Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Here's Something Positive - Bees, Elephants, And Mavis Nducha

Mavis Nducha founded Kalahari Honey.  She died recently.  You can read more about her here. [Note:  the link goes to a site of a relative.]

Or, you can just watch the video.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Even though winter made a brief visit last week - checking out his winter home I guess - it is still just fall.  And after doing some chores and errands, I got on the bike for a few more kilometers.  For now my goal is 800 for the summer.  And it was sunny and beautiful.  Below is the south fork of Campbell Creek from Campbell Airstrip Road.

A quick view of the mountains as the bike trail comes out of the woods and goes along the road.

Campbell Creek, closer to Lake Otis.

Looking up at the Mt. Ash Tree

That's all.  Just lots of trees.  


Links Of Interest: Hide Your House, Russian Mercenaries, Doctors Without Borders

Some things I've run into recently that may be of interest.  

1.  How To Hide Your House On Google (and other online) maps - street view.

"With the rise of increasingly convenient features such as street-level 360º photos available on Google Maps and other competing mapping services, there’s always a risk your personal data will be captured in a publicly available photo in a way you’d rather avoid—whether than means the outside of your house or the location where you park your car.

If you face this kind of a problem, there’s a simple solution available in many cases—you can ask the mapping service to blur or remove the picture. We’ll going to show you how to do that on the most popular mapping services."

Then it gives you step-by-step instructions.  Doesn't look hard 

2.  Another story I found fascinating - from NewslinesMag. A British reporter, a fluent Russian speaker apparently, pokes around the remains of what had been a Russian mercenary post outside of Tripoli. A story about the Wagner Group.  A couple of excerpts:

"From September 2019, photographs and reports had begun to emerge of Russian mercenaries in Tripoli. They were identified as units from the so-called Wagner Group, a secretive and highly controversial organization of mercenaries that fought first in Ukraine, then in Syria, and later in Sudan, Mozambique, the Central African Republic and Libya.

"Reportedly financed by the Russian catering magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been sanctioned and indicted by the United States for his election interference efforts, the Wagner Group has been accused of acting as President Vladimir Putin’s shadowy expeditionary force, even though mercenaries are technically illegal in Russia. The group has also been linked to the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, from whose ranks its ostensible head, Dmitry Utkin, and other rank-and-file members hail. And yet, as has often been the case with Wagner, beyond such reports and speculation over Wagner personnel’s involvement in the fighting, little detailed evidence had emerged.

"But this spring we obtained a small white Samsung tablet with a cracked screen, protected by a battered brown leather case. GNA fighters said they had recovered it from positions held by Russian fighters in Ain Zara, the area where Haitham had fought. We put it through extensive tests to ensure it didn’t contain some kind of tracking device or malware; we examined it minutely, searching for clues to its users and making sure it was the genuine article. It was."

3.  For a different view of foreigners working in poor countries, we have the group Doctors Without Borders  (MSF French acronym) which saves lives but its local staff says it also  perpetuates colonialism and racism.  I heard this riveting radio show on Reveal the other day.  Decolonize MSF is an organization trying to change how things are done.  It's troublesome.  The organization does a lot of great work around the world, providing life saving care who otherwise might die.  Yet, this radio report is really well done.  It maps out, through interviews, what structural racism and colonialism looks like.  Do go to the website with the audio.  Below is some description from that page.

"The organization, also known by its French acronym MSF, has about 63,000 people working in 88 countries. While foreign doctors parachuting into crisis zones get most of the attention, 90% of the work is done by local health workers. 

In the summer of 2020, more than 1,000 current and former staffers wrote a letter calling out institutional racism at MSF. They say MSF operates a two-tiered system that favors  foreign doctors, or expat doctors, over local health workers. 

On the eve of MSF’s 50th anniversary, reporters Mara Kardas-Nelson, Ngozi Cole and Sean Campbell talked to about 100 current and former MSF workers to investigate how deep these issues run. We meet Dr. Indira Govender, a South African doctor who in 2011 accepted what she thought was her dream job with MSF in South Africa, only to get a front-row seat to the organization’s institutional racism. Even though she’s officially the second-in-command of her project, she says it feels like a select group of European expats and White South Africans are running the show."  

We think of the doctors going from Western countries to help out in poor countries as being better than this and I'm sure many, if not most, are.  But this shows us how blatantly racist some are but also how the separate treatment of foreign doctors and native medical staff institutionalizes the separation between local staff (about 90% of the staff) from those who come to help from overseas.  

Maybe I can believe this troubling story because I've run into this sort of thing.  When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand I got pressed into helping a Thai dentist negotiate with the Israeli construction company paving the highway near the town I was teaching in.  She needed a translator and so I went along.  After it was over the Israeli negotiator offered me a job because he couldn't trust any of the Thais and was surprised that I could live alone with them.  I was shocked by his view of Thais.

And when I traveled home from Thailand I took the long route so I could visit D who was teaching in Uganda.  I'd met him while I was a student in Germany and we'd hit it off and we traveled together a bit in England where he was from.  There, he came from a modest background, didn't drive, and had dropped out of college without completing his degree to start teaching.  In Uganda he lived in this giant compound surrounded by a ten foot wall.  Inside was like a giant golf course - green grass, trees, and cute little cottages scattered all around.  D lived in one and his car sat outside it.  There was dining hall with white table cloths and napkins and there four or five course dinners served by African waiters.  D's main interactions with Africans was with his students at the elite school he taught at, maybe some African teachers (I don't remember meeting any of them), the waiters and other help in the compound where he lived.  Again I was shocked.  But as we talked it was clear that D was socialized to live separate like this.  That's how all the Brit ex-pats, or at least the ones he knew, lived.  He didn't learn any of the local languages because "everyone speaks English" in this recently independent country.  When I'd talk with Africans in the market or anywhere, they would be very reticent, and after a few minutes they'd say something like, "You aren't a resident are you?"   Coming from Thailand where we'd had to learn Thai before even getting to Thailand and living and working completely with Thais, D's situation was hard for me to believe.  This was not the kind of life he' d had back in England.  We had long talks while I was there and that continued for years via letters.  And eventually he visited Alaska and I later visited him in England.  He had some harrowing experiences there and one African he did get to meet was Idi Amin.  But that's another story - his to tell.  

But those experiences were 50 years ago!  I would have thought things had changed since then.  I'm sure they have, but not as much as one might expect.  

As someone who has contributed to Doctors Without Borders I'm forced to think about how to support the good things they do and push for change.  The program talks about a protest group within MSF - Decolonize MSF.  Maybe contributing to them would be the way to go.  

Sunday, September 26, 2021

At What Point Is A Politician Liable For Deaths Because Of His Actions Or Inactions?

Retired pilot Dave Bronson took office as Anchorage's new mayor on Thursday, July 1.  That was at a time when Alaska's COVID situation was relatively low.  So low that the State Health and Human Services Department only posted new numbers Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  So my starting date on this chart is Friday, July 2, 2021.  My ending date is Thursday, September 23.  Yes, they went back to reporting the numbers five days a week.  There was a Friday report too.  One of the worst ever.  They added 41 deaths and the new resident case total was 1729.  The highest ever.  But that report included a lot of backlogged numbers.  Most of the deaths probably happened during Bronson's tenure, but the new cases inflated that one day total. I decided the Thursday report was damning enough.  

These numbers are for the whole state of Alaska, and the Mayor of Anchorage is only in charge of Anchorage, But Anchorage is by far the largest city in the state with almost half the population, and people from nearby the Matsu borough and the Kenai Peninsula work and shop in Anchorage.  Plus it's the transportation hub of the state.  Many people outside of Anchorage have to fly through Anchorage on the way to other places.  It's also the medical center of Alaska, the place where people from more rural areas, with smaller hospitals or just clinics, come for more serious health needs.  So what the Mayor of Anchorage does regarding COVID affects more than just Anchorage.   

Our mayor came into office  having at various times denied COVID was a serious problem.  He thinks people's individual liberties are violated by mask mandates and vaccine mandates. And that the health restrictions harm business more than the virus.  He recently said he didn't know what more he could do.  

The alarming change in the COVID numbers is the result of his willful ignorance.  His stubborn clinging to bullshit information.  (Sorry, misinformation is much too tepid a term for the organized and profitable propaganda that is aimed at Trump supporters.)

My sense is that Bronson is the kind of man who rarely if ever acknowledges he's wrong.  Maybe on something minor like flipping a coin.  But he's been adamantly certain about LGBTQ issues for many years.  It's hard for a man like him to do the right thing after investing so much of himself to following the wrong path.  And because he's mayor, his actions and or lack of actions, impact tens of thousands of people. 

 One hundred and forty-four people have died since he took over Anchorage.  

