Stalking 1960s Anchorage

December 27, 2020 at 5:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One of my projects in 2020 has been recording podcasts with retired Anchorage architect Ralph Alley. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time and for me it’s been like speaking to a childhood hero. Society in general has gone through some transformations in the 61 years since Ralph’s first arrival in Anchorage — then a much smaller city.

Today I walked around downtown and nearby on the same streets and sidewalks Ralph frequented decades before, and revisited some places that figure in the 11 podcast episodes we’ve recorded thus far.

2020 skyline of Anchorage beyond the Ship Creek railroad yards, seen from Government Hill.
49th State Brewpub Restaurant at W. 3rd Ave. and G Street. The main part of the building at left is older than it looks…
…seen here in 1922 not long after completion.
One of Ralph’s 1970s projects was this monument to Captain Cook and a multi-level cascading deck with a commanding view of the inlet. In 2020 there has been talk of removing the Cook statue as the societal dialogue regarding the past treatment of indigenous peoples and manifest destiny has evolved.
The towers of the Captain Cook Hotel, seen from W. 4th Ave. and L Street near the Cook monument.
On this now empty half-block was a boarding house that was Ralph Alley’s first Anchorage residence in 1959, seen from near W. 6th Ave. and H St. The boarding house stood near where the parking payment kiosk is in the foreground. Where the hotel tower stands beyond [at 5th and G] in 1959 was the Jonas Brothers store.
Jonas Bros. at 5th and G, circa late 1950s.
Loussac Sogn Building, W. 5th Ave. and D St. The offices of Manley and Mayer, Architects were here — Ralph worked for that firm 1959-64.
President Eisenhower’s mororcade, eastbound on 5th Ave. between D and E Streets, June 12, 1960. Ralph was on the street that day with friends and saw the president “whip by at around 50 mph”, suggesting he must have been supported by a hidden mast.
W. 4th Ave. and E St. in 2020. Beyond, where the low brick building now stands was the Hewitt’s Drug Store buiding. Ralph’s apartment in 1963 was in the east end of the building above the Cheechako Bar. The building was damaged in the 1964 earthquake and town down a few months afterward.
Hewitt’s building in 1949.
Club 25 [Wendler Building] in 2020 at 4th and D. Moved here in 1983 from its original location at 4th and I.
Club 25 at 4th and I, circa 1970. In one of the podcast episodes Ralph talks about being taken out to lunch at Club 25 and the raucous atmosphere created by the colorful propeietor, Myrtle [Wendler] Stalnaker, daughter of the original owner.
Wendler Building in 1917. The girl in the photo might be Myrtle or her sister?
2020 view of the Inlet Tower at W. 12th Ave. and L Street, another of Ralph Alley’s early ’60s Anchorage apartment homes. He house-sat here then had two different apartments of his own. This building and a twin building about a mile away were built in 1951 and were for years the two tallest buildings in Anchorage at 14 stories.
The so-called “Frou-frou House” at W. 15th Ave. and O St. where Ralph lived with two housemates in 1964. Since then the house has received a second-story addition and a two-story dwelling unit on its west end, turning it into a large duplex. The carport, brick fireplace wall, entrance and living areas are similar to their 1964 appearance. Ralph was standing at the top of the steps looking down into the sunken living room at 5:35 pm on March 27, 1964 when the magnitude 9.2 earthquake rocked his world!
The Denali Theater on 4th Ave., post-quake.
2020 downtown Anchorage skyline from Ship Creek.

Evening bike-around: Anchorage remnants

May 8, 2018 at 7:35 am | Posted in alaska, anchorage, photo du jour, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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One gets busy with work and life and forgets to stop and smell the abandoned buildings.  Tonight for a couple hours I got back out there and checked on the condition of the less celebrated parts of the city.


When I stopped to take this photo of this small multiplex on San Roberto Ave., three kids playing in the yard next door shyly asked why I was photographing the building.  “I like how it looks, with those concrete block walls, wooden bars, metal fencing and pavement.  The things we do for cars, eh?  How to wreck the front yard?”  They laughed a little and probably wondered how long ago I had lost my mind.


