Letter to the editor
Oct. 22, 2012
To the editor:
Pete Kelly has manufactured a controversy about whether he was a lobbyist or not. Yet former University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton appeared in a TV ad asserting that Kelly was not a lobbyist — an assertion that even Dermot Cole has stated was a mystery to him, since it was clear to everyone under the sun that’s exactly what Kelly was.
Why would Hamilton go to bat for Kelly in such a public way? Here’s a guess: Mark Hamilton has become the spokesperson for the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition, the industry front group that is spewing all manner of nonsense about how it’s a good idea to give the oil industry some $2 billion per year worth of love with no strings attached.
Even within their own party, a good number of Republicans in other parts of the state have examined this giveaway and concluded that it is not in the best interests of Alaska and would lead to a number of very bad things, for example: an immediate $615 million deficit which would, in turn, lead to some variation of a sales or an income tax, raids on the Alaska Permanent Fund and increased fees to make up for lost revenue.
Interior Republicans are in lockstep with Big Oil and the MACC, even though the Parnell administration has utterly failed to come up with a compelling justification for why this reverse generosity is necessary. Since Senate Resources Committee Co-Chairman Joe Paskvan was one of the key people who refused to rubber stamp the giveaway, some people think Mark Hamilton wants to put Pete Kelly in Paskvan’s seat.
Why? Because there is no doubt that Kelly would grease the skids on behalf of MACC and the oil industry rather than going to bat for Alaskans’ fair share, as Paskvan has so courageously and consistently done.