December 30, 2008 © Kevin Dayhoff http://www.kevindayhoff.net/
On December 28, I had a nice opportunity to talk with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich; a young and energetic rising star who will in the future make a name for himself on the national stage.
For now I’ll leave that for a future column.
Yes, he is the son of former Congressman Nick Begich. Congressman Nick Begich and Representative Hale Boggs of Louisiana were the focus of a national tragedy on September 16, 1972.
Who remembers the terrible circumstances?
I was in Anchorage Alaska from December 22 – 29, 2007 and thoroughly enjoyed my visit.
As readers are aware I am not a fan of the cold or snow, but there I was looking out upon a beautiful city situated on a glacier silt plain in southeastern Alaska, picturesquely framed by the Chugach Mountain range and Cook Inlet.
On Christmas morning I was treated to a white Christmas when I awakened in Anchorage Alaska. As a matter of fact, it was a white Christmas week as it snowed everyday the entire time I was there.
I stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel which is incidentally the same hotel where one of Alaska’s heroes, our own thirty-ninth Vice President of the United States, and the 55th governor of Maryland, Spiro Agnew, stayed on an impromptu stopover in 1981.
Yes, you read that correctly, according to Anchorage Daily News columnist, Mike Dunham, who wrote a tribute to Mr. Agnew on the anniversary of his birthday in 1996; Mr. Agnew is considered to be “arguably the most important man in Alaska history after William Seward.” More on that in another column…
The temperature averaged in the teens for the entire stay – and yes, the sun only shines for about four hours a day this time of the year in Anchorage. Even then, sunlight is only distinguishable as a brighter - lighter shade of gray.
Nevertheless, I had a wonderful visiting a city I had only read about before in the context of oil exploration and politics, Native American struggles and public policy, Russian - Alaskan history, the globalization of American economic structure, and anomalies of municipal government.
For government geeks who study municipal governance, Anchorage is fascinating. Above and beyond the fact that there is no sales tax or income tax in Anchorage or Alaska for that matter, is the sheer geographic size of the municipality. The city limits of Anchorage encompasses 1,955 sq. miles or about the size of the state of Delaware. For a comparison, Carroll County is 452 square miles – and Westminster is about 6 square miles.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Of course, as a member of the “Mayors’ Club;” those of us who are currently serving or former mayors will have a propensity to circle the wagons and close ranks around another mayor.
That said, I was extremely impressed with Mayor Begich and chances are he will eventually succeed Alaska Senator Ted Stevens some day.
20081230 An interview with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich