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Amanda Coyne: Parnell's light seems to be flickering

Amanda Coyne

Until recently, Gov. Sean Parnell has had a relatively soft ride, with the public and Alaska media taking it comparatively easy on our well-coiffed, unassuming governor. The one who declared during his 2008 race against U.S. Rep. Don Young that "I just want to be a light." A little odd, and he wasn't elected, but it sounded good. Who doesn't like light?

Besides, after Frank Murkowski and Sarah Palin, hiring someone whose highest aspiration was to be a light sounded relaxing. Like sitting on a beach in California, where perhaps he met the oil industry exec he wanted to appoint to sit on a board that decides the value of the trans-Alaska pipeline and how much local taxes the oil companies pay. Where else would he have gotten the name? Parnell won't say.

All we know is whoever sits on the board has the ability to cost or save the oil companies hundreds of millions of dollars.

Anyhow, after a sudden storm of apparently unexpected public outrage, the Californian withdrew his name and flew back to the light.

And that's not all: The governor also appointed a former Exxon Mobil executive to the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. You know, the one that is going to partner with Exxon Mobil to manage Alaska's share of the gas line? This one lives in Texas, where there's also lots of light.

Then there's HB 77, which came from the governor. In the Senate Resources Committee, more than 100 people from across the state gathered at legislative offices to testify against it on Wednesday. For 90 minutes, fishermen and tribal leaders, environmentalists and sportsmen spoke against the bill.

"Please kill this bill now and send a Senate resolution to Gov. Parnell asking him to apologize to Alaskans for introducing this 'Muzzling Alaskans Act,' " said 64-year-old fisherman Eric Jordon of Sitka. Legislative offices across the state erupted in cheers. They came back and did it again on Friday.

More stormy forecasts: School choice, which Parnell was willing to fight for until he wasn't, appears dead, and the women's groups and socially liberal independents are beginning to organize over abortion.

In short: Parnell's light increasingly looks like it's coming from one of those energy-efficient bulbs.

Parnell's response to all of this? Bash the EPA over a mine, not, it should be noted, over the comments that the EPA chief made about throwing away a "f...ing" pin that was given to her by a North Pole official, and saying that a gift of moose meat that she got from an Alaska Native girl "could gag a maggot."

Perhaps we need Don Young to give Washington bureaucrats a seminar on class and manners, especially when boorish bureaucrats deal with civilized people who were on the land before there was a Washington.

Speaking of the culturally sensitive left: The environmentalists are coordinating a campaign against Lisa Murkowski over her fight to build a potentially life-saving road between King Cove and Cold Bay. They claim that she is "politicizing real medical emergencies." Got her on that one. Yep. She's a politician. And yep, she's fighting for a road through a slice of a wilderness refuge in order to save lives. But birds, apparently, are more important than people who eat things that "could gag a maggot."

Lightening up, here's one for you: There's talk about a brewing custody fight between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston. Word is that Bristol has taken the child, contrary to a court order, to Arizona. At least we know they aren't going to be traveling through the Southwest in the Palin RV, up for sale for $279,000.

Gov. Parnell might think about buying it. There's a sunroof in the bedroom that allows the light to flood in.

Last week in this column, I wrote it had been rumored that my favorite Facebook poster, Rep. Bob Lynn, would be retiring after he got his bill on immigration and driver's licenses passed. As you-know-who might say, au contraire, mon cher. Lynn isn't going anywhere. Never.

Former Knowles chief of staff Jim Ayers has signed on as an adviser to Byron Mallott's campaign. And this is a little late in coming but independent candidate Bill Walker hired rural adviser Paulette Schuerch from Kotzebue. Nancy Peterson, most recently from Unalaska, is his campaign manager.

In the lieutenant governor's race: Energetic Palmer math teacher and Democratic candidate Bob Williams spent his spring break pushing a new poll that he commissioned that shows he has a chance, pressing the flesh wherever he went.

On to the mighty Senate: GOPers are wondering if Joe Miller is going to attend the Republican state convention. Big endorsements for DNR Dan this week: Club for Growth and the Alaska Associated Builders and Contractors, though what he's doing with all this support is anybody's guess. Finally, my deepest sympathy to Mead Treadwell over the death of his brother-in-law.

The Anchorage Assembly race is heating up. Pete Petersen is getting lots of love from the unions, at least two of which are putting at least $50,000 into his campaign. Word is that incumbent Assemblyman Adam Trombley's comparatively disorganized business supporters are scrambling to raise PAC funds. A Friday night fundraiser featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski should help.

Finally, whoever wins which races, it probably won't be someone like Fairbanks Borough Assemblyman Lance Roberts, who tried to get the Fairbanks Co-op Market to no longer carry Ms. Magazine.

Perhaps he'd benefit from a little enlightening here: Not only do women now have the right to vote, they exercise it.

Independent journalist Amanda Coyne writes about Alaska politics on her blog amandacoyne.com. You can contact her atamandamcoyne@yahoo.com.

 



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