Monday, November 12, 2012

Former Alaska State Rep. Vic Kohring Attempts Political Comeback, Applies For Seat On Wasilla Planning Commission; Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright Opposed

The Mat-Su Frontiersman reported on November 5th, 2012 that former seven-term Alaska State Rep. Vic Kohring, who was caught up in the Corrupt Bastards Club scandal, may be launching a political comeback. Kohring has applied for a seat on the Wasilla Planning Commission. Before clicking on the link, please note that the Frontiersman uses a flexible pay wall, meaning you get to view no more than five free articles in any 30-day period.

This maneuver is not totally surprising. In the last of his 12-part series published on October 28th, 2012 by Alaska Dispatch, Kohring conveyed the impression that many people in the Valley would welcome his return to politics, although he downplayed that intent, saying he was preoccupied with writing a book about his legal and legislative experiences, and caring for his aging parents. He also expressed a desire to either go into the ministry or continue his formal education. But apparently the bite of the political bug was too strong for Kohring to resist.

You can read Kohring's entire series on Alaska Dispatch or on his own website.

Kohring says that no one put him up to applying for a seat on the Planning Commission, and denies there's any politics in play. He says he simply wants to get involved in public service again and believes he has a lot to offer. Since he did serve on the Planning Commission from 1991-1994, he understands the process and is familiar with the city code.

However, Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright, who will decide who fills the vacancies on the Planning Commission as well as the Airport Advisory Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and slots as administrative hearing officers, thinks Kohring's application is premature. Rupright notes that Kohring is still on federal probation, and it's unclear in his mind if Kohring can legally serve. Rupright also notes that Kohring's conviction was a breach of public trust, and since the Planning Commission is a public trust body, it would be awkward to explain Kohring's presence on the Commission while he is still on federal probation. He does not rule out future public service for Kohring, but thinks the time is not right at present.

Along with Kohring, four others have applied for the planning commission. Two will be chosen to fill the seats of Buzz Buswell, who resigned after being elected to Wasilla City Council, and of Steve DeHart, who resigned for health reasons. Also, the terms of Glenda Ledford and Doug Miller are up. Both have reapplied, along with Jessica Dean and Jesse Sumner. Other public commission hopefuls include John Popecki (Airport Advisory Commission), Dave Tuttle (Parks and Recreation Commission) and Eric Jensen (Administrative Hearing Officer). All three are incumbents and have applied for re-appointment.

You can view applications for the city of Wasilla’s commission and board appointments attached to this story HERE.

Analysis: I agree with Mayor Rupright; it would be inappropriate to appoint Vic Kohring to a position of public trust at this time. While I believe Kohring was railroaded, and accept his premise that the video we saw of him taking $100 cash from Bill Allen was not in exchange for a favorable vote for VECO, he still pleaded guilty. The fact that he pleaded guilty because he couldn't afford to continue the legal fight is irrelevant; when you plead guilty, you are accepting culpability and the attendant consequences. Too bad for Kohring -- he seems like a standup guy, but it would look to awkward to seat him on the Planning Commission at this time. It would be smart for Vic Kohring to withdraw his application and find a different route to public service, at least until his probation expires.

No comments:

Post a Comment