Sarah Palin's Fiscal Mismanagement of Wasilla

06 September 2008

During her acceptance speech, Sarah Palin (R-AK) had this to say: "I have a record of being a strong fiscal conservative."

Not quite.

The Wall Street Journal looked into Palin's record and found that she had made a major planning blunder, costing her town millions:

WASILLA, Alaska -- The biggest project that Sarah Palin undertook as mayor of this small town was an indoor sports complex, where locals played hockey, soccer, and basketball, especially during the long, dark Alaskan winters.

The only catch was that the city began building roads and installing utilities for the project before it had unchallenged title to the land. The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin's legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla.

"It's too bad that the city of Wasilla didn't do their homework and secure the land before they began construction," said Kathy Wells, a longtime activist here. "She was not your ceremonial mayor; she was in charge of running the city. So it was her job to make sure things were done correctly."


Last year, the arbitrator ordered the city to pay $836,378 for the 80-acre parcel, far more than the $126,000 Wasilla originally thought it would pay for a piece of land 65 acres larger. The arbitrator also determined that the city owed Mr. Lundgren $336,000 in interest. Wasilla's legal bill since the eminent domain action has come to roughly $250,000 so far, according to Mr. Klinkner, the city attorney.

Mr. Lundgren has appealed the decision, arguing that the arbitrator should have awarded him more interest. "It has been 10 years; it's just insane," said Mr. Lundgren, who now lives in Panama. "All [Ms. Palin] had to do was close the transaction."

Hockey Mom, indeed. I guess that Pitbulls With Lipstick aren't necessarily competent city planners. Now, the small town of Wasilla (pop. 5,469) is wallowing in debt. As Politico reported:
"Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla - that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements."
"Fund improvements" = "Pay the price for my incompetent mismanagement of our improvements."

UPDATE: She also hired the first-ever federal lobbyist for her small town, pulled in $27 million in federal earmarks, and supported the now infamous Bridge to Nowhere. During her acceptance speech, however, she assumed that her audience was stupid and suddenly claimed that she "championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress." These are clearly really big lies.

UPDATE II: She's sorta like Alaska's waitress?

1 comment:

baretruth said...

She's our country's worst nightmare. A Bush clone wearing lipstick -- clueless, rhetorical, unqualified. How dare anyone try to foist another GOP no-nothing on this country in these dire times. Is ignorance a qualification for public office? A Pentecostal religous extremist that screwed up when she was mayor and governor are the best the GOP can do? A bit like coming to knife fight with a paper clip. Oh god, is this country going downhill. She'd make a good waitress, nothing more.