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Postcard from Scottsdale: In Sarah Palin country
The Ottawa Citizen ^ | February 17, 2012 | Allen Abel

Posted on 02/17/2012 7:02:38 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — I’m parked outside the fieldstone and adobe mansion at 29005 North 82nd Street at sunrise, eating my low-fat yogurt from the free breakfast bar at the Quality Inn, and listening to the one-note whistle of the Phainopepla birds high in the Palo Verde trees. The first yellow blossoms of the year are bursting from the Potentillas, and the teddy-bear cholla cacti look fluffy enough to hug.

Bad idea.

This is the fashionable north side of Scottsdale, land of sun, sand, saguaros, and surveillance cameras. Up here, an hour out of central Phoenix, the streets have names like Stagecoach Pass and Sunset Trail, and every strip mall is a “Marketplace.” The real Carefree Highway is only a kilometre yonder.

North 82nd Street itself is a Kalahari of soft, reddish dirt, impressed by paw and hoofprints and the tracks of reptiles I’d rather not meet. A curving driveway of pink gravel winds toward number 29005, which is a two-storey fortress protected by a tall iron gate and a copse of POSTED — NO TRESPASSING signs. A rusted iron stallion, life-size, guards the opposite corner. Every 15 minutes or so, a Mercedes coupe or a Porsche Carrera convertible whispers by.

I get out of my rented Ford and tiptoe closer to the house. Through the gate, I can see a children’s swing set, a barbecue grill, and a wide balcony that faces north, shaded in summer from the Arizona glare. The doors to the six-car garage aren’t open. The silence is broken only by distant neighing, and the chaffing of sparrows in the brush.

At Sarah Palin’s new home in the desert, there is no sign of intelligent life.

Now I begin a spirited debate with my inner correspondent about whether or not to peek into Sarah’s mailbox or rummage through her recycling bin. I am just about to lift the lid when an 89-year-old woman riding a 50-year-old Schwinn Tornado bicycle and wearing a white windbreaker that says WESTSIDE FOOD BANK pedals up.

“I am the infamous one” are the first words out of the lady’s mouth. Then she tells me that she lives just across the street on five virgin acres, that she was the first one to build a house on North 82nd Street more than 40 years ago, and that she has lobbied for half her lifetime to have this sere and beautiful plateau protected as wilderness and parkland.

“I am the burr under Scottsdale’s saddle,” she says. “There’s just so much in the desert that’s magic. It has to be saved.”

“You sound like a Democrat,” I offer.

“I am a Republican!” the 89-year-old woman yelps.

She is one Jane Rau, widow, activist, Director Emeritus of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, and Sarah Palin’s new neighbour.

“She paid $1.6 million for it,” Rau says, pointing toward the manse, which is nothing special by North Scottsdale standards. “But you never see anything or anybody. I doubt she’s ever here. She’s not really a resident of Arizona. She’s a resident of Alaska. She’s just one of our winter people.”

“What do you think of Sarah Palin?” I ask. I can’t imagine anyone in this country who wouldn’t be ready with an answer.

“I think she’s done some wonderful things because she says it like it is,” Rau replies. “She doesn’t play around being cute. It’s just the facts.”

What do we know about Sarah Palin’s new little Bedouin tent? We know from an online video made by the realtor who sold it to her that it was foreclosed last year for a mere $1.24-million, that it contains 7,900 square feet of child-rearing and caribou-gutting space, and that it has travertine floors, “a bar that looks like it belongs in Cheers,” “an island in the kitchen that is more like a continent,” and an electric lift to nowhere.

“Peligro — no elevator in el shafto,” the agent warns, utterly pleased with himself.

“There is an outdoor fireplace — why?” he jibes. “Arizona is an outdoor fireplace.”

On a chilly winter morning in North Scottsdale, a little added warmth would be a blessing, but the sun will take care of that by noon. Forgive me, Newspaper Award committee: I don’t go through anybody’s garbage. Jane Rau clicks her chinstrap and rides away through the Crucifixion bushes and the ocotillo plants.

I get back in my Ford. Sarah Palin, I soon learn from the radio, is in Washington, D.C., crowing to conservatives and celebrating her 48th birthday.

“YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID, BUT YOU CAN VOTE IT OUT,” says a billboard on North Pima Road.

TOPICS: Local News; Politics
KEYWORDS: arizona; freepressforpalin; palin; sarahpalin
Keep telling us she's inconsequential and washed up, while you send international platoons of reporters, novelists and columnists to spy on her and also make major motion pictures about her. What a hoot!
1 posted on 02/17/2012 7:02:43 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This Canadian nobody sure has alot of snarky quips in his so-called article.

2 posted on 02/17/2012 7:29:09 PM PST by july4thfreedomfoundation (I'm NOT smitten' with Mittens)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If you didn’t receive this Fox News blurb today, there’s some neat info about the Palin family in it:

Great to hear everyone is doing great, after all the crap they’ve been subjected to.

And the takeaway that says a lot about why so many of us love this lady!

FOX: As we sit here today, what does the future hold for you?

SARAH: “I’m keeping all my options open; everything’s on the table. I put my life in God’s hands and say, Lord, you know I mess up. I take wrong doors that I think are open that perhaps aren’t really open, and I learn through the school of hard knocks, but my life is in His hands and I do seek direction from Him in what it is I can do to positively contribute to this country, to our world, and everybody can do that. Everybody can make a difference and contribute, regardless of a title or no title, an office or no office. So, all options are on the table, but certainly running for office in the future is a consideration.”

3 posted on 02/17/2012 7:35:30 PM PST by bigbob
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