  • Let's drop half of them as not Anchorage related.  
  • Let's skip the first month in office (there were only 12 deaths reported between July 2 and August 2). That leaves us 132 deaths. 
  • Let's cut out 50% of deaths since August 2,  since Anchorage only has half of Alaska's population.  That leaves us 66 deaths.  
  • Let's just arbitrarily say that 10% (and this is really low) of those could have been avoided had Bronson taken rigorous action against the spread of COVID in Anchorage.  

That would be six people who would probably be alive, but for  Bronson's inaction.  Probably a lot more.  He may be passionate about the life of every single fertilized human egg that is created, but actual birthed human beings seem much less important to him.   And we're not even talking about all the people who have been very ill.  Or the businesses that are suffering because people are cautious about going out in public because the of huge surge in COVID cases.  

Saturday, September 25, 2021

What The Headlines Tell Us About The News Organization

I was reading the LA Times online today and there's a story about all the people running for LA mayor next year.  The latest entrant appears to be Rep. Karen Bass, an LA Democrat.  I was confused by this sentence:

"Voters now have a much clearer picture of next year’s contest to replace Garcetti, who faces term limits."  

I thought he'd been named Ambassador to India.  Is he still mayor?  So I googled "LA Mayor Garcetti  India" and got this page.  I've cut much of it and just left the headlines. These are all dated July 9, 2021 or thereabouts.  They're all pretty much the same, except one:

"Search Results    Web results

Biden nominates LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to be ambassador to ... › 2021/07/26 › biden-nominates...

Garcetti is Biden's pick for ambassador to India - Los Angeles ... › california › story › la-mayor...

Mayor Garcetti Selected as Ambassador to India - NBC Los ... › news › politics › la-m...

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti picked for ambassador ... - CNN › 2021/07/09 › politics › eric-garcet...

Biden nominates LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador › article

Biden Chooses Scandal-Plagued L.A. Mayor Garcetti As India ... › sites › joewalsh › 2021/07/09

Biden taps Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post › politics › 2021/07/09

Biden picks Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti to be US ambassador ... › world › biden-nominate-los-an...

Joe Biden Taps Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti To Serve › 2021/07 › joe-biden-taps-los-ang...

President Biden Nominates LA Mayor Eric Garcetti For ... - LAist › news › politics › president-biden-no...

 There are lots of criticisms of the subtle ways that media's choice of words biases a reader's perception of the story.  But there's nothing subtle about this.  I haven't read the articles.  Perhaps the Forbes one is more of an opinion piece than a news item.  It certainly stands out.  

But I was still trying to find out why Garcetti is still Mayor and not in India.  My guess was Senate confirmation backlog, but I couldn't find anything that said that.  Various google searches kept getting me the same articles dated around July.  Even ones that said "When is he leaving office?"

Finally, when I put Sept 2021 in the search, while I still got the same July articles, I did get this one ABC News article  that has a similar focus to the LA Times article - who is running to replace him - but it does include this sentence:

"Mayor Eric Garcetti cannot run again in 2022 due to being termed out. He was nominated in July by President Joe Biden to serve as U.S. ambassador to India. He is expected to leave office early pending the U.S. Senate's confirmation of his appointment."

Why?  According to an August 11 LATimes article:

"Yet [Gentry O. Smith's] April nomination, like many made by President Biden for the State Department, Department of Homeland Security and elsewhere, sat stalled for months in Senate committees, where a few Republican lawmakers blocked approval.

Although nominations were blocked across the board, the State Department was hardest hit: As of Monday night, more than six months into the Biden administration, only one of the president’s ambassador picks had been approved, leaving nearly 50% of all embassies without their top official, according to the American Foreign Service Assn. Early Wednesday, a second ambassador, Kenneth Salazar for Mexico, was confirmed in a marathon Senate session."

It goes on:

Foremost among those blocking nominees is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has held back as many as two dozen State Department appointees, on demands that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken penalize all international firms and individuals involved in the construction of a Russian pipeline to Europe.

Blinken complained last week that 65 nominations were still pending a confirmation vote. Some of those, including Smith’s nomination, this week squeaked through the Senate approval process on the eve of Congress’ August recess after languishing for months.

“These are critical national security positions,” Blinken said, specifically mentioning the assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security, Smith’s designated position.

I've just started reading :KILL SWITCH THE RISE OFTHE MODERN SENATE AND THE CRIPPLING OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, by Adam Jentleson.  He was Senator Harry Reid's top assistant and this book is aimed as dispelling the myths around the 'sacred tradition' of the filibuster. 

I'll probably have more on that book later.  


Friday, September 24, 2021

What Are The Ten Longest Borders Between Countries?

I found this information because I was curious about how long the US-]Mixico border was.

First you have to guess the countries that have really long borders.  

Take some time.  Get a piece of paper and a pen.  Or open a document and type.

The map is to help jog your memories.  Hint:  Asia has most of the top ten.

Flying Over Andes between Chile and Argentina

India-Pakistan Border near Amritsar

The Information Below comes from  

10. Mexico-US - 3,155 km/1960 miles
9.  Pakistan- India - 3,190 km/1982 miles
8.  Brazil -Bolivia - 3403 km/2114 miles
7.  Mongolia-Russia - 3,452 km/2145 miles
6.  China - Russia - 4,133km/2568 miles
5.  Bangladesh- India  -4,142km/2474 miles
4.  China - Mongolia  - 4,630km/2877 miles
3.  Argentina - Chile - 6,691km/4157 miles
2.  Kazakhastan - Russia - 7,644km/4750
1. Canada - United States - 8,893/5526  (This length is achieved by including the Alaska-Canada border.)

Crossing Into US From Canada at Abbotsford, BC

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

POP. 1208 - Small Town Texas Around 1917 As Described In 1964


I'd have never read this book if it hadn't been one of the book club choices.  Chosen by a member who is also an author.  As I read the book, I did think about why an author would pick this book. And at the book club meeting, he said he read it because it was on a list of books given to him by another author.  The 25 books that most influenced him as a writer.  And he also acknowledged some hesitation about recommending it to our group.  It was a test, of sorts, of us.  

It begins like this:

"Well, sir, I should have been sitting pretty, just about as pretty as a man could sit.  Here I was, the high sheriff of Potts County, and I was drawing almost two thousand dollars a year - not to mention what I could pick up on the side.  On top of that, I had free living quarters on the second floor of the courthouse, just as nice a place as a man could ask for, and it even had a bathroom so that I didn't have to bathe in a washtub or tramp outside to a privy, like most folks in town did. I guess you could say that Kingdom Come was really here as far as I was concerned.  I had it made, and it looked like I could go on having it made --being high sheriff of Potts County --as long as I minded my own business and didn't arrest no one unless I just couldn't get out of it and they didn't amount to nothin'.

And yet I was worried. I had so many troubles that I was worried plumb sick."

That really is a good way to start this book.  It foretells lots of the troubles without giving nothin' away.  Whoops.  It's catching.   

So what's wrong with this book?  Well, it's narrated by the main character, a very small town Sheriff, who is more than flawed.  It's all from his point of view and it's all in his colorful language.  The most difficult parts for me were the vivid descriptions of the town's black population.  

Why did that bother me?  Yes, of course, the N-word liberally spit out in some parts of the book.  And the disgustingly racist attitudes and situations portrayed.  But it was published in 1964 (and so written before the Civil Rights Act passed) and those were different times.  White folks still were the only editors of public speech back then.  And it describes a time almost 50 years earlier.  We shouldn't censor history because we don't like the words and situations that existed then.  We should learn from them and not in cleaned up versions.  And, if I recall correctly, Leonard Pitts' The Last Thing You Surrender - a 2019 novel by a black author - uses the N-word - and includes a very troubling lynching.  

But I'm not using that word in this post.  Mostly because I'm thinking of one particular friend who would probably be disturbed -rather than offended - seeing me spell it out.  

And I think that's what disturbed me about reading this book for the book club.  I didn't ask the man who recommended the book this question:  "If we had an African-American in our group, would you have recommended the book?"  The fact that the book club is all white men over 50 means that we can read a book like this without any of us personally feeling demeaned by the language and situations.  None of our families were the subject of this particular kind of inhumanity.  And the fact that the things done in the book to blacks was done by whites, adds to the awkwardness.  Women weren't treated well either.  Actually, no one was treated well in this story

Yet, I find that I can pretty much tell you the whole story, though not in quite the same colorful language as the high sheriff of Potts County.  

And the subject matter of this book seems to come from personal experience.  From Wikipedia:

"Thompson's father was sheriff of Caddo County, Oklahoma. He ran for the state legislature in 1906, but was defeated. Soon after he left the sheriff's office under a cloud due to rumors of embezzlement. The Thompson family moved to Texas."