Community Park Loop, a street near East High School.  It was installed in the mid-1980s and was planned as the future home of a variety of social service institutions and agencies.  It entered into an ownership dispute of some sort involving the Alaska Mental Health Trust.  I don’t know the details and they don’t matter so much to me.  The net result is an interesting juxtaposition of a finished street and sidewalk running through a pristine forested tract of land, an experience increasingly rare.


This little house fronts E. Dowling Road just east of the New Seward Highway.  Property tax records show it has 1,035 square feet, two bedrooms and one bath and was built in 1950.  The property is owned by the State of Alaska DOT/PF — assuming it was acquired for a future expansion of the roadway interchange.  The six lane elevated highway bridge a block away contributes a dull roar and there’s a lot of traffic on Dowling during the day, but not so much when stopped to look.  There’s a piece of the residential neighborhood still extant on a couple streets north of this house.  Along Dowling, a couple other houses can still be seen integrated into sites of auto repair shops, warehouses and storage lockers.  In 1950 Dowling was part of a winding route leading out of Anchorage to the south.  The outbound road had only been open a couple years and was rough and partially complete.  It must have been quite an expedition, especially in winter to get from this house to the nearest grocery store downtown.  It was probably quiet and peaceful most of the time, which is difficult to imagine now.


This building next to the 1950 vintage house was a busy gas station convenience store in the ’90s.


Ten Commandments banner and front of this tidy little church on E. International Airport Rd., directly across the street from the Great Alaska Bush Co. Show Club, a strip bar.  Churches are doing a little better than bars at this moment in time.  Either this building, or another nearby [can’t remember for sure] was the longtime location of Hansen’s Hubcaps.  I must have a photo of it someplace in my film archives.  Someday I will organize it.  There must be some gems in there!


Part of the street facade of the old Sears Mall Carrs grocery store, opened 1968 and closed 2015.  Recently Safeway [owner of Carrs since 2000] announced they will build a new Carrs at the other end of this same mall in the space just vacated by the closing of the Sears store.  The mall owner has plans to redevelop the former Carrs for a new anchor tenant to be determined.  The new scheme is really nice looking, and updates the exterior while somewhat paying homage to the original gold and dark brown scheme here.  Safeway remodeled all the other Carrs locations to a greater or lesser degree, but this one when it closed still looked just like it always had.

Renewal of faith in city planning? Maybe?

July 30, 2015 at 5:46 am | Posted in anchorage, politics | 7 Comments
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I guess I grew cynical over the last several election cycles, and was surprised and unprepared when Ethan Berkowitz won the Mayoral race earlier this year.  Berkowitz, a Democrat [the Municipal elections are ostensibly non-partisan] has now teamed up with Andrew Halcro, one of his Republican opponents in the primary and since taking office earlier this month completed a transition plan that identifies several course changes for the city.

Like new Alaska Governor Bill Walker, Berkowitz reached out to the public for ideas on how to deliver government services more efficiently.  I wrote to both of them.

To Walker, I suggested cancelling the five largest transportation projects now in the planning stages [including the Knik Arm Bridge; the Anchorage Highway to Highway project; and the Bragaw St. extension], and at the same time implementing sweeping changes in Statewide and Regional Transportation Planning processes, in order to prevent such ill-conceived debacles from coming to the forefront in the future.  While he hasn’t been able to halt any of them, at least the climate has changed enough that policymakers are questioning the party line and how priorities are established.  Tiny steps!

In the letter to Berkowitz I suggested that Anchorage’s failure to change its dominant development pattern [despite an effort to move that way, evidenced by the Anchorage 2020 Comprehensive Plan and early efforts to rewrite the Title 21 Land Use Code, before it was co-opted by the Dan Sullivan administration beginning in 2009] is having an ill effect overall, and if left unchecked will destroy what is great about the city.

