Friday, October 26, 2012

Bill Thomas Conflict of Interest Proof

Here are some of the excerpts of the ADFG summer 2011 communications, where Bill Thomas attempted to bully, cajole and intimidate ADFG in-season management.  This was an obvious conflict of interest.
Last Friday, Mr. Thomas lied to the UFA board of directors in Anchorage and stated that he did not call the ADFG staff to complain or to curtail the seine management in Chatham Strait.'  Remember that approximately 20% of the SE purse seine fleet are SEALASKA shareholders so this is not a native issue but rather a personal business issue with Mr. Thomas.  If anything, it is an attack on a fishery with the most financial interest by native Alaskans than any other salmon fishery.

These internal ADFG documents were obtained by the Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association in an Alaska Public Records Search (sort of like a Freedom of Information search).  Notably especially is that Bill Thomas interrupted and interfered with northern SE seine management of his own constituents.  34 permits resided in Thomas's old district.  Over 75 permits reside in his new district and 40% of the seine caught salmon are processed in his new district.  SEAS obtained these documents due to the accumulation of documents sought by the Lynn Canal Gillnetters.  SEAS did not initiate this search.  We only asked for what was given to the Lynn Canal Gillnetters.

The documents are damning evidence that not only did Bill Thomas lie to the UFA board about not intervening in the in-season management but that his office staff sent several memos and used his official office in Haines for doing some of the dirty work.  Thomas contacted ADFG personnel on at least a dozen occasions during July and August, holding out pork projects like fall chum research funding and reminding the department that he had control of their budget.

It is very obvious that Bill Thomas the gillnetter was using the color of his office as Co-Chair of House Finance of the Alaska State Legislature to influence the seine fishery in a negative fashion soasto benefit his personal $350,000 gillnet operation in an allocative fashion.

It's difficult to download and transfer the documents from there to here.  The SEAS board and a larger councilliary group has the Alaska Public Records Search Documents in their entirety.  As a SEAS member, if you would like a copy, the office will be more than happy to send you copies next week when we get back to the office.

Here is a quote from one of the managers to the rest of the SE management team on August 18th, after many emails from Thomas' Haines office staff and Thomas phone calls associating budget control with seine management.  On one occasion, Kevin Monagle had to take time off of managing the #1 alltime record 2011 season in order to come into the office on his one day off in nearly the entire summer to respond to Mr. Thomas to justify the seine fishery taking place.

Hi guys,
I have to say that the seine/gillnet concerns expressed by Rep. Thomas have reached a new level of furor. 

Here are some more of the excerpts:

July 7- Not surprising, Bill Thomas expressed his dissatisfaction with the Hawk Inlet opening.

4 emails from Jesse Badger of Thomas' Haines office to complain of ADFG management.

Calls from Bill Thomas requesting in-season date on August 11, 12 and 15.

Just had another call from Mr. Thomas,  worst I've ever seen the seine v gillnet issue, August 18

7-7-12  Rep Thomas is upset over the decision to open seine fisheries in Upper Chatham
Rep Thomas wants to talk with the Division director and anyone else who will listen

You decide.

Did Bill Thomas abuse his color of office last summer or not?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kevin Monagle's 3 Memorial Tributes

SEAS members.

We lost a great one when we lost Kevin Monagle, the Juneau Area Regional Management Biologist.

There are 3 major memorials we are working on in Kevin's memory.  SEAS members, along with incoming Pacific Salmon Commission Alternate Commissioner and United Southeast Gillnetters Association (of which Bill Thomas is not a member) President Bill Auger, have graciously pitched in to assist with these memorials for us to be assisted in our grieving these past weeks and the future months and years.  Bill Auger has assisted in the first 2 memorials.  We have not asked for his assistance in #3 for reasons that will become obvious as you read this:

1.  A room at the Alaska Fishermen's Building in memory of Kevin.  Kevin's desk stuff, assorted pictures and memorabilia will be on permanent display.

2.  A tower at the Eaglecrest Ski Area will be on permanent display in memory of Kevin

It is described  IN LOVING MEMORY OF KEVIN MONAGLE with the ADFG logo attached.

3.  Here is the tough one.  And you can only help if you live in House District 34, which is Angoon, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Sitka, Criag, Klawock, Metlakatla, Haines, Pelican, Port Armstrong, Yakutat.

Kevin Monagle had been threatened by Bill Thomas with his job and the ADFG budget over his management of the Chatham Strait fishery to such an extent that there was a standing request that Bill Thomas not be allowed to attend his memorial service.