Also from Wikipedia:

 Stephen King says he most admires Thompson's work because "The guy was over the top. The guy was absolutely over the top. Big Jim didn't know the meaning of the word stop. There are three brave lets inherent in the foregoing: He let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it."[2]

There's no doubt that Thompson was using the sheriff to shine light on everything that was wrong about small town life in Oklahoma and Texas.  

Talking about his (the sheriff's) father:

"But that's the way my daddy was -- like those people.  They buy some book by a fella that don't know a god-dang thing more than they do (or he wouldn't be having to write books).  And that's supposed to set 'em straight about everything.  Or they buy themselves a bottle of pills.  Or they say the whole trouble is with other folks, and the only thing to do is get rid of 'em.  Or they claim we got to war with another country.  Or . . .  or God knows what all."

Seems those folks are still with us today.  Lots of them.  These are the folks who went to lynchings.  These are the folks who stormed the Capitol on January 6.  And the folks who rather take advice from Tucker Carlson that Dr. Fauci.  

I guess there was a lot in this book.  I think I knew it when I was reading it.  I just didn't like any of the people in the book.  Yes, there was probably something decent in them all, but the Sheriff was focused on the other parts.  If you asked me if would recommend the book, I'd answer using the sheriff's favorite phrase: "I wouldn't say that I would, but then I wouldn't say that I wouldn't."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

My Week So Far

 Sunday it was warm enough to sit ou on the deck and work.

Monday, it was cooler and damp as I biked home from the redistricting meeting.

Tuesday, the mountains that had just traces of snow Sunday 
were now mostly white.  

Oh, and the Redistricting Board's new maps - v3 and v4 - are now up for viewing.

"We are pleased to announce that the map gallery (link here: Alaska Redistricting Board - Map Gallery ( been updated to include Board Proposed Plan v.3 and v.4, which were adopted yesterday. If you have recently visited the map gallery, you may need to refresh your browser.


The following formats are available:

  • Google Map interactive
  • Shapefiles (require GIS software)
  • Regional .pdf maps


District population and deviation files are also posted.


We are still working on the 3rd party maps that were also adopted yesterday, but will get those up soon!"


Monday, September 20, 2021

Alaska Redistricting Board: Approve All Plans But One For Road Show


Today was rather tedious at the Board.  Let me highlight first what they did and then, if I'm still awake, let me look at what it might all mean.

  1. Public Testimony
    1. Former Sen. Cathy Geisel called in to oppose a district in the AFFER (The Randy Ruedrich Group) plan which combined south Anchorage with Nikiski.  She said she'd represented a district like that and the interest of the hillside are very different from the interests of Nikiski.
    2. Several others who I'm not characterizing because my notes aren't clear enough to accurately reflect what they said.
  2. Questioned the 3rd Party Map Presenters from Friday
    Why for example is part of Palmer seemingly missing

    1. Covered all the maps except the Matsu map.  If they explained why that was missing, I didn't hear them.  Maybe because it was only Matsu.  I'd heard it was very much like the AFFER drawing of Matsu, so maybe that's why.  
    2. Questioning was very sharp and detailed.  Member Borromeo kept saying, I don't want to just hear general comments, I want specific evidence that it's more compact or more socio-economically integrated.  She was pretty harsh with Randy Ruedrich.  And with the Democrats.  It seemed for every district they had some problems and they said well this one was really hard so we had to do X.  But then they said the same about the next district, they had todo Y.  My thought was that she should have asked if there were any districts they were proud of.
  3. Board's new v3 and v4 plans.    Peter Torkelson reported that over the weekend the Board came up with updated versions of the maps they presented Sept 9.  They called them versions 3 and 4, or v3 and v4.  They then went through the two new maps, district by district.  There's nothing quite so challenging as listening to someone talk about districts by describing them border by border.  Maps were on the screen, but it wasn't clear which district was which because you couldn't make out street names.  The Board did seem pretty pleased with v3 and v4 and after the descriptions they approved them as the new proposed plans.  
  4. Adoption of Board's v3 and v4.  This happened very quickly.
  5. Adopting 3rd Party Plans To Take On The Road.  They went plan by plan.  Nominating each for approval and then voting.  The approved all the 3rd Party plans EXCEPT the Democratic Party Plan.  Actually, the plan was approved and then member Borromeo asked for reconsideration and said she thought there was just too much wrong with it that they shouldn't waste the public's time on it.  There are enough other maps for them to consider. Member Bahnke argued that the public should be able to see as many plans as possible.  John Binkley agreed.  They voted and 3 to 2 voted not to accept the Democratic Party's plan.  Borromeo, Marcum, and Simpson voted against the plan.  Binkley and Bahnke voted for the plan.  It didn't seem like a political decision.  I think both sides had reasonable points.  It does seem symbolically a questionable move. Borromeo was also not pleased with the AFFER map but did say it had very low deviations and that might be something useful as they go forward.  
  6. Discussion of Travel Plans To Take The Maps To The Public And Get Feedback.  Peter Torkelson, the executive director of the Board, explained they are making plans to visit communities around the state in person or online so they can discuss how the maps affect the communities and what issues people want changed.  Invited other communities to send in requests for a visit.  But did say they need to be done by Nov.1 because their final proposal is due Nov 10 (I think that's the date, didn't get into my notes.)  When they get back from tour they have to collate everything and finalize the maps.  
Some extra observations:
  1. The Board essentially rejected any corrections over the weekend of the 3rd Party maps, except for the Senate Minority Coalition map which noted an error Friday and sent in a corrected file over the weekend.  I understand there is a time constraint, but the Board itself had time since they first offered their own maps and changed their maps over the weekend.  I'd note that at this point I have no idea how the new versions affect incumbents.  
  2. The Board was fairly (and rightfully) critical of the various plans of the 3rd parties.  When I say critical here, I mean they asked very pointed questions for justification for every protrusion or pairing of communities or high deviations etc.  But the Board's own new maps, didn't get that kind of scrutiny.  The public testimony did a lot of that Friday of course.  And they'll get more as the go on the road.  But there is a tendency to get protective of one's own creation.  I think of many times that I'd have classes break up into groups and put together some sort of plan.  They often liked their own plans best.
  3. I'd also note that Board Member Borromeo, when talking about spending the weekend working on maps, raised the point that someone had suggested that the Board members report on whether they had had help from outsiders to make their maps.  She thought that was a good suggestion and said the only help she got was from Eric - who's on loan from - one of the State Departments, maybe commerce and who worked with the previous board on mapping - and from the staff.  Then Melanie Bahnke said she hadn't consulted or been contacted by anyone else.  So that just leaves three other members of the board to declare their contacts.  No one else volunteered.  
There's lots more, but I'd need to look carefully through my notes.  And as a reader of the previous post commented, "I fell asleep reading it."  So this is probably enough.  Below are:
  1. The email that board subscribers got today about today's meeting.
  2. The Board's press release
  3. My very, very rough notes of today's meeting
The Email

The Alaska Redistricting Board met today and adopted six proposals, which will serve as the basis for the public meetings starting next week.

  • Board composites v.3 and v.4, which will replace the v.1 and v.2 maps previously adopted;
  • The following 3rd Party Maps:
    • Coalition of Doyon, Ltd., Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association, Sealaska, and Ahtna.
    • Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting (AFFER)
    • Alaskans for Fair Redistricting (AFFR)
    • The Senate Minority Caucus


I know that everyone would like to see the maps. The staff will be working diligently to ensure there are no errors in the maps before creating new shapefiles, .pdf maps, and interactive Google Earth files. We will let you know as soon as the maps are posted.


The Press Release

ANCHORAGE – Today the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted six proposed redistricting plans which will be the basis of public meetings across Alaska. The Board-drafted plans, v.3 and v.4 adopted today replace Board Composite Plans v.1 and v.2, which were previously approved by the Board on September 9, 2021.

In addition to the two revised board composites, the following plans submitted and presented by the following organizations were also adopted:

• Coalition of Doyon, Ltd., Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association, Sealaska, and Ahtna.

• Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting (AFFER)

• Alaskans for Fair Redistricting (AFFR)

• The Senate Minority Caucus

"I was pleased that the Board came together today to bring six proposed redistricting plans forward for Alaskans to consider,” said Board Chair John Binkley. “We will now be traveling around the state to learn which plan best reflects Alaskans’ desire for their legislative districts. "

The Alaska Redistricting Board will now start a public meeting tour, seeking feedback from Alaskans on all proposed plans before adoption of the final plan is required by the Alaska Constitution by November 10, 2021.

