Greetings From Wasilla

Before VP candidate Sarah Palin crystallized her views on the future of US energy policy in her "drill or do nothing" speech to the Republican National Convention, we only had a vague idea of her record on transportation and development, gleaned mostly from her time as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla.

As news of Palin’s past continues to surface, here’s Slate with a Wasilla video postcard. Says reporter and narrator Alex Sheshunoff:

You read that Palin was the mayor of a small town, and you think of central squares and tree-lined sidewalks and neighbors who give pies to one another. Wasilla isn’t that kind of place.

Video link. Thanks to Doc Barnett for the tip.

  • Err…

    “Fort Worth without the glamorous bits?”

    While I’m glad he acknowledged those, I’m a bit put off that he thinks this suburban nightmare of 8,500 people is in any way similar to a city of 700,000+ with a *real* downtown and rapidly revitalizing urban neighborhoods.


  • Max Rockatansky

    Fort Worth has the same population as the entire state of Alaska.

  • Hadn’t heard before that Palin’s first passport was issued in 2007. A bit of a surprise given that Canada separates Alaska from the rest of the U.S.

  • Sean

    Wasilla has the same population as 4 rush-hour subway trains. ( Sadly: no joke. )

  • BicyclesOnly,

    You didn’t need a passport to go from the US to Canada until 2007. Driver’s license worked up until then.

    Remember Spitzer’s driver’s license controversy? I think that was kindled by new Homeland Security laws that also required a passport to go back and forth to Canada. So no way of really telling if she went into Canada or not before then.

  • Rich Wilson

    Just say “No!” to Libraries and Museums, and “Yes!” to a sports complex! We may not get any Nobel Prizes in our next generation, but just think of all the Olympic medals we’ll win!

  • Fort Worth is known for the traditional urbanism of Sundance Square and new traditional architecture by David Schwartz. Check out their new concert hall at

  • Braddy

    Yuck! The town’s most prominent feature seems to be its fugly architecture. I guess when you have vast expanses of nature 6 minutes away, you don’t pay attention to details like that.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    The more insightful opportunity cost comparison is between the Hockey Rink and the sewage treatment plant. Apparently the Hockey Rink is worth borrowing to build and to operate and the sewage treatment plant had to wait. What a choice! Its actually a case study in why the Federal Government must be the decider in environmental policy. Local citizens prefer sports and entertainment, casinos, coliseums and convention centers to clean water and safe sewage. There is plenty of room to shit in the woods up there apparently.

    Also, the borrowing to build and operate state infrastructure in the face of a tsunami of oil lease state revenues and handing out the money to the citizens. Those revenues represent transfer payments from the oil consumers. Fiscal conservatism?

  • Steve P.

    Looks like the ideal Republican community. A place free of European socialist ideas like light rail, bike and bike lanes yoga studios, zoning, historic architecture, coffee houses, used bookstores found in urban hellholes like San Francisco or Portland.

  • RecumbentMan

    Unfortunately, this town looks like Republican heaven–lots of free money coming in from someplace else (a treasury awash in oil royalties which eliminates the need for taxes), land for almost free, very little in the way of ethnic or cultural diversity, and a landholder paradigm that by definition excludes anyone who can’t afford several acres and a 4WD to get from point A to point B.

    I don’t think I have a problem with small town America. I have a really big problem with small-town Americans who’ve created these Potemkin villages (whether gated communities or exclusionary suburbs). These folks have been able to push reality out of city limits and have no understanding of the complications of a lot of real-world issues.

  • I hope, for your sake, that you do not become the “crawford of the north.” I am sure that Wasilla and Crawford are both lovely places. Both cities most likely would like to be known for their beauty.

    Thanks for taking the time to make this video!

  • Oh! By the way, I grew up in a small town in Washington, where folks hunt and fish. I’m very outdoorsy, and familiar with the “government, get out of my way” attitude. However, as an outdoors woman myself, I can say that this woman does nothing to ignite our demographic!

    Thanks again for your video!


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