Wall Street Journal : Palin's Hockey Rink Leads,To Legal Trouble in Town She Led
GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin continues to draw the national spotlight on her Alaskan hometown. It often shines in very bright places for Palin, but not always.
Palin's Hockey Rink Leads
To Legal Trouble in Town She Led
By MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS
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
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
"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
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
"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.