Notes on Wasilla, Alaska
September 18, 2008
With Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin now being Vice President Candidate Palin -- and also being the Mayor of Wasilla just two years ago -- I thought it might be a good time to share my thoughts on Wasilla. I think I have a relatively unique perspective of having lived 44 years in The Lower 48, and five months in Alaska last summer.
The things that stand out about Wasilla are:
- As far as I can remember the town has about five traffic signals, maybe 10, tops.
- Wasilla largely consists of stores and fast-food restaurants along the Highway 3 corridor.
- The town roughly marks the half-way point between Anchorage and Talkeetna, about one hour's drive in either direction.
- Wasilla has a "normal" Lower-48 grocery store (a Fred Meyer, where a 12-pack of Coke cost over $7), and a Wal-Mart.
- You can see a mountain range as soon as you step out the front door of the Wal-Mart, which is very cool.
- As a tourist, you either close your eyes for a few minutes when you pass through Wasilla and think "Oh yuk, here's a town", or you stop at the Tesoro gas station, the grocery store, Wal-Mart, or a fast-food chain.(As a tourist Wasilla is not a town you want to spend any quality time in.)
- When I was looking for a place to live last summer, some crazy old guy in Wasilla wanted to rent a metal shed to me for $700/month, with the added benefit being that his daughter would live in the metal shed next to me.
- If you know what to look for, there's an entrance to Hatcher Pass on the back side of the town, but I discourage you from looking for it, as I like it better when nobody else is up there.:)
Before I sign off, here's the most interesting statistical information about Wasilla from city-data.com:
- Population in 2007: 9,780, including 2,728 males and 2,741 females. (I guess that means over 4,000 residents are neither male or female?).
- Number of residents to sex offenders is 133:1. (By contrast, a city like Mesa, AZ is 2,626:1)
- Local government full-time employees: 69