“We were pleased to hear from Alaskans from every region of the state and replace our initial maps with new and improved versions three and four, which better reflect the socio-economic integration characteristics of each region,” said Board Member Nicole Borromeo. “We look forward to hearing feedback from Alaskans on our new draft maps, as well as the four adopted third-party draft maps, as we present them in public meetings in communities across the state.”

Detailed maps will be posted on the Alaska Redistricting Board’s website at they are available.

For additional information please contact TJ Presley at (907) 229-1385.


My very, very rough notes. 

Again, the main point is to give a sense of the discussion so when the transcript is posted you know where to look.  I tried being a little more conscientious about putting in the time now and then.

Alaska Redistricting Board Monday September 20, 2021

9:08 am People gathering.  Melanie Bahnke will be here by phone.

9:10 Chair opens meeting.  Quorum.

Simpson, Marcum, Borromeo, Bahnke (online), Binkley - all present.

  1. Adoption of Agenda 
  2. Borromeo move to adopt and move to Executive Session
  3. John:  We aren’t going to do that.
  4. Withdraw.  Agenda approved.

[Note Socio-Economic Integrity (or Integration) was used a lot.  I shortened it to SEI]

Public testimony

Cathy Giessel - appreciate board discussion about rural communities.  I recommend reject AFFER district ???.  It connects South Anchorage over large stretch of water to connect to one community - Nikiski.  This was done before at recommended of same people.  At that time all of N Kenai connected with South Anchorage.  I was the rep in that district.  Big learning curve because issues of Kenai totally different.  Set nets.  Historical businesses.  Sports fishing.  All very different from hillside.  People in Kenai complained to me about being connected to Anchorage.  In 2013 Courts corrected this redistricting.  I realize contiguity goes over water, but this is an absurd connection.  Urge rejection of AFFER map connecting S. Anchorage to Kenai.  

William Staff ??? - Fairbanks - thank chair and members for hard work.  Not easy.  Irrespective of your decisions, someone will be unhappy.   FBKS NSB - either break it down.  Or Keep integrity of Socio-econ intact.  CAn’t replicate old scenario because of population change.  3-4K people to strip out of Borough and keep us SE-coherent.  Against breaking B boundaries for population.

Soldatna - Gail Limon ?? Moore - Map not acceptable connecting Nikiski to S. Anchorage

Anchorage, sign up - Ann Brown - brief comment to record of Sept 17.  Discussion of role of community councils.  Organization to connect to community councils.  SC has talked about this patterns can’t   - by definition Anchorage is SE-Integrated.  Court also says patterns lack differences to adjust districts. In favor a map that would take that into consideration.  

Yarrow Silver in Anchorage - Board of Foothill community councils.  Advocating for fair redistricting. Started out optimistic, but disappointed Friday.  Your openness Friday were good.  Looked at Maps.  AFFR and ????   Treated east Anchorage.  AK Dem map similar to current districts and compact.  AFFR put thought and effort into putting neighborhoods and keeping them intact.  Community councils keep communities together for 50 plus year.  Chanshtnu park happened through community council.  

John:  Others signed up are reps of 3rd party maps ready to answer questions.


Move to consideration of 3rd party maps.

Exec Dir.  Peter Torkelson.  We have identical sized maps for side by side comparisons.  Sen. Minority Plan made a couple of small change.  Brought in Deering to NS Borough.  And Matsu to get  ???borders straight.  Matsu didn’t change deviation, but Deering change moved it up to 4+%

Begich not available but Sen. Kiehl will be.  

Melanie:  Can you hear me?  Yes

Borromeo:  Yes I do have questions for Sen. Kiehl.  

John:  Brief at ease til we get Sen. On he line.  


Melanie:  Asked staff to screen share.  OK, there it is.  [There are two screens.  One facing the Board and one facing the audience]  

9:31 back in session.  Member Bahnke has questions

Bahnke:  They put Deering back into North Slope district so matches Board version, but substantial difference is 37, 38, 39.

John:  Is Sen Begich on the line?

BEgich?  Yes

John:  I see Sens Kiehl and Kawasaki also online.  See changes slight.  Adding Deering into NS and Houston city limits incorporated.  


Bethany?  Peter, scroll into Gulf Coast district.  Rational for Valdez and Cordova?  

Begich:  Complexity of puzzle pieces.  Both Cordova and Valdez part of unorganized Borough.  Valdez solves Kodiak underpopulation without undue deviations.  Has traditionally been with Interior in the past.  To avoid overpopulating SE,,  Template to have you look at.  Have to account for the population.  

John:  thanks

Bethany:  Thanks

Nicole:  Overall low deviations to be commended.  But also lack of compactness and SE-disparity.  Bering Straits and YK by taking Doyon villages with YK and Bering Straits.

Begich;  Follows up and down the river.  Old House district Chairman was apart of.  Relationships between Unalakleet and McGrath - study I did and upheld ten years ago.  Trade relationships - trails documented, part of the record ten years ago.  River connection and the past constitutionally accepted connection to trails and early trade.  

Nicole:  Thank you.  37 and 38.  Looks like cut YK districts into 3 districts, they want to be in one.

Begich:  Thanks.  Spoke to Calista.  Request use the villages that use the two rivers.  Doyon and ??? Boundaries to insure follow corporate boundaries.  Making up pop difference.  Directly connected to river connected to Bethel.  ???

Nicole.  Thank you.  32 - Valdez, Halibut Cove, Kodiak, left Valdez and connected Alaska Native groups together, but they don’t have historical connection.  Court found.

Begich:  I can. I was the expert witness in those case.  Tyonek relation only ??  Court said while boundaries important but ??? Also important.  Hard line to draw.  Only material difference between this and previous cycle is change to Cordova to Valdez.  We can’t honor every boundary, driven by population and SE-integration.  Alaska Native villages in the borough and rather isolated villages.

Nicole:  33 couples downtown Juneau with Haines and Skagway.  I’ll give my reasoning and then defer to SEn. Kiehl.  Two house districts and Sen. Districts.  Direct relationships between Juneau, Haines, and Skagway.  Court upheld this very map.  Whether connected to north and south not relevant.

Sen. Kiehl -  Thanks for opportunity.  Begich said well, court heard this and Board heard substantial testimony to keep Mendenhall Valley together compelling.  Small boat harbor and significant maritime elements of Haines and Skagway.  Tlingit Haida Juneau works well with Klukwan.  Significant connections.  Not things that would cause court to strike it down.  Looking for more perfect pairing…???

Melanie - comment about 38, 39, 40 maps.  39 now spread across 3 different ANCSA regions.  Have to fly from Nome to Anchorage to McGrath.  YK experienced tremendous growth and put Into 3 different districts.  I understand court recognized historic trade agreements.  But current practice is different.

Nicole:  There is a flight from Nome to McGrath.

Melanie:  Still have to go thru Anchorage

Begich:  Thanks for your comments.  Always difficult questions.  Don’t want to repeat problems from ten year ago maps.  Didn’t want to go deeper and deeper into ??.  Less of Doyon is in 39.  SE-considerations.  Difficulty with any maps with compactness and contiguity because of strangeness of census blocks were gifted.  Map not perfect but tries to reduced the disparities and also balance one person one vote which is also important.  

John:  thanks   Any other 3rd party maps Board has questions about?

Melanie:  Asked Friday.  Is Matt there?  

Peter:  Not now

Attorney Lee Baxter is here.  Distinction between ANCSA and Borough boundaries

Attorney:  Local - Borough and cities.  We don’t have that for ANCSA but it could be.  No SC precedent saying ANCSA boundaries dominant over local.  

Melanie:  Borough boundaries over ANCSA?

Attorney:  We know local boundaries are SE integrated.  ANCSA boundaries we have to analyze that.  Not precise answer because we don’t have one.  


Peter:  Done with minority caucus map?

John:  Yes.  Bringing up Doyon coalition maps

Tanner and Marna Sanford From Doyon to mic.  [Nathaniel Amdur-Clark -went by the name Tanner last time and that’s how I identified him in my notes.  He told me later that Nathaniel is his middle name.]

Melanie - looks like map bisects Palmer.

Tanner - No parts of Palmer outside of district.  Might be one census block, but we’ll address that.  

Marna - we have redrawn map, we have a new map, a little different from Board map and the one you saw with split Palmer.  We thought we’d submitted the other one.

Melanie:  Which version should I look at.  I didn’t get your email.  New position not going with that version

John:  We’re looking at adopting 3rd party maps and they have to be complete.

Tanner:  I think submit it for public comment.  Public will comment on that and other districts.  I suspect that other 3rd party maps will be adjusting maps based on public comments coming in  

John:  I’m not sure we’re going to be able to go back and come up with all those changes as we go on the road if we have multiple versions as we go around the state.

Budd:  What I hear them, because of the timing, they have to submit and this is what is ready now.  Idea isn’t to change every time someone comments, but to track them and make a new map at the end.  

