Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New PA Poll - How Do You Feel About The Legality of Gov. Palin's Book Deal

The only book by an Alaskan I've read three times is former Alaska Governor Wally Hickel's Who Owns America? It was the product of his truncated, two-year first gubernatorial administration, and his truncated two-year post as U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

From what I know, Hickel actually wrote the book himself.

I discussed it at length with him aboard his boat, the Ermalee, back in the summer of 1978, as he was preparing his outsider's run against Jay Hammond. That run cost my Whittier harbor expansion plan two years. Right after Jay's narrow victory, when possible capital funds for Whittier improvements came up, Hammond told the commissioner of DOT/PF, "Damned if a single dime is going to Wally's playground!"

I recommend Gov. Hickel's book. It is certainly one of the 10 best written by an Alaska politician. The competition isn't exactly fierce, though. It was fairly well received when it came out. This is from Time Magazine's review from 1972:

Who owns America?

Hickel says that Americans do, but they do not realize it. They must cultivate a feeling of ownership for every public property, whether it be a city park, the Potomac River or the Grand Tetons. The problem is the feeling that anything that belongs to everyone belongs to no one. Hickel's answer is that ultimately it is the Federal Government that has to assume the responsibility.

Says Hickel: "The Federal Government has to care. It has an obligation of ownership to more than 200 million Americans. A perfect example of not owning and not caring is the whale. No one owns the ocean, so everyone goes out to exploit the whale. The same thing is true of public lands." Moreover, to feel ownership, Americans need leadership.

Americans do need leadership. I'm more satisfied that we have that now than I was six months ago.

Current Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, hopes to convince Americans that she is the solution to problems people other than me see as being presented by President Obama.

Wally Hickel wrote his book between government jobs. Palin hopes to write hers while serving as governor. As one who has been critical - at least since September 2008 - of her job performance in that position, I have my doubts about her ability to do one job let alone two.

No doubt, once again, her kids will suffer the most as she, once again, performs her version of family needs triage.

Whether or not it is statutorily appropriate for her to write the proposed book while serving as governor will probably be the subject of another executive branch ethics complaint. I'm not going to file it. Only a fool would file the complaint without being able to take a look at the contract Palin has signed with the publisher.

I've been a strong proponent of rewriting our Alaska executive ethics code since last fall. Every day I'm feeling more strongly that this needs to happen. I tried to get Democratic Party legislators to do it last session, but nobody was interested.

Maybe next session.

Back in November 2008, when the first rumors of a Palin memoir deal surfaced, I wrote a DailyKos diary, called, What Can We Title Sarah Palin's Book? Almost 200 book title suggestions came in then. Since November, she's certainly given us more opportunities for a title.

Any suggestions?

Progressive Alaska has posted a poll:

Should Alaska's Governor Be Able to Sign a Contract to Write a Book While in Office?


Anonymous said...

Word Salad for Dummies

Star the wonder pup said...

Palin is a vile person, and one wishes the lord would call her to *his* bosom, but you guys are getting petty. Pillory her for her very real and obnoxious flaws, but if she wants to write a book that the bots will buy, I think it's her right.

Anonymous said...

There won't be an ethic problem for Palin because she won't be writing the book - it will be written by a "ghost writer". She wouldn't be capable of putting sentence(s) together that the lower 48 would understand any better that when she tried to answer questions during the campaign.

Hey Alaska, when do you say ENOUGH to YOUR Gov??? Haven't you had just about enough of Sarah?

sauerkraut said...

Rewriting the ethics code seems to be the first order of business for your legislature. What's Gara been doing to address it? Anyone have the cajones to file legislation changing the method for appointing people on the personnel board? Why does no one in the legislature appear to view the current setup as being problematic?

Wolfe Tone said...

Star the wonder pup:
I'm not questioning her "right" to pen a book.
I'm questioning whether or not she should be doing it while on the state payroll, since Alaska's ethics laws prohibit earning wages outside of what the state pays her for being the governor:

S 39.52.170. Outside Employment Restricted.
(a) A public employee may not render services to benefit a personal or financial interest or engage in or accept employment outside the agency which the employee serves, if the outside employment or service is incompatible or in conflict with the proper discharge of official duties.
(c) The head of a principal executive department of the state may not accept employment for compensation outside the agency that the executive head serves.
Seems pretty specific to me.

What she's doing is certainly violating the intent of the law.

