Palin's veto power

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By Sarah Phelan

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So, maybe the pen IS mightier, after all? Palin's budget vetoes.

Forget about using Wikipedia to find out the truth about GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin.

As online reports have noted, a sockpuppet called “Young Trigg” scrubbed the entry for Alaska’s first female governor the day before McCain publicly announced his VP pick.

That story should be a wakeup call for those tempted to rely on doctored or poorly researched online articles, in trying to find out who Gov. Sarah Palin really is.

The good news? There are plenty of other online resources that provide valid insights into Palin’s political priorities.

Consider, for instance, Governor Palin’s vetoes of Alaska’s FY 08 and 09 capital budget.

This shows that Palin vetoed a $350,000 statewide school substance abuse education and prevention program.

She also vetoed funding for wireless access and laptops in Alaskan community schools, including those in the North Pole district. (Guess Santa can spring for those, right?.)

And she eliminated funding for several native community projects, including the Kluti Kaah community recreation and learning center in the Interior Villages, the Jilkaat Kwaan cultural heritage center and Bald Eagle observatory in the Southeast Islands, and the Ilisagvik College Workforce Development program in the Artic.

Palin also vetoed a snow fence in the Bering Straits, a Zamboni blade sharpener for the Homer Hockey Association, statewide boy scout camp upgrades.

Oh, and she vetoed the Anchorage Police Department’s $17. 5 million request to expand its headquarters, for the second year in a row, along with a number of fire department's requests for emergency safety equipment.

This summer, Alaskan lawmakers argued for a robust capital budget, which they said would help build the state and boost its economy. But Palin disagreed, saying she wanted to limit spending to public safety, health and infrastructure, and angering some representatives, by not giving them a chance to defend programs which either fell entirely victim to, or were halved, as Palin made $268 million worth of cuts, leaving Alaska with a $3.6 capital budget.

Here are Palin’s views on the line-item veto, taken from KTUU's site.

"Well, you know, that's the beauty of our system here -- is checks and balances, provide for that tool to be used, if they deem that necessary, those who hold the purse strings and that's the lawmakers if they want to override," Palin said.

In addition to vetoing a $100,000 KTOO Government Transparency Project, Palin also axed a $50,000 community development center’s video project that was to have been called, “Alaska Teen Talk Show.”

The project aimed to produce pilot talk shows written and produced by the students, with students advised to audition several prospective hosts, rating each one on poise, intelligence, personality and looks.

“You should ultimately base your choice on a host’s familiarity with your show’s theme," states the application." If you hire the most attractive but vapid interviewer to host a political talk show and they don’t know anything about the presidential race, viewers will know it and change the channel.”

Sadly, I'm not at all convinced that viewers do change channel, just because a good-looking host is vapid. And while I don’t know why this particular project didn't get funded, I can’t help imaging that whoever wrote this grant application must be wishing that they’d chosen some other example, when applying for this grant.