TALL TALES from Juneau

Eyes on the Babcock/Dunleavy Administration

 

The Catastrophic Failure Edition

 

 

THAT WAS QUICK.

Oh, boy… Governor Babcock really messed THIS one up! In a whirlwind new cycle, Jonathan Quick went from self-described “serial entrepreneur” and fresh new appointee to head the Department of Administration, to disgraced fibber who has now resigned and slunk away after getting caught red-handed with a pair of whoppers. The Christian colleges he attended apparently didn’t succeed in conveying the “thou shalt not lie” portion of the program to Mr. Quick, who said he had a master’s degree that he doesn’t have, and co-owned a yogurt shop business which he didn’t. A letter to the Senate from the actual owners of the yogurt shop set the record straight on Quick who did not sell his interest in the business (which he told Senators), but who was actually unceremoniously fired after failing to do a good job. Sen. Wielechowski (D-Anchorage who sits on the Senate Finance committee) seems to be the only one to have actually checked the references on the man slated to fill a top slot in the Dunleavy administration. One phone call, people. One phone call… Quick said he resigned so he wouldn’t be a “distraction.” That’s the “wanting to spend time with family” excuse, but when you have already been found out. And he certainly wasn’t the only distraction yesterday…

 

DON’T TAKE THAT CHANCE. 
NO, REALLY…

The hits keep coming in the Department of Administration. If you thought the most horrifying thing you’d hear was that a Commissioner fabricated his resume and lied to Senators, have a seat. I’ve mentioned in a previous TALL TALES that another appointee of that department (not requiring confirmation in the legislature) was a certain Art Chance. Chance is the most bilious, misogynistic, racist, dyspeptic, aggressive, foul, intolerable, contemptible, obnoxious scoundrel you are likely to come across in Alaska Facebook circles. So, the Dunleavy administration offered him a position in labor relations… natch. Well, once civilized people got wind of Chance’s Facebook comments, the jig was up and despite boasting on Facebook that he’d accepted the job and therefore was “going dark” he now, suddenly, has “declined the position.” We can only hope he stays “dark” but don’t hold your breath. If you’re feeling strong of stomach today, you can get a good idea of the bile spewed by Chance on Facebook at this link. It’s not nearly comprehensive, but you’ll get the idea. It's still not clear why the administration would hire Chance to begin with. It's not like he's a stealth-jerk; he's loud and proud with his venom, and there's no convincing anyone that Dunleavy and especially Tuckerman Babcock didn't know exactly who they were hiring. They either thought no one would be paying attention, or they just didn't care. Either way, good riddance!

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY

The Outside hatchet-woman-cum-Budget Director Donna Arduin is prepping the Senate Finance Committee for the carnage to come on February 13 when she releases Dunleavy’s budget. Don’t expect good things. Arduin seems to lack a basic understanding of how Alaska budget stuff works (or doesn't care), but wants us to know that we’ll all be able to understand the budget, and “money is all green,” and let’s just dump it all into one big pile to make it “simple.” Finance Committee Co-chair Bert Stedman was not amused, and pulled the "co-equal branches of government" card. Stedman’s particular legislative superpower is bean counting, and he firmly explained to Ms. Arduin that his committee would be making sure that none of the details got obscured in the simplification plan. Budget guru and Legislative Finance Division Director David Teal was there too, and looked similarly askance at Arduin’s new/simple way of budgeting. He rebutted her assertions, and explained that you cannot lump undesignated general funds and designated general funds in one big basket and expect things to work. But until Budget Day (mark your calendars and wear black) we really can’t know anything. Enjoy the next few weeks of “ignorance is bliss.”

 

RANDOLPH & RANDOLPH

We know about Quick and Chance (which sounds like a killer buddy movie about grifting and rigging poker games), but there are more interesting new hires and appointments on the horizon. A particularly coffee-spit-worthy one is Tammy Randolph, a State Farm insurance agent from North Pole who was just appointed to the UA Board of Regents. She told the News-Miner she was honored, but "I have not paid attention to the budget issues, so I don’t know how I feel about anything yet. So, I'll just be learning and looking at the budget to see what makes sense and what doesn't. I support the university, but to what degree I don’t know yet." Sounds promising. Weirdly, there’s another Randolph (Dick) who’s also a State Farm insurance agent from the Fairbanks area who’s been tasked by the Babcock/Dunleavy administration to rewrite the Alaska Constitution, which he says is “awful” and “socialist doctrine.”  

 

ON DECK

Today at 1:30pm, the Senate Health and Social Services Committee will consider Dunleavy/Babcock’s appointee to head that department – Adam Crum, who comes from working at a truck driving school, and said during a failed state senate campaign that he wasn’t “a health policy guy.” He also has ties to Alaska Right to Life, so maybe he’s THAT kind of “health policy guy.” You can watch HERE. Public testimony will be taken.

And at 3:30pm the Senate Resources Committee will consider Dunleavy's appointment for the head of the Department of Environmental Conservation, Jason Brune. I don't have to tell you this because you are smart and could probably guess, but he's a giant supporter of Pebble Mine. In fact, he was in charge of public affairs for Anglo-American to develop the Pebble Mine, and the Executive Director for the Resource Development Council, a major In-state advocate for Pebble. If he gets confirmed, he'll be the one in charge of deciding whether Pebble will get their permits to build the mine. One guess how that's going to go. You can watch HERE. Public testimony will be taken.

 

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Until next time…