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).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) is the watchdog committee that monitors campaign contributions and expenditures, and imposes penalties for violating their rules. In 2003, Governor Murkowski’s administration attempted to eliminate APOC. Didn’t work. It went over with the public like moose nugget in a box of bonbons, and the administration backed off. Later in the year, however, the administration was successful in getting the legislature to reduce the APOC Statute of Limitations for violations from four years to only one year. I’m proud to have voted against the reduction.

Governor Murkowski’s Chief of Staff Jim Clark, who recently plead guilty to illegal activities in Murkowski’s gubernatorial re-election campaign, is suspected of being the political operative responsible for getting the legislature to reduce state Statute of Limitations to one year. Whatever, the reduction proved convenient to Mr. Clark, after he plead guilty to federal charges.

As a result of situations involving VECO and state legislators, on January 1st, 2008 I sponsored House Bill 281 to fix these deficiencies in state law. My bill was referred to my House State Affairs Committee (I’m the chairman) on January 15th. Seven days later my committee heard the bill, and on January 22nd we passed it from State Affairs Committee to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill languished in Judiciary until today, March 19th, nearly two months later.

We adjoin about 25 days from now, and HB281 still must pass through the House Finance Committee, the House floor, and then pass the State Senate committee process. In other words, I wouldn’t bet my housecat on fixing Statute of Limitations deficiencies this year.

I confess to being irritated by the delays, but shan’t on this blog share personal speculations why my bill was delayed. I will share, however, my opening statement today before the Judiciary Committee on why the committee should move my bill out of committee. I used “love” to make my point (ain’t I nice).

The text of my statement follow:
“Thank you for hearing HB281 once again - the bill we’ve come to know and to love. It seems to me that our Judiciary Committee is in love with this bill - because we’ve held it close, and haven’t wanted to let it go. But let go of we should. As the saying goes, “If you love something - let it go.” So, tough as it is, it’s time to share this important ethics legislation with other lawmakers.

Knowledgeable people in high places have told me HB281 is the flagship bill for ethics this session. Well, I agree. But the departure date has arrived - and it’s time for the flagship it sail out of this committee to House Finance, the floor, to the Senate, and then to the governor. I just hope the other committees don’t love HB281 as much as we have. Again, if love you something, let it go. Considering the time we’ve lived together with HB 281, we probably have intimate knowledge of it. So, rather than examining it once again, from head to toe, let me just summarize its main provisions:

HB281 extends the statute of limitations from the current one year to five years, for review of complaints of alleged APOC violations, or Ethics Committee complaints. The bill also allows six years for retention of records related to complaints that fall under this act. But, if and when a person leaves office, records are turned in at that time - that means we don’t have to worry about our dog eating the records.

We chose a five years Statute of Limitations because, if you run for state senate, or lieutenant governor, or governor - that’s a four-year term, and one would conceivably campaign a year before that.

The five-year statute of limitation is supported by both APOC and the Ethics Committee and, I would think, supported by most of our constituents. Recent history suggests that the current Statute of Limitations for APOC, and two years for the Select Committee, is woefully inadequate. Whatever, the provisions of HB281 are not retroactive - that eases the sponsor’s digestive system, and permits him to sleep at night.

I want to thank the Judiciary Committee and its Chairman for all its time, and love, in improving HB281. But to paraphrase Moses, ‘Mr. Chairman let my ethics bill go!’”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The following is my floor speech for my House State Affairs Committe Resolution HJR38that celebrates the 60th birthday of Israel:

"Mr. Speaker,

I grew up in East Los Angeles on Woods Avenue, across the street from the infamous Garfield High School, and next door was a big six- family apartment building. One day, when I was 12 years old, some of the families who lived there came outside and danced around, shouted with joy, and hugged each other. I asked my grandparents who raised me what in the world was going on. They told me the happy people from the apartment were Jewish families, and that they were celebrating the birth of a new nation in the world called “Israel.”

Well, Mr. Speaker I’ve got to confess that, at that time, I didn’t have a clue what a Jew was, or what was so special about someplace called Israel. And I’ve got to tell you, I also didn’t know much about a place many of us call the “Holy Land,” and how significant this is to all of us. But now I know more than I d

Now I know that the birthday of the sovereign and independent State of Israel was May 14th, 1948. That birthday was 60 years ago. That miracle national birthday - and I do think was a miracle – is what this resolution, HJR 38, is all about. You can read all the “whereases” in the resolution yourself – and there’s 11 of them – which trace 3,000 years from the historic Kingdom of Israel, to modern Israel. It’s interesting reading.

