Monday, March 31, 2008

Downtown Anchorage Assembly Candidate Chris Blankenship Issues Apology For Heated Exchange With Anchorage Press

While we tend to place the greatest character value upon those who haven't "sinned", so to speak, we sometimes forget that Earth is a training ground designed for us to test and refine our character by confronting challenges and situations which were not available to us in the pre-mortal world. The premise is that we had progressed as far as we could in that environment, and that to make the next leap forward, we had to choose to come down to a mortal environment. According to Latter-day Saint doctrine, to which I subscribe, two-thirds of us made that choice; the remainder were so scared of the risks that they chose to follow Lucifer in rebellion, assuring their permanent damnation.

Consequently, we will all make mistakes. As the Bible states, all have sinned; all fall short of the glory of God. So what also becomes important is recognizing when one has made a mistake and then promptly making amends.

And Downtown Assembly Candidate Chris Blankenship (pictured above left) has done just that. In the wake of some negative reaction to a rather robust exchange between himself and an Anchorage Press reporter, previously discussed HERE, Blankenship has issued an apology, posted on his official campaign blog. This is a class act on his part, and to ensure wider dissemination, I will repost it here, in its entirety:

I need to apologize to Krestia DeGeorge, Brendan Kelley, the staff at the Anchorage Press publication, to the whole Anchorage Media of various formats for my recent language and behavior in the Anchorage Press article. I want to apologize the people of Anchorage for my language in print media, and what has aired on local radio. As a Assembly person hopeful, I need to restrain my emotions when dealing with the press, as if I am elected, I will be working with them on stories about issues before the Anchorage Assembly concerning the Anchorage Population. I promise not to treat the press in Anchorage with disrespect anymore, and will treat each of them with respect at all times.

The Anchorage Press has blown this one time work issue out of proportion.

I apologize to the media, ethnic groups of all races, and countries, public and private individuals, politicians of all parties and the progressive community of whole. I apologize for the use of vulgar language here in the Anchorage Press, the radio on the KUDO station website, and anywhere else this shows up in any form of media. I apologize again to the people of Anchorage I wish to represent. I will be attending diversity training as soon as possible.

I want to work to regain your trust and confidence to represent you on the Anchorage Assembly. I will not use that language again.

I sincerely apologize to you, and ask for forgiveness


I think it's quite obvious that Blankenship, upon reflection, is quite contrite and had no intention of ever allowing it to reach that level. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume this was a fluke on his part, driven by a personal passion to speak out vigorously on behalf of Downtown District residents, in particular those in the eastern half who have been unrepresented or only marginally represented during the past nine years. We should accept his apology as a learning experience for him and move on, making our choice on April 1st based primarily upon the respective visions and platforms articulated by both himself and his opponent, Patrick Flynn.

Regarding "diversity training", apparently Blankenship believes that, even though there is NO confirmed evidence that he's racially abused anyone, and that the postings on his official campaign blog clearly show an active outreach to all ethnic communities within the district, that there's always room for improvement. This implies that, if elected, Blankenship will keep the lines of communication open for new ideas and initiatives. We need to be represented by people who believe one can never stop learning and growing as human beings.

Chris Blankenship has also posted similar apologies on the Anchorage Press website and on the ADN's Alaska Politics blog to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of his change of heart. But interwoven into this apology are some more of his views on the issues, which are worthy of replication here:

I am tired of our spineless Assembly, always backing down when big money gets involved. Big money can go and spend it on the have nots, since all of the haves, already have plenty. I was not raised on big money, I was raised working hard for very little.

People say the care about Fairview and Mountain View, but we already have affordable housing, we need to help repair what we have here first.

700 million for a port that has short falls could be spent for the poorer sides of Anchorage, and helping with property taxes, our kids education to get better teachers.

The problem with education is the parents of the kids, get them involved, tell the parents the kids do not need the video games as babysitters. Parents need to get more involved in getting their kids to do their homework, tell the kids no games, no cell phones until your grades come up to a B or A. Let us learn from the top performing charter schools here, and apply that to the ASD.

Look at the plans for Tudor Road and Lake Otis. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen. Let us build more lanes to increase the traffic congestion. Why not employ a design in the ballpark of the Glenn Highway/ Bragaw work at the Tudor and Lake Otis intersection or like the work on the Wasilla/ Palmer interchange?

Considering the categorical bias exhibited by the Anchorage Daily News against Assembly candidates who choose to take the municipal exemption, Blankenship's observations about big money influence are certainly not out of order.

At the same time, I must tip my hat to Patrick Flynn for taking the high road and refusing to make a campaign issue of this situation. If nothing else, Flynn is showing himself to be a class act. He may think a lot like Allan Tesche, but it appears he would be a "kinder, gentler" version of Allan Tesche. Just as Salt Lake City residents had enough of Rocky Anderson's grandstanding and bloviation, so we in the Downtown District have had our fill of Tesche's grandstanding and bloviation as well, although we're glad he's made a good recovery from the serious surgery he underwent months ago and hope he continues to enjoy good health.

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