Philip Munger said...


I voted for her to be able to write the book. But I'm not sure that she legally can, according to 39.52.170. I wonder, though, how many voters at the PA poll are voting "no" because of their reading of the statute, or because of their personal feelings about this particular governor.

clark said...

i don't think she should do it because she is herself not a reader, or an intellectual in any sense. what value will a book like this have, to anyone? it will just be 200 pages of those press releases, a lame attempt to settle some scores by rewriting history. the less hype and publicity she gets, the better for alaska.

Star the wonder pup said...


I think you are reading a very narrow interpretation of the statute:

, if the outside employment or service is incompatible or in conflict with the proper discharge of official duties.

mlaiuppa said...

That brings up a good point.

If Palin does any book promotions, she'll actually have to read her own book in order to answer questions about it.

You know there's going to be a "gotcha" there.

Because she won't have actually written the book herself. And whoever writes it might not get everything exactly right.

Could be very entertaining.

Mae said...

Me thinks this is more for Palin, than those pesky campaign words she uses "good for Alaska".

gawd, it is just so embarassing... the unabashed self centered focus as opposed to governing the state.

I guess if your a teen and thinking about dropping out, making that personal call to her is kind of out now?

I just wish the Governor would focus on being a Governor. Can't she focus on highlighting some of Alaska's heros? Instead of herself. When she is done being Gov., then write the book.

On another subject, I was bad. Did anyone happen to see the bus of tourists parked at Wonderland Park (the old airstrip in Wasilla) yesterday? One of the people said they were touring Palin's hometown. (It is not just the Govenors house.) When asked if any of my children attend schools with the Palin kids, I said "no and would appreciate it if they take thier cameras off my kids." When asked if I was a Indian, I said "would it make a difference if I was?" (I'm Inuit)

So back to your question. I think it is ethical with the set of statutes currently in place. It is a fine line, isn't it?. However, if said Gov. decides to do such, it is kind of tasteless and so nouveau riche.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't you complaining about Obama's book? Seems to be a double standard at work here for the other BS artist.

"As he empathized with recession-weary Americans, President Obama arranged in the days just before he took office to secure a $500,000 advance for a children's book project, a disclosure report shows.

The terms of the book deal were disclosed in a Senate financial disclosure report filed Tuesday.

Analysts say there don't appear to be any rules that would bar such transactions after a president takes office, but it's unclear whether an incoming or sitting president has ever signed a book deal upon entering the White House."

Philip Munger said...


As a volunteer who helped Karl Schleich and scores of other Wasilla community activist build Wonderland Park in 1995 and 1996, I can say that I never saw Sarah or Todd there once, helping build Wonderland Park.

Lady Rose said...

Sarah Palin's new book - the title The Audacity of Hubris

I can't imagine what an editor's nightmare anything she produces will be

isn't this against the ethics regulations - she isn't suppose to get paid for anything outside of being the governor ??

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

I think the ethics codes can't be rewritten fast enough! And the personnel board/investigators should be elected not by the governor, that is a obviously conflict of interest.
Here is from Alaska Standard today:
Rumor Central: Big story still heading towards the S.S. Palin
A deal-breaker is heading toward the Palins. Can it be stopped? I don't think so. Will it topple the house of cards, all signs say yes. Stay tuned...
It can't happen soon enough for me!

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Sorry Alaska REPORT! Agh! always get them mixed up! Dennis Zaki's newspaper.

basheert said...

For what it's worth, the fact that she is a borderline idiot and probably almost illiterate, I certainly wouldn't wast my money on anything she wrote (which of course she won't write because she is not competent to write or sign anything).

RE: the Ethics Code
What's the point? No one enforces the Ethics Code anyway. Why even bother to have one? She trashes it every time she opens that mouth of hers. She's obviously above the law.

RE: Obama's book
First of all, he is a proven and previously published AUTHOR. If I'm not mistaken (and I'll apologize if I am), Obama's children's book is slated to be published AFTER his term or terms as President.

It is obvious that Mr. Obama is at least doing a job. Not prancing around in F*ck ME Monkey pumps and speaking unintelligibly about everything since she's so STUPID. Her actions are embarrassing to anyone with an I.Q. above -3.

Waste your money if you want but the chances that this dope can even FIND a book much less write one are slim to NONE. And as is said above, it will be worth watching as she is questioned about it since she obviously will not be competent enough to actually WRITE it.