AK Voices: Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford is a lifelong, third generation Alaskan. He is a real estate developer and former Chairman of the Alaska Reagan for President campaigns and former Chairman of the Republican Party. Jim is a social and fiscal conservative.

Municipal greed is wrong. - 7/31/2012 1:01 pm

DEFAULT IS THE WRONG CHOICE - 7/30/2011 11:10 pm

AHFC Gouging On Apartment Interest Rates? - 3/11/2011 3:57 pm

Transitions are the perfect time to reevaluate - 11/23/2010 5:24 pm

Campaigns and the Alaskan Economy - 10/25/2010 1:18 pm

Guess I’m an extremist - 9/25/2010 1:36 pm

Best two out of three? - 9/8/2010 4:12 pm

Fiscal Certainty - 8/30/2010 11:49 am

Municipal greed is wrong.

By Jim Crawford
July 31, 2012

The Constitution of the United States forbids control of religion by government. Embodied in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are the words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Alaska’s Constitution in Section 1.4 - Freedom of Religion states: “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

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DEFAULT IS THE WRONG CHOICE

Increasing the federal debt ceiling will result in going further in debt and increasing interest costs. Neither is in the interest of the United States. Pundits and politicians are convulsing to convince us that the Republican solution, “Cut, Cap and Balance” is lunacy. They scream “extremist” and proclaim, “it can’t pass”. Their fear is understandable. It can pass and should.

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AHFC Gouging On Apartment Interest Rates?

Testifying to the October 2010 Board meeting of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, I objected again to the higher interest rates charged for apartment financing. Since October, nothing has changed. For the last three years, nothing has changed. AHFC continues to gouge Alaska small businesses - requiring 35% higher interest rates than comparable apartment lenders. If Wells Fargo did that, they would be charged with predatory lending and prosecuted. Excessive interest rates hurt the very housing AHFC’s mission is to help.

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Transitions are the perfect time to reevaluate

Governor Parnell required all Commissioners, Deputies and Directors to provide their resignations. Transition is an exciting time in the early days of a new Administration.

After the Reagan election, I served on the President’s transition team. Jimmy Carter’s governance was rejected. To change the Washington bureaucracy, President Reagan chose strong administrators. James Watt, Reagan’s Secretary of Interior, called all Carter appointees into the auditorium on his first day, thanked them for their service then asked them to clear out their desks. Instant new direction.

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Campaigns and the Alaskan Economy

Let’s take a break from the heat of the U. S. Senate race. Let’s look at the Governor’s race through the prism of the Alaskan economy. We need the best economic jockey as Governor to champion our state’s economy for the next four years.

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Guess I’m an extremist

What would you do if someone took money from your 401K, putting in an IOU? Promised to put it back in ten or twenty years. Don’t call the FBI. The FBI’s boss, President Obama just did that with your social security trust funds. Washington spent your money on federal expansion, leaving us worthless paper. Mr. Obama is not the only culprit creating funny money. It is a Washington disease, going on for decades.

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Best two out of three?

When I was a kid and lost at horse, I demanded a best two out of three rematch to salvage my bruised ego. Candidates Lisa Murkowski and Bill Walker are doing the same thing. There should be a difference between a pick up game of basketball and a primary election. Who authorized the Murkowski and Walker camps to rewrite the rules when they lose? Not the voters.

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Fiscal Certainty

As Republican Party Chair in the eighties, I knew Bill Wade, President of Arco Alaska. Bill came up with the oil patch motto, “No decline in 99”. That meant that oil companies agreed on a strategic plan to stop the decline of Alaska oil production. “No decline in 99” increased oil production sufficiently to offset declines in the maturing Prudhoe Bay fields. Industry put up exploration dollars, drilled and got the oil to the pipeline.

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Stevens’ real legacy

We will all sorely miss Ted Stevens. Our prayers go to Catherine and his family. Family was vital to Ted. Thousands of staffers were proud to be a part of that Stevens family.

Ted’s legacy is the most powerful military force in the world. He was the civilian military strategist who funded the defense of the United States and proved Alaska’s strategic importance to the world. He proved that Alaskan troops could reach 90% of the occupied world in nine hours or less. His legacy cemented Alaska’s military bases as front line defenders of the United States’ world interests.

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“Now a promise made is a debt unpaid,

The demand by candidates Ralph Samuels and Bill Walker that Governor Parnell immediately disclose confidential terms of the TransCanada/Exxon open season bids for the Alaska gasline is very dangerous ground. Disclosure would violate Alaska’s promise to keep confidential the competitive bidders’ information. That promise was contained in the enabling legislation (AGIA) that brought us these bids in support of building an Alaska gas pipeline. The Alaska Legislature, in a nearly unanimous vote (59 to 1), set the terms of negotiations for the parties to sign aboard the project.

