Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alaska State House Passes HR13 Urging Anchorage Assembly To Scrap IM Emission Testing Program; Dick Traini Promises To End IM

Update March 26th: Although Dick Traini still pledges to end IM, I have changed this post title to present a less exuberant portrait of Dick Traini for two reasons. First, on March 12th, Dan Fagan presents evidence in The Alaska Standard showing that the entire liberal establishment is lining up behind Traini. This includes four current liberal Assembly members and five former Assembly members also considered "liberal". This isn't merely anecdotal support; this is systemic support. Second, the Anchorage Daily Planet reported on March 23rd that Dick Traini was still promoting the diversification the tax base with targeted excise taxes like those placed on cigarettes and alcohol rather than a general sales tax. These revelations now trigger genuine concern about Traini's true intentions if elected. Consequently, the candidacy of Andy Clary has become stronger.

The Alaska State House accomplished something mildly useful on February 24th, 2010, even if it had no teeth. By a 27-11 margin, the House passed HR13, which calls for the Municipality of Anchorage to scrap the IM emission testing program, in which every two years on the anniversary of a vehicle's registration, a resident of the Municipality is required to get a successful emission test as a condition of registration. No other subdivision of the state imposes this requirement. Media story by KTUU Channel 2.

Here's how they voted:

-- Yeas: Austerman (R), Chenault (R), Dahlstrom (R), Edgmon (D), Fairclough (R), N. Foster (D), Hawker (R), Herron (D), Johansen (R), Johnson (R), Joule (D), Kawasaki (D), Keller (R), Kelly (R), Lynn (R), Millett (R), Munoz (R), Neuman (R), K. Olson (R), Petersen (D), Ramras (R), Seaton (R), Stoltze (R), Thomas (R), Tuck (D), P.Wilson (R), T.Wilson (R)

Note: Stolze was the sponsor; Lynn, Hawker, Dahlstrom, Johnson, Millett, and Ramras all co-sponsors.

-- Nays: Buch (D), Cissna (D), Crawford (D), Doogan (D), Gara (D), Gardner (D), Gruenberg (D), Guttenberg (D), Holmes (D), Kerttula (D), Salmon (D)

-- Excused: Gatto (R)

-- Absent: Harris (R)

Primary Justification: The IM program has become redundant and burdensome. Anchorage has not breached Federal air quality standards since 1996. Newer vehicles are equipped with improved pollution control technology, requiring reduced oversight. And the city of Fairbanks, despite having other pollution issues relating to the use of wood stoves, chose to end their IM program. Being a mere resolution, it is of course not binding.

Recent History: The Anchorage Assembly voted in 2007 to eventually end the IM testing program, when it was dominated by a conservative majority. However, power shifted back to the liberals after the 2008 municipal election, and in July 2008, the subsequent assembly reversed itself. Although the conservative argument is that the program's success warrants its discontinuance, the liberal argument is that the program's success warrants its continuation.

Next Step: Reverse the liberal majority on the assembly in the April 6th, 2010 municipal election. The current assembly is dominated by liberals 6-5; it will only take one change to reverse it. Here are the electoral decisions Anchorage voters need to make, in order of priority:

-- Section 4, Seat F, Midtown Anchorage: The candidates are Dick Traini, Andy Clary, and Joshua Whittaker. Both Traini and Clary are known to be conservatives. However, Dick Traini not only has prior assembly service, but has been quoted as saying that his first official act if elected will be to get rid of the IM testing program. On the surface, the election of Dick Traini to the Assembly would appear helpful, but the massive outpouring of liberal support for Traini since this post was first published now makes Andy Clary's candidacy much more viable.

-- Section 5, Seat H, East Anchorage: The candidates are Adam Trombley, Paul Honeman, and Thomas Purcell. Trombley, who is conservative, is more likely to vote to end IM than the others. However, Paul Honeman bills himself as an independent, so it is not impossible that he might also vote to end IM. Trombley might be a better choice.

-- Section 6, Seat J, South Anchorage: A no-brainer. Incumbent Jennifer Johnston voted to get rid of IM. Challenger Keli Booher is the former president of Young Democrats for Alaska. Re-elect Jennifer Johnston.

-- Section 3, Seat D, West Anchorage: This is also a no-brainer. The candidates are incumbent Matt Claman, Ernie Hall, and Bill Sigler. Claman was instrumental in reversing the assembly vote and keeping IM. This means he's got to go, and Ernie Hall is the most qualified replacement. Although Hall is a Democrat by label, he has Mayor Dan Sullivan's endorsement.


  1. You do really great work on this website, and I am grateful!

  2. I am irate! Will you people stop calling my phone number to leave a message about Dick Traini running for the Anchorage Assembly? I will definitely NOT vote for him because of this violation of my civil rights. Stop calling!!!

  3. What an anonymous nerd wah wah