Jul 3, 2009
The Alaska Daily News rural blog, The Village, interviewed John Moller, Sarah Palin’s rural advisor, on Wednesday. They we’re specifically interested in the display of civil disobedience in Marshall but, since Moller was just back in the office after being out of cell phone range while fishing, he couldn’t address that so they talked about other rural issues including the Governor’s tweet about Emmanok.
Q. The governor had, on her Twitter account, written these reports about good news from the Yukon. She wrote that you’d been talking to someone with CNN out there and had good news to report, including that maybe 50 percent of the people in Emmonak had gotten their subsistence goals met so far. Where did that information come from?
A. Some of it, not knowing all of what you’re referring to. I did an interview with CNN while I was out there. Very brief, a couple of questions. Very brief. Some of the information I gave them was just based on my trip. One was with respect to 50 or more percent of the folks, in the Lower Yukon, anyways, getting their subsistence needs for the year in terms of salmon, came from my visit.
A couple of people mentioned at the subsistence, the federal subsistence board meeting, the public meeting there in Emmonak, that if I recall it was 50 or more percent have gotten it. Gotten their subsistence needs. And then many, many more people I talked to over the course of a couple days there had either gotten their subsistence … or were partially there in terms of getting what they traditionally use.
Q. That ended up being attributed to Nicholas Tucker who has become kind of a big voice out there in Emmonak. He’s the one who wrote the letter that got a lot of attention. Was he the one who told you that that 50 percent of the people had met their, their needs — their subsistence needs.
(Note: Tucker says he never said that and demanded an apology. He got one, in an e-mail from Moller Thursday. Tucker replied in an e-mail of his own, calling Moller a “man of honor.”)
A. You know Nick Tucker and I had a number of conversations over the, over the course of a couple of the days. And I don’t know if that was Nick, if he mentioned it specifically. I know there was a fisherman, I’d have to go back and look at my notes, that mentioned it at the subsistence board meetings. And a number of folks over the course of the next day that mentioned to me that you know, quite a few of them had gotten, gotten their subsistence needs. … (Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow) mentioned it to me that Nick Tucker — was, was referenced as the source of information on that 50 percent and if … I made that assertion and that’s not correct, I’ll have to call Nick and tell him I’m sorry. But I talked to many, many people over those two days … and I heard it on numerous occasions that people were getting their needs.
They go on to talk about the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting last March and the bycatch cap that was decided there. Then they bring it around to whether subsistence fishermen and a governor who doesn’t support a rural lifestyle preference can find a common ground.
Q. Is there a way to find common ground, can this administration find common ground with groups like rural subsistence fishermen considering that the governor doesn’t support a rural preference? Is there a way to bridge that gap?
A. Well to be fair here, there have been many governors that haven’t supported a rural preference, nor does our constitution. So I think that has to be spelled out pretty clear. This governor maybe I just didn’t pay as much attention in previous administrations, but certainly a lot of attention there.
…I’m not convinced that everybody that — that you’re hearing from everybody in terms of what they feel about the subsistence. … hearing from some other folks out there. With all due respect to Nick Tucker, everybody else — everybody doesn’t have that opinion. And, I just use Nick Tucker, I mean there’s others out there that have similar views as Nick. I don’t, necessarily, in all cases. Nor am I finding that many others don’t necessarily feel that same way. Their needs are being met. They just — We just don’t hear from those folks.
I hear from them when I’m on the ground out there, but they don’t call you.
And they end it with Moller sharing some of his thoughts on why fishing on the Kuskokwim River is going well.
They were supposed to talk again yesterday about the civil disobedience incident but hadn’t spoken by the reporter’s deadline and I didn’t see anything today so we’ll stay tuned for that.