Sunday, September 07, 2008

"Actual Responsibilities": If You Can't Manage a Hockey Rink, Can You Manage National Economic Policy and Security?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Palin's Hockey Rink Leads
To Legal Trouble in Town She Led >
September 6, 2008; Page A5

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."

Ms. Palin, now Alaska's governor and Republican Sen. John McCain's running mate, has pointed to her two terms as Wasilla's mayor, from 1996 to 2002, as evidence that she has enough executive experience to take on the presidency, should the need arise -- more than Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who touts his own background as a community organizer in Chicago.

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," Ms. Palin said Wednesday in her acceptance speech at the Republican convention.

Litigation resulting from the dispute over Ms. Palin's sports-complex project is still in the courts, with the land's former owner seeking hundreds of thousands of additional dollars from the city.

Palin likes to say "Good judgment can make the difference between avoiding a crisis and managing a catastrophe."

McCain is 72 years old.