It doesn’t sound like a budget issue on the face of it, but bear with me.  The more one looks into it, the more apparent it becomes that there are costs to sprawl development that are not being accounted for.  In the big picture, it’s obvious what is happening — there are not walk-able commercial blocks outside of Downtown, so in order to shop, go to an appointment with a service provider or go out to restaurants and nightclubs all but the most ambitious [and blessed with the most free time] are forced into their cars [since there is also not a robust system of Public Transit].  Thus, the traffic is more congested, with all of the associated drawbacks [danger, noise, pollution, frustration, devaluing of property alongside major roadways] — not to mention loss of habitat/open space.

Sprawl — if you want a more specific term with local relevance, let’s call it suburban strip development — accommodates population growth, but in the least efficient manner possible.  Left that way [lacking incentives or directives for anything else], its low density mat will spread far and wide, and unless the city’s boundaries expand with it, the tax base will remain flat.  In Anchorage’s case it has led to the siren song of developers, that Anchorage is “out of develop-able land” [and thus we need to throw that bridge over to Pt. McKenzie and build more of the same over there].  To paraphrase the American Legion motto: all of that Free Parking is NOT FREE!!

The presentation of an alternative scenario will be built on the following basic tenet [courtesy Occupy Wall St.]:
this is not the way

Communities in other parts of the country and in other nations figured out long ago that sprawl is not the way to go.  Sometimes this epiphany came after decades going down the wrong path.  Anchorage is far enough down that path to come to its collective senses and turn around.  Mayor Berkowitz said in a Chamber of Commerce speech this week, “There are times when we should care how they do it Outside.”

We also should stop making policy based on the opinions and public positions of those with an axe to grind, and rely more on sound planning and proven principles than on local folklore.  We’ve got to get past the current mentality, where long term goals are routinely sacrificed for short term gain, without a firm grasp on true consequences.

Planners, urbanists and academics for more than six decades have argued that a more complex, less segregated pattern [with people living in all areas of a town, in random mixture of income level and cultural identity] is a healthier environment that results in more supervision and fewer rampant social ills.  We have some of the ingredients but none of the purpose and vision, and the results are becoming a catastrophe, with Anchorage bubbling near the top on several lists of The Most Dangerous Cities in the USA.  I’d argue that the lousy development pattern is a major contributing factor — for all the reasons Jane Jacobs would cite — and, conversely if you give a place vibrance, purpose and meaning the required sense of ownership and protection of people and assets naturally follows.

Anchorage has been successful in some important ways — there’s a great network of non-motorized trails; wilderness access is still first-rate; and there’s mostly a lack of the most egregious sorts of visual pollution such as billboards and 200 ft tall signs.  There are great parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities.

In order to build on this and provide for future generations, at this point we should embrace Smart Growth principles; Complete Streets; and reconsider long- and short-term planning goals in regards to protecting and enhancing existing established neighborhoods.

The blow-back is inevitable and will be strong.  Home builders already publicly state that any new regulations that don’t exist will add to the already high cost of housing [when actually, prices are always set by what the market will bear].  Quasi-public agencies like housing authorities will come down on the side of less regulation too — they see it as something they should control and direct.  [In the letter to Mayor Berkowitz, I suggested part of the problem in Anchorage is that major players such as the Alaska Railroad, the State Dept of Transportation and Public Facilities, the Ted Stevens International Airport, the School District and others now operate largely autonomously, are guided by an internal culture and consider themselves affiliated with but not accountable to Anchorage.]

In most other U.S. cities the size of Anchorage, there are numerous commercial centers in neighborhoods outside of town where one can, on a single block find small shops of all kinds, restaurants and bars and other sorts of venues in a dense arrangement, with apartments mixed in on second and third floors, and minimal or no on-site parking available.  Many of these are fantastic, desirable destinations.  There are cars and traffic, but not overwhelming… big trees, sidewalk tables, vibrant scenes with a mixture of culture and socio-economic status.  We do not have anything like this here — but we have many blocks, in many parts of town where a redevelopment pattern like this could be incubated.

