Alaska News

Alaska Ear

PASS THE SUN BLOCK ... Well, darlings, it's the dog days of a summer with no fall election to look forward to -- not even an Anchorage mayoral spat. No one's doing anything fun in public, and no one's really paying attention anyhow. Even the (alleged) wrongdoing is boring. For instance, the Alaska Public Offices Commission staff has filed a formal complaint against the Treadwell campaign -- you remember Mead; he's our current lite gov, got elected last November.

According to the charges, his campaign disclosures were late and wrong. The most serious error involves failing to report a 25 percent discount from something called Burkwood Creative. The company billed his campaign $113,000, after a $27,500 discount, which is just another way of saying a $27,500 illegal contribution from a corporation. Or so the APOC complaint alleges. No doubt it will all be resolved with a claim of sloppy paperwork by a campaign worker and a fine.

So, is there anything even slightly earish in the complaint? Of course, d'Ears. Apparently the campaign listed a $500 debt to Hangar on the Wharf (a popular pub in Juneau) to reserve a private room for a July 2010 fundraiser. Alas, hardly anyone showed up and they made do with a few regular tables but made some mistake reversing the charge on disclosure forms.

HOT TICKET ... The place to be Wednesday night was zillionaire Bob Gillam's airport hangar (a real hangar, not a pub) for the APU fundraiser/auction mentioned here last week. The hangar was draped in white with impressive décor by Darl Schaaff, say earwigs who managed to con their way in. Lots of bling and cleavage -- and serious money. It reportedly raised $568,290.

Earwigs say the 1933 Rolls Royce went for $42,500; a trip with an Ice Road trucker, $5,000; a trip to California for eight on one of Gillam's private jets, $27,500. Lots of art also to changed hands. The APU ski teams competed with offerings of dinner for eight made by them. The women did great with a top bid of $7,500. But the men added yard work, then took off their shirts. Voila! $8,500.

Among the 450 guests: furrier Perry Green and wife Gloria; Colleen Starring of Enstar; Harry McDonald of Carlisle Trucking; George Walton, Gold & Diamond Comp.; Mayor Dan Sullivan (lunch with him went for $2,750); political consultants Art & April Hackney; Gail Schubert, president of Bering Straits Native Corp.; Sen. Linda Menard; John Minge, BP Alaska president, and so on. Patti McGuire was the person in charge. Gillam paid for the event.

OUT AND ABOUT ... Spotted at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, progressive blogger Jeanne Devon, talking to a full house last Sunday about her strange-bedfellows partnership with super conservative ex-Palin aide Frank Bailey. The two were collaborators on his tell-all, "Blind Allegiance." In the West Anchorage audience taking part in the discussion, Judge John Wanamaker and writer George Bryson. It was moderated by former Cordova Mayor Margy Johnson, who looked fetching in a '50s style hat.

HUH? ... Ear is a little behind the news curve here. Did anyone see Maureen Dowd's June 18 column in the N.Y. Times? It beat up the Catholic Church in New York for opposing the gay marriage law there while being soft on pedophile priests. It included the following paragraph:

"At their meeting in Bellevue, Wash., one retired archbishop from Anchorage actually proposed an amendment to get rid of the 'zero tolerance' provision on abuse so some guilty priests could return to parishes. That failed, at least."

As far as Ear knows, we have only one living retired archbishop. An admirer of "Frankie the Bish" (as hell-bent earwigs like to call him), Ear was stunned. A friend of his said the archbishop was only referring to consensual adult indiscretions, not assaults or pedophiles.

One certainly hopes so.

A QUESTION ... Is the online Alaska Dispatch operation negotiating to buy the Alaska Newspapers chain? It doesn't make sense to Ear -- an online news organization buying a rural print chain? But earwigs who know more than Ear (and who doesn't?) say it's a real possibility. Ear's advice: Believe it when you see it.

OUR GIRL ... Juneau 11-year-old Anna Graceman wowed the judges last month at the Atlanta tryouts for "America's Got Talent" and is headed for the final rounds in Las Vegas. Said one reviewer: "Cutting an unassuming figure amongst the other bizarre and outlandish acts of the night, the youngster stunned the auditorium with her astonishing voice."

Go get 'em, Anna!

ON THE MOVE ... M.J. Thim, assistant news director at KTVA-Channel 11, is moving to a new job, and a new industry. After 15 years or so in news media, M.J. is trading it in for the do-gooder world. He's accepted a position as communications and outreach manager for Stone Soup Group, a nonprofit that works with the families of children with special needs.

SHOCK AND AWE ... A couple of alert earmites called to point out that Ear failed to tell the whole story last week about the college education of our legislators. The earmites are correct. Ear was so stunned to discover in a Chronicle of Higher Education report that our lawmakers are smarter than the rest of us -- 32 percent have a bachelor's, compared to 17 percent for the rest of us -- that the Luscious Lobe didn't note an even more humiliating statistic: 38 percent of legislators have some college beyond a bachelor's, compared to only 10 percent for the rest of us.

So, the final numbers are: lawmakers, 70 percent bachelor's degree or more. The rest of us; 27 percent.

Takes your breath away, right? It certainly begs the question: If they're so smart, why don't they do a better job?

Compiled by Sheila Toomey, Message Sheila at or 257-4341. Find Ear online at