Sunday, June 25, 2006

Endorsing the Alaska candidates and Who is the United Fishermen of Alaska?

"As governor, I will fight for the fishermen who live and fish in Alaska." This is the theme of Sarah Palin's fight song. Well that rules out an endorsement by the UFA right off the bat.

My "missionary work" for Alaska may have started when I flew out to Port Heiden with the pilot for Village Missions in Homer.

That's because it's President is a Seattle boy and his buddies are all Seattle boys. His father, the Chairman of one of the biggest seafood processors in Alaska, lives and works in Seattle and can and does squash disenting fishermen like bugs.

Of COURSE the "vote" (they said they had) was "a forgone conclusion." They didn't say their MEMBERSHIP voted, did they? The leaders had already decided to back the candidate who has been doing their work for them all along, the current governor. Where does that leave real Alaska fishermen? 95% of Kodiak fishermen are opposed to Governor Murkowski's fisheries policies for one thing.

Petersburg fishermen that were backing an alternative marketing structure in Southeast Alaska, one that has proven to be the best in the Lower 48, suddenly found they were black-balled from selling their herring this spring. And the UFA's leader's base of support is Icicle Seafoods, the home plant being in Petersburg. Ask around in Petersburg, but be careful, Icicle has given stock to many fishermen there and they can't sell the stock unless the company "agrees to the sale." Who do you think has who over a barrel?

When reporters keep quoting the politically adept leaders of the UFA, who have no substantiated base of support, they innocently perpetuate a fraud on the Alaska public. Is that even legal? And OF COURSE the current Governor is FOR seafood marketing, he's probably for apple pie too.

And the UFA leadership says the Governor has fishermen on his Cabinet. If so, why was the state employee that was sent to Kodiak to represent the state, trying to take the fishermen's jobs away from them? Remember, the Governor's idea of fisheries management is to fire 932 fishermen at a time, like in "crab rationalization" to make the fishery easier to manage. Or should we read that be "fishermen easier to manage"?

The following is the kind of correspondence I get from ALASKA fisherfolk, and other ALASKA fisherfolk are telling me they "have lots of complaints" with the UFA leadership. Go figure. I say UFA doesn't represent anybody except the stockholders of Icicle Seafoods, the Seattle fleet and other large Seattle processors.
"John, I think a few more people are reading your stuff than the ones mentioned in your commentary today. I appreciated your perspective about Sarah Palin and that's exactly why I'm supporting her for governor. As a lifelong Alaskan, growing up in the salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, I can tell you we need a governor who will actually do what they say BEFORE the election. I believe that person is Sarah Palin and I've been a supporter since the gubernatorial fisheries debate at ComFish in March. I have met Sarah Palin and she is as open and honest as they come. I'm excited to do what I can to help her become Alaska's next governor.
Thanks for your thoughts."

Dear "Thanks for your thoughts," (actually I know who this fisherperson is) I am discovering from the webmaster that our readership has gone from 30,000 page views a month in Feb. to 300,000 now and should be half a million by next month. (These aren't the "hits" other site architects use to inflate their readership numbers.) And I too stand for what's right, and have been, at no cost to anybody, for a year now with my blogging. I guess you could say I'm a missionary to Alaska, without the mosquito bites though.