There would be numerous advantages gained.  Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur with a food cart or a food truck, and want to make the jump to a restaurant.  It’s easier downtown, but rents are prohibitively high and availability limited.  Outside of downtown, you are almost surely stuck in a strip mall [that also may not be affordable] if you want any advantage of a shared endeavor [parking and the presence of spillover customers who came there for other reasons].  With just a few tables, you will need parking for several cars — more expensive than it sounds, because it has to include the dimensions of the parking spaces, access aisles and driveways, drainage infrastructure, landscaping, lighting and so forth; and all this has to be reviewed and permitted by the city, and maintained.  It’s a huge and unnecessary burden.

The stores in a typical mid-sized strip mall could be placed on a city block in less than 1/3 the total area, and have a floor or two of apartments above, with parking provided on-street instead of on-site [or, in larger developments also in multi-level garages and in other ways including diagonal back-out stalls on internal collector roads].  There’s every advantage to the small independent business owner, the general public and the city at large [drastically increased tax base combined with greater availability of adjacent land for other uses].

We have lots of need for housing, and more of it of a specialized sort — housing for seniors; for artists; for chronically homeless, addicted or mentally ill.

The Millennial generation is quickly abandoning the car in favor of walking and transit, and the rest of us should support this trend.  Anchorage has a long tradition of advocacy, by several prominent locals including Suzan Nightingale [1950-96], Ruth Moulton [1931-2006], Laine Fleischer, Walt Parker [1926-2014] and many others.  Cheryl Richardson and Anchorage Citizens Coalition are doing great work in recent years to keep the issues I’ve been writing about here at the forefront, and helping to educate the public.

We have, in Mayor Berkowitz a sympathetic ear [evidenced by his appointment of Halcro as head of the Municipal Development Authority and Chris Schutte as Community and Economic Development Director] and the time is now to voice your concerns to your Municipal and State elected officials!  Tell them what you would like to see, and why.  Developers and major landholders always have the ear of any administration — it’s more rare that the general population has a chance to be heard, too.

Stalking Cysewski, Part II

April 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Posted in anchorage | 2 Comments
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Yesterday I continued my strange quest walking in the decades old steps of master documentary photographer Stephen Cysewski.

As in the first expedition last week, the results were mixed but the journey was fascinating.

Let’s begin in Muldoon.  At the far NE corner of Anchorage, in the old days it seemed like a strange outpost, a seedy/sketchy last stop before cobbling together a road trip to points north.  Even today, the commercial property along Muldoon Rd. looks pretty awful.  It didn’t make we want to linger and document it, at least not on a cloudy/dreary Spring afternoon.  [I might go back soon, though!]

Cysewski’s shot is in a parking lot on the north end of Muldoon Rd., just south of the Glenn Highway.  The quarter cloverleaf NB Muldoon off ramp is visible in the background.  That same ramp is still there, but maybe not for much longer [a badly needed new interchange will be built to serve the new mall off Muldoon north of the highway].  Typical Anchorage strip development — pole signs, asphalt parking and asphalt paved street separated by a concrete curb, and nothing else.  I found the current situation at the same spot only slightly improved — the same parking lot light poles, different pole signs [and more of them].  Today one does not see liquor store signs featuring cartoon drunken hillbillies [at least, not around these parts].  And chicken buckets are behind us, also.  The parking lot now has a really pathetic landscape strip, with small trees unable to grow out of the hard packed gravelly soil; yellow wheel stops, a little concrete landscape fence separating the parking from the pedestrians [there actually were a few!] along Muldoon [that has three more traffic lanes than in the ’70s].

Kava’s Pancake House is where KFC used to be.  Another pole sign there reads, Alaskan Sweet Thing’s.  Not the first [or likely, last] in our longstanding local taste for vagueness and misplaced apostrophes, as we shall see.  [Click the image to see a larger version, if you can stand it.]