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Let’s Count Our Economic Blessings

Quick, somebody turn the telescope around for politicians and bankers looking at Alaska’s economy. They cite CNBC’s survey ranking Alaska’s economy #41 out of 50 states. But, the Rockefeller Institute just reported that Alaska leads the nation with the highest job growth of any state. Alaska is one of only two states nationally who had positive annual job growth.

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This is the best analogy yet!

My very wise daughter sent me this and I wanted to share it with you.

Maxine says:

I bought a bird feeder. I hung
It on my back porch and filled
It with seed. What a beauty of
A bird feeder it was, as I filled it

lovingly with seed. Within a
Week we had hundreds of birds
Taking advantage of the
Continuous flow of free and
Easily accessible food.

But then the birds started
Building nests in the boards
Of the patio, above the table,
And next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was
Everywhere: on the patio tile,
The chairs, the table ..
Everywhere!

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THE GAS PIPELINE DEBATE

Ralph Samuels says the last couple of years of trying to get a gasline to Valdez or Alberta has been a waste of time and money. He supports a smaller bullet gasline to Fairbanks, Southcentral and the Kenai. Industry has not seen that route as warranting expenditures to engineer it. Buyers have expressed no interest in buying. His bullet line is in direct opposition to TransCanada-Exxon and Denali’s Conoco Phillips and BP, with applications to the Federal Energy Commission, FERC.

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Veto General Obligation Bonds

If you, as a property owner, had $1,250,000 cash in the bank, would you borrow $4,000 to build a building? That, times 1,000, is what the Alaska Legislature is asking us to do this fall.

We have $12.5 billion in the state Constitutional Budget Reserve account. Yes, that is a b. We have a billion plus surplus in current year revenue. We had a billion plus surplus in the last fiscal year. So, why go in debt $400 million? Pay cash or figure out a different way to complete projects.

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A Medical School for the University of Alaska Anchorage

Building the UAA sports complex on campus right next door to the largest and busiest hospital in Alaska does not make sense. The increased traffic alone should veto that site. When I served on the Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission, we certainly would have stopped such a future mess. Dumping that much more traffic north of Tudor Road would be a disaster.

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George Sullivan: “Give your word, keep your word”

George Sullivan was a man of immense character. I grew up with George as the Mayor when Anchorage was a small but growing town. George was a guy you had to love.

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An Epiphany

I had an epiphany. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious. My revelation: folks don’t understand that a leaseback project, the UAA Seawolves Sports Center, is a freebie. The cost to the State of Alaska and the University is nothing, nada, zero.

A leaseback is built for a specific user (UAA) and leased by the owner/developer to the user for a long term. Wal-Mart and the big box stores do it all the time. What’s unique here is that the Seawolves Center is projected to generate more income than required for debt service and expenses. Constructed in a federal tax credit zone, it qualifies for a $20 million tax credit.

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And For This, We Bailed Out Wells Fargo?

At 10:30 AM on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, my phone rang. Wells Fargo calling from their automated Idaho phone bank, asking for a person I have represented for years in payment of a car loan. The call shifted to a collector who asks for the individual. I respond that they have the written authorization to deal with me upon this person’s behalf. The individual I represent is not capable of dealing with interrogations by Wells Fargo. It upsets her mightily and makes her cry. Since I have four decades in banking, I volunteered to help.

The Wells Fargo employee informs me that they are attempting to collect a debt and proceeds to tell me that the account is delinquent. Lie #1. The loan is not past due and has not been past due for years. February’s payment was paid within the contractual grace period. No late fee due.

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Build University Buildings Now

In March of 2008, Hickel Investments, Hickel Construction and Engineering Inc. and the Crawford Family Trust made a proposal to the University of Alaska Anchorage to build two new stadiums for the UAA Seawolves. We were ready to form Alaska Collegiate Sports Facilities LLC to design, build and operate two new stadiums in Anchorage. We felt and still feel that our UAA Seawolves deserve nationally ranked facilities to match our nationally ranked teams.

The partners costed the job at $94.5 million for a full hockey stadium and a full basketball stadium. We worked with then Representative now Senator Kevin Meyer and Representative Bill Stoltz, both avid athletic supporters, who captured $15 million for architecture and design of UAA sports facilities. Two years later, half of that money has been spent on designing buildings that the UA Regents just refused to authorize.

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Corporate Control of Campaigns? Already There.

My liberal friends are in a major snit. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions can endorse or oppose candidates and spend their money to do so. Liberals fear huge corporations will control campaigns and lead to irretrievable loss of political purity.

The news media is owned by huge corporations. They spend billions advocating their biases to elect their favored few. Can anyone deny the media’s love affair with President Barack Obama? President Obama outspent his opponent by hundreds of millions. He needn’t have spent so much of his own campaign cash. Katie Couric and the other corporate media elite spent billions more to beat McCain/Palin.

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