Published May 28, 2010
WASILLA, Alaska -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has erected a 14-foot-high fence at her Wasilla home, making good on a promise to prevent her new neighbor -- a writer working on a book about her -- from peering in.
The brown-plank wall has caused a sensation on conservative airwaves and attention online. In live-and-let-live Wasilla?: No real ruckus, according to Mayor Verne Rupright.
"No crime has been reported," he said Thursday. If Palin wants to build a fence on her property, he said, that's her right.
On Monday Palin took to Facebook to "welcome" author Joe McGinniss, who'd previously written a critical magazine story on the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Palin said he was renting a house next door "for the next five months or so" and wondered what he'd gather "while overlooking Piper's bedroom, my little garden, and the family's swimming hole?"
She said work would begin on a "tall fence tomorrow." Which it apparently did: the wooden barrier can be seen between Palin's home and the smaller one McGinniss is renting on Lake Lucille.
Palin didn't have much to say about it Thursday, aside from joking with a reporter outside the gate of her home about having to build one in the first place. She said she was busy babysitting her nephews and didn't have time to say more.
McGinniss, author of such best-selling books as "The Selling of the President," "Blind Faith" and "Fatal Vision," is planning a book, tentatively titled, "Sarah Palin's Year of Living Dangerously." It could be on book shelves next year.
McGinniss' publishing house, Broadway Books, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Attempts to reach neighbors on either side of her property weren't successful. A chain-link fence blocks one drive, which is also marked "Private, keep out." No one answered at the other, which is posted "Private property. Enter at your own risk."
A tree-lined lane leads to Palin's lakeside home; the gate's also there to help keep gawkers at bay.
At least one Wasilla resident threw her support to the former governor.
"Sarah Palin and her fence, yes. I think more power to her. If people are trying to get up in her business, she should be able to build a fence and have privacy," said 18-year-old Tessa Marie Morris.
"Yeah, she is into politics, and she's high up there, and she's like a celebrity to Alaska and people are going to want to get information and snoop around and get in her business. I think it's a good thing, the fence is good."
Rupright said McGinniss met with him and told him he was researching his book and moving to town. He even told the mayor where he'd be living.
"I was a little surprised by it, but I said, 'That's fine."'
"So at least I knew," Rupright said. "I thought that was a courtesy he paid, and probably the right thing to do."