Berta’s Briefings from Rep. Gardner: What Should We Be Doing?

Whether a flood, earthquake or wildfire, a natural disaster could strike our community any time of the year. This September, communities around our state have been observing Emergency Preparedness Month. The purpose is to help make sure we are adequately prepared for an emergency or disaster in our community – and Alaska is no stranger to natural disasters.

In light of the enormous stakes at hand, what should we be doing to prepare now?

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Rep. Kawasaki’s Juneau Note: Keeping Heating Costs Low with Tips for Staying Warm and Saving $$

Every year, as we face the downturn of temperatures, we are confronted with the upturn in costs to stay warm. There are several weatherization programs, energy rebates, and loans that are available to residents for purposes of energy efficiency from a new home to appliance rebates. But saving energy and staying warm goes further than programs intended to help relieve the financial burden of our harsh Interior winters. Below are a few suggestions I’ve found have helped keep us warm, and our energy bills consistent.

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Rep. Kerttula’s Juneau Newsletter: Taku River Fact-Finding Task Force

This week, the Juneau Legislative Delegation announced the formation of the Taku River Fact-Finding Task Force and asked for volunteers to serve on the task force. For more details, read below. Also in this newsletter, information on your opportunity to comment on the Southeast Alaska transportation plan and President Obama’s Native American Youth Challenge.

Thank you for reading my newsletter. I enjoy hearing from you, so please stop by the office, call, write or email.

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Note from Rep. Les Gara: Guv Fear-Mongers On Your PFD: Why He’s Wrong. Very Wrong.

It seems that no matter what the issue, the Governor’s solution is to roll back oil taxes. Tuesday he did just that in announcing the Permanent Fund Dividend. He warned – very inaccurately – that “Alaskans can face diminishing dividends based upon the current dividend calculation because, in part, poor performance of the stock market, and then additionally over time because of declining oil production there will be fewer and less royalties going into the Permanent Fund unless we turn that around.”

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Berta’s Briefings from Rep. Gardner: The Latest on Key Anchorage Transportation Projects

With the advent of fall, Anchorage Community Councils resume their monthly meetings, giving me another opportunity to hear the concerns of my neighbors. One of the big opening topics is the status of local road construction projects.

Rogers Park Community Council members were concerned to learn that the DOWL HKM representative scheduled on the agenda had sent regrets and was unable to appear because she did not yet have written permission from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to talk with us about the U-Med Northern Access Project.

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Rep. Tuck’s Community Connection: Recent Crimes Highlight Need for Parking Lot Vigilance

I want to alert you to a disturbing criminal trend happening in the Anchorage area.

It has been reported there are increasing number of robberies where purses and handbags are snatched from individuals in parking lots. Recently, an acquaintance of mine was blindsided by a punch and her wallet was taken in broad daylight in a very busy parking lot. These crimes are happening in situations that normally would be safe. This concerns me.

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Berta’s Briefings from Rep. Gardner: Hearing on Local Hire Tomorrow – Let’s Hire More Alaskans

One of the big secrets during all the ongoing oil and gas tax debate is that oil field employment is at near record levels. Sadly, the Alaska Department of Labor statistics show that half the workforce is now from other states. This is unacceptable to those of us who want to support Alaskan hire.

I am pleased that the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee is holding public hearings in Fairbanks and Anchorage, trying to understand why hiring from out of state is increasing, and how the state can encourage the hiring of Alaskans.

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Note from Rep. Les Gara: Hiring Non-Alaskans in the Oil Patch Hearing Thursday & Lots More

Well, I’ve learned a lot this summer, and Thursday we can all learn more – on why the oil industry is hiring so many outside workers in place of Alaskans. That hearing will take place at the Legislative Information Office, from 1:30 to 3:30. Public testimony will be allowed from 5:30 to 7:30. Here’s what we know. Nearly 50% of Alaska’s North Slope workers since 2009 have been outsiders. On the other hand, employment in Alaska’s oil and gas industry is at an all-time high – 13,600 this year, compared to 10,100 when we had a low oil production tax under the old ELF system. So – those fancy TV ads saying we need to reduce oil taxes because we’re losing North Slope employment leave out a fact. Well, a few. That employment is up. But Outsiders are taking jobs Alaskans should get. Lowering oil taxes, when the industry is hiring more non-Alaskans, is one of those bad policy non sequiturs.

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