By Robert A. Vella

Here are two important political stories in the news today.

From YahooConviction of ex-speaker sends NY politics into turmoil:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has shaken New York politics down to the granite foundations of the state Capitol, provoking fresh calls to overhaul a system that has stubbornly clung to its long history of corruption.

A jury convicted the 71-year-old Manhattan Democrat on Monday on charges that he traded favors for $4 million in kickbacks from a cancer researcher and real estate developers.

The rapid downfall was as shocking to lawmakers as it was troubling to longtime observers of New York politics.

“A political earthquake has hit Albany,” said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group. “This is a stinging rebuke to the ‘Albany business as usual’ defense and a clarion call to clean up state ethics.”

From KTOOJuneau mayor remembered as a dedicated public servant:

The mayor of Juneau was found dead in his home Monday afternoon. Greg Fisk, 70, was elected to the city’s top office in October and was sworn in only five weeks ago. His cause of death is still unknown. City meetings scheduled for last night were canceled.


Juneau Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson said the investigation will continue Tuesday morning.


Johnson said rumors that Fisk may have died from an assault were only speculation and that other plausible, less sinister theories exist. Johnson said there was no evidence of a break-in and no suspicion of suicide.


Fisk had a long history of working on land claims settlements for Alaska Natives and First Nations communities in Canada.


Fisk gave welcoming remarks recently at the Sharing Our Knowledge Tlingit Tribes and Clans Conference in Juneau.

More on Fisk’s political views, from Wikipedia:

During the 2015 Juneau mayoral race, Fisk stated that he generally supports raising the minimum wage. Fisk voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Alaska. Fisk also supported enacting a ban on discrimination against the gay community in housing and other public accommodation, and stated that he believes human activity is contributing to climate change.[11]


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