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Appointments raise questions

Posted: March 5, 2014 - 12:02pm

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell has appointed two former oil industry employees to the board that sets the tax value of the trans-Alaska pipeline system, raising concerns about fairness from the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Municipalities won a huge victory last month, when the Alaska Supreme Court found the pipeline for 2006 should have been valued at nearly $10 billion, not the $850 million claimed by pipeline owners.

Parnell has appointed Bernard Washington and Dennis Mandell, both of whom have years of experience working for North Slope oil companies, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports.

Marty McGee, the former chair of the State Assessment Review Board who was terminated last month, said he believes Parnell “is trying to stack the board to be the champions of or accept the arguments of the oil industry.” The board last year set the pipeline’s value at $11.9 billion when the industry argued for $2.3 billion.

“My opinion is the Supreme Court decision affirms the foundation of the decisions we were making; it isn’t favorable to the oil industry’s position,” McGee said. “I don’t think it can be undone entirely, but it’ll cause greater expense and it’ll be more difficult for the boroughs to have their case heard.”

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Washington and Mandell will bring a “fresh perspective” to the board and are highly qualified. She said Parnell is “committed to appointing board members with a diverse range of perspectives. Considering there are no term limits for board members, he believes it’s important to give others the chance to serve.”

The appointments are subject to legislative confirmation.

Borough attorney Rene Broker said the borough is worried about getting a fair hearing on how the pipeline should be taxed — “in front of someone who hasn’t already made up their minds about their view of the world and how the pipeline should be taxed in Alaska.”

The recent court case brought the borough about $9 million.

Broker said last year’s board decision showed major progress on the board’s part and more accurately reflected the information discovered in the lawsuit. While municipalities can dispute the board’s decision in court, Broker said it can take years and be expensive.

“The problem is they pay taxes on what the State Assessment Review Board decides, and then you get the pleasure of spending literally millions of dollars and years litigating with 25 attorneys hired by the industry,” she said. “It’s not insignificant.”

She said her main concern is that the pipeline’s valuation is not tinted by philosophies built up through years of work. Broker said she’s spent years saying the pipeline is worth billions, while Mandell and Washington have argued for a lower amount.

“I would never apply to be on it because I’ve spent a career saying it’s worth $11 billion,” she said. “I don’t think I can be fair. I don’t think they can be fair, either.”

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jokimball777
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jokimball777 03/10/14 - 08:01 am
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Parnell is breaking the law

"If you want to be on a state board or commission, you must be a resident of Alaska.

Parnell named Dennis Mandell of Salinas, Calif., a former Arco executive, to fill a vacancy created early this year when the governor fired former Anchorage assessor Marty McGee from the State Assessment Review Board."

It is simple, this is the law, he has broken it.

Where is the accountability?

Why don't we have more newspapers in Alaska that cover the truth, instead of enabling Parnell and his looting of our state for corporations.

I'll tell you why. The newspapers are corrupt, taking Koch money, bought up by outside corporations. Alaska dispatch is the only real news source.

Why does Parnell think he can get away with this and still be elected?

Take a look at our elections....election fraud blatantly covered up by Alaska media but luckily covered by Homer's own Shannyn Moore.

"Alaska has certainly had our share of election hanky panky. Check out this link to our 2004 election results. There are 40 districts in Alaska. The Anchorage area districts run from District 17-District 32. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and pick any district from 17-32. Pay particular attention to the 3rd column labeled % turnout. Hit the back arrow and select another district. There are more precincts with voter turnout over 100% than under 100%. In other words, many more people voted in Anchorage area precincts than there were registered voters. Clearly, this is not possible.

In 2006, the Democrats filed a lawsuit against the Alaska Division of Elections to release public records needed to verify the 2004 election results. The Democrats also sought to have the Alaska Division of Elections release the raw data for the 2006 election. The State requested several deadline extensions and eventually refused to release the "central tabulator data file" taken from the Diebold-supplied computer used to run the "GEMS" (Global Election Management Software) application. A lawsuit was filed in Superior Court seeking release of the records. The Court eventually forced the State to release the 2004 database. The software was found to contain hundreds of edits after the 2004 election, including as late as July of 2006, prior to the release of the data. "

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