Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Japanese Consul-General Akihiro Aoki of the Japanese Consulate in Anchorage graciously invited mt wife Marlene and I for dinner at his official residence in Anchorage's Geneva Woods area. Representative Ralph Samuels joined us.

We gained insight to Pacfic Rim trade issues with Japan and other Pacific Rim nations. This information was especially helpful to me as a member of the House Special Committee on Economic Development World Trade and Tourism. Alaska needs to seize opportunities for increased exports with these nations. Alaska is sited at the crossroads of the world between the Lower 48 and Asia. We should develop our opportunities.

Friday, June 24, 2005


I am drafting a bill to help protect “Mr. and Mrs. Alaska” from local and state government abuse of private property rights. The legislation is a quick response to U.S. Supreme Court decision that now permits the government to replace your home with a big box store through condemnation (eminent domain) to increase property tax revenue to the government.

The term for the court’s outrageous 5 to 4 court decision is “judicial thievery.” It’s a kind of “Robin Hood in Reverse.” As stated in the scathing dissent by the Supreme Court minority, “The beneficiaries of this decision are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process" and that "the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more." Under the court ruling, a private homeowner is in a losing position if a bad developer and a bad planning commission act in cahoots.

However, there’s good news. The court decision allows states to enact legislation outlawing the taking of private property for economic development - and that’s exactly what I want to happen in Alaska.

I’m also researching the issue of “taking of property by regulation.” Taking of property by regulation happens when government involuntary downzones or restricts the way property can be developed after property has been purchased. This amounts to an involuntary taking of private property in the form of loss of property value and, like the eminent domain debacle, can be an abuse of property rights.

Private property rights shouldn’t have a political party label. Every conservative, liberal, and moderate - and everybody in between - needs to help get this legislation passed. I know Rep. Lesil McGuire is also preparing a bill, and I welcome that. We will either submit individual bills, or work together to combine the best of both bills into one. Appropriate legislation needs to be introduced and passed when the legislature goes back into session January 2006. That’s more important than which legislator has their name on the bill.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


We are all following the news of the missing girl in Aruba. She was on a vacation celebrating her graduation from high school. The case has gained world-wide media publicity. From news reports, it appears she may have made some very poor decisions, which placed herself in a dangerous - and potentially - fatal situation. What a tragedy; what a heartache for her parents! Whatever her behavior may have been, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone doing harm to her under any circumstance.

What is it that causes the media to zero in on this one particular tragic disappearance? One can only speculate.

A quick Internet search to the Alaska State Troopers showed 47 missing persons. - check out A Missing Persons Clearinghouse, guided by Alaska statue, became operational in 1988 and, in calendar year 2001, received 4,241 notifications of missing juveniles and adults missing from Alaska. On the radio today I heard there are some 140,000 missing persons in the United States.

The life and safety of every human being has value, whether it's Aruba or Alaska.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I enjoyed a lengthy – and very worthwhile - morning meeting today with former Representative Terry Martin. He retired from the House of Representative after some eighteen years of service. Terry Martin is one of the most decent and honorable persons I have had the pleasure to know. He will be leaving Alaska in July for his new home at Our Lady of the Snows Retirement Community at Belleville, Illinois. Our loss is their gain. Since Terry’s retirement from the legislature he has taken up piano and flute, and has also traveled the world.

Of course, we “talked politics.” We share many similar political points of view. Among other matters (which won’t be reported here), he expressed concern about the legislature spending so much of this year’s unexpected oil revenue on capital projects. Terry had served for several years on the House Finance Committee.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Today I “tooted my own horn” (not so unusual for a politician) – but the horn I tooted was my big antique Buffet baritone saxophone with the Anchorage Community Concert Band at the Saturday Market. We’ll play the Saturday Market again in August, and do our Winter Concert in December. The wonderful thing for me is that there is no “political agenda” when I play in the band. I “mellow out,” and put politics aside. Most of us in the band are “has been” high school or military band musicians, and if we had to make a living making music, we’d starve. But that’s not the point. The point is: music, especially “making music,” can be its own reward.

I thank my parents for those first music lessons when I was about ten years old, and I thank my boyhood schools for the gift of music. I’m a strong advocate of schools teaching the “basics” of reading, writing, and arithmetic. But I’m also an advocate for music in the schools. In the legislature I will always support school music.

I think learning to read words in a book, and learning to read music reinforce each other. Learning about how 16th, 8th, and quarter notes add up to one to make a musical measure reinforces learning fractions. Following the directions of the conductor relates to following directions from the classroom teacher. And I submit that learning the teamwork of a band or orchestra is no less demanding than teamwork lessons of football and basketball (without the bruises). The anxietyof first solo you play in a band is not much different than overcoming the anxiety of the first public speech Music also teaches history, ethnic cultures, but most of all music is great fun – and more fun would make the world a better place!