SEAS is doing everything in our power to assist those who would help us rid the legislature of such self-centered bullying and unethical activity that some have asserted borders on illegal acts while in office.  After all, these were not assertions made by a non-financial participant.  Bill Thomas has a 1/3 of a million dollar gillnet operation and he cajoled, bullied and threatened Kevin Monagle while Kevin held the job at ADFG.  His conflict of interest is so great that if he were in the oil industry, this guy would likely be in jail right now.

A vote against Bill Thomas is a vote for ethical treatment of ADFG public servants and certainly a vote for Kevin Monagle

Following is the Eulogy that SEAS Executive Director spoke at Kevin's funeral service in September.


Kevin Monagle Eulogy

Hello, I'm Bob Thorstenson and I'm here to talk about Kevin Monagle's relationship to  business and economics .  And a bit of my personal experience of an all-too-brief decade that I was honored and blessed to spend time with Kevin.  I've tried to come up with a way to describe how I felt about Kevin's greatest attributes and all I can sum it up with is exceptional.  He was talented, loving towards his fellow man, extraordinarily considerate of others, tolerant of the fools he had to deal with (us fishermen), extremely intelligent and knowledgable and he was patient to a fault.

We commercial fishermen have a unique business plan in relation to the riparian environment and marine ecosystem here in the Tongass. I believe our business plan depends on 2 things.  God........................... and the men and women in ADFG blue.  And not always in that order.  I believe that Kevin is working that out right now.  He always gave God.. or Nature if you will... the first spot in this order of fisheries management.  I believe right now Kevin's been doing all of the listening patiently these past 5 days...   And then he'll  professionally give his view, perhaps with a sophisticated powerpoint   and then let God have the wrapup.

Unfortunately my uncle Eric McDowell beat Kevin to the finish line of his life's journey by a month.  But I'll do my best to do a McDowell Group-style synopsis on the business and economics of Kevin's career.   Had Kevin not been such an incredibly humble man, most of you would know more about his profound relationship and impact on  the Southeast Alaska economy. Past, present and future.

Here's the numbers. 

2011.  After managing the Juneau region for 8 seasons, Kevin managed Juneau's largest harvest and return of pink salmon in recorded history.  The value of the salmon caught by the seine, troll and gillnet fleets in Kevin's region was worth well over  $100 million to the commercial fishermen directly and about a quarter billion dollars wholesale.  In other words Kevin was the CEO of the largest economic engine in Southeast Alaska last year.   Throughout his career as the Area Management Biologist for the Juneau region, Kevin managed close to a billion and a half dollars in wholesale economic output of fisheries resources in his region. 

Of course, while Kevin operated with incredible leadership instincts and talents, he would be embarrassed at being called the CEO of the northend.  He was a team player.  He never, ever stood taller than the incredible management team he worked on or the people whom he worked for.  He shared his successes but took full responsibility for any shortcomings.  Both his and God's.  The Juneau region has always been suspect to the cold Taku winds and bitter overwintering on certain years.  And while we mostly give God the credit for the harsh winters that often wipe out the salmon returns, I can't help but think that Kevin has to share some of the responsibility for at least hoping for, if not praying for some of the great skiing winters we've had this past decade at Eaglecrest.

One of the only times I can recall the seine fleet questioning Kevin's management was in 2010. 
2010 was the alltime record for Seymour Canal pink salmon. Parts of Seymour Canal hadn't been fished since 1956.

 So these pinks were teasing the Augusta crowd  with quite a jump show and then they'd sneak around Retreat and Gardner and just show up at Pybus, Gambier and throughout lower and upper Seymour Canal.  Call after call Kevin fielded, but he was relentless in his insistence that the Chatham, Lynn Canal, Taku and Tenakee systems weren't participating in this abundance.

He was 100% right.  So after the season when we met in Petersburg for the Task Force meeting, Kevin got up for his presentation and put up a large map of Icy Strait and Chatham for his season wrapup. 

Suddenly, up on the powerpoint, multiple jumps began popping up on the screen.  I believe there were even audible splashes.  And they were limited to the area right near Pt Augusta.  After a few seconds of wonderment and awe by the 50-60 commercial fishermen, seafood processors and ADFG staff in the room, Kevin explained that these were the jumps that he'd been getting calls about all summer and they were so prevalent in this location that they'd now made it onto the NOAA nautical chart for the area.  It was classic Kevin.  His eyes were dancing and his lips pursed soasnotto completely call us out as the fools we had been that summer. 

