Editor's Note: The following letter is excerpted from a Web log called "The Alna Erratic," to which the following letter writer, Alaska resident Pete Hauschka, contributed it.Good evening, Lots of friends and relatives have been asking me (as an Alaskan) what I think of Sarah Palin, our Governor, and new choice for McCain as a VP candidate.
This pick floored me. Sarah Palin is a nice person. I've met her. I've even talked with her for a few minutes at a principal's conference a couple of years ago. She has lots going for her superficially. She speaks from the heart, like a spitfire mother; she can even be sort of funny sometimes. She is quite beautiful and athletic, and she has that radiant glow of someone who actually spends time doing things outside. Unlike many politicians, she has lived a "real life" and done things that few living and working in D.C. could ever do, such as dip-nettin' fish, shootin' stuff and eating it out on the tundra, and havin' five kids.
Personally, I'd never vote for her. She has an extremely simple view of the world. I don't even think she has ever been abroad. As governor, she has repeatedly shown us that she is unable to grasp the demands of leadership.
She is very prone to cronyism of the worst kind. In every cabinet-level political appointment she has made, she has overridden suggestions of our state advisory boards, and instead promoted those who had granted her direct political favors. Not that other politicians don't do this, but most of them are able to balance their appointments to ensure that at least a few people with real skill and experience are running big state agencies.
She also has been unable to pay attention to her Alaskan constituency. Personally, I've written several of our previous governors and been asked to comment publicly on education policy. All the previous governors have always acknowledged that contribution, criticism, or comment, sometimes by direct reply or at least by that of a staff member. Palin's office has been a zone of silence. Neither I nor another person I know commenting has ever gotten any sort of reply. Her claim of running an open or transparent government is totally false; the public simply has no role in her administration.
Her previous claim to fame was being mayor of Wasilla, a growing town of about 10,000 people about 40 minutes from Anchorage. Wasilla is a hell-hole, even by Alaskan standards, where there are plenty of hellhole towns and villages. Wasilla is an ugly place that shows a complete absence of planning, design, or sense of public vision. Government agencies and services are completely overrun in this town; things are so bad that they can't even track their population or build schools in the right places, because most parts of the town don't require building permits. The only clues about where people are settling are utility receipts.
Imagine trying to be an emergency responder in this kind of place. Houses don't just catch on fire in Wasilla-they burn to the ground, because by the time the fire department has figured out which road to take (no signs) or whose house it is (no directory), the place is done for.
Palin was mayor of this town for two terms be fore being elected governor of Alaska almost two years ago.
Her moral sense is simplistic and not inclusive. She is the sort of person who is used to using her faith to divide and isolate minority groups of human beings instead of uniting them. To her credit, as governor she has kept out of this arena pretty well, but when in comfortable company (i.e., the Matanuska Valley Republican Women's Club), she lets her moral cat out of the bag.
I will do what I can to ensure her defeat and that of her running mate.
Cheers, Pete Hauschka
Pete Hauschka is a school principal in Alaska, where he and his wife also teach. They've been Alaska transplants for about 10 years. For more unique perspectives from a variety of contributors, visit The Alna Erratic at http://alnadem.blogspot.com/.