Moving now to the opposite side of Muldoon, a couple blocks south and looking the other way [SW].  In the ’70s Cysewski was in front of Proctor’s Grocery, an old time Alaska business that had five stores in Anchorage and some in other places, including Homer where the last remaining one closed in the late ’80s.  Now there’s a gas station at the Muldoon store site.  The gigantic church in the background looks the same today, except the steeple is a little different — the old one blew off the building in a wind storm.  Cysewski has a neat aerial of the church on his site, also.

Now let’s enter the morass that is Midtown.  Cysewski’s stark ’70s view of an unremarkable strip mall was taken looking west across the Seward Highway just south of Benson Blvd.  I’m not certain that the current Ashley store is the same building?  But it seems likely.  It was extensively remodeled in the early ’90s, as I recall.

I slept on a waterbed as a teenager in my basement bedroom.  So many people had them back then.  Today I have a memory foam mattress.

Of all the Cysewski photo sites I visited thus far, this place has changed the least in four decades.  Old Seward Highway between Huffman and Klatt Roads.  The Train Shop appears to no longer be there, and not sure if it’s still Pacific Auction — there’s only a sign that says Family Flea Market — but it appears to be the same type of business.  The site has a bunch of cool/decrepit old cars and miscellaneous used equipment.  And Ward Realty is still there in the green building on the left.  The road is wider and so there’s no signs or parking in front of the buildings now.  In the ’70s businesses like this were the norm, now this looks out of place.

It might have taken me longer to place this one, if not for the helpful street sign — definitely the same building, a modest size place that probably started off as a house.  The large hands are strange, especially paired with the name Action.  In the ’80s through the early 2000s this was the Greek Corner Restaurant.  Now it is Maxine’s, a fairly high end bistro [despite outward appearances].

It was better looking in the ’70s.

Earlier in Muldoon I started to get a little sidetracked.  It was almost as if I was channeling Cysewski!  That sounds flaky, I know — there’s just something about wandering around with no set plan, and finding certain images that beckon.  I used to do a lot of that — focus has shifted to detail shots and nature lately but I still enjoy urban clutter and oddball quirkiness.  I shot this near the place where I took the shot of the big church.

Back downtown for the rest of today’s tour.  [We all know that downtown is the greatest part of every town, right?]

Cysewski photo of Char’s Thing’s [natch] on E. 5th Ave. and Denali St. in the ’70s.  I don’t remember this place, but there were places like it from one end of the city to the other, with proprietors with large personalities and grandiose visions.  There’s very little of that left, but it can still be found here and there.  Char’s house is no longer there, but the similar one next door still is.

The McKinley Tower behind [built 1951] was abandoned around the time the ’70s photo was taken, and sat for many years in an advanced state of decay until finally being reoccupied around 15 years ago.  It has fewer windows and is no longer pink.

When I arrived at this scene and was about to take the shot, a large pickup towing a 30 ft box trailer pulled into a street parking spot and blocked my view.  I showed him Cysewski’s photo, told him what I was doing.  We talked for awhile and he generously offered to back up his rig so I could get the shot.

The Edes House at 610 W. 2nd Ave. at the corner of Christensen Dr.  Edes was the head of the Alaska Engineering Commission that built the Alaska Railroad, and this house on a prominent corner site overlooking the rail yards and Ship Creek was one of the nicest in town.  Here’s a couple photos of it taken in 1918.

Many uncomplimentary words have been written about the transformation of this place that took place in the 1960s and continues today.  The insensitive addition that destroyed the original covered porch, the transformation of the yard from a beautiful garden to a dirt parking lot.  But, hey!  At least it is still there.  I keep thinking that somebody with some money is going to see this place for what it really could be and launch a full renovation that restores it.  We’ll see.  The randomness of survival of historic buildings fascinates me — some are well cared for, some are not; it doesn’t seem to dovetail with whether they remain or not.  Sometimes the sites they occupy are needed for something newer and grander.  Sometimes they just run out of luck.

