Friday, April 03, 2009

Neo-Prohibitionist Citizens Against Dan Sullivan Launches Smear Campaign Against Anchorage Mayoral Candidate Dan Sullivan Over "Alcohol" Interests

A shadowy neo-prohibitionist special interest group has slithered into the spotlight to launch a smear campaign against conservative Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Sullivan. Coincidentally, the group went public on the same day a new Dave Dittman poll showed Sullivan opening up a commanding lead in the mayor's race, creeping to within three percent of the 45 percent threshold necessary to win the election outright on April 7th.

The group, which calls itself "Citizens Against Dan Sullivan and Liquor Industry Influence", and which, according to APOC records, is located at 2650 East 50th Avenue in Anchorage and can be reached at 907-563-7374 or 907-563-7378, is taking issue with what they characterize as excessive contributions to Sullivan's campaign by local alcohol interests, as well as his "opportunistic" purchase of a bar near the De'naina Convention Center prior to its opening. They've been distributing mailers, the text of which can be viewed at the Immoral Minority blog.

Media stories published by KTUU Channel 2 and the Anchorage Daily News. Additional opinion by The Alaska Standard.

Anna Sappah, chair of the group, said the group is concerned because Sullivan, who owns a downtown pub called McGinley's, received about $12,000 in campaign contributions from people in the bar and retail liquor industry. Sappah, self-described as a "person in recovery" and as a "substance abuse professional", said she is worried that Sullivan might make decisions as mayor that would exacerbate the city's public inebriate problems.

However, the APOC entry for the group lists Julia Garriques as the point of contact. APOC also shows a single $85 contribution on the entry, although Sappah claims they've raised $2,000. Sappah said she has not engaged in anti-liquor political campaigns in the past but was approached last week to help with this one by people she wouldn't name. The group plans to run a radio ad between now and the April 7th election.

Sappah also took issue with Sullivan's purchase of a bar near the new De'naina Convention Center, apparently trying to portray a false picture of an Assemblyman trying to capitalize on his political position. She also claimed that the bar, known as McGinley's Pub, operated without a business license for about three months. When KTUU checked with the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, they acknowledged that was true, but added that because the division has to manually process thousands of renewals, some can get backlogged and that a business license lapse is fairly common. Licensing Chief Jennifer Strickler said a few months is no big deal, as long as the application is filed in a timely fashion.

Although Sullivan did not respond to the attack in person, his campaign put out a press release calling the new effort a last-minute smear. "There has been ample time ... to discuss the important issues regarding public health concerns and bringing a shadow political group forward at this time diminishes the whole process".

This last minute hail-Mary desperation move by Citizens Against Dan Sullivan is meaningless. Sullivan is committed to concentrating more law enforcement resources in areas more subject to crime, so his bar will not become a magnet for crime. As a matter of fact, when he was an Assemblyman for West Anchorage, his advocacy was so effective in chasing crime out of Spenard that then-Downtown Assemblyman Allan Tesche humorously complained that Sullivan had chased all the scum into the Downtown District. The real reason so many bar owners are contributing to Sullivan's campaign is because they know that Sullivan's emphasis on law enforcement will cause them fewer problems and help them increase their profits.

Citizens Against Dan Sullivan is nothing more than a minor nuisance unworthy of further attention, although it does provide those of us who are Sullivan partisans with another unexpected and welcome opportunity to promote his candidacy. More information about the Dan Sullivan campaign can be found at the following links:

-- Official campaign website HERE.
-- December 2007 press release outlining his vision HERE.
-- KTUU Channel 2 profile with video HERE.
-- Anchorage Press profile on Sullivan HERE.
-- KSKA Interview accessible HERE.
-- KAKM Channel 7 "Running" Interview accessible HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment