by Stacy Drake
Primary election season is in full bloom across the country and here in California the mood is as apathetic as it always is. GOP establishment candidate and Mike Murphy employer, Meg Whitman appears to be coasting in for an easy grab at the republican spot in the November general election. At which time, Californians, who are hanging on to the edge of a cliff for dear life, get to choose between a Van Jones sympathizer and Jerry Über Alles “Moonbeam” Brown for our new (or old) governor…. God help us.
Having seen one too many “demon sheep” ads, I turn my sights to the happenings in the Alaska primaries.
So who is Ralph Samuels? He was a member of the Alaska State House of Representatives from 2002 to 2008, serving the 29th district. He was also the only legislator to vote against AGIA, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act. Governor Palin mentions him (not by name) in her book, “Going Rogue.” She wrote on page 142:
“Later, one lawmaker called Meg [Stapleton] to his office to continue the conversation. “I can tell you right now which bills will pass this session and which won’t”, he said. “It’s based upon one thing: relationships – and who is sleeping with whom”
Later on page 159…
“After much debate, the legislature adopted AGIA. In the end, only one lawmaker voted against the measure. Interestingly, it was the legislator who had told Meg early on that bill passage is all about relationships and who is sleeping with whom.”
That begs the question… who were you sleeping with, Ralph? Better yet, who are you sleeping with now?
Currently Ralph Samuels is the vice president of Holland America in Alaska. There is little doubt that Samuels obtained his position with the cruise line and tourism giant as a result of his strong opposition to the Alaska Shipping Tax Initiative. That ballot initiative, which contained an increase on the head tax for cruise ships, was passed by Alaska voters in 2006. Samuels is able continue his crusade against the initiative but I’m sure nowadays he pulls in a much bigger paycheck for doing so.
In July of last year, Samuels gave a presentation at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon. During which he stated that dropping revenue margins will cause cruise lines to pull ships out of the state. He said, “instead of pictures going out of a bear and a glacier, it’s a piña colada and a beach.” He continued with “You can see the revenue dropping and you can see why the ships are heading out.” Joe Geldhof, the bill’s author accused Samuels of “Chicken Little politics.” He said, “People run around saying, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling,’ and after the chamber lunch, people say, ‘The sky is falling we have to get something done’.”
Personally, I have no problem with the argument against a tax. However, I don’t like to see any group of voters have a referendum trashed due to the actions of powerful interests. I also find the VP position given to Mr. Samuels for his actions as a “public servant” to be on the higher end of the political ick factor.
Ralph reminds me of all my pre-Palin perceptions of Alaskan politicians. Married, or as he likes to call it, “in bed with” certain industries or interests. Easily bought and sold.
Ralph Samuels was an outspoken critic of Governor Palin while she was in office. His fan club now includes many names I’ve read before. Usually just before the words “filed ethics complaint,” but not always. The list of “friends” on his Facebook page reads like who’s, who of republican’s in Alaska that don’t like Sarah Palin. Or as I like to call them, “Oil RINO’s.” I’m really not sure of each individuals motive for being such outspoken haters of Governor Palin, but I know they’re haters nonetheless.
One of those “friends” that stood out to me was a profile that goes by the name “Val NAlaska.” A quick glance at the comment wall for that profile screams ‘Valerie Henning.’ Her avatar is a “Samuels for Governor” logo and the wall is filled with anti-Palin videos and gross propaganda. Plus, the back-n-forth banter on the wall with Sherry Whitstine kind of gives it away. It should be noted that Valerie Henning was a major donor to Samuels in 2008. She is also married to serial ethics complainant Zane Henning. You can tune in to the Eddie Burke radio show and perhaps catch one of her frequent calls in which she usually unloads an unhealthy rant about the governor. I have never heard or read anything from this woman that wasn’t anti-Palin/Parnell vitriol. I really think she could use some balance in her life.
After briefly looking into Ralph Samuels record and associations I actually have many more questions than I started with. I only scratched the surface and I hope to be able to provide my friends in Alaska with some useful information that they can arm themselves with before they vote on August 24th.
As they say, more to come….