Kevin Monagle was an amazing man.  He was a man of incredible integrity, honesty and purity of heart.  He was a positive force and had a  work ethic that is rarely matched in public service.  That's right, we often forget that ADFG employees are public servants.  Even though he was the CEO of the northend, he was hardly the financial beneficiary of that service.  We were.  And we still are the beneficiaries of his exceptional management talents for the benefit of current and future generations of the residents of this great 'salmon forest' that Kevin loved so much and managed with exceptional precision.

After the  Federal Kanalku hearings last spring I ran into Kevin at the top of the Ptarmigan Chair at Eaglecrest and I gave him the biggest hug.  The stress of those hearings were taking a toll on both of us.   I'm sure he was a bit taken aback by the public display of affection but these weren't too many folks watching at the time.  

So we had lunch in June at Chinook's restaurant  in Seattle.  Every table was full.  Copper River king for lunch.  Sorry, there weren't Taku Kings on the menu this year.  At the time  it was abundantly clear to those of us who knew Kevin's positive spirit and energy that he was still going to beat this cancer and beat the odds.  But I wasn't taking any chances.  I had the opportunity to tell Kevin I loved him.  And so I did.   And it wasn't just one of those 'I love you, man' moments.  It was for real and true as life.  I felt it, knew it and had to say it.  And he graciously received it.

 Of course, you can imagine the result.  His face flushed, he looked a bit sideways and then lifted his hand partway into the air and called to the waitress, 'Check, please'.

I know a lot of the commercial fishermen couldn't be here today due to both ongoing fisheries and family plans, but I know I speak for the entire fishing fleet that Kevin was one of the 'rock stars' at ADFG and one of the finest human beings that God ever gave us the privilege to know.

Kreiss-Tomkins up by 5 points

While Jonathan has been diligently going door to door with a massive personal campaign, Bill Thomas has been using his out of district, fat cat dollars to run ads about losing  (SE Lost ads) and doing polling.  This is his second GOP poll.  The one 3 weeks ago showed him behind by 3 points.  So now Bill Thomas is down by 5 points.

There is a homestretch of 13 very important days coming.

Get out there and vote.

While we don't tell you how to vote, the choices are obvious.

One candidate, Bill Thomas, lined his pockets while in office while attempting to usurp state management of the salmon resource.  He voted the pocketbook of his 1/3 of a million dollar fishing operation against sustainable management.  He is 65, retirement age, and should be shown the door.

The new kid on the block, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, has vowed to look at all sides of the issues and be fair in his dealings with ADFG.  He has alot of the energy, talent and ethics that Bill Thomas lacks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scott McAdams support for Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins

The House 34 Horse Race!

By Scott McAdams
Politics have always been important to Alaskans. Unlike much of the world, we often know our leaders personally, expect our ideas to be considered in the policy making process, and understand that our future requires our voice. As many of us evaluate candidates this election season, most of us in this small community called Alaska do so based on the personal relationships and past experiences we’ve had with those who place their names on the ballot.
In my community, there is a race for State House between two men I have come to know over the past several years that I believe represents a choice between two very different trajectories for Alaska. While we have so many races to support and great candidates to encourage this fall, I believe there is no greater contrast nor more important victory to be won than the bid of Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins against Bill Thomas in the newly formed HD 34.
Bill Thomas, a known opponent to public education and former contract lobbyist who has supported sending billions in Alaskan oil wealth back to Houston and London, seemed to think until recently that he had this race in the bag. Relying on king-maker politics, Thomas has sat on his hands and expected old cronies to line up votes for him. Little did he know that a door knocking machine from Sitka would ask nearly every person in the district for their vote directly.
When I was the president of the Sitka School Board, as Jonathan crossed the stage with diploma in hand, I asked him to come home and lead us one day. I couldn’t be happier that he has decided to do just that. Jonathan’s career in political service began in the eighth grade as online organizer for the Dean for America campaign, a position that garnered him national media recognition. During my time as mayor, Jonathan was a trusted advisor on issues of public policy and good government. As a candidate for State House, Jonathan has distinguished himself as a dogged campaigner who has through action shown his energy, intelligence, capacity and promise.
No one is working harder than Jonathan, and that hard work is paying off. A recent poll has Jonathan three points ahead of his opponent, his campaign has outraised Thomas in the last two consecutive fundraising periods, and Jonathan has more individual contributions than any other State House campaign in Alaska. This is a race he can and will win, but only with your help.
Will you support a candidate who hopes to govern with ideas vs. another who plans to rule with power? Will you support rational idealism over abject cynicism? Are you tired of arrogance and long for humility in elected leadership? Will you join me in supporting Jonathan?

APOC Complaint Against Bill Thomas

APOC Complaint Against Rep. Bill Thomas Campaign (R-Haines)–The response(s).

