Letter About Sarah Palin from Anne Kilkenney of Wasilla


 

Letter About Sarah Palin from Anne Kilkenney of Wasilla
 


4 September 2008 at 6:49:10 PM
salon

from the Anchorage newspaper (Incidentally, I notice that the City of Wasilla has about the same population as Somervell County).

From David Hulen in Anchorage --

The e-mail below has been bouncing around the Internet since Sunday. It was written by Anne Kilkenny of Wasilla - stay-at-home mom, letter-to-the-editor writer and longtime watcher of Valley politics. She's a registered Democrat. She was one of the delegates to the Conference of Alaskans in Fairbanks back in 2004. Her bio from the conference is here.

She e-mailed this letter over the weekend to family and friends Outside, and (despite her request not to post it) it went viral on the Internet very quickly, showing up on blogs and Web sites all over. Since then, Kilkenny has been inundated with phone calls and e-mails. She said she stayed up until 3 a.m. last night answering e-mails, and found nearly 400 new ones waiting when she logged on this morning.

It's posted here with her permission.

***

Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in common: their gender and their good looks. :)

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .

Thanks,
Anne

ABOUT SARAH PALIN

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she's like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin's kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative". During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn't even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren't generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State's top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla's Police Chief because he "intimidated" her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn't like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the "old boys' club" when she dramatically quit, exposing this man's ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork".

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as "AGIA" that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State's lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior's decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there's a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.

CLAIM VS FACT
*"Hockey mom": true for a few years.

*"PTA mom": true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since.

*"NRA supporter": absolutely true

*social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional).

*pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.

*"Pro-life": mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation

*"Experienced": Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.

*political maverick: not at all

*gutsy: absolutely!

*open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.

*has a developed philosophy of public policy: no

*"a Greenie": no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.

*fiscal conservative: not by my definition!

*pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.

*pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents

*pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla's history.

*pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn't make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that's life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

CAVEATS
I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin's selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90's.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008


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Comments!  
1 - salon   5 Sep 2008 @ 2:18:15 PM 

Confidential to palmerwasilla resident. I don't approve character assassinations. If you want to talk about WHAT SHE SAID instead of WHO SHE IS, feel free to post. Of course we believe you should back up what you say with sources.


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2 - jeffrey   5 Sep 2008 @ 4:00:38 PM 

Well said Anne.  Let's hope the Palin investigation moves forward despite Palin's fierce resistance.  Perhaps we will get a taste of that "open and transparent" government that we were promised.

I am an Alaskan.  I vote.  I use my real name.



3 - rocc   5 Sep 2008 @ 5:07:05 PM 

What is it with people who think stating facts about what people have done is character assasination.? Why shouldn't people be talking about WHO she is. do you think it's not important when selecting a VP to know who they are ? WHAT she says and what she does IS who she is...and what she is is an opportunist who loves the limelight...she doesn't even know what the VP does...and what the VP doesn't do is stand up and give that little parade wave every time their name is mentioned , but beauty queens do !  a clown and beauty queen. lord help us all if this ticket wins in november !



4 - lee carleton   5 Sep 2008 @ 5:21:14 PM 

Hats off to Anne & her honest bravery. I found the rude and primitive mood of the RNC to be sad, disturbing and below even the Bush-tarnished dignity of America.

"Country First" certainly is a catchy slogan and sure to fire up the crew, but what happened in history when Germany had the slogan "Deutschland Uber Alles?" (Germany over all)



5 - salon   5 Sep 2008 @ 5:27:03 PM 

To rocc: Just to be clear- the reason the comment to the resident of Alaska was removed was that it was insults ot the author of the letter. My point is that Anne has free speech and can say what she likes, and if a commenter finds that what Palin has done is inaccurately portrayed by the letter writer, let the commenter pony up some facts.


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6 - paula   5 Sep 2008 @ 6:40:09 PM 

Great information Anne. Thank you for speaking up.

Just curious, what books did she want to ban? 



7 - sandi kropuenske   5 Sep 2008 @ 7:06:54 PM 

 Thank you Anne for having the courage to say it like you saw it. In addition to Anne's stated facts I have one opinion to add of my own.  As a female Obama voter, I formed my choice of candidate for the highest (and second highest office) on evidence of their honesty of action not speech and ability to tell the truth not lie repeatedly and effortlessly. Gender was not significant to me, however I feel strongly that this women is a poor example of a mother or powerful women and brings us all down.