My first school music experience started in the 6th Grade Orchestra at 4th Avenue School in East Los Angeles (that was a long time ago, but don’t believe the rumor that Mozart played in the same orchestra). During my high school years I played in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Boy’s Band (I marched in the very long Pasadena Rose Parade six times – one time playing the bass drum (probably what’s wrong with my back today), the East Los Angeles Junior Lions Club Band, the Elks 99 Band. In those days, almost every community had one or more community youth bands (which kept a lot of out of trouble so that later we could get in trouble in a legislature).

At the infamous Garfield High in East Los Angeles (of “Stand and deliver” movie fame) I was a member of the Bulldog Marching Band and Junior ROTC Band., as well as Orchestra, and Advanced Ensemble (even played bassoon – badly-for a while). My first Air Force military experience as a member of the 541st Air Force Band at the now defunct Williams Air Force Base at Chandler, Arizona.

When I left the military band in 1952 for Aviation Cadet flying school and officer training, I put the saxophone down and didn’t play again until 1988 – when I joined the American-Bavarian Brass Band in southern California. This was 25 piece German “oom papa” band playing schmaltzy “cry-in-your-beer” waltzes, stirring European marches, the “Chicken Dance,” and of course polka, polka, polka! .On my lederhosen outfit I wore a button that proclaimed, “Polka till you puke” ( I probably shouldn’t have shared that). I must confess, this is the kind of music I most enjoy playing. The only – the ONLY - thing I miss from California is that great German band.

If you have kids, get them into music. – and support music in our schools.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Today I conducted my first summer 2005 “Roadside Office” session, at the intersection of O’Malley and Lake Otis. You may have seen the big 4x8 sign on the back of my Suburban that proclaims, “Meet your State Representative Bob Lynn - Questions? Complaints? Concerns?

The Roadside Office is a personal outreach to constituents that I’ve conducted each legislative interim between summer and fall, beginning in 2003. I hope my schedule will permit me to hold these “get acquainted” opportunities about three to six times a month.

Other favorite locations for my Roadside Office is on Huffman, just east of the New Seward, and on Old Seward across the street from the Los Amigos Restaurant. If you see me, please stop and visit, or at least wave. The important thing is, I want you to know is that I want to be available to you at your convenience.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Tonight I attended the Excellence in Teaching Awards Banquet at the Marriott Hotel in Anchorage, sponsored by British Petroleum. The awards were presented by British Petroleum Alaska President Steve Marshall, assisted by Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau. The winner of Teacher of Year teaches special education at Romig Middle School in Anchorage. When I first moved to Alaska, I also taught special education at Romig.

Four Teachers of Excellence -- one each from the Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula School Districts by BP every year since 1996.


Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich hosted a "Flow of Food Tour" this morning for a group of about twenty civic leaders, including myself and Rep. Berta Gardner. The tour coincided with "National Hunger Awareness Day."

First stop on tour was the Food Bank of Alaska (FBA) on Spar Avenue. Since its inception, FBA has distributed over 40 million pounds of food throughout Alaska. The food is aquired from non-salable food from the food industry, US government comomodities, and local food drives. The food is distributed from the warehouse to more than 300 non-profit agencies, faith based organizatiuons, domestic vioolence shelters, soup kitchens, senior centers, and day care facilities.

Stop two was the Boys and Girls Club in Mountain View and its "Kid's Cafe." For many of the children in this area, this may be the only nutritious meal they get all day.

Next we inspected the Downtown Soup Kitchen on 4th Avenue. Chris Keffalos, Director of Initatives for Grace Alaska told us that last year 90,000 hot meals were given to hungry Alaskans. The Soup Kitchen is a faith-based program that also provides services such as showers and free laundry, socks, and footwear.

The last tour stop was at "New Hope on the Last frontier" at 13th and E Street. It is the first full "client choice" food pantry in Alaska. Client choice pantries allow clients to "shop"(with a shopping cart) for food they need and which best fits their personal needs and culture. As many as 170 families "shop" at New Hope in the one day a week it is open.

The tour was an "eye opener." There are many reasons why folks go hungry. Hunger is never the fault of the children. When someone is hungry, it makes it even harder to find a job, get education or job training, get healthy, or recover from an abuse problem This food program makes me proud to be an Alaskan.

Monday, June 06, 2005


The big news today is that a Republican representative voted against the capital budget during the Special Session and, as a consequence, was removed from the House Republican Caucus. Voting for the budget prepared by the House Finance Committee is a requirement for caucus membership. When the representative cast the vote, I was surprised.

Voting on the budget is a different thing than voting on an issue like Worker's Compensation, PERS/TRS retirement systems, or the Longevity Bonus. A proper budget requires extensive and detailed committee hearings, and the public may testify at those hearings. A proper budget, whatever the source of the funding, cannot be constructed by forty diverse members representing two political parties on the House floor. I voted for the budget.

Votes have consequences - consequences for our constituents, for the entire state, for political parties, and consequences for the representative casting the vote. A mature representative will gracefully accept the consequences of every vote they cast. As we used to say in the military, we "knew the risk when we joined up."

Our caucus elected our caucus leadership. I support my Republican Caucus, Caucus leadership, and the Speaker of the House. Most of all, I do my best to support my constituents in District 31.

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