Saturday 21 march 2010

Cyclone Ului was downgraded to category three early this morning. Here’s a satellite (google search is amazing!) showing the size. What the photo can’t illustrate is how Ului’s momentum has dropped as it approaches shore. All good news.

And these are photos from my yard, at around 3:30pm. Not too drastic  a shift from yesterday, but the planet is definitely darker today. Ului’s effects are not expected to reach my area until late Sunday afternoon. So – more photos tomorrow!

As the imminent threat of Ului subsides, my attention has been drawn to the two major wolverine problems facing Alaska at present.

The Mudflats shines a beacon of light on the unnecessary aerial slaughter of wolf packs in Denali State Park by what appears to be a corrupt Board of Game, headed by Governor Sean Parnell. I wept. Some of the wolves were collared, tagged as research animals, part of an ongoing study that’s in its sixteenth year. Reports describe how the shooters saw the collars, understood what the collars meant – and killed the wolves anyway, an overt act which only demonstrates how easily the current Alaska Administration thumbs it’s nose at their duty of care.

The second is the uncovering of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has successfully bilked the city out of $193,000 in a story you have to read to believe. It begins in 1982 when his father, George Sullivan, retired as mayor. Having undergone triple-bypass heart surgery, the city administration (in testiment to the man’s years of service) voted to keep active his slot in their group life insurance policy aware that Mr. Sullivan would not qualify for insurance on his own (once he left office) given his age and medical condition. George Sullivan died this past year, around the same time his son became mayor of Anchorage. Two weeks ago, current Mayor Dan Sullivan took to his local Assembly the issue of payment of his father’s life insurance policy with the city Muni trust. They voted almost unanimously to pay an amount of $193,000.

Several problems have come to light. First, no one ever told the insurance carrier (Aetna) that an unemployed man was on their books as part of a group package. Second, the amount of the yearly ‘premiums’ paid by the Sullivan family beginning at over $900 per year in 1982 and dropping twice until it leveled out at $555  some years later is completely suspect. Third, and most damningly imho, is the manner in which Dan Sullivan put the issue to a vote without putting forth pertinent details (trust me, this is no big deal, just vote yes and we can all go fishing!) about the city’s factual obligation.

He then – and only then – let it be known that he was the executor of his father’s will, with full power to distribute the $193,000 as he saw fit – and as mayor of Anchorage, ordered himself to cut the check to give to… himself!?!?! And finally, he has withheld information as to the disbursal of the funds. (He does, however, have his eye on a honey of a boat..)

That’s hootzpah Mr. Sullivan. But not in a good way.

The single Assembly nay voter (Harriet Drummond) has called for a hearing. Mel Green, Alaska blogger extraordinaire has sifted through a 28 year paper trail of interoffice emails in an effort to put a timeline on the events surrounding the conception, maintenance and execution of Mr. George Sullivan’s city-owned life insurance policy. The hearing will take place this coming week.

I highly recommend both site articles be read.

It’s Sunday morning here. The sun is shining and Ului has touched down  a few hundred kilometers north of us as a category two cyclone. It’s reported 60,000 homes are without power but damage cannot be assessed until the roads are safe enough for crews to traverse. An area already under a meter of flood water has so far accumulated 450 mm of rain since last night.

Clean up is going to be slow, wet and muddy. More later.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Cyclone Ului – Saturday and click on the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud