Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Real Sarah Palin





A note to all by Anne Kilkenny

Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about
Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write
something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2
things in common: their gender and their good looks. :)

You have my permission to forward this to your
friends/email contacts with my name and email address
attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as
there are too many kooks out there . .

[This was already posted on Washington Independent
comments area, with a controllable hotmail account, and
was obviously meant by the author to be read.]

Thanks,
Anne

==========

ABOUT SARAH PALIN

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah
since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing
special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our
children have attended the same schools. Her father was
my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I
attended more City Council meetings during her
administration than about 99% of the residents of the
city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she's like the
most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think
she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit
smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can
keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a
secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's
syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here;
Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked
out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just
"puts things out there" and if they prove to be
popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP
and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin's kind
of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule
and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can
fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in
summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing
their major source of income. Nor has her life-style
ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population
of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as
governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual
work of running this small city was turned over to an
administrator. She had been pushed to hire this
administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous
firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative" .
During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general
government expenditures by over 33%. During those same
6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City
increased by 38%. This was during a period of low
inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property
taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed
even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited
large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral
administration weren't enough to fund everything on her
wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She
inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with
indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin
encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the
infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage
treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library?
No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to
build on a piece of property that the City didn't even
have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs
later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The
sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-
generator she claimed it would be. She also supported
bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been
done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and
her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small
city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a
budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this
surplus in technology that will make us energy
independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every
individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget
surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond
for road projects, even while she proposed distribution
of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus,
borrow for needs.

She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open
to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought
ideas that weren't generated by her or her staff. Ideas
weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of
who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our
highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian
refused to consider removing from the library some
books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied
to the defense of the City Librarian and against
Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin
backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People
who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her
enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she
first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A
new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the
experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced,
obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on
her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely
loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to
further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged
happened in the case of pressuring the State's top cop
(see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla's Police Chief because he
"intimidated" her, she told the press. As Governor, her
recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of
familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she
had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty
clear that an important factor in her decision to fire
him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-
husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse
of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the
person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her
ex-brother-in- law. She tried to replace the man she
fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for
sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she
withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended
theirs to her in help. The City Council person who
personally escorted her around town introducing her to
voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later
elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City
Administrator; even people who didn't like the guy were
stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from
saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political
plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and
Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in
Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background
in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this
great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining
in the press about the high salary. I was told that she
hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the
work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the
Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the
job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned
her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her
problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she
hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the
patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against
the "old boys' club" when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man's ethics violations (for which he was
fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone
for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has
castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly
humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to
nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise
not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and
budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display
of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork.
Public outcry and further legislative action restored
most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance-- but
with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as
"anti-pork".

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The
State party leaders hate her because she has bit them
in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the
party object to her self-description as a fiscal
conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school
with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of
her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness.
Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories
circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to
be made point guard on the high school basketball team.
When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member
of the community and experienced manager, ran for
Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put
together of package of legislation known as "AGIA" that
forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her
drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the
loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She
campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state
initiative that would have either a) protected salmon
streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the
courts all mining in the state (depending on who you
listen to). She has pushed the State's lawsuit against
the Dept. of the Interior's decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President;
Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are
more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there's a lot of people who have
underestimated her and are regretting it.

CLAIM VS FACT

*"Hockey mom": true for a few years

*"PTA mom": true years ago when her first-born was in
elementary school, not since

*"NRA supporter": absolutely true

*social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT
vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to
employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this
because it was unconstitutional) .

*pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing
as Governor to promote it.

*"Pro-life": mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down's
syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special
legislative session on some pro-life legislation

*"Experienced" : Some high schools have more students
than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more
residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative
experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a
city administrator to run town of about 5,000.

*political maverick: not at all

*gutsy: absolutely!

*open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not
good at explaining actions.

*has a developed philosophy of public policy: no

*"a Greenie": no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of
big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-
drilling off-shore and in ANWR.

*fiscal conservative: not by my definition!

*pro-infrastructure : No. Promoted a sports complex and
park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or
storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th
century standards.

*pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses,
increased tax burden on residents

*pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion
of city government in Wasilla's history.

*pro-labor/pro- union. No. Just because her husband
works union doesn't make her pro-labor. I have seen
nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-
union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being
an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years
I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you
google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find
references to my participation in local government,
education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad
things happen when good people stay silent". Few people
know as much as I do because few have gone to as many
City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she
can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization
that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely
popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me
somehow in the future: that's life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was
one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the
City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else
was afraid to say anything because they were somehow
vulnerable.

CAVEATS

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for
the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when
Palin was running for Governor) from information
supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted
for: did I adjust for inflation? for population
increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private
person to get any info out of City Hall--they are
swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers
circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from
my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin's
selection was announced a city official told me that
the current population is about 7,000. The official
2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000
because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city
was growing rapidly in the mid-90's.

Anne Kilkenny
annekilkenny@ hotmail.com
August 31, 2008


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