After hearing he was publicly criticized on an Anchorage radio talk show, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyman Gary Superman lashed back during last week's assembly meeting in Soldotna.
"I was exposed to two weeks of thrashing by Eddie Burke on his radio talk show," Superman said. "I was charged with collusion. I know who's behind it ... the Pate-McBride gang," he said, referring to Vicki Pate and Mike McBride, leaders of the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers (ACT).
Superman, who represents Nikiski on the assembly, said he was accused to conspiring with state Rep. Mike Chenault, who also represents Nikiski, to secure funding for a capital roads project to upgrade Bastien Avenue in Nikiski, the road Superman uses to access his family's homestead property.
He also said his accusers charged the road was being upgraded in advance of a subdivision he was developing on the 23 acres he owns, and an access road was being built off Bastien leading to his property.
"There's no subdivision going in there," Superman said. "None of my land is for sale."
Regarding the new road being built, Superman said the road off Bastien leading to his property is his own private road and the new extension off that road is a wedding gift to his son, to whom he gave a share of a 10-acre parcel next to the 10 acres he and his wife live on.
According to Superman, the allegations were the subject of conversation for two weeks on "The Eddie Burke Show" on Radio KFQD in Anchorage.
"When Eddie Burke said the information came to him from 'his researchers on the Kenai Peninsula,' I knew immediately who was behind it," Superman said.
"I have nothing to gain financially by this road being done," he said of the Bastien improvement project.
"I severely underestimated the efforts of the Pate-McBride gang to garnish a seat on this assembly," Superman said.
When asked Friday if he did research for Eddie Burke, McBride said he did.
"First of all, I am a member of the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers, but I am also a member of a number of civic organizations," McBride said. "This was not a project of ACT."
Pate, who serves as president of ACT, said she did not do research for Burke.
"We don't have a vendetta against any assembly person," Pate said.
"It's all about the capital budget," said McBride. "I was asked to do some research on the capital budget by Eddie Burke. He said, 'Do some research and find some pork.' Bastien was on the list."
McBride said people were questioning why Bastien was being done and not Cabin Lake Drive or Industrial Avenue.
According to him, Cabin Lake Road "gets way more traffic" than Bastien.
He also said Bastien is an old homestead road that is nothing more than a dirt road and spending $300,000 only to pave it would mean the asphalt would just peel away after one winter.
"As a fiscal conservative, I think this is a big waste of money," McBride said.
He also said when the borough assembly voted to place Bastien on the roads priority list, Superman should have declared a conflict of interest.
Superman said he did not declare a conflict because he lives 1/2 mile off Bastien.
"I access my property off a private road, not a borough road," he said.
He also said Bastien "is one of the most highly traveled roads in Nikiski."
"It made its way onto the borough priority list because it was the most complained about road in Nikiski," Superman said.
The road was originally put in in the late 1970s and has undergone a couple of minor upgrades, according to Superman. Now it is pavement ready, he said.
The recently approved capital improvement budget includes $300,000 for improving Bastien.
Superman, who was on the assembly from 1989 until 1992 and was elected again in 2001, now serving on his second consecutive term, said he and all the other assembly members are "just regular people trying to keep taxes down."
He said ACT members say they are on the lookout for the taxpayer.
"Everyone on the assembly is on the lookout for the taxpayer," Superman said.
He said ACT has "gone to this character assassination mode, which is a new mode for them."
"I'm not going to stand for it," Superman said. "The only ends they want is to dismantle borough government for their own personal notoriety."
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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