There has been a lot of talk about this so-called anonymous woman named Anne Kilkenny from Wasilla, Alaska who wrote an extremely descriptive letter about Sarah Palin. [Read ‘A letter from someone who has know Sarah Palin since 1992’ here].
Kilkenny says that she has known Palin since 1992. The left has applauded Kilkenny and the right has understandably trashed her. ‘She wrote this anonymously.’ ‘She’s jealous.’ ‘She’s a liberal hack.’ You know the typical well-intentioned remarks.
Two days ago, presumably before I posted the letter in on my site, William Yardley from The New York Times wrote a story about Palin and the politics of Wasilla. And yes, Kilkenny is in the article. [Read full New York Times story ‘Palin’s Start in Alaska: Not Politics as Usual’ here]
The first quote comes from John Stein, a three-term incumbent mayor of Wasilla who lost to Palin in 1996.
“Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” said Mr. Stein, who lost the election. “But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I’m not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: ‘We will have our first Christian mayor.’ ”
“I thought: ‘Holy cow, what’s happening here? Does that mean she thinks I’m Jewish or Islamic?’ ” recalled Mr. Stein, who was raised Lutheran, and later went to work as the administrator for the city of Sitka in southeast Alaska. “The point was that she was a born-again Christian.”
Of course, the right will argue that he is bitter about the election 12 years ago. And that may be, but the number of people who are displaying ‘bitterness’ toward Palin is amazing considering the population of Wasilla is about 7,000.
Here, my Republican friends, is the anonymous Anne Killkenny, quoted in the New York Times.
Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.
Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.
The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.
In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were “rhetorical.”
Palin also prevented town employees from talking to the news media without her permission. That’s common in bigger cities and in corporations, but not in a small town.
Ms. Palin also upended the town’s traditional ways with a surprise edict: No employee was to talk to the news media without her permission.
“It was just things you don’t ever associate with a small town,” Victoria Naegele, then the managing editor of The Frontiersman, recalled of Ms. Palin’s first year in office. “It was like we were warped into real politics instead of just ‘Do you like Joe or Mary for the job?’ It was a strange time.”
She was for earmarks before she was against them.
Ms. Palin, her critics note, was not always the fiscal watchdog she has since boasted of being. In her second term as mayor, she pushed for a half-cent raise in the local sales tax to pay for a $15 million sports complex. The complex is popular and a junior league hockey team plays there now, but the city recently had to pay more than $1.3 million to settle an ownership dispute over the site.
Ms. Palin also began annual trips to Washington to lobby for federal money for specific initiatives, including rail projects and a mental health center. Her running mate, Mr. McCain, has been an outspoken critic of these so-called earmarks and as governor Ms. Palin has sounded more like him, vetoing tens of millions of dollars of local projects sought by state lawmakers.
She didn’t endorse her stepmother-in-law to succeed Palin as mayor of Wasilla. Instead she sided with her ‘religious conservative’ ally. It’s nothing personal – it’s just politics.
Just as Ms. Palin terminated employees on her way into office, she also let some go on the way out, including Mr. Cramer. When Ms. Palin completed her second and final term, in 2002, her stepmother-in-law, Faye Palin, was running to succeed her. It seemed like a good idea, except that Faye Palin supported abortion rights and was registered as unaffiliated, not Republican, people who remember the race said. Sarah Palin sided instead with Dianne M. Keller, a religious conservative and an ally on the City Council. Ms. Keller won.
“That was interesting,” Mr. Chappel said. “Faye lives up the street from me. I can’t really say much about that.”
This article gives credibility to the author of the letter and provides additional insight. It’s worthy of the full read. Of course, I can hear the Republican critics now. “It’s the liberal New York Times.”