Tanner:  Keeping track and making changes will be internal, but helpful but between Friday and now very short turnaround.  If Board wants to set another date for 3rd party map updates would be helpful.  Keeping track would be internal.  Board can decide what they’ll do.

John:  At meeting Friday decided to adopt maps today because we have tight framework.  But as long as we take the maps we have now will be presented in public.  And you’ll see potential changes later.

Bethany:  Anchorage into Matsu?

Tanner:  Population realities of all SC Alaska.  To get right size, need parts of Kenai and best is to have Seward, then need a small pop from elsewhere.  Most SE integrated area is up the highway.  Also when coming S from the N.  Matsu.  Additional population has to be given up - SC precedent saying there is SE integration between North Anchorage and S. Matsu.  

Marna - Lazy Mountain….

John:  Can we look up north?

Melanie:  Can we look at YK area - how many different districts between split

Marna - Calista is 3.

John:  Southern part of Denali, looking at Cantwell.  Where is Denali Highway. Denali the Boundary?

Marna - Can’t see it on this map.  Have to get real close.  

John:  Boundary is Nenana River?  South fork?  Basically Nenana river is boundary.  Broke Borough boundary to include Cantwell.  Clear Boroughs all SE integration.  ANCSA could be but no precedent.  Why include Cantwell?

Tanner:  Board can take into consideration local boundaries including Boroughs, but doesn’t mean can’t take other factors.  Nothing that says B more important than Muncipalities.  If they are split there are rules about how that happens.  If they don’t have controlling votes in enough districts.  If split Denali Borough into three districts so B wouldn’t have controlling ??? In any districts.  

John:  population of Cantwell?

Marna About 220ish

Whole b?  

Marna Don’t know

Tanner:  Not enough for a house seat, but can be part.  1600 in Borough.  

Nicole:  Thanks.  You tried to connect Doyon villages ????  Like to bring up Kenai Pen Borough.  Another that took hits to its boundaries.  Why breach so often?

Tanner:  Wouldn’t accept premise that changes to Kenai is to keep Interior intact.  Changes to Kenai comes from view that Valdez is not SEI to Interior.  Have to build Kenai in way we have done. Not reflection of trying to keep Kenai and Ahtna.  

Marna Some maps take some Homer neighborhoods out.  Making case for Seward.  I think ours is only one that keeps PWS whole.  We believe B boundaries are not necessarily the best measure of SEI

Tanner:  SEI always referred as relative.  Most SEI you can be all things considered and population considerations.  37 has largest downward deviation of all the maps.  All maps will have at least one district with downward deviation.  To keep SW as SEI.  If not have these communities, deviation even higher.

Nicole:  evidence of SEI, because court has been critical that really should e evidence of historical linguistic and other evidence.

Tanner:  Relative.  In comparison to other possibilities.  Connecting the maritime coastal communities on Peninsula with SW Alaska makes some sense and compared to other option.  Connect them to Kodiak and a long skinny district along all of SC Alaska.  

Nicole:  District 24?

John: While at 37 I have question.  You made a value judgment here that in D37 that Good News and Platinum more SEI  with Seldovia and Halibut Cove, rather than PWS whole rather than YK District

Tanner:  100%  More SEI as a whole than to include Valdez in 

Marna Or Dillingham with McGrath..  To keep them together and have them in maritime district in entirety as a voting block. 

Nicole:  24 - Peters Creek, breached Anchorage and Matsu, plus finger into ER.  Clarification.

Marna We thought that was one single neighborhood.  Other maps stretched down to Base.  Could have one Downtown/Eagle River.  

Nicole:  AFFER reps?  

Mr. Ruedrich:  Good Morning.  Randy Ruedrich, Anchorage on behalf of AFFER.  This morning we filed new shape files with the board that clean up a few block files.  I said Friday we had 29 districts below 1 %  as of this morning we have 35 districts below 1%  Our new max is 2.8%

Nicole:  Thanks. Haven’t had chance to review new maps, so asking the Friday map.  Appreciate work in Matsu Borough.  An entire restructure of rural Alaska and problems with SE.

Taking Saxman out of Ketchikan is unconstitutional

Ruedrich:  Saxman dependent on resources in D2.  For that reason alone.  

Nicole:  AK SC has been clear about this area.  1992, they said it was impermissible.  Why did you do it anyway.

Ruedrich:  Because of VRA changes there were different rules.  I can go back and come up with better solution.

Nicole:  D2 - Metlakatla and Hyder.  Metlakatla wants to be with Ketchikan but you put them with Sitka.  

Ruedrich:  Tried to put Native communities with connection to Sitka into D 2.  Only way I could find to get Yakutat population to assist us in most severed pop deficit.  SE always has problems because of length, lack of width, my surprise we could do this. 20 years ago Icework district, Hyder up to Linn Canal.  

Nicole:  I’ll say that the justification from Sitka to Metlakatla.  Had to fly from Metlakatla to Ketchikan to Sitka.  

Budd:  This map looks like we tried to draw.  As soon as it hit the presses got comments from Ketchikan, Saxman, Metlakatla communities that we missed a portion of Ketchikan south.  When we went back, couldn’t see a way to make it work population wise   When we put people back into Ketchikan, couldn’t make it go up to Wrangell.  Fishhook to Hyder and Metlakatla.  Petersburg had to go with Sitka.  

Nicole:  38, Uniting Hooper Bay and Bethel.  Appendage to SE to Quingahak.  Not compact 

Ruedrich:  In consultation with Calista.  Hooper Bay wanted to be with Bethel.  If we colored that all yellow, it wouldn’t look so unique.  Specific trade and individuals from Hooper Bay have testified.  Expect Calista to testify, tomorrow if you are in session on why this is what they prefer to have.  Have not been with Bethel for years and they say they are SEI.  

Nichole:  56 villages in area have significant ties to Bethel.  Consider 

Melanie:  Look at criteria - three of those quantitative - compact, contiguous, numbers are numbers - the qualitative issue SEI is where we have all the discussion.  Breaking YK into 3 districts.  Also problem with Saxman.  Did SC already decide on this matter?

Lee:  For the record, that’s my recollection too.


Nicole:  Previous supreme courts have ruled against this?  

John:  Yes.

Mr. Ruedrich:  Part and parcel from Calista moving those 5 villages into 37.  Not requiring Doyon villages above into 37.  That’s the biggest positive impacts on Western Alaska districts.  2013 Map had 13?? Villages Doyon in D37.  Big step to compactness and reduces length of arc the Doyon villages were subjected to.  Calista sees this as improvement.  Villages in3 districts.  We had villages in 2 districts and no one voting on where their Sen comes from.  

Nicole:  Is Calista a member of your organization?  

Ruedrich:  Yes part of it.

Nicole:  Can we have someone from Calista with authority to testify to this.  Haven’t heard from other Calista villages.

Can we go to 39  Down coast from Shishmaref to Emmonak - what is the SEI for a district like this.  

Ruedrich:  Allow Calista to respond because all part of Calista.

Nicole:  Negative

Ruedrich;  Right, some are not  Population to reduce deviation.  Not enough people to avoid severe deviation.

Melanie:  Not only breaking B boundary, but also breaking four different ANCSA boundaries  Not a SC ruling, but something we should consider.  Doesn’t appear SE muster.  I have concerns..  Also too much emphasis on deviation over other factors.

Nicole:  Done with rural.  Let’s look at 32.  We did hear from resident in Nikiski who protested

Ruedrich:  Briefly back to NW Alaska situation.  Two villages we put into D39 from NANA in area highly influenced by deviation challenges.  2002, SC directed Shishmaref to be added to eliminate deviation.  In 2012 not enough population in Shishmaref, so whole area to Wiseman 

was included in NSlope/NANA district.  Now population large enough, even have surplus.  Would be largest deviation if that problem is not addressed.

Melanie:  Question for Peter - Two versions of Board maps, NS borough - what is that % deviation?  

Peter:  Positive 2.65%????  Wanted it noted that less than 3%.

John:  At ease for 5 minutes.


11:01  Back to order

AFFER map questions

Nicole:  District 5:  Different from others.  Specifically did rural and included Cordova with Interior district

Ruedrich:  Complicated problem as Cordova as a place in PW Sound.  In 2011 hearings they testified, they said they wanted to be with Kodiak 48-2 rather than Valdez.  Made decision to not put in SE.  Not enough population without Yakutat to properly build D36.  Only option we had left was a pre 1980 which puts Cordova with eastern Alaska.  So I saw no other solution.  Couldn’t make it work with Kodiak.  No possibilities.

Nicole:  No SE reason, just for population

Ruedrich:  Doesn’t have road access so has same problems.  Does have a seaport.

