Opinion: Sarah Palin sued by Alaska activist over traffic


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Sarah Palin is being sued for more than $100,000 by an longtime Alaska political activist who said the hockey mom tried to railroad him while she was governor.

Theodore