The project referred to is the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere". Palin endorsed it before it became a national scandal (thanks, in part, to her running mate) and then dumped it. Rarely does a politician lie about such things, but McQueeg and Palin are doing just that in order to get the perception out there solidified in voter's minds. Obama's folks have made a huge mistake by not attacking this often and early.
She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.
"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge," Gov. Palin said in August 2006, according to the local newspaper, "and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative."
That hockey rink Palin is so fond of mentioning? From the Wall Street Journal again:
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.Now, granted, the litigation that occurred was on a parcel of land that the city claimed as eminent domain after Palin left office. However, it was her administration that chose to begin building on the land before securing the title to it, leaving the next mayor to deal with the mess. As someone in the article notes, Ms. Palin wants to be judged on executive experience. It was her job to know the problems that she was creating and to protect the public's funds and interests in the creation of this project. Instead, she got a tax increase to build this thing that has actually cost the city a lot more than she said it would. In a city of 6,700+ people with a budget of $20 Million, a sports facility that cost $14.7 million plus litigation costs is not a drop in the bucket.
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.
...Last year, the arbitrator ordered the city to pay $836,378 for the 80-acre parcel, far more than the $126,000 Wasilla originally thought it would pay for a piece of land 65 acres larger. The arbitrator also determined that the city owed Mr. Lundgren $336,000 in interest. Wasilla's legal bill since the eminent domain action has come to roughly $250,000 so far, according to Mr. Klinkner, the city attorney.
Perhaps the budget constraints placed on the city are the reason for this next tale of the Palin administration. While she was mayor, her police chief argued, presumably with his mayor's backing, that it was ethical to charge rape victims for the costs of their examination to collect evidence. While the news media is currently suggesting that Ms. Palin is a feminist, this specific charge suggests otherwise. From the article:
While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.
Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.
In the past weve (sic) charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.
According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.
Ultimately it is the criminal who should bear the burden of the added costs, Fannon said.