Friday, February 26, 2010

Sarah, Todd and Alaska's fish

Earlier this month, msnbc made quite a splash with a big story on Todd Palin's influence during his wife Sarah's administration as Alaska governor.

The story was based on 2,544 pages of e-mails msnbc obtained through public records requests. The e-mails were among the Palins and members of the governor's staff, and are collected in a searchable archive.

Naturally, Deckboss went fishing in the archive and found a few items of interest to the commercial fishing community.

The items make it clear that Todd Palin, the "first dude," was very much a player in state affairs involving the industry.

My search also turned up some valuable insight into something Gov. Palin made quite a bit of noise about: allowing foreign ships into state waters to process salmon at Bristol Bay.

The Palins fish commercially in the bay, and like many of their fellow gillnetters, they hate it when the domestic processors cut back on buying for lack of capacity.

Gov. Palin told me back in 2008 that she had a "much more open mind" than prior governors about letting in foreign processors to buy fish the bay's existing processors couldn't handle.

I included her comments in this article published in the Anchorage Daily News.

After that story was published, Ivy Frye, an aide in the governor's office, made sure to forward it to Todd Palin, who evidently was away fishing.

Todd Palin's e-mail address, by the way, was, reflecting his success as an Iron Dog snowmachine race winner.

Frye for a time was director of boards and commissions, an important post because of the many people seeking the governor's favor for an appointment.

Frye sometimes would ask Todd Palin to recommend people for the boards of agencies such as ASMI, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, as this redacted e-mail shows.

Another administration official who communicated with Todd Palin was the governor's adviser on fisheries policy, Cora Crome, now Cora Campbell.

Here's an update Crome sent Todd Palin summarizing her inquiries within state government on prospects for foreign processors coming to Alaska.

In another message Crome passes along material from lobbyists for domestic processors laying out the "risks and downsides" of allowing foreign processors into Bristol Bay.

Finally, here's a revelatory e-mail in which Crome tells Todd Palin state lawyers had advised that making a decision on issuing a permit to a foreign processor would raise ethical questions for the governor — presumably as a conflict of interest. Crome wrote "it could be an extremely sticky situation."

We should note that no foreign floaters ever were seen off Alaska's shores during Palin's short term as governor, apparently because none asked to come in.

Deckboss can't say whether these e-mails really prove Todd Palin was a "shadow governor," as some have observed.

He just knows the messages are good reading.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, all the fishermen would hate to see any competition against the Trident monopoly. It would be a shame to see a fair price out there on the grounds.

Idea- How about just getting Processor Quota for salmon so we don't have to worry about that pesky competition issue anymore.

Anonymous said...

And Mary McDowell?

What a classic!

Can we get another Commercial Fisheries Entry Commissioner, to also go to the Board of Fish, in Anchorage, to give another benefit to Todd's Set Net Program too?

Chairman of the Kvichack Set Net Board, called Board of Fish???

And the McDowell Group?

It's Chrome and Shiney all right!

But wait?

Now we have the classic Board Generated proposal???
"Processor Capacity Survey" info, disguised as public into secret?

It can't be proven, that Todd's fishery, got everthing, and then some from his favorite wife's board, along with Mary, Mary, quite contrary?

But don't let in another foreign processor?

Just protect the foreign processors that are already there!

Don't you just love Lance Nelson, from Law, dazed and confused forever!

Anonymous said...

There is no competetive buying, free enterprise salmon industry in Alaska.
Cerifiable, sustainable thieves.
All hate paying for fish, all interested in farms.
The fishers have maybe 10 years left, at best.

Anonymous said...

Interesting since the McDowells are fishing in BB too and part of the Bristol Bay Reserve - PSVOA, Zuanich & all that stuff.

Of course, the McDowell Group writes under contract for State Fish & Game all the forecast & market analysis reports for BB, not to mention the rest of the state.

Anonymous said...

for a long time we all wanted competition from foreign buyers, not that most of the industry is not owned by the Japanese.

so foreign buyers are good.

what's with the sleuthy tone as if suggesting someone for a board was not something any knowledgable alaskan would do. you know they would