Categories
Diary Entries

Public Election Discrimination Against Alaska Native People

Edna “Becka” Baker has a horrible track record as a State of Alaska Division of Regional Elections Supervisor.

Sitnasuak Native Corporation elections never had a history of blatant election violations until Edna “Becka” Baker interjected herself as a self-proclaimed elections expert. She worked as the State of Alaska Division of Elections Region Supervisor.

Edna got involved at the wrangling of a disgruntled ex-employee of Sitnasuak Native Corporation, Chuck Fagerstrom.

He was hired as the President of Sitnasuak in 2011. I was elected to the board in 2014 (re-elected having been first elected in 2008).

Chuck was the President of the company. As the President, he never voiced any concern about board governance or the election process. He sat with me a lot of times at the board meetings. I was the only board member who also served as the President/CEO of the company, so we shared some perspectives.

As the President, he was responsible for certifying the content in the proxy statements that were published and distributed to shareholders.

After his departure from the President job, he publicly declared his life “mission”. He said his mission was against some of the Sitnasuak board members he villianized and named, the “Sitnasuak Six”.

He used his influence in the community to retaliate against individual people that he blamed for why he was no longer employed as the President.

Again, between 2011 – 2014, he never once mentioned any concerns.

Suddenly, when he was released from Sitnasuak, he publicly accused board members of carrying out illegal acts to help each other’s personal interests instead of the shareholders interests. He accused members of this Sitnasuak Six of enriching each other and doing each other favors.

He said in public meetings that the Sitnasuak Six were “ISIS”.

Chuck signed a severance agreement upon his departure, accepted over $60,000 and signed that he would not disparage the company. 

Procecutor’s generally look for three things to determine crimes: Motive, Means, and Opportunity.

MOTIVE: Chuck Fagerstrom brought the Motive of retaliation. He began the “Big Lie” that Discretionary Proxies were illegal in Sitnasuak elections and that Discretionary Proxies were “tool” the Sitnasuak Six used.

__________________

MEANS: Edna provided the means – by proclaiming herself as an elections expert.

Edna’s self-proclamation of being an elections “expert” resulted in the the following: the State Division of Banking and Securities investigations against Chuck Fagerstrom (more than once), Charles Fagerstrom, Marie Tozier, Austin Ahmasuk and other shareholders for breaking Alaska Native Corporate election laws which fall under under the jurisdiction of the State of Alaska Department of Commerce, not the Lieutnant Governor.

____________________

Edna “Becka” Baker has a horrible track record as a State of Alaska Division of Regional Elections Supervisor.

She has been sued by Alaska Native Tribes and Alaska Native Elders for discriminating against them and restraining their ability to vote in public elections.

Here is a chronology of her wrongdoing while she was in charge of these rural areas in Alaska and responsible to make public voting available to Alaska Native people:

Spring 2006 – The court noted that “State officials became aware of potential problems with their language-assistance programs Spring of 2006″.

2008-2009 – The State of Alaska Division of Elections Regional Offices did not begin in earnest until after this (2008) litigation was filed against them to try and fix their wrongdoing.

The following are examples of duties Becka Baker, Regional Election Supervisor, NEGLECTED TO PERFORM for Alaska Native people –

  • provide print and broadcast public service announcements (PSA’s) in Yup’ik, or to track whether PSA’s originally provided to a Bethel radio station in English were translated and broadcast in Yup’ik;
  • ensure that at least one poll worker at each precinct is fluent in Yup’ik and capable of translating ballot questions from English into Yup’ik;
  • ensure that “on the spot” oral translations of ballot questions are comprehensive and accurate;
  • or require mandatory training of poll workers in the Bethel census area, with specific instructions on translating ballot materials for Yup’ik speaking voters with limited English proficiency.

Becka Baker continued violating Alaska Native voters rights which led to her being sued AGAIN where the court found her to have committed wrongdoing.

September 2014 – Edna “Becka” Baker was found (AGAIN) to have violated Alaska Native Voters Rights.

See the link below from the law firm that co-represented the Alaska Native Tribes and Individuals.

https://www.wilsonelser.com/news_and_insights/press_releases/2010-alaska_natives_win_landmark_voting_rights_lawsuit

OPPORTUNITY: Peggy Fagerstrom, Chuck’s wife and Gloria Karmun were employed by the local newspaper for years; as was Austin Ahmasuk’s mother.

Diana Haeker is the journalist whose name is on the byline of the articles that furthered Chuck and the Gang’s agenda.

More to come – stay tuned.

By Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities.

An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's.

I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child.
I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing.

So for me, my goal is two-fold:

1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and,

2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board.

There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not.

I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

Leave a Reply