Back on October 13th, I posted about the APOC Complaint I had filed against the re-election campaign of Representative Bill Thomas, Jr. (above, on the left, with Sen. Al Kookesh, who appears in several of the ads.) The complaint is in response to a newspaper advertising campaign consisting of 12 ads which ran in the Chilkat Valley News during the weeks leading up to the primary election:
…Upon further research, it was impossible to determine exactly what category of legal contributions these ads were attempting to fit, if any:
James Studley was the one who coordinated the entire ad buy. He provided the photos, drafted the copy, designed the ads and worked with Ms. Evandon on the buy, but directed Chilkat Valley News to bill each business listed on the ads for payment.
James Studley is a Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas campaign:
…because Mr. Studley was one of Thomas’s Deputy Treasurers and he coordinated the entire advertising buy, this did not appear to qualify as an “Independent Expenditure” because AS Sec. 15.13.135. and regulation 2 AAC 50.270 states that Independent Expenditures cannot be coordinated with members of the campaign.
This wasn’t the only “coordination with the campaign” regarding these ads. Per the complaint:
At least three high-ranking members of Representative Bill Thomas, Jr’s re-election campaign staff sit on their Executive Boards of some of the businesses purchasing these ads:
– Haines Real Estate (2 ads): Owned by Alaska Resources Consulting, Inc — James Studley, Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas Campaign, is President of Alaska Resources.
– Alaska Resources Consulting, Inc.(2 ads): James Studley, Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas Campaign, is President.
– Oleruds Inc. (1 ad): Doug Olerud is the Chairperson & Deputy Treasurer of the Thomas Campaign and he is President of Olerud’s, Inc.
– King’s Store Inc.: Gregg Richmond, Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas Campaign, is on the King’s Store Board of Directors as a Secretary/Treasurer.
Realize, I just wanted to file this complaint because it seemed to me to be a particularly flagrant violation of the Regs and Statutes. I have felt that the Citizen’s United ruling has caused some folks to think that “anything goes” and I felt a complaint like this would let people know that is not the case. However, I even expressed that I was understanding of the complexity and even the confusion…to a point. While I could have (and was encouraged to) lodge complaints against ALL of the businesses involved in this ad buy, I chose to only target those at the campaign. I believed they had the far greater burden and responsibility to know the law and I could see how the other businesses would easily trust them to make sure things were above-board.
Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN) did an excellent radio story on the complaint. The Chilkat Valley News, the paper that ran the ads, also did a story and it was the first indication of what the Thomas Campaign’s argument was going to be…via Deputy Treasurer Jim Studley:

The above is a copy of others opinions.  It is provided here for SEAS members for information only.
It appears that Bill Thomas will be up to alot of outside money coming in the final 2 weeks  in this campaign.  According to APOC records, approximately 85% or more of the funds raised by Chairman Thomas came from donors outside the legislative district he is running in.  

One of his responses in the debates was that his neighbors in Haines were poor people.  

So what has he done to help his neighbors in Haines.  He says he has all the money in Alaska at  his disposal and after 8 years either has not gained the conficence of his 'poor' neighbors nor has he done much in the way of leading them out of poverty.
To SEAS members in the district.  Vote for the ethical choice.  Vote your conscience.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kreiss-Tomkins further gains against Bill Thomas

In the race to represent Sitka, Hoonah, Haines, Pelican, Craig, Klawock, Hydaburg, Angoon, Kake and PA ( did we forget anyone?), it is very obvious that Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins is increasing his lead steadily over incumbent Bill Thomas.

Mr. Thomas recently admitted at the UFA meeting in Anchorage that he has an uphill battle.  Not only does he move into a new district with 60% of the votes coming out of Sitka, Bill Thomas also has his hands full with an upcoming Alaska Public Records Search that was instigated of the ADFG by none other than the Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association.

Recall that last week's bad news for Bill Thomas was the 'conflict of interest' report coming within his letter of endorsement from the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association.  An endorsement from Petersburg couldn't have helped Chairman Thomas in the first place, being that Angoon, Kake, Hydaburg, Hoonah, et. al. don't really think that much of a guy who has supposedly represented them for 8 years and all he has done is get a Petersburg ( not, never, nor will ever be in Bill Thomas district) endorsement.

But amazingly, the Petersburg endorsement, which we're sure won't be on Bill Thomas Facebook page, contains an admonishment to the 'conflict of interest' in Southeast salmon management that Bill Thomas has been operating under.

