Monthly Archives: October 2009

Property Taxes: Are Anchorage Commercial Properties Paying Their Fair Share?

A couple of weeks ago Mayor Sullivan invited me to his office so that I could conduct an interview for Alaska Health Policy Review about his views on health policy.  At the end of that interview, I asked his permission to diverge to a completely different topic — property taxes.  He allowed the question…

I want to ask you one question that really comes from a completely different ball park. I want to talk about property taxes. I have only one question on this subject. I noticed in one of your press releases, I think you mentioned that property taxes were going up. Read the rest of this entry

Gas Shortages and Potential Health Emergency

I sent this out to some of my colleagues a couple of weeks ago…


I would like to share my concerns with you about the possible public health consequences if we do have serious gas shortages this winter, and especially if it is a prolonged very cold winter and there are periods and/or areas where the gas is restricted entirely, or the price of gas skyrockets.

  • people tighten up air leaks in the home, and use alternative heating sources such as kerosene or briquettes.  This results in carbon monoxide poisonings.  What are we doing to prevent that?
  • home fires are likely to increase due to inappropriate use of alternative heating sources such as open flames from various sources. What are we doing?
  • For a variety of reasons more and sicker people are managing their health conditions at home.  Do we know who and where they are?  Do we have the ability to evacuate them?  Do we have alternate places, warm and well-stocked and equiped, to evacuate them to? Read the rest of this entry

Remember Free Venezualan Oil for the Bush?

Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States, is scheduled to travel to Alaska on Thursday and Friday on a mission to strengthen relations with the state’s indigenous tribes and promote cultural, commercial and academic links between the U.S. and Venezuela, according to the Venezuelan embassy. Alvarez plans to meet with elected officials, speak to students and faculty at the University of Alaska, and participate in some media interviews, the embassy said. He will also meet with the executive leadership of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council and speak to a number of tribal chiefs that have benefited from a discounted heating oil program sponsored by the CITGO Corp., which Venezuela’s state oil company owns.

Alvarez has been Venezuela’s top envoy to the United States since 2003. He left the United States in September 2008 in a diplomatic dispute but returned to his post in June, the embassy said.

[Source: ADN]

The Latest on Highway to Highway: In Your Back Yard?

Informative if not calming highway communique from Rep. Les Gara… ~ldw

Dear Neighbors,

Lots of you are justifiably scared that state, city and private traffic planners have, well, gone loopy on us. It’s time for some straight talk about threats you’ve heard that traffic experts would actually build a new highway through Anchorage’s densest neighborhoods, and maybe even through your kitchen.

Here’s the skinny. These folks aren’t necessarily nuts. They’re just messing with you. The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) probably requires them to pretend they are considering completely insane highway route alternatives through Anchorage that, from the mail I’m receiving, have scared the bejesus out of many of you. What they haven’t told you is that most of their proposed route alternatives have almost no chance of moving forward. Read the rest of this entry

Report on Rural Alaska Problems and Solutions – Presented to Obama’s Secretarys

Excellent review of social, economic, and health problems and proposed solutions in rural Alaska. The report is lavishly illustrated. It was authored by the Yukon-Kuskowim Health Corporation, and became available August 2009.