Israel is a bastion of democracy that embraces freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free press, plus free, fair, and open elections, and the rule of law. Obviously, freedom and democracy is a rare commodity in that part of the world. For 60 years, the United States and Israel have shared a strong and special relationship based upon a Judeo-Christian culture that forms the basis of Western Civilization. This resolution helps honor that special relationship.

The tiny nation of Israel has been – and still is, unfortunately – surrounded by nations and cultures that would devour Israel if they could. But Israel is also a nation of warriors, with a military and an Air Force that’s the envy of nations around the world.

The national friendship between Israel and the United States is an example of what national friendship and respect ought to be. I request your support of this resolution."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


The following are selected parts of an Alaska poll conducted by the legislature in February 2008 (I was not involved). It’s interesting, as all polls are. However, at the 95% confidence level, poll has a margin of error of 4.89%, and was taken only from registered voters who had a listed phone number, not “super voters” most likely to vote. According to the poll preface, the survey “saves the researcher money, to the detriment of . . . client’s desire for accuracy.” 39.5% of the poll respondents were from Anchorage. Furthermore, legislators are elected by districts with widely varying demographics – so potential margin of error likely could be significantly higher within individual districts. Whatever, here are the results, for what its worth:

Question 1 (selected parts) “Are your feelings very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, very negative” (for Blog brevity, I combined the “very” with the “somewhat”).

Gov. Sarah Palin: Positive: 81.3% Negative: 9.2% Neutral: 9.4%
State House: Positive: 53.4% Negative: 20.4% Neutral: 26.1
State Senate: Positive: 54.8% Negative: 22.4% Neutral: 22.8%
Oil Industry: Positive: 60.2% Negative: 25.8% Neutral: 14.1%

Recently, the legislature increased the tax on oil from 22.5 to 25%, and made other upward adjustments.
Question 25: Do you think the new law to tax the oil industry went too far, just right, or not enough?

Too far: 21 Just right: 47.8% Not enough: 20.1% Don’t know: 11.0% (note: if “Just right” and “not enough” are combined, the higher tax would be favored by 67.9%).

Question 9: Most important issue for the legislature to be working on:

Top 10 in order of priority (1st and 2nd priorities combined):

Building the gas pipeline 38.2%, K-12 public education 24.1%, health care 20.4%, balancing the budget 14.6%, mining and fisheries issues 11.8%, crime and public safety 11.3%, long range fiscal plan 10.8%, energy and heating costs 10.1%, ethics reform 9.0%, PERS/STRS retirement funding7.2%.

Question 32: Should Pebble Mine environmental studies go forward to determine if mine could be developed in a responsible manner?

Favor: 78.6% Oppose: 17.9% Don’t know: 3.5%

Question 33: Political party affiliation

Republican: 31.9% Democrat: 19.8% Non-partisan/Undeclared: 44.7%

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I was raised by my maternal grandparents. My maternal granddad was John Frederick Lynn. Today is Grandpa John’s birthday. Born 9 March 1890, were he alive today he would be 117. He did live to be over 92 years old, passing away at the Veterans’ Hospital in Loma Linda, California. Caution: the Lynns have long lives.

Grandpa Lynn was born in the country at Wagoner, Cedar County, in southwest Missouri. He was one of seven children of his father Mayro, and his mother Ann Elizabeth (Hollon) who died nine days after his birth. After his father remarried and had eight more children by his second wife, Grandpa John was raised by his grandfather Jeremiah French Lynn (born 1829, lived 93+ years) - a sometimes beekeeper, itinerant country preacher, and farmer. It came to be that I was raised by my grandfather who himself had been raised by his grandfather. That may have given me a unique perspective. Make of it what you will.

My great-great grandfather Jeremiah moved with Grandpa John to southern California around the turn of the century. Grandpa John graduated from a business high school in Los Angeles, and started his career as a secretary and clerk (a male profession in those days). He was drafted into World War I, with the rank of “Field Clerk,” a rank that no longer exists - it was somewhere between a master sergeant and warrant officer, and rated a salute (he told me he would cross the street to avoid having to return salutes, because he didn’t feel worthy). He was discharged after the war, but many times told me what a mistake it had been to not remain in the military for retirement (a lesson I later took to heart).

