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Thursday, June 26, 2003

ADN Letter of the Day

Governor's rural police cutbacks are not merely staffing decisions

Last October you opined editorially that courts were not the place to decide "staffing levels" of rural police protection, applauding a trial judge's rejection of an Alaska Native suit charging that both the structure and delivery of police protection to off-road Native villages were racially discriminatory. The state funds and deploys para-police, not troopers (or other credentialed and empowered officers), to Alaska's Bush.

Village public safety officers (VPSOs), used nearly exclusively in rural villages, are products of an Alaska version of Canada's long-abandoned "native constable" program. Canadians now prepare Native applicants (like non-Native) to be full-fledged police, capable of deterring and handling all crime, whether urban or rural. Alaska persists in offering less deterrence to the same alcohol-related violence that you once documented in the Pulitzer-winning series "A People in Peril."

Gov. Murkowski has just cut 25 percent of VPSOs, adding no troopers, for 15 villages (13 Native). Do you still view rural police cutbacks as merely "staffing" decisions, inappropriate for court scrutiny for signs of race discrimination in the very different structure and delivery of police service to village Alaska?

-- Steve Conn


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Senator Ulmer?

A few of us cronys were sitting around the cracker barrel, sippin' scotch and smokin' seegars when one of us, I forget which, piped up "Screw Tony Knowles," to whcih we all offered a hearty "Hear, hear," and waited for the next political profundity to emit.
"I thnk I know who can beat him AND Lisa Whats-her name," he went on.
Another round was poured, smoke puffed and we sat back to listen.
'"Lookit. Knowles is turning into Tom Daschle's puppydog and if Mark Begich hired David Ramseur to work for HIM, imagine the crew Knowles would bring to Washington if by some stroke of fate or disfavor of the gods he won election to the United States Senate..."
We all nodded our kjnowing assent to this scenario.
"And Lisa whatshername doesn't stand any more chance of re-election than her aged and clearly disoriented father does. Talk about name recognition. P.U.," the pundit continued.
This was making sense, if we weren't quite sure where it was going.
"Who can be an instant national Demo fundraiser, and we wouldn't begrudge it a bit," he asked. "Who can take on Knowles, with impunity, and play him like the pike he is?"
OK, we all said, "WHO?"
"Fran," he replied simply.
We all looked around, pulled on our scotches and pondered. "Hmmmmmmmm," we all hmmmmmm'd.
Fran indeed.
Instant national party credibility. Instant access to the same resources that put other notable women into the US Senate. No political loyalty, on the face of it to Tony Knowles (he Clintoned her in the election, right?) and certainly no reason to NOT take him on in the primary. Broad statewide support and far higher name recognition and credibility than the "incumbent" appointee.
Best of all, it by no means obviates another run for Governor in whatever glacially long wait we have until the aged and clearly disoriented incumbent's term is over.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

So Where to Start.......Frank Murkowski or Eminem?

I saw, in New York, in the following order, Eminem, Alan Coulter, Biff Henderson and David Letterman.
here's the report i started writing while I was there:


(HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J.) It isn’t New York City, but I can see it from my room. You can tell a lot about a civilization by the signs it posts on the sides of buses. Take this one, for example- “Don’t Abandon Your Baby.”
The Empire State Building was lit up red, white and blue last evening. From the view out my sixth floor window I can see Manhattan, the uptown cluster which includes the Empire State Building and lots of others, then the lowlands of midtown down to Lower Manhattan which, of course, is missing something.
Anyone who thinks Anchorage international is messed up tight now with the ongoing construction should landing Newark and then say something. A line of what seemed like 200 people waiting to get to the Port Authority cab dispatcher. Three lanes of moving, stopping, lane cutting traffic in front of the terminal (shall I accurately say ONE of the terminals, for I really have no idea how many there are, but it is a big, busy center of sky commerce).
We knew a cab would be pricey so we called a car service. Within 10 minutes a 2001 Lincoln Town Car was pulling up among the motorized anarchists, the driver waving a sign with my name on it.
New Jersey is home to the radio stations of New York, the landscape outside of Newark, swampy and tidal is dotted with the directional antenna arrays that once beamed rock and roll up and down the coast but now force feed the unwary AM radio listener with the likes of OÂ’Rielly and Limbaugh.
Then, there are the conexes.
If ever nuclear war or plague wipes life from greater Newark, alien observers will still see mountains, literal mountains of 40 footers, TEUÂ’s as they are called in the trade. Millions of the long cans, just waiting to be adopted.
I bet you can see the stacks from the moon.
There are no sidewalks, it appears, in this part of the universe. There are, however, lots of “business jets” at nearby Teterboro Airport. The fine hotel at which your correspondent is lodged (more on that later) crawls with pilots from Net Jets and other corporate flying outfits.
ItÂ’s like 70-something outside, and much as I would love to sit and write, I really must explore a bit. A bus ride to the Manhattoes costs less than $3, not including the expected tip to the hotel shuttle driver.
There also appears to be a back street behind the hotel which may offer some pedestrian opportunity to enjoy the fine weather.

OK, so I haven’t explored yet, I just went and did my wimp act in the “health club.”
The hotel crawls with pilots and flight attendants (well, mostly pilots) from the exclusive outfits NetJets and Flight Options. When you spend 8 hours a day driving the super rich around in a Gulfstream or Citation, you need to unwind so itÂ’s off to the health club for a few miles on the treadmill or a harsh round on the weight machine.
As for me, my one and only appearance was too much of an embarrassment to elaborate upon. Suffice it to say that I really thought I could bench more than 40 pounds. Oh well.

The Eminem Show, or, “Where’s Obie?”
Tuesday afternoon I went to the Mall. The Garden State Mall, to be exact. Big place. Spread out. Crawling with people, especially nubile ones.
Spent a few bucks in the big name stores buying some tops for the girls. I wish I had been rich, hahaha.
We caught the hotel shuttle back, hoping to get here in time to catch the soirée for all the participants at the training. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to find the front of the place crawling with what had to be 800-pound dudes, headsets and all.
“What is up with this,” I mused as I passed through the lobby.

Up, indeed. I wentenquired soirée and enquired of the bartender. Seems a certain Mr. Mathers was in 'da house. My girlss freaked out when I called them on the payphone to brag. "Get a picture, get his autograph," they commanded.
Well, after a couple of scotches I ain't afraid of no rap singer so I asked where the Presidential Suite was. Turns out it was one floor below, so down I went.
Ever hear someone called "Man Mountain?" Well, trust me, Massa Mathers had a whole Alaska Range with him. Imagine an 8-Ball about a million times bigger and you just begin to imagine how big these sucka's were. And he had a posse, alright.

Well, finally

After jetting around the countryside and then not being able to get into my Blog to write, I finally found a back door.
So, here goes.