Elise Patkotak

It’s a heartbreaking story full of tragedy, sadness and pain. It’s the story of alcohol in Alaska, and specifically the attempts of people in small Alaska villages to mitigate the damage by controlling the flow. Unfortunately, decades after the passage of Alaska’s local option laws, liquor in one form or another is available throughout Bush Alaska. And the recent pictures on the front page of this paper of people in Bethel speaking out against a liquor store just brought to mind once again how difficult a situation it is...

Elise Patkotak

Despite getting every immunization known to man and recommended for people of a certain age, I came down with a nasty bug and spent most of last week rewriting my will and deciding that life was not worth living if it included feeling so awful. Then I woke up one day and decided that maybe I did want to live. That morning the world seemed sunny and bright. That feeling of euphoria lasted right up until I saw the newspaper and read that the Republican Senate had released its proposed federal budget. Part of the spending package they proposed included defunding the Affordable Care Act...

Elise Patkotak

As the budget process unfolds in Juneau, all my expectations are being met. Every cut proposed produces an interest group that opposes the cut. Meanwhile, the Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, felt it was so important that it could only cut less than 2 percent from its own budget while subjecting other departments to much deeper cuts. So pretty much business as usual...

Elise Patkotak

I was watching the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore when the topic of discussion was the recent Justice Department’s report on the systemic problems of racism within the Ferguson police force. The panel had both black and white participants. One white participant was noted for the fact that he walked over the Selma bridge thirty years ago with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He received a large round of applause when this was announced. That applause died away to a dribble when another panelist, an African-American, looked at the man and said, “Yeah, but when you got to the other side of that bridge, were you still white?”...

Elise Patkotak

A report from an Alaska village last week detailed a violent incident that included a man shooting four bullets into the wall next to where his sister was standing. She has two children whom he also threatened. Here’s the relevant paragraph:

“Jennings then held a .40-caliber handgun to the man’s head and threatened to kill him, troopers said. Jennings turned the gun on another occupant of the house, his sister, and told her he’d kill her and her two children if she called law enforcement, troopers said. Before he, Kelly and Jimmy fled, Jennings fired four rounds. The bullets struck a wall near his sister.”...

Elise Patkotak

I was more than a little surprised at the reaction to last week’s column citing the survey showing Alaska to be the most violent state in the union. The most amazing reaction came from the person who claimed it was a liberal survey meant to pave the way for taking our guns. Considering guns were not even mentioned in the piece, I’m not sure where that came from. Also, the survey was done by the FBI , not a group known for being a bastion of liberal thought...

Elise Patkotak

Pages