Nicole: And does have daily flights to SE.  Done to separate Valdez to Cordova.  Even tho said at one point in one meeting that they didn’t want to be connected to Valdez.

John:  Sen. Begich testimony said there were traditional trade routes and connections to keep in district.  If one considers that there is the railroad and Copper River connections.

Nicole:  Hillside and Nikiski.

Ruedrich:  What happens to SE Anchorage - over population.  Some parts of state terribly overpopulated and thus very under represented.  Kenai pop for 2.?? House seats.  When pairing Anchorage with Matsu, surplus population on both sides.  .4 of seat had to be pushed out of B to create eastern Matsu Richardson Highway district.  Only way this works, still have surplus population you put it into36  Kodiak-Valdez.  What we’ve done here was done in 1984 map.  Not ideal, but if these folks are not give opportunity to vote with citizens on Anchorage side, will have zero true representation because will be buried by Kenia.  Kenai overpopulated in 2001 and 1011.  Habitual abuse of Kenai.  

Nicole:  thank you.  Habitual abuse.  See breaching of B boundary.  You’ve weighed deviation above B boundary.  We can ask those residents when we go there.

Nicole:  Struggled constitutional requirements to keep thee districts compact, and apendages.  30 into 28.  27 is pretty compact in Turnagain area, but 22 and 25 encroaches western of 20, 20 into 25.  I could understand that you do have places that push and pull because I worked on Anchorage about 20 times.

Ruedrich:  The version we presented this morning resolves most of those problems.  Sorry, we were pressed for time.  22 compact N-S NL to Base.  36 cleaned up - put mostly into Hillside.  

Nicole:  Going to focus testimony because I don’t have access to new map.  Focus on rational basis fordrawingof Anchorage.

Ruedrich:  Tried to use Chester Creek as much as possible, Fish Creek, Campbell creek.  Divided E/W using Seward Highway and have as few deviations as possible.  D24 like shapes.  Different corners, tales, ears, a function of the creeks.  Not covered by waterways, in NE corner added to get population.

Nicole:  appreciates the deviation, but not the compactness.  Extend it again to FB, boundaries of NSborough broken.  I do appreciate time you put in map.  Shows problem when concentrate on deviation you lose other factors.  

Bethany:  Can you overlay house districts on this map.  Current districts not at all compact.  Balancing act between compactness and deviation.  

John:  Thank you  

11:19  Questions from Board members about other 3rd party maps.

Nicole:  if AFFR reps, I do have questions.  

Robin and David go up.  David Dunsmuir and joined by colleague Robin O’Donahue.

Nicole.  Thank you appreciate the work and commend you on low deviation.  Some community groupings and appendages.  Start withSE.  Start with D1.  Why Thorne Bay this way?

David:  I don’t believe that’s a B boundary.  For population purposes it was necessary to add population.  Looking for most compact, contiguous and SE-I way to do this.  Determined Thorne Bay most compact way to do it.  What is your evidence for ties of Thorne Bay to Ketchikan and why have you broken up ?? This way.  

David:  Not one specific hub communities, note transportation links by ferry and scheduled air travel.  Most commercial flights to Thorne Bay go to Ketchikan.

Nicole:  that helps.  Petersburg and downtown Juneau, puzzling to me why?  What’s evidence to group this way.

David:  Desifre to correct major SE flaw with current districts.  Fails to recognize close ties between Petersburg and Juneau, and fails to see Skagway and Haines on road connected to Juneau the largest off the road city.  Air Travel more than 6 times thru Sitka.  Ketchikan is not in top ten of passenger destinations for Petersburg.  Still didn’t have enough population.  Determined Prince of Wales had connection best way to get population.

Nicole:  coupled outer islands with Sitka, but also Skwagwary and Haines.  What’s justification.

David:  Hyder is in D1 allows unique issue of border crossings.  Sitka off roadway while Haines and Klukwan on system.  Rely on maritime, Marine Highway major SE and transportation factor .  Significant small plane activity.  

Nicole:  No one said transportation was a tie.

Gulf Coast - adding Aleutians and Whittier?

David:  Not Alleutians - Iliamna and 

Nicole:  SE ties, when looking at Gulf Coast region, we struggled to balance and you’ve seen actions with Valdez which is an offload system as opposed to unload system.  Believe better SE and cultural integration when include Lake & District.  Similarly allows Lake Iliamna in same district as Tyonek.  Only ferry link is to Kodiak.  Lake & Peninsula Borugh access to Bear Viewing.

Nicole:  Kept S portion intact around Homer and up east coast and Western.  Did you split Soldotna to two districts.

David:  We followed the city limits.  If a misclick not our intention.  

Nicole:  thought…. Maybe Soldotna not that far south.  

David:  Also followed City of Kenai boundary.

Nicole:  39

Bethany:  Only map we saw with Kenai and Soldotna split.  Population makes one neat district.

David:  Better reflects connection with highways.  Although close geographically, have own downtowns.  More along Sterling Highway closer ties with Soldotna.  Also, if you put them together Kenai communities have to go to Seward.  This is the most compact along Sterling Hwy and Kenai Spur Hwy.

Nicole:  Coupled Valdez with interior villages and split Doyon???.  What does Valdez have in common with Bettles/  

David:  Another …. Sorry missed this.  Alaska Highway.  Balancing desire from Doyon communities keeping their region integrated including road system portions of Doyon.  Balancing those concerns.  Believe will be constitutional, but awkward off road system communities with Doyon road system communities.

Nicole:  Note, board also struggled with Valdez.  D. 39, down YK, but took a lot more in.  An area that Melanie calling from Nome has questions about.

Melanie:  Similar to Q about others.  NW Alaska tied to Interior Alaska - what are the ties?

David:  Another area with problems .  Balancing community concerns.  Doyon desire to have region in as few districts as possible.  And hooper bay wanting to be with Bethel.  And Calista trying be be in two house districts?????   SE integration along Yukon River - Doyon and Calista  Already historic ties of commerce.  Another thing.  Mining is a commonality.  Made D39 one of our smallest to minimize how many Doyon into it and 38 bigger to get as many Calista communities as possible.

Melanie:  Not hearing SE Integration.  Again mentioned historic, but remind that historically there was warfare between Coastal and Interior communities.

David:  We have struggled through this process.  We believe it’s constitutional district best way to balance these concerns.  Multiple cultural groups being merged.  We will monitor with coalition partners and Doyon on how we can find better ways to resolve concerns.  Ms Bahnke we hear your concerns.  

Melanie;  Looking at current SE ties compared to past warfare.  Not much travel between Coastal and interior.  No animosity with our neighbors now.  


John:  Questions about Interior. Zoom into 31.  Looking at D33, loops down below ?? road.  Appendage to the east

David:  The Lakeview area - active gravel pit and trailer park.  Outside of city limits.  Looking at most urban parts of FB outside of city.  Not appropriate to put it in D31.  Either 33 or D?? Not part of North Pole - D35 greater NPole.  Want to recognize North Pole’s unique character

John:  31 on western side appendage that comes down.  Seems to come into Chena River neighborhood.  Parks Hwy north, integrated neighborhood.  Mr. Chair, we that is an unfortunate artifact of meeting population and census blocks. Would draw too much population in.  Since using Chena river as boundary, that that is the best.  You are correct that it splits a small neighborhood.

John:  Go toward Aurora and totem Park.  North college road.  Using ??? As boundary for D32.  Major collector street as strong boundary. No one lives in that census block.  

[John asking about details of Fairbanks  that I have trouble following and keeping up with][David’s mic is much too loud each time he starts talking.]

Thank you  


John:  We have someone from Calista cCorp.  We have Mr. Leonard on line.  Still there Tom?

Tom  Leonard:  AFFER speaking on behalf of Calista Corporation, my Cupic name???

Calitsta invited comments from YK delta, Hooper Bay into Bethel - HB, Scammon Bay and Chevak move to 38.  And Quinigahak, Platinum Bay and Goodness Bay to 37.  Don’t have to include Doyon into our map.  Buckland and Deering into 39 as a placeholder solution, but open to other changes to help with overpopulation.

Melanie:  Thanks for calling in.  When we go to Bethel, what will we hear? 

Tom;  Thru the chair, great question.  Haven’t been able to speak with every community wouldn’t speak on their behalf.  Wanting fair representation would be their top choice.

Melanie:  Other than Hooper Bay, get comments from other villages?  Encouraged them to submit their comments to the board.  Thanks for calling in.

John:  Break for lunch.  Back in 30 minutes?  Enough.

TJ:  Also have members of AK Dem party online if Board has questions.

John:  Good idea.  Back at 12:30.  Stand adjourned, No recess.


12:36 Back on record. Alaska Democratic Party online.  Mike Wen??