8 - michael   5 Sep 2008 @ 7:18:36 PM 

I second Paula's question, which seems quite important: does anyone know which books Palin targeted for removal from the town library? 



9 - rocky macy   5 Sep 2008 @ 7:37:45 PM 

What an excellent history of Sarah Palin's public life by someone who was there to watch it unfold.  I am impressed and will pass this information along to my friends.  (I, too, would love to know the titles of the books that Mayor Palin wanted removed from the local library.)

Pa Rock

Goodyear, AZ

www.pa-rocks-ramble.blogspot.com



10 - salon   5 Sep 2008 @ 9:35:14 PM 

Just a quick note. The link is from the Anchorage newspaper. I'd also like to know what books were banned. Really, it doesn't matter to me which ones, it's that she would even do this at all. Would be a good question on the anchorage newspaper site (see link towards the top)


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11 - brian   5 Sep 2008 @ 11:33:25 PM 

Anne:

You said that Sarah hated you; that is a pretty strong charge. Can you substantiate that? From the tenor of your letter, I expect the feeling is mutual. Did you have a axe to grind by any chance?



12 - lori   6 Sep 2008 @ 11:40:41 AM 

I, too, wondered about Anne's agenda/motivation. Of course she is entitiled to her own POV which looks staunchly DEM. Why is ambition bad?



13 - salon   6 Sep 2008 @ 11:46:49 AM 

I don't think anyone is saying that *ambition*, per se, is bad. It's unbridled, unprincipled ambition, such as Anne calls out here.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

Doesn't matter if this is a man or a woman, one does (at least I do) want to think that people will be sportsmanlike and fair in order to win elections, etc. I realize that's not the case with some, and it definitely doesn't matter whether it's a male or female, but it's sad if someone has to pull dirty tricks or stunts to get ahead.


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14 - sheila   6 Sep 2008 @ 1:14:00 PM 

How can we know that what you say is true anymore than we can know what Sarah says is true?



15 - salon   6 Sep 2008 @ 1:29:37 PM 

Not Anne, of course, but one thing that would help would be for Sarah Palin, who obviously was not vetted well by the McCain campaign, to quit HIDING and come face the media, all kinds of media, for questions. Pretty sad to see who's on the Sunday lineup for shows tomorrow... and who is missing.


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16 - lori   6 Sep 2008 @ 1:53:46 PM 

OK - I confess, Anne's letter looks like well-crafted propaganda to me. People are "buying" as fact one woman's opinion. Look at the letter again with an eye to where you are being manipulated and "lead." Is Anne's letter - looking so sincere - really a "dirty trick" in its own way or just.... Guess I'm a cynic.



17 - salon   6 Sep 2008 @ 1:58:39 PM 

You can certainly think that if you like. People have opinions. The way for these questions to be answered is, again, for Sarah Palin to come out and take questions from the media. All of the media, not just those that might be props in a town hall meeting.


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18 - jeanie laurence   6 Sep 2008 @ 2:19:57 PM 

Anne, you are America's new hero.  I have been passing your

article along to everyone I know

God bless, and love

Jeanie



19 - kathy   6 Sep 2008 @ 2:28:27 PM 

I received this email from my sister in Denver.  As I was reading it, I REALLY had a hard time concentrating because "Sarah and John" were on tv LIVE and I couldn't THINK,  for her SHRILL.. yes.. I said it.. SHRILL.... condescending,  hateful, repetitious speech.  If I have to listen to her as our Vice President / possibly President.. .. I will go stark raving MAD !  So Anne's letter confirms what I could feel coming from Sarah's speech. She keeps repeating about McCain's POW time, and making fun of Obama's speech, but I hear NOTHING of their actual PLANS for US.

I suspect they are stalling, awaiting to hear what the Democrats have planned so they can have more material for their speeches.

By the way, I am  a Non-Affiliated Registered voter.. I don't vote the party.. I vote the person...  I hope you do also



20 - mlee   6 Sep 2008 @ 7:52:15 PM 

The Anne Kilkenny letter is not fabricated or a 'dirty trick'.  Anne exists and Snopes (non-partisan site) has validated her and her letter. 

