Much ado has been built around the comfort of the small town politics that Sarah Palin brings to the table this year. Her small-town values, close family connection, and the generous love of her nation, seems to resonate with rural Americans all over the map. It is her community-oriented personality, her hockey-mom, pit-bull rhetoric, and moose burgers that give her that comfort food, home-for-thanksgiving-dinner, Walton’s appeal. Questions need to be asked however, about what exactly becomes permissible in that particular nomenclature, as opposed to the magnifying glass of national politics. Is there room for shady deals, unqualified people in government positions at the governor’s behest, and questionable “per diem” expenses in the small town platform, and what would that say about potential future deals as vice president, or possibly even president?
Last Saturday, September 27th, a crowd of approximately 2000 local residents stood out on the streets of Anchorage at what has been coined the “Hold Palin Accountable” rally. This rally was held by Alaskan citizens who wanted The Barracuda to uphold her promise to cooperate with the investigation set in place by the Legislative Council, to demand the immediate resignation of Attorney General Talis Colberg, who illegally told state employees to close eyes to subpoenas, and to demand that the McCain campaign remove their lawyers from their unlawful intrusion into the Alaskan Department of Law.
These are not the only questionable areas for Palin, however, as a laundry list of questionable deals keep coming out into the daylight - everything from unqualified high school and childhood friends put into government positions at high salaries to dubious property deals during her tenure as Mayor in Wasilla.
One high school pal, who was formerly a real estate agent, was put into place as the head of Alaska’s Division of Agriculture, at a $95,000 salary. In her severely lacking resume of qualifications, she cited that she had “an affection for cows.”
In addition, a childhood friend had been put in charge of a closing, state-subsidized creamery, as Palin reversed the decision to close its doors. According to the Wall Street Journal, this dairy cost Alaskans more than $800,000 in additional losses before finally succumbing to defeat. Yet another childhood friend, who had previously been operating a Mailboxes, Etc. franchise, was appointed by Palin to head the states Economic Development office.
There has also been some question from the national stage as to why she billed the state more than $17,000 in “per diem” expenses for 312 nights that she spent at home. Sarah’s staff stated to the Washington Post that the Governor is entitled such payments under Alaskan law; members of congress don’t even receive per diem allowance for routine home visits. It is also curious how she can speak so negatively of pork barrel spending, when she has pledged $500 million of her states money toward a 1,715-mile natural gas pipeline. Then, of course, there is the infamous “bridge to nowhere” that she most definitely supported, until it became in her best interest to cancel her support.
Back in 2002, Palin had the city sign off on a special zoning exception for her house. During her last year as Mayor, Sarah had tried to sell her house in Wasilla, but unfortunately, when the house was built, it was built too close to the shoreline on one side, and too close to a neighbor’s house on another side, including a giant carport that nearly connected the two houses. In 1989, a borough planner (similar to a county government planner) had told the previous owner that a variance for a carport could not be approved because it did not meet conditions and was a potential fire hazard.
When the Palin family needed it done in August of 2002, however, new Wasilla planner, Tim Krug approved a “shoreline setback exception” for the proximity of the house to the water, but he was under the impression that the Palin’s would be responsible for removing the carport before the sale of the house. On Sept. 10, the seven-member Wasilla planning commission unanimously approved a variance for both sides of the property with language covering all existing structures.
Less then a week later, the Palin’s sold their house to Henry Nosek, with carport still intact, and with no further complications.
Perhaps this is just small town politics as usual, but it sure seems like it is the good ‘ol boy politics, and nothing similar to a maverick. This is more of the double standard that we see in national politics everyday. This is not change that’s needed, as the McCain camp has adopted for their new platform, this is the same old same old that we have seen time and time again. “Thanks, but no thanks” to the “small town politics” that Sarah Palin represents.