Friday, October 22, 2010

Joe Miller Was Right! State Senator Albert Kookesh Admits That The Alaska Federation Of Natives Cancelled The Senate Debate To Censor Miller

The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) 2010 Conference is in full swing, from October 21-23. There was to be a debate between the three major U.S. Senate candidates on October 22nd to ensure maximum awareness of all issues of concern to participants. Then on October 19th, AFN President Julie Kitka abruptly announced the cancellation of the debate, the official excuse being that people were complaining that the convention schedule was too full, and that the Senate race was “overexposed.” It is well-known that AFN is firmly in the back pocket of Senator Lisa Murkowski; Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller has repeatedly charged that Murkowski’s support from Native groups is tied to the beneficial deals that top-heavy Native corporations receive from the federal government.

Democrat Scott McAdams did not speculate on the possibility that AFN cancelled the debate to prevent Native delegates from hearing McAdams voice his support for tribal sovereignty, subsistence, and the 8(a) program; instead, he merely said he was there to support Alaska Natives regardless of the decision. But Joe Miller wasn't quite so charitable; Miller accused AFN of cancelling the debate to prevent him from winning support among Alaska Native corporation shareholders. Miller said the corporations don’t want him to talk to the shareholders, be educated by the shareholders and then let them know what his vision is for Alaska. He characterizes his vision as "pro-shareholder". Miller also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over an independent political action committee that's backing Murkowski's write-in bid; in his complaint, Miller argues that several of the Native regional corporations that have donated to Alaskans Standing Together are federal contractors, they're barred from participating in politics. Alaskans Standing Together have shoveled over $1 million into Murkowski's campaign war chest.

Sure enough, State Senator Albert Kookesh (D-Angoon), who also serves as the chairman of the Alaska Federation of Natives, ditched the official cover story and bluntly said AFN canceled the U.S. Senate candidate forum because the group didn't want to give "air time" at the convention to Joe Miller. But when asked if that justified also censoring Scott McAdams, Kookesh hemmed and hawed and basically accused ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins of just trying to make news.

In July 2009, Sen. Kookesh was caught overfishing subsistence down in Angoon. He and the other four men with him had caught 148 sockeye salmon; the bag limit is 15 salmon per person or a total of 75 for the five fishermen. But instead of setting the example and taking responsibility like someone in his position should, he chose to contest it. On September 2nd, 2010, First District Superior Court Judge David George (Sitka) dismissed the charges, ruling that the 15-fish bag limit under which four of the fishermen were cited was adopted without providing for public comment and participation that is required by state law.

By the way, Judge David George is up for retention this year, in case you want to "hold him accountable" for letting Kookesh skate.

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