September 9, 2008

There is absence, there is lack


Karel Appel, Untitled, 1975

* An email from Wasilla. excerpt:

"I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Gov. Sarah Palin 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 percent 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 for vice president 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."
...
"Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a 'fiscal conservative.' During her six years as mayor, she increased general government expenditures by more than 33 percent. During those same six years, the amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38 percent. 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 benefitted large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

"The huge increases in tax revenue 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 more than $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. $1 million for a park. $15 million-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex, which she rushed through, on a piece of property that the city didn't even have clear title to. That was still in litigation seven years 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 $5.5 million for road projects that could have been done in five to seven years 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."
...
"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."
...
"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."
...
"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."

-- related: Pallin billed Alaska for nights spent at home. except:

"Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a 'per diem' allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business."
...
"The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

"Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official 'duty station' is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

"The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents."

* "The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need. The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it. Now we could not live without it." -- Louis I. Kahn

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