The new Alaska Public Records Search (APRS) by the Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association is an ironic twist as well, as Bill Thomas used to be the president of that organization.  So with friends like this it's no surprise that Bill Thomas is on the ropes.  Certainly there was none other than Bill Thomas who would have been threatening and arm-twisting the ADFG managers so it is quite some surprise that Bill Thomas's friends would have damaged him with such a search.

Of course this search occurred a year ago and was buried by the Lynn Canal Gillnetters.

Gee, SEAS wonders why?  We'll know the answers to that in 24-36 hours.


But enough of Bill Thomas.  The new guy, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, is a breath of fresh air.  He's a hard working, ethical, political purist.  He's young and energetic and will bring the best to the Alaska State Legislature.

We're not going to tell you how to vote here.  That's not our job.

But one guy, Bill Thomas, breaking the vow of office and threatening ADFG officials.
The other guy, a new kid on the block, promising to uphold the law.

Remember Board nominations due by Nov 1


Board nominations due by November 1st.

Just another reminder.


SEAS Board Meeting and Task Force Meetings

SEAS board meeting will be held in Juneau December 7th, the day after the SE purse seine task force meeting.

All SEAS members are welcome to attend.


Monday, October 08, 2012

Kreiss-Tomkins up by 3% while Bill Thomas accused of conflict of interest

The latest poll, by Republican backers of our opponent in this race, Bill Thomas, shows our guy, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, up by 3 points

And here's some pretty amazing news as well about Kreiss-Tomkins opponent, Bill Thomas.

Petersburg Vessel Owners Association has sent a letter to Thomas asking that he refrain from interfering with in-season ADFG management, stating that Thomas has been operating with a 'conflict of interest'.

As those of you who have spent time with Bill Thomas in meetings these past several years know all too well, Mr Thomas makes no bones about his control of the ADFG budget and his willingness to use that control as a gillnetter to get what he wants and to mount threats against ADFG personnel and managers to abuse his position and unethically and, some allege, illegally achieve his goals.  But this is the first time that anyone has actually called Bill Thomas to task for this obvious and blatant conflict of interest.

At the Task Force meeting in Sitka last year he threatened ADFG managers and bullied his way through the meeting in public.

On Sitka Television, Thomas stated that he was against ADFG Chatham Strait management.

SEAS is opposing the re-election of Bill Thomas and has endorsed the candidacy of Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Politics 2012- Stedman and Kreiss-Tomkins

There are two races that SEAS is concentrating on heavily this fall.

1.  Senator Bert Stedman has been an outstanding supporter of commercial fisheries throughout Southeast Alaska.  his district spans from Haines to Hydaburg and Ketchikan, with Wrangell, Sitka, Hoonah , Angoon, Pelican, PA, Klawock, Craig and Kake in between.

Senator Stedman has been a major fixture in Southeast since appointed in 2003 by then- Governor Frank Murkowski.

We are very supportive of his candidacy as we have always been.

2.  For House races, our focus has been on Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka.  His district is a subset of Stedmans- make that Chairman Stedman's- district.  Kreiss-Tomkins has spent 2 long dinners at the Alaska Fishermen's Building this fall already and he has knocked on each and every door in the district, which includes Sitka, Haines, Pelican, Hoonah, Angoon, Craig, Klawock, Hydaburg Kasaan, Kake, and Port Alexander.

Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins is running in a district that processes 40% of all the salmon caught in Southeast Alaska.  The fishermen who live in his district harvest around 1/4 od the salmon and the streams and rivers in his district produce about 1/2 of our salmon.  For those of you SEAS members and businesses in the Sitka and Craig areas or if you do business with fishermen in these areas this is the most important race you have had in your lifetime, aside from the Stedman race, which we view as equally important.

Kreiss Tomkins is a 23 year old Yale grad -- almost a grad, with a couple credits to finish up.
He has a very balanced approach to commercial fisheries and has made a committee to treat all commercial fishermen fairly and not to place undue pressure on ADFG managers but to allow them to do their job without political interference.  We are impressed with his eagerness to listen and learn and his long attention span.  One of our dinners was over 4 hours with most of it being a Thorstenson-Wallace monologue.

Board nominations


For you regular skipper members, now is the time for nominations for the seas board of directors

We have an outstanding and diverse board but what makes organizations vital and strong is the opportunity to either hold onto those seats and/or change them

If you know of a seas member whom you think would be a good board member send an email, post here or mail a nomination to 410 Calhoun ave Juneau AK 99801

Nominations are due in one month, November 6th

In case this is a bad time for nominations, you may always per-nominate someone for board member consideration at any time during the year and we'll remind you when the fall rolls around so that ou can officially nominate at the right time.

Slow on newsletters this fall but expect to have something in November