Cysewski took this shot of the west wall of J.C. Penney’s building, looking NE from W. 6th Ave. and E St. in the ’70s.  In 1994 Wyland painted a whale mural on the wall, the first of 12 murals he did all down the west coast beginning here and ending in San Diego.  I remember going down there in the summer after it was finished [it took less than a week] and hearing a fantastic performance by surf guitar legend Dick Dale [who was then enjoying renewed interest thanks to college radio].  The mural is still extant, if a little sunburned 21 years on.

Cysewski frame looking north at W. 4th Ave. and F St.  Fur Rondy Parade, and a float with a stuffed grizzly bear and bottle of Prinz Brau.

Another sidebar — a photo I took that I can imagine Cysewski taking.  Looking NW at W. 7th Ave. and E St.

Cysewski took this from inside a McDonald’s at 4th and E [looking SW].  McD’s isn’t there anymore.  The space is a coffee shop but was closed when I went by, so I stood outside the same window.  The bank building on the corner is now the Hard Rock Cafe.  Historical factoid: the Alaska Treasure Shop next door in the ’70s [Mad Hatter today] dates to 1916 and Sydney Laurence’s photo studio was there.

The Fourth Ave. Building and its anchor business, Legal Pizza as captured by Cysewski in the ’70s.  H Street facade, view looking west.  This was an early mixed use building built in 1915 [I think?] and was Austin Lathrop’s first Anchorage building [the final one being the 4th Ave. Theater].  In the ’50s the ornamental trim and cornice was removed, the siding covered with asbestos shingles and the large windows on 4th were covered up.  In 1994 it was torn down and today the Alaska Court System building and its parking garage occupies the entire block.

On the same block at 4th and I there was an old corner gas station, with the corner of the building cut off at an angle for the driveway — classic design and the only one in Anchorage like it.  Don’t remember when it was torn down, but think it made it to the early ’80s and was still operating as a Chevron station.  Couldn’t find a photo of it.

From a block that changed a lot to one that is still the same — the entrance to J.C. Penney’s parking garage, by Cyseski in the ’70s and myself today.

Cysewski took this shot from inside the Penney’s garage, looking NW at the block bounded by 6th, 5th, E and F.  In the mid-’80s all of the buildings on this block and the next one to the west except the Kimball Bldg. at 5th and E were removed to make way for the Town Square Park and Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.  I tried a composite and it sort of works — except looking at it now and the relative size of the cars, it now looks like Cysewski was a floor above — so I will go back and re-do this one.

Oh my god!  That’s quite enough for now!  I am spent!

There’s quite a few more of these to do, at some future date.

Anchorage Mayoral race hits the fan

March 17, 2015 at 5:36 am | Posted in alaska, anchorage, politics | Leave a comment
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It’s not as much of a clown show as six years ago, when 15 candidates [some of ’em completely crazy] were cleanly outdistanced by Dan Sullivan.  Sullivan coasted to a victory again in 2012 and is now termed out.

A somewhat crowded field going into this year’s contest, with the usual fringe oriented also-rans vying for attention along with the front runners.  In ’09, fresh from two terms of Mayor Mark Begich [almost — he had to leave a few months early to succeed Ted Stevens in the US Senate] and shortly after President Obama started his first term, the mayor’s race was crowded with left leaning candidates.  Today three of the leading four are trying to out-Republican each other, leaving Ethan Berkowitz the sole representative of the left.  Berkowitz and Halcro are both veteran campaigners who served in the AK State House and haven’t had much luck running for Governor or in other tries.

Rounding out the Republican front runner field are Amy Demboski and Dan Coffey.

Demboski seems to be in trouble early on, having trouble spinning a story and coddling the far right too literally.

I predict Coffey will nail it after a runoff.  He is the kind of pro-business, go along to get along, not much personality, dull enough to fit in, enough acumen to play the game, dead fish kind of a candidate the majority of us [not including this writer] always prefer.  He comes off as a used car salesman, in a way perfect for the task at hand.  Halcro is the sort of one in a million Republican for whom I would be tempted to vote for — but there’s no way he makes it to the runoff.  And then I recall that even though he’s the smartest one in the group by far, he’s still in it for business interests over regular people, the same as the other two.  They’re like a casino where the house always wins.  Or like 35 years of Lynne Curry columns, where in 1,000 hypothetical employer-employee disputes, management prevails in all but three.