Budd:  Putting Petersburg with S. End of Juneau?  Can you explain?

Erin:  Largely based on population constraints, political boundaries.

Nicole:  District 38 - Hooper Bay in Bethel  appendage on NE side.

Erin:  Two large census blocks.  Generally natural boundaries.

John:  Eek is in 38 and Quingahak in 37?  

Nicole:  D6 - Eilson and = Military base plus Valdez and interior villages.

Erin:  District we struggled with.  Tried other options that had other problems.  Minimizing ??? communities, include FB because of size of Borough.  

Mike:  Difficult population of FB with rural communities around FB and down Richardson Hwy.  Keeping Air force base in district similar to current D6.

Nicole:  Not hearing strong rationale, but appreciate the struggle.

See NPole and ?? together.  ButDistrict 5 Ester, Goldstream all the way to ??? River.

Mike:  Familiar.  North Pole more cohesive.  As you go further out, very similar.  Large area not much population.  How to draw most compact map.  Salcha, Eilson Chena Hot Spring Road, Ester, Goldstream more aligned than base or downtown FB.  

Nicole:  Neg 742 Alaskans.  Did you take that into consideration when doing FBNS borough.

Erin:  Goal to keep communities as contained as possible. 

Nicole:  D4 - deviation .00%.  Odd shaped district and appendage into western side of city.

Erin:  contiguous outside of city without breaking an additional boundary.  

Nicole:  Do you know pop in appendage.  SC said appendages that go to populated area will be suspect.   438.  OK.

Overall process of FB - troubled by lack of compactness when I see the map.

Mike:  Still looking at appendage.  Overall compactness and why went outside?

Nicole:  Understand you needed population.  D4.  1 and 2 followed city boundary.

Mike:  D4 where we had to go out of the city to get population.  It is a compact district.  Putting them together with populations to get them compact.  


John:  I have question on FB first.  Same as Nicole in terms of compactness. D6 big appendix  D.5

Boundary of Eilson AF base.  

Melanie:  D39 - deviations in various districts.  North, assuming D40.  Why Deering and Buckland in 39.  

Erin:  Hooper Bay and Bethel that underpopulated 39.  So domino effect.  

Melanie:  Interior villages in 39? 

Erin:  a few Nulato Quinhagak…..struggle with population, pushed 39 east and north until we could achieve a decent deviation.

Melanie:  Understand challenge in that part.  You put Buckand and Deering because underpopulated.

Erin:  Largely based on location.

Melanie:  Factor any ANCSA boundaries.

Erin:  Yes, we began with ANCSA boundaries and worked from there.  Cascading effect.  

Melanie 39 had four distinct ANCSA regions.  

Nicole:  To Kenai, D29?  Area of state lots of concerns because of appendages throughout the district.  Compactness of 29 and 30.  Why shape like it did.  

ERin:  Census Blocks

Nicole:  Troubled with Kenai Pen.  

Erin:  Challenging has relationship with 32, Kodiak and Chugach borough.  Trying to look thematically SE at entire communities.  Kenai itself being the hub it is  

Nicole:  Anchorage.  Compactness and shape pleasing.  Deviation run on higher side.  Worried that court will struggle with some of these.

Erin:  Recognize deviation high in Anchorage.  Trade off or high deviation or people complaining about feeling part of community  Not want to go to Matsu.  But also not to Kenai.

Bethany:  Related 13 and 14 in ER overpopulated 4.5 4.92 and neighboring districts underpopulated.  Why not balance?

Erin:  Recognize residents actively organizing to exit from MOA.  SE very diverse.  Community park at Chanshtsu.  

Nicole:  Matsu  comes down from North, then over the top to Palmer.  D10.  Largely population and related to D9 which is also a large district.  Palmer D11, to city boundary of Wasilla.  

Erin:  Largely based on where other lines were drawn.  Butte and Lazy Mt area.  Cross pollination with many of these groups.  

Nicole:  D29 next question. Includes Butte, Sutton, Chickaloon, Knik,  Most others have gone south, not north to get population.  SEI point would help.

Erin:  Valdez didn’t want to be part of Matsu.  Looked at other communities in that part of Alaska.  

Nicole:  looking for specifics not generalizations about the commonality.

Erin:  A district we struggled with we though all were equally valid and equally challenging.

Bethany:  Boundaries 9 to 6.  Glenn Allen cut off from Copper River.  

Erin:  double check my map.  


Erin:  Valdez and ?? Not in same district.  Valdez and Palmer. 

Bethany:  Glenn Allen in D9 and Copper Center in D6.  Why split.

Mike:  Comes down to members in the reason prefer SE than Matsu.  Trying to keep them with Valdez, in D6 based on people we were talking to.

Erin:  If we remove Glenalnlen would ….

John:  Erin and Mike thank you very much.   Think that’s all the 3rd party maps.  Shift to Board’s version 1 and 2.  Peter, how do you suggest we proceed to do that mechanically.  

Peter:  Can we stand at ease til we get them up.  

1:13  At ease


Peter:  Board adopted two plans and spent time over the weekend to refine more refined versions.  V3 and V4.  Show and tell.  

John:  Start with V3.  

Budd:  Earlier I referred to error we made in Ketchikan.  Asked staff to make map to show how we changed our first plan.  

V1 and V2 both have the same.  

Budd:  Thin strip.  Included several 100 people.  Put it back pushed population too far.  Concept initially Ketchikan, Wrangell Petersburg into and interior region, lots of common interests.  But population wise wouldn’t work out.  Only way was to remove Petersburg from the district, then need to bring population from Southern part - Hyder and Metlakatla.

New one:  Ketchikan and Wrangell and Hyder and Metlakatla.  Then one island district gets more compact.  Two Juneau districts similar to previous versions.  Changes in D2 allowed to bring ?? To D4.  City and Borough of Juneau Split, a few census blocks to get population right.

Peter:  Moving north.  Changes in Anchorage.  Competition between deviation and compact.  Many hours of work to 

Matsu largely based on earlier version.

Bethany:  When first learned Matsu and Anch SEI, heard they wanted to see version which respects the borough boundary.  New dividing line and to get minimum deviations had to redraw many districts.  

Two dif maps opportunity to discuss and find out what residents think.

D25 - Palmer Lazy Mountain district.  Going north was detrimental to compactness.  30 between Palmer and Wasilla north.  Sutton and Chickaloon

26, to the South.  Fairview Loop and Cottonwood.

Just shy of two more Matsu districts.  Tried going north with D28, but messed up compactness.  Nice clean n border.  D29 short by 500 people, so added Nenana .  Matsu deviation at .39%

Anchorage:  ER and East Anchorage.  New version.  ER is now a donut district.  Most of core of ER.  Then outer ER more likely to have wells.  24 and 23.  Not enough.  But instead of using E. Anchorage used Elmendorf.  Lots of military live in ER.  No east Anchorage.  

In town.  Horizontal or vertical blocks.  Trying to find tighter deviations.  Trim blocks and become very uneven, due to census blocks.  Getting near zero deviation, but balance compact v deviation.  All but one district has less than 1%, total .88% deviation.

D18 Elmendorf side kept whole.  Nice compact district.  Discussion when we get more feedback.  Orientation of the airport, in that area east west, but south of Tudor more logical for North/South orientating  

Downtown w of Ingra, Tudor as southern for next district.  D15 south to Raspberry, Dimond.

D13 n. Border of Dimond to Johns Road.  

Back n. D19 from5th avenue many odd shaped census blocks.  !2 natural SH on West and Elmore to east.  

22 - southern part of Ft Rich and ER

Turpin and Nunaka Valley D21.  

Hard where 19,20, 21 intersect.  Cheney Lake, Baxter Bog Park.  Shapes not as compact, but got good deviation.  

District 10.  Chugach Foothills and Stuckagain Heights, Upper Huffman.

Down to Whittier


Peter:  Gulf Coast and Kenai unchanged .  Some changes in FB, no material changes - deviations and more compact.  Western AK unchanged.  Interior includes Valdez.

D37 -.?? %

John:  Move to version 4?  Nicole.

Nicole: I’m going to move to withdraw v2 and replace with v4.  Never done with v2, but it was only to show there were other options.  To show MOA could be whole without taking population from the north.  Last Friday, we spent Friday with Eric at office.  Started in interior with 36.  Rural interior underpopulated by about 20% and North Slope over populated.  Went into FBNS borough, because of SEI between FB and  surrounding rural villages.  Break at Eilson because currently with interior villages.  Roe v ??  1963 = Military an be transient  In Alaska on involuntary bases and often have residency in other states.  **** that was pre PFD

D32 City within a borough. 1.75 seats in city itself.  

