Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Leman censured for pot-prop involvement

ANCHORAGE - Lt. Gov. Loren Leman's staff wrongly drafted a statement of opposition for a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, an Anchorage judge ruled Monday.

But Superior Court Judge Mark Rindner also said Leman's office did not act improperly in offering authorship of the 300-word statement in the state's Official Election Pamphlet to an Anchorage doctor, Charles Herndon, medical director at Providence Breakthrough, a drug and alcohol treatment center.

Yes on 2, which supports the initiative, sued Leman earlier this month seeking a court declaration that Leman's office acted improperly.

In his ruling, Rindner said Leman's opposition to the legalization of marijuana is long-standing and predates his election as lieutenant governor. Leman served in the state House from 1988-92 and in the state Senate from 1992-2002.

"While the lieutenant governor is free to take partisan positions when he is not administering state elections, he must be nonpartisan in performing his responsibility to administer state election laws," Rindner wrote. "This includes preparation of the Official Election Pamphlet."

But the judge concluded that no further action was warranted beyond the declaration, particularly since Herndon approved the language and the facts in the statement.

Baily fills top job at Board of Game

JUNEAU - Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Kevin Duffy announced the appointment of Landa Baily as the executive director of the Alaska Board of Game on Monday.

The position became available in August 2004 when Jim Marcotte retired after 23 years with the department.

As executive director, Baily will oversee activities by the seven-member Board of Game. The Board is meeting in Juneau to discuss regional and statewide hunting proposals next week.

The board is responsible for conservation and development of Alaska's game resources.

For the past year, Baily worked as special assistant to the Commissioner and Legislative Liaison for the Department of Revenue. Prior to that, Baily worked two years for the Department of Law as an Assistant Attorney General.

A native of Alaska, Baily received her J.D. in law and a B.A. from the University of Oregon. She is trained in international negotiation and conflict resolution.

Missing hunter turns up on N. Douglas Highway

JUNEAU - A 48-year-old man who didn't return home from hunting Saturday turned up safe Monday morning on North Douglas Highway.

Gregg Lessmeier "got a little disoriented" overnight, Alaska State Trooper Mark Granda said. He had parked at the Eaglecrest Ski Area early Sunday, and his locked vehicle was still there when he was reported overdue at 10:10 p.m.

Lessmeier walked down to the beach on the far side of Douglas Island, camped with a fire and a space blanket, and walked around to North Douglas Highway Monday, Granda said. He notified troopers via telephone that he was safe at about 8:30 a.m.

Bruce Bowler of SEADOGS - Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search - said he was out with members of the Juneau Mountain Rescue team. He said Eaglecrest staff also was involved in the search.

Bowler said Lessmeier was dressed well, in wool and polyester, but he hadn't taken his cell phone or VHF radio.

Assembly to allow phone-in meetings

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly will now allow its members to phone in to an unlimited number of meetings, ending the former twice-yearly restriction.

"We want to promote the maximum participation of elected officials," Assembly member Randy Wanamaker said.

The Assembly also raised the maximum number of Assembly members participating by telephone from two to three.

The Assembly changed the meeting rules because the limit has become a problem.

Assembly member Stan Ridgeway wasn't allowed to take part in a special Assembly meeting by phone because he had used up his limit. Although Mayor Bruce Botelho asked for an exception, the Assembly voted against it.

In early 2002, Assembly members Wanamaker and Stan Ridgeway proposed allowing traveling members to attend meetings by phone. The Assembly adopted the resolution in mid-2003 and decided to review the resolution before it was to expire this week.

During the past year, three Assembly members including Ridgeway participated in meetings by phone. Former Deputy Mayor Jim Powell called in from China. The City Clerk's Office bought international phone cards for Powell to reduce the cost. Assembly member David Stone teleconferenced once.

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