December 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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Sarah characterizes the Exxon oil spill in Prince William Sound as the event that made her decide to become active in politics. This occurred on March 24, 1989 while she was baking a cake and a friend called and told her to turn on the television and she saw the coverage of the Exxon spill which horrified her. Valdez is located 260 miles from Wasilla but she knew that all Alaskans would fell the consequences of the event.

Fisheries are the first business in Alaska even before oil production so a blow to this industry would be felt by all Alaskans including the Palin’s whose fishing rights on Bristol Bay to the North of Prince William Sound would be tainted by the spill in an adjacent fishing grounds to the South. Subsequently the price of Alaskan salmon dropped because of buyers fears it might be contaminated with oil.

She says many members of her family and friends went to help with the clean up. Apparently neither she nor Todd joined in, however as a result of the devastation to the fishermen in the area and other people who derived a living from the Sound a seed was planted in her that in retrospect she believes led her to go into public service. Initially it was a belief that she should help her fellow citizens and that if ever she had a chance to do so she would.


In 1992 a local activist, Nick Carney, recruited her to run for Wasilla City Council thinking she would be a kindred political soul. He lived to regret his belief about her. She was 28 at the time. Wasilla was a small town of approximately 4000 residents in 1990. However a new road the Parks Highway had been built in 1975 from Anchorage to Wasilla, traditionally a lumber, mining, and trapping center with some agriculture as a result of 200 farm families resettled there from the upper Mid-West. As a result Wasilla was transitioning to being a bedroom community of Anchorage (Population in 1990: 216000) .

The population of Wasilla has more than doubled by 2008 to over 10,000.

Sarah Palin was elected to a seat on the city council from 1993 to 1996. It met twice a month on Monday nights. She alleges she ran on a platform calling for the restructuring of government and the reduction of taxation.

However Wasilla was forced to adopt a sales tax in lieu of an increased property tax because the growing city needed a police force at the time she was first elected. She alleges she was against any increase in taxes but supported the sales tax as being “fairer and more optional” in a town like Wasilla which was a hub for tourism and commerce.” The apparent thinking was that a sales tax would partly fall on others just passing through Wasilla. This mind set has been a touch stone of her policies ever since i.e. tax oil production in the state so that the end user in the lower forty eight would pay the tax that benefited Alaska. In fact Alaska receives $5 for every $1 paid into the Federal Treasury. So it is a welfare state made of rugged individuals, rogue politicians and Wasilla according to Wal-Mart is the city where they sell the most duct tape.

She describes her self as being an independent minded council woman. This became evident when she voted against garbage collection services for a new subdivision preferring to let the residents hall their trash to the dump like every one else. This in a growing Wasilla which was becoming a bedroom community for persons employed in Anchorage who may not have the time to or means to take care of their own trash. Nick Carney her fellow councilman owned the trash company so there was a conflict of interest on his part but another service provider could have been found by the city council for a necessary service in a growing town.

The book indicates that at this early date she was establishing her independent and rogue credentials with an anti new tax and no new government mantra. Whether this was in the interest of Wasilla, a city in the path or progress with an exploding population is doubtful.

Wasillians she declares were rugged individualists not interested in professional city mangers or city planners. Consequently Frommers Alaska Guide describes Wasilla “as the worst example of urban sprawl of highway fronting malls with gravel lots”. One wonders why she thinks other people (non Alaskans) are not rugged individualists or that somehow Alaskans are more resourceful then everyone else since Alsakans depend so much on Federal support which comes from the other citizens of the U.S.

After three years on the city counsel where she established her credentials as anti new tax and anti new government programs she decided to run against the “good old boys” and challenged the incumbent mayor who was educated in city management and administration. Thus characterizing her self as an outsider or definitely not a good old boy insider and as candidate that would bring a new breathe of fresh air to the “politics as usual” culture which she had been a part of for three years. Thus we see her mantra as the representative of the common man an against the fat cat insiders. This is coupled with the assertion that taxes are too high (meaning the fat cat insiders are using the peoples money to benefit themselves) and government is growing too fast (The fat cats are padding the payroll with their friends and relatives) which she used in her campaign for mayor.

She alleged the city didn’t need urban planners nor did the people need to be managed by city managers who weren’t born there, raised there and intended to die there kind of guys.

She says the opposition candidate, a three term incumbent , mainly said she was a young, inexperienced mother of three small children. She won the election. However when she cut the mayor’s salary( her own) and tried to lower departmental budgets and in particular the police budget she was subjected to a recall movement which she defeated.

Thus she was allegedly inspired to go into politics by the Valdez incident. Her political policies are basically what we hear today: no new taxes or fewer taxes, less government, the people are capable of regulating themselves so they don’t need a lot of urban planning or city administration by educated people who weren’t born here raised here or going to be buried here. This in a city that was in the process of doubling in population. This simplistic, atavist approach to politics sounds good on the campaign trail against incumbents but in practice it leads to disaster as we have seen in the recent financial meltdown allegedly caused by unregulated “free market ” policies. The market is never “unregulated” if the government doesn’t do it for the public private interests will for their own benefit and their interest may not be in the public’s interest.