Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad Sarah Spent Unauthorized $50,000 Highway Funds On Personal Decorating Whim

Palin Unpopular At Home Series #2

Palin astounded a staffer by saying, "I'm the Mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't."

The story of BS Palin ordering expensive red-flocked wallpaper and other illegal redecorating boondogles fits right in with the Spend-It-While-You-Can behavior she fell back into on the campaign trail. This article may tickle some memories, but it was soon buried under the avalanche of the Vice Presidential candidate's disastrous Katie Couric interviews. The devil herself is in the details here, as it is Palin's attitude about her role as an elected official, rather than her specific spending spree, which still has the power to shock. Red shades of a small-town Cheney - bet they both share a taste for bordello style. Click on title above for original post by David Talbot at Salon.com. Note: Pic above is from a fancy magazine featuring red-flocked style.

Sept. 17, 2008 | WASILLA, Alaska -- Sarah Palin has been touting herself as fiscal watchdog throughout her political career. But Palin's tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska was characterized by waste, cronyism and incompetence, according to government officials in the Matanuska Valley, where she began her fairy-tale political rise.

"Executive abilities? She doesn't have any," said former Wasilla City Council member Nick Carney, who selected and groomed Palin for her first political race in 1992 and served with her after her election to the City Council. Four years later, the ambitious Palin won the Wasilla mayor's office -- after scorching the "tax and spend mentality" of her incumbent opponent.

But Carney, Palin's estranged former mentor, and others in city hall were astounded when they found out about a lavish expenditure of Palin's own after her 1996 election. According to Carney, the newly elected mayor spent more than $50,000 in city funds to redecorate her office, without the council's authorization.

"I thought it was an outrageous expense, especially for someone who had run as a budget cutter," said Carney. "It was also illegal, because Sarah had not received the council's approval."

According to Carney, Palin's office makeover included flocked, red wallpaper. "It looked like a bordello."

Although Carney says he no longer has documentation of the expenditures, in his recollection Palin paid for the office face-lift with money from a city highway fund that was used to plow snow, grade roads and fill potholes -- essential municipal services, particularly in weather battered Alaska.

Carney confronted Mayor Palin at a City Council hearing, and was shocked by her response. "I braced her about it," he said. "I told her it was against the law to make such a large expenditure without the council taking a vote. She said, 'I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.'"

"I'll never forget it -- it's one of the few times in my life I've been speechless," Carney added. "It would have been easier for her to finesse it. She had the votes on the council by then, she controlled it. But she just pushed forward. That's Sarah. She just has no respect for rules and regulations."

Carney, who comes from a long-established homesteading family in the area and once ran the city's garbage collection business, has decided to speak out for the first time since Palin's vice-presidential nomination. He is viewed as a longtime Palin gadfly, ever since he sided with her opponent in the 1996 mayor's race. After Palin won, she froze out Carney, refusing to call on him at City Council meetings and deep-sixing his proposals. "That's the way Sarah is," Carney said. "She rewards friends and cuts everyone else off at the knees."

Other local officials -- who lack Carney's acrimonious history with Palin -- share his dim view of her mayoral reign. When Palin ran for mayor, she dismissed concerns about her lack of managerial expertise by saying the job was "not rocket science." But after a tumultuous start, marked by controversial firings and lawsuits against the city, Palin felt compelled to hire a city manager named John Cramer to steady the ship.

"Sarah was unprepared to be mayor -- it was John Cramer who actually ran the city," said Michelle Church, a member of the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, who knows Palin socially. "As vice-president she'll certainly have to rely on faceless advisors with no public accountability. Haven't we had enough of that in the past eight years?"

Other officials in the borough government -- the equivalent of county government in other states -- point out that Palin actually had very little executive responsibility, since the borough oversees many of Wasilla's vital functions.

"After all her boasting about her executive experience, what did she do?" asks a longtime borough official, who, like many in local circles, requested anonymity because of Palin's reputation for vengeance. "The borough takes care of most of the planning, the fire, the ambulance, collecting the property taxes. And on top of that she brought in a city manager to actually run the city day to day. So what executive experience did she have as mayor?"

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