Alaska Public Media and Alaska Dispatch News are suing Governor Sean Parnell over access to documents related to the National Guard sex scandal. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez submitted her request in May. Both organizations were denied the records by Parnell’s office in late September.
The complaint says that Parnell’s office is not complying with the Public Records Act. The office also failed to provide a log of records related to the scandal and the reasons why they weren’t provided.
Attorney John McKay filed the suit on Wednesday on behalf of both organizations. He says they’re asking the court to expedite the process because it’s important for voters to have access to the facts about Parnell’s actions before the gubernatorial election next month.
“They’ve offered explanations for what he did or didn’t do,” McKay said. “Voters may find that reasonable or they may not. But we need to have facts so people can decide if he acted appropriately or is being criticized unfairly.”
It’s up to the court to decide when to respond to the complaint.
A federal government investigation of the scandal has revealed incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, misuse of government funds, and ethical misconduct in the Alaska National Guard.
Last week the then-three candidates for governor were in Kodiak for the fisheries debate, and all dropped by KMXT for a chat. The last two days we heard from Alaska First Unity Party candidate Bill Walker, and yesterday from Democrat Byron Mallott, who at the time of the interview was a candidate for governor. As you may have heard, he’s now Walker’s running mate. Today, we’ll hear from the Incumbent, Republican Sean Parnell, speaking with KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs and Kodiak Daily Mirror Reporter Julie Herrmann.
[listen to the story here]
[Listen to the entire two-hour debate here]
Gubernatorial candidates Bill Walker, Sean Parnell and Byron Mallott in Kodiak Thursday night debating fisheries issues. Pam Foreman/KMXT photo
The three primary candidates running for governor this year convened at Kodiak’s Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium last night for a debate focused solely on topics related to the seafood industry. Incumbent Sean Parnell, Democrat Byron Mallott and Independent candidate Bill Walker fielded dozens of questions from a media panel, audience members and even each other during the event that was broadcast around the state.
One question posed by an audience member dealt with the Fish and Game and the department’s declining budgets in recent years.
Parnell said the state is getting a pretty good return on investment when you consider it is spending about $200 million on a $6 to $10 billion industry.
“The underlying premise of the question about cuts to Fish and Game – I can tell you that with this legislature we have championed putting more dollars into research when it comes to our fisheries. We have now over 100 people working on getting information as to why fisheries are declining – the salmon in particular – in the marine environment, with 36 projects on going. That is incredibly necessary to sustain our fisheries for the years to come. So bottom line is we’re going to continue making that investment – not just into research, but into management of our fisheries, as well as to the marketing aspects as well.” Continue reading
Folks may have noticed a number of online videos popping up regarding the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” The online awareness campaign challenges people to dump a bucket of ice water over their head and nominate other folks to do the same. The goal is to spread awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and raise money for finding a cure. A number of celebrities, sports teams and politicians have accepted the challenge, including Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Murkowski posted a video online last week that shows her jumping into the fish hold of a tender in Southeast. The video includes a damp Murkowski talking about the ALS challenge after her plunge.
“When we take on a challenge we take it head on. So I’m going to challenge every single member of the United States Senate – do something, do it right. Demonstrate your commitment to getting rid of ALS. Go dunk your head in a bucket of ice, go jump in a fish hold in a tender in Southeast Alaska in Alaskan waters.” Continue reading
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski was in Kodiak last week for a groundbreaking ceremony on the Coast Guard Base. After the ceremony she took time to talk with KMXT.
While Murkowski isn’t up for re-election this year her senate counterpart, Democrat Mark Begich, is. The two have worked together in the senate for almost six years, something Begich has mentioned several times during his campaign. In fact, Begich has talked about their camaraderie and voting similarity so much that recently Murkowski asked him to focus on his own record and leave hers out of it.
“I have always taken a very bipartisan approach to legislating – I believe that that’s the right thing to do. I believe Alaskans want their entire delegation to be working together on Alaska-related issues and I try to do that. I also make sure though that I run on my own record. I’m proud of what our delegation does as a team, but I recognize that as one member of the team, I have to run on my record. And I have just suggested, most recently very directly, that Senator Begich does need to run on his record, as I run on mine.” Continue reading
Last week Governor Sean Parnell signed budget bills totaling $12.8 billion for next year. That compares to roughly $13.2 billion for the current year. Within those bills was the capital budget, which included more than $36 million for the Kodiak Island Borough to put toward various capital improvement projects around the archipelago.
Topping the list was $15 million that will go toward the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill trustee council land acquisition on Afognak Island. More than $10 million will go to improving the Kodiak airport and just over $3 million will help the Aleutian Homes water and sewer replacement project.
Also making the list this year was almost $2.5 million for deferred maintenance on the Kodiak Launch Complex and roughly the same amount for the Monashka pumphouse replacement project. Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association will receive just over $1 million for Pillar Creek Hatchery upgrades.
Ouzinkie will get $300,000 for emergency repairs to the Mahoona Dam and $54,000 will go toward the small boat harbor breakwater stub design in Port Lions.
All total 16 Kodiak projects were funded through the state’s capital budget.
Parnell issued no vetoes on the budget.