After the World War I ended, Grandpa John joined the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, as a deputy sheriff, under Sheriff Eugene Biscaluz. He had a uniform, a badge, and a pistol (which I have today), but worked primarily as a “statement reporter.” Recorders had yet to be invented. When someone was arrested, the prisoner would be interrogated, Grandpa John would take their statement in shorthand, and then transcribe it to the typewriter (he typed at lightening speed). He often would bring transcriptions home for my Grandmother Edna to read, to see if they matched his shorthand. As a result, I grew up listening to horrific but exciting statements from murderers and various other criminals, some of which are famous to this day. Sometimes Grandpa would escort prisoners on the train up to San Quentin Prison, near San Francisco. I always liked him to do that, because he’d return home with puzzles, toys, and candy from San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Not long after World War II erupted, Grandpa left the Sheriff’s Department to make more money by working, as a tool clerk, in the shipyards that manufactured “Liberty Ships.” As one result, I got to see several Liberty Ships being launched.

After the war, Grandpa John opened a “Letter Shop” at 1st and Main in Los Angeles. Letter shops were the forerunner of businesses like Kinkos. He typed letters for businesses without clerks, and printed menus and business flyers on an old mimeograph machine (how many whippersnappers know what that is!).I helped out some in the letter shop, but spent a lot of solo time exploring the streets and shops of downtown LA - I especially enjoyed riding the Angels Flight tram car (no longer there), and hanging out at the magnificent Los Angeles County Library. In those days it was reasonably safe for a boy in Los Angeles; today I’d want to be accompanied by a SWAT team.

When the Letter Shop business failed, Grandpa joined the Los Angeles Police Department as a jailor (During my days as a cop in Tucson, I sometimes worked as a jailor). Grandpa John never liked the police department as much as the Sheriff’s Department. Later, he worked again as a clerk at the Los Angeles County Health Department. He closed his career as a civilian clerk at Norton Air Force Base, in San Bernardino, California. Grandpa was probably the last of the male clerks. He didn’t “retire” until after age 80 (that’s the direction I’m heading!).

Grandpa John Lynn was a remarkable man. He wasn’t famous, and didn’t have fancy degrees – but he made it through the 1930s great depression with a salaried job, had a great work ethic, took care of his family, doted on my grandmother (who henpecked him terribly!),loved corny jokes and puns, and gave me the love so desperately needed by all kids, and certainly by me. He was always very proud of me.I wish he knew I retired from the military, and that folks elected me to the Alaska Legislature. Perhaps Grandpa John somehow does know that. I hope he would be as proud of me, as I am of him. Happy Birthday, Grandpa John!

Friday, March 07, 2008


The following is a copy of an editorial in today's Juneau (Alaska)Empire:

"Thumbs down to Jim Clark, a former top aide to former Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Clark recently pleaded guilty to a federal felony conspiracy charge in an ever-widening corruption investigation.

The longtime Juneau attorney and former chief of staff for Murkowski admitted to channeling money from the oil industry to Murkowski's 2006 re-election campaign. The payments totaled more than $68,000 and were structured to avoid disclosure to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, federal prosecutors said.

Thank goodness the feds stepped in. The state could not do much because the case was more than a year old and therefore was beyond the statute of limitations - a legal trick made possible in part by legislation that Clark helped advance.

Clark told reporters in Anchorage that Murkowski did not know about the deals to hide the contributions. Does anyone believe that's true?

Thumbs up to Anchorage Rep. Bob Lynn, who filed a bill that would restore the statute of limitations on violations of campaign laws - laws that admitted criminal Jim Clark helped reduce in 2003.

We expect House Bill 281 will get plenty of support now from the bandwagon, as it should, after Clark's recent guilty plea to a conspiracy charge.

By extending the statute of limitations to five years, the bill would provide some extra punch to the state and yet another reason for politicians and their allies to follow the law. It's pathetic that we'd need one more reason, but so be it.

As Lynn said, "The whole purpose of HB 281 is to rebuild the foundation of trust.'"

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