The Alaska State Capitol Building, home of the Alaska Legislature

What Goes Around Comes Around


The Republican majority in the State House and Senate need the votes of the Democratic minority to draw funds from the Constitutional Budget reserve. It takes a three-quarters vote in each chamber to draw down funds. The Republican caucus gas a three-quarters majority in the state Senate; they don’t in the House. To get the…

Explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010 (U.S. Coast Guard)

Shell Games: The Return of the Clowns


Shell plans to return to the Chukchi Sea to drill this summer. It’s the return of the clowns. But there’s nothing funny about Shell’s past adventures in the Arctic. It’s a litany of repeated flirtations with disaster, violations of the law and breathtaking incompetence. Only the sheerest dumb luck kept Shell from an environmental disaster…

KUAC Logo

A Few Words About Public Radio


Some years ago, in another of the Legislature’s overreactions to a budget crisis, when the price of crude oil crashed, WC and Robert Hannon recorded a PR spot. WC described listening to an APRN story reporting on the first whale taken at Barrow that spring, and the excitement in the whaling captain’s voice. WC pointed…

The Alaska State Capitol Building, home of the Alaska Legislature

A Funny Kind of “Transparency”


The current session of the Alaska Legislature is scheduled to end April 19, 2015. And Alaskans still haven’t seen the proposed capital budget. We’re more than nine-tenths of the way through the session, and there is no substantive bill. There’s talk. Governor Walker proposed a capital budget, but the State Senate has blown it off.…

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Raejean Bonham in Perspective


A few days before Christmas, in 1995, WC had a telephone call at work from Larry Compton, the Anchorage-based bankruptcy trustee. WC had recently worked opposite Compton in a bankruptcy reorganization case. We knew each other, but not well. Compton said he had just been appointed as Trustee in a Chapter 11 reorganization case. Bankruptcy Judge…

The Alaska State Capitol Building, home of the Alaska Legislature

Alaska’s Budget Crisis: Early Warning Signs


An extremely high risk prisoner escaped from Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility in Anchorage. Kevin Tuckfield. convicted serial rapist, was re-captured in something like three hours, but not before he assaulted another woman while attempting a car-jacking. The Alaska Department of Corrections botched pretty much every aspect of the matter: they didn’t warn the public that…