Predictably, Koch Brothers money is infiltrating the race with anti-Berkowitz ads.  The people likely to vote for him are the least likely to be influenced by PAC attack ads, ironically.

The Sullivan administration is still running the election, so who knows if it will be immune from problems, intentional or not?  We’ll find out soon enough — and whether or not more than 20% of the eligible voters will even bother to show up for this.  If they only would — how different the results could be!

Dream on, brothers and sisters.

Fiscally inept, socially bankrupt

March 3, 2015 at 4:36 am | Posted in anchorage, politics | Leave a comment
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Some rants and reactions subsequent to reading the Halcro cover story in last week’s Anchorage Press.

Assemblymember Patrick Flynn sticks it to Halcro [discreetly, politey] in the article: “…the term ‘fiscal conservative’ gets thrown around a lot, and whether or not that’s a valid claim really depends on the prism through which you’re viewing it.”  And he goes on to sketch some common assumptions of what the term means and whether or not Halcro matches the definitions.

Since I’m never as tactful or subtle as Flynn, I’d take it a step further.  I’ve heard all kinds of people for years now going around saying they are “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, and not one of them has any fucking idea what it means.  It’s a nebulous term, it’s pandering at its finest.  It is a way to still associate with a group or philosophy you know is toxic and dangerous, while giving yourself an out.  It’s in effect saying, “See?  I’m as Republican as they are, but they are assholes and don’t care about people!”

Halcro spends a lot of time trying to convince us of his independent critical thinking skills and policies that aren’t tied to Republican or Democratic agendas, while at the same time reminding us he is a lifelong registered Republican.  The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one!

Flynn again: “Andrew pulls from a demographic similar to what supported Lisa Murkowski in her re-election bid four years ago.”  Will the results be the same, too?  The day after the election tally’s certified, any notion of “dancing with the one that brung you” will vanish?  Just kidding!  I was the President of the Chamber of Commerce, FFS!  You thought I was going to throw out the Good Old Boy Network in favor of good public policy that benefits all of the citizenry?  How naive of you!  Well, it wouldn’t be the first or last time the public is taken in by an Establishment candidate standing behind an anti-Establishment banner.

Just once I wish some reporter would follow up with the “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” credo, by asking for an example or something.  They might find just opportunistic doublespeak behind the curtain, eh?

The plain old people who are never going to run for office may wish to think more deeply about such sloganeering also.  What does it really mean?  It always sounds a bit immature to me — I used to think more that way as a young adult, before I realized what was happening all around me and how injustice is baked into the cake.

It was interesting how new Alaska Governor Bill Walker solicited budget cutting ideas from the general public.  On one hand, nobody who stands to suffer from cuts ought to say anything, right? — and in fact, it’s doubtful anything meaningful will come out of such a process.  At least, it’s a long shot, an unlikely scenario.  I wrote in and said, start with KABATA and also suspend and review the five next most expensive transportation projects — and during the moratorium, figure out how to improve the way transportation projects are prioritized — based more on real Planning, and try to take politics out of it.  I would say a lot more, but since I make a living in a profession that’s involved in development, it can be problematic to say too much sometimes.

Sooner or later, though one has to try to stop equivocating and be clear about one’s vision and its implications.


May 23, 2014 at 4:13 am | Posted in anchorage, photo du jour | 1 Comment
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snow stack

Little remnant of last winter, Chester Creek.


May 20, 2014 at 5:36 am | Posted in anchorage, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Mayday tree, Fairview neighborhood.


May 20, 2014 at 5:29 am | Posted in anchorage, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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denali tower in fog

13-story Denali Tower in Midtown Anchorage appears as a beacon on a foggy morning.


May 12, 2014 at 7:20 am | Posted in anchorage, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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mt view apt

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