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/kilkenny.asp

I have received e-mail with a letter from a Republican in Alaska who was as pro-Palin as Anne is anti-.  And, you know, there are no statements in either letter that are contradicted by the other.  Anne's letter is much more specific, that is all.  And I am scared about that one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

The outcome of this election DOES matter, now more than before!



21 - salon   6 Sep 2008 @ 8:15:09 PM 

I read somewhere earlier today that, in some overseas newspaper, probably British, people were wondering why being  a *hockey mom* was the criteria for choosing a VP.


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22 - bob smith   7 Sep 2008 @ 12:43:19 PM 

How many of the individual she dosen't like don't belong to her church and then how many who belong  to her church are saying how great she is, or got good  jobs.



23 - dee smith   7 Sep 2008 @ 7:17:14 PM 

I have attached a URL to an article from the L.A. PROGRESSIVE which says that Sarah Palin is among other things, racist and vindictive.  She was overheard at a restaurant wtih colleagues at lunch commenting upon the Obama victory over Clinton saying "so Sambo beat the bitch"! The article refers to her many other racial slurs. Frightening for a VP pick of any party.

http://www.laprogressive.com/2008/09/05/alaskans-speak-in-a-frightened-whisper-palin-is-“racist-sexist-vindictive-and-mean”/



24 - mary   7 Sep 2008 @ 7:22:31 PM 

Anne,

Your letter reflects much anger and bitterness on your part.  Regardless of whether your content in your letter is valid or not, there has to be a better way to communicate. 

Try reading..... Hurt People Hurt People...... perhaps you can learn a few healthy patterns of behavior.....

(I am a conservative Democrat so I have no allegiance to the Republican party)

mary



25 - salon   7 Sep 2008 @ 8:09:31 PM 

It's interesting to me when people don't reply so much to the content of the letter but the way she wrote it, or if she has some axe to grind, etc. I have no idea if she's a *hurt person* or not, and neither, really, do you Whatever her motivation, I don't agree with you that it doesn't matter whether her content is valid. Would that we all, when we have something to communicate, do it in the best way. The real issue is, is what she is saying valid or not. How she says it and criticisms that she should express herself some other way fall short of the mark


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26 - salon   9 Sep 2008 @ 1:28:57 PM 

P.S there's some baloney list of books that Sarah Palin supposedly had banned. Again, it's baloney. Palin asked the librarian about banning books and tried at some point in the future to get the librarian fired. Here's Steve Benen of CBS News take on that.

I can understand why the McCain campaign is pushing back against a bogus list that's making the rounds. Deceptive claims are deceptive claims, no matter who the target is. But as long as McCain aides are talking about this issue, maybe they can answer a couple of additional questions, such as, "Why did Palin try to fire the librarian in the first place?" Or how about, "Why did Palin broach the subject of book-banning if she had no intention of trying to ban books?"


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27 - salon   14 Sep 2008 @ 9:09:35 AM 

On the book banning-the NYTimes has an article about it today.


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28 - salon   17 Sep 2008 @ 12:49:15 PM 

Confidential to Michelle. This post is about Sarah Palin. not for a right-wing diatribe against Obama. You mentioned factcheck.org, which you must know McCain's campaign has denigrated for some strange reason, but you didn't say what in particular that site has that you disagree with here. Have already said that the so-called banned book list is baloney. The NYTimes said this.

Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.

Anne Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article


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29 - michele   18 Sep 2008 @ 2:23:40 PM 

 Salon,

Thanks for responding. Just to let you know... I am a registered democrat & not a right winger. :-) I just feel that it's better to know something about a candidate's views whether you agree with them or not... rather than listen to someone's words with very little proven record to back their words.



30 - salon   18 Sep 2008 @ 3:11:13 PM 

That may be, but the diatribe you raised on a Sarah Palin post about Barack Obama did not sound like a Democrat.  This particular post is about Sarah Palin and, in particular with your comment, censorship. Still didn't hear from you what it was in the factcheck.org you saw that contradicted what you disagree with here, about Sarah Palin. Her experience is woefully inadequate.


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31 - anon   17 Oct 2008 @ 10:25:54 AM 

Thank you for at least providing an outlook of how she works.

I've never been impressed.

Momma from Texas



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