[This is really hard to track for me and I’m sure worse for anyone reading this.[  32 encompasses all of City of FB.  UAF SEI and wanted to include places around U but population too low.  Had to go toward city limits.  

Norther Pole, Badger Road, Eilson.  Homes Road on north.  

Melanie:  32 some weird red line.  

S35 rural FB.

D34 - NE FB.

D25 moving south.  Valdez question for Board and 3rd parties.  Decided to move it with Matsu because Matsu is underpopulated. 

1:52  - Keeping Huston, Willow and Palmer whole.  2.94 deviation.  

D29 Wasilla and west Meadow Lake. 1.76% deviation.

D28 Palmer, whole, Lazy Mt. And Butte. Highest deviation for Palmer/Wasilla 4.??  Can decrease the high deviation.  

Melanie:  That little island, populated? 

Nicole:  There are people there, but not very many.

D27 Cotton Creek and RR  D1.2% high

D26  Palmer/Wasilla gateway

To SE:  underpopulated by about 1100 Alaskan.  Compact SEI reasons.  3.24 low deviation

D2 starts at Yakutat puts it into SE.  Includes Petersburg. 

Anchorage keeping intact.  Separate East Anchorage and South Anchorage.  Ended up redrafting whole MOA starting from South.  Where you begin shapes the rest of the map.  

Potter March - looks big, but no population.  

D12 - Turnagain and the airport.  Public said keep Turnagain with the airport.  This part of city changed most because of sizable subdivision in Sandlake.  

13 Spenard residents have showed up and want Spenard separate from Airport and Turnagain.  Used major roads as dividers - NL, Fireweed Chester Creek, Lake Otis

D14 midtown n- 13 boundary  eastern is Seward and Lake Otis , southern Dimond, Minnesota.  

D15 lower hillside

Campbell Airstrip and Park.  Looks large, but not much highway

D17 U-Med district Dowling and Tudor.  Wes is Lake Otis - natural occurring geography 

[It’s really hard to pay attention to lists of boundaries with not being sure which of the blocks on the screen.]

Base united despite testimony.  Military service more transient.  Applicable to Anchorage as to FB.  

D22 looks like very large - significant unpopulated by park

D23 NE Anchorage 

D24 South ER.  

Overall low deviation and relatively compact.  

Budd:  Mentioned transient nature of bases in Anch and FBKs.  Any data that shows the bases 

I was reading SC from our state.  Wasn’t looking at voter turn out.

Last time question from public about who helped us with maps.  Got help from Eric, 

Melanie:  Counsel told us not to look at voter turnout or age - none have done that including myself.  

Grow v. ??   1973.   

Lee:  That was prior to constitutional change in how we do redistricting.  

2:19 brief at ease.


John back.  How to take plans around the state.  To discuss with communities.  

Look at v.3 and v4 and then the 3rd plan.  

Bethany propose adopt v3 to replace v1 and v4 to replace v2.

Melanie.  Second that motion, friendly amendment.  Have staff check census block in Matsu and put them in districts they belong.  

John:  If staff does that, send changes to the board members.

Everyone understand?  Discussion?  Objection?  Hearing none.  Passed

Now look at 3rd Party plans. 

Chair looking for a motion to adopt any of the plans.

Melanie, according Constitution, move we adopt plan by Doyon coalition.  Budd seconds.  

Objection?  Adopted

ADP - Alaska Democratic Party.  

Melanie:  Move to adopt ADP plan.  

Second?  John seconds.

Objections?  Adopted.

Nicole:  I’m voting to oppose.  If you seconded the motion, can we have someone else chair.  John:  Motion to adopt.  

Budd.  I think you have to rescind that vote.  Since confusion.  More to rescind.  2nd.  Discussion?  

Nicole:  Appreciate the work the party put in, but in reviewing, the way they have sliced and diced so many Boroughs.  Not a plan we want to take on the road with us. 

Budd:  I concur.  We have a couple other 3rd party plans that better reflect the ‘democratic’ view that are better than this one.

John:  Don’t know there are any other partisan plans that have identified themselves as such

Budd:  AFFR and Minority Caucus.

Melanie  We can take on the road and let the state see them.  Doesn’t mean we adopt as final plan.  

Bethany:  Lots of time.  Lots of testimony on these plans over the weekend.  Might make sense to limit what we take.

Melanie:  Not everyone comes to Anchorage or has internet.  Not everyone can call in and be on phone for hours not knowing when they will be called.  Or to look at the maps.

John:  Has taken a lot of time for all these entities.  The public will have time when we go to communities.  Maybe overall we don’t think it’s that good.  But maybe a particular community likes it and will help when we have to make .

Nicole:  I don’t think it would meet SC.  Nothing to prohibit public and Dem party from weighing in.  I don’t believe on balance this plan is worth the effort.

Melanie:  Parts of each plan flawed, but encourage board members to include all 3rd party plans.  Doesn’t mean we will adopt.  But gives us time.  

Nicole:  Call the question and roll call vote.

Repeat motion.  To rescind our vote to adopt Dem Party plan.  If it passes, back to original motion  If fails, ADP plan will be adopted and goes on the road. 

Bahnke-  Borromeo, yes; no Marcum yes Simpson yes, Binkley yes.

Bahnke - adopt AFFER plan.  Second by Nicole

Bethany:  should have had this discussion on Doyon plan.  We heard for both from Doyon and AFFER that they have new versions of plan different from the ones they presented Friday.  Be clear that the versions we received on Friday.  

John:  My understanding.  Except Senate Minority Caucus which made the changes already.

Nicole:  AFFER presented problematic districts for rural area, but Palmer was useful, so we should take it.

Budd: AFFER has really good deviation numbers which may be helpful to us.  


Melanie:  propose we adopt plan from AFFR.  2nd by Bethany

Budd:  These folks have been to every meeting sent a lot of time deserves to go forward.  Bethany, they also made changes they heard us discuss.

John:  Except since Friday.


Melanie:  adopt plan submitted by Senate Minority Caucus with amendments suggested Sept 19.  

Nicole:  can we have roll call vote.  

John:  Has value.  Knowledgeable people set it up.  We may not agree with it all.  I’ll support this the more info the better.  Not confused by too much info.  If we need more staff, we should make those changes.  

Nicole:  will also support it and appreciate their participation, from legal prospect and have concerns about parts but appreciate the low deviations.  

Budd, I’m supportive as well. They have participated actively in our hearings, well thought out ideas.  

Bethany:  I’m also going support it because I appreciate the knowledge, different because it has low deviations without sacrificing compactness.  

Nicole:  withdraw request for role call vote.


We have four 3rd party plans and two new versions of the Board’s.

Peter:  We will work really hard to get this done.  We will email as soon as done  If not on email list you can. 


John:  Public testimony?

Brian Hoek ??:  West Anchorage - Appreciate Borromeo’s work on that part of town.  Others had similar concerns as well.  More in common with airport.  About Fairbanks.  Sat through a few of these.  Direction I see is headed to break the FBNS borough.  I think that’s a problem  Balance between deviations and making sure everyone is represented properly.  One approach.  I see need to break it.  My hometown’s population is declining.  One pan I haven’t seen is a break on the SE side down the highway.  There is an approach.  I’ve worked on that myself.  There may be some historical districts.

Nicole:  Thank you for coming and for not moving to FBKs since Friday.  Please stay engaged.

Bethany:  Put you FBKs map on the website.  

Brian:  My wife and I were out of town when you started.  Working with tool available on the website requires some learning .  Working to satisfy my own curiosity.

John:  People can still make their own maps.    Staff has done an incredible job, worked tirelessly over the weekend to make all the maps available to everybody.  May need additional help moving things from community to community.  Looks like one person online.

Robert Hockema:  Testified at last board meeting.  About partisanship.  Tons and tons of discussion.  Want to testify.  Concern about AFFER map.  I know there will be modification.  Districts are drawn to make Republicans in coalition less competitive.  Out of all 40 districts. Talking about who would win based on who won elections in 2016 election.  AFFER most uncompetitive maps.  Incredibly important factor.  One person one vote if communities have harder time getting representation.  

Anyone else?  Close public testimony.

Peter:  Constitution directs us to hold public hearing tour.  In contact with a number of communities.  If your community would like to schedule a hearing in person or online.  Looking at visiting dozens of communities.  

John:  Most important part as we go out and seek input.

Nicole:  Thanks to staff, Peter, TJ, Juli and Jennifer have gone above and beyond, they are there nights and weekends.  That’s the level of work that Alaskans have gotten from the staff.  

Peter:  Thanks very much.  We have to wrap up tours by Nov. 1 an winter storms coming and we don’t want to get stuck.  We’ll have to come back and collate everything.  It will be messy.

John:  Motion to adjourn.

Moved, seconded, not opposed.  Adjourned.