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09-08-2008, 12:14 PM
As an Alaskan, what is your take on this whole Sarah Palin thing? Is she a decent Gov? Would she be a decent VP?

09-08-2008, 02:42 PM
Shoot, I was afraid I was going to be dragged into this thing!

I first have to admit that I'm not very politically involved. However, I can say that I've have become so in the past few weeks.

I think Sarah is doing a great job a governor, and I would hate to see her go! The govenor that she replaced was one of the "good old boys," who did whatever he wanted. She came into office and kicked some butt.

An example is the airplane that she spoke about. The former governor wanted an airplane, and said he would be used for his travel, and it would also be used for official State business, such at prisioner transport. Everyone said not to buy the plane, but he wouldn't listen. He wanted it, so he bought it. When Palin came into office, the first thing she did was to get rid of the plane. She put it on Ebay, but it didn't sell there. It was sold privately, at a nice loss for the State.

About the issue of her experience, or lack of, I'm looking at another issue that we are in the middle of right now. One of our long-standing Senators did a lot of good for the State for many decades. He helped form the State that it is today, and has been very respected for years. Recently he has come under investivation for taking money or favors from oil companies. Whether he did or not is up to the courts to decide. However, if he did, I believe it's because of his experience. After many many years of running clean, he fell in with the "good old boys." Is it better to have someone clean and fresh, without a bunch of cronies each with their own agenda?

I'm still not sure who I'm going to vote for, but I'm leaving here on October 17, so I'm going to have to do an absentee ballot before them.

09-08-2008, 03:58 PM
John, here is a copy of an email letter I got right after the Republican convention. I couldn't find anything on the Internet which made me believe it was true (I thought that it probably was fake.) so I sent it off to Barbara and David P. Mikkelson, the owners of Snopes.com and asked they look into it.

I got a reply from Snopes three days ago. The letter is genuine.

The letter was written, as claimed, by a Wasilla resident named Anne Kilkenny, who says she has known Sarah Palin since 1992. Snopes called Ms. Kilenny and asked, "Did you write that letter?" She replied skeptically, "Well, I don't know. Read me parts of it. I'll tell you if it's mine or not."

After they read it to her, she said, "Yes, I wrote that."

She sent it out to 40 people, brothers, sisters and friends, on Sunday * two days after U.S. Sen. John McCain announced Palin as his choice.

Why did she do it? Kilkenny said she wanted to offer people information and her experiences. She does not flatter Palin, but she said she did vote for Palin when she ran for city council.

"How affirming it has been," she said. "I am pleased to know how idealistic Americans are. They want information not just the politics of destruction."

Snopes now has put it on their web site at:

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 . . .


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 sportscomplex 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.

The letter concludes on Part II of this post.

09-08-2008, 03:59 PM
This is the end of the letter which started in Part I above.

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 initiaitive 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.


"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 unconsitutional).
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.

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.


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.

09-08-2008, 04:34 PM
Ned--while the letter indeed may be written by that person, it does not necessarily mean that the accusations and claims asserted are indeed true.

This is seem to me to be the letter of a community activist and we all know how they can run.

09-08-2008, 04:55 PM
I am neither for or against Mrs Palin but I certainly wouldn't judge her on one woman's opinion.

09-08-2008, 05:29 PM
I am not for really anyone in this race, but I suppose in the next few months I will need to decide.

I think the dems and GOP all thought Hillary had it locked up and now they have Obama and McCain and need to make do as best they can. I believe both parties are running with second choices.

BUt I agree with MTP that to base an opinion on one vitriolic letter is not necessarily looking at all the facts.

09-08-2008, 07:20 PM
I've been doing some research into that letter (first one) as part of a group project, and as far as we can tell, though they focus on the negative, the majority appears to be factually correct.

If and when we make full analysis public, I'll link it, not sure when that will be tho.

09-08-2008, 09:19 PM
John, there is an interesting article in the Anchorage Daily News (http://www.adn.com/sarah-palin/story/518490.html) about the letter. Carrie posted the link in another thread earlier today.

It turns out that, "Kilkenny, a registered Democrat, sent the note Saturday, the day after Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Palin to be his running mate. She said she sent it to 30 relatives and friends outside Alaska to answer the questions she was getting about Palin. She signed her name and asked that it not be posted, but it went viral across the Internet almost instantly."

So far, from what I can verify from a variety of sources the letter seems to be pretty accurate, and to me is a lot more accurate that the Obama ads about McCain-Palin and the McCain ads about Obama-Biden. At this point, the advertisements by both parties more often than not go from straining any credibility to "fire, fire, pants on fire" outright lies.

Actually I really don't care if she is capable of being president or not, nor at this point do I care if McCain is capable. For me their political positions on filling the Supreme Court, abortion, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, stem cell research, energy independence, the economy, national debt, spending money we don't have, immigration, America's security, the Gitmo prison, privacy rights of citizens, etc., are so far away from my positions that I couldn't possibly vote for them.

One of the things I get a big laugh about is that the Republicans keep hammering away at the "Tax and Spend" Democrats. That's certainly the pot calling the kettle black. At least the Democrats want to pay for what they spend. They want to balance the budget again. The Republicans over the last 8 years of the Bush administration have shown they want to spend too, but they want to spend money we don't have, and the economy is already paying for the Republicans outrageous spendthrift ways. Clinton had balanced the budget and had substantially reduced national debt. Bush on the other hand has blindly spent money he didn't have while reducing taxes (mostly for the richest Americans) and slapping us with the worst national debt, by leaps and bounds, that this country has ever been saddled with. Were he the head of a corporation, he would have been fired long ago by the shareholders. I see no evidence McCain would change this state of affairs. I call the Republicans the "Spend and Debtors."

I think that Obama-Biden is a lousy alternative, but they are much closer to the way I feel about the issues, and the only credible alternative to a horrible choice of fiscal spendthrifts who would follow the Bush policies of "big government" and Owellian "big brother."

Plus, lest we forget, in the primaries across America, an awful lot of Americans, with their votes said that they believed both McCain and Obama were qualified to be President.

Ned--while the letter indeed may be written by that person, it does not necessarily mean that the accusations and claims asserted are indeed true.

This is seem to me to be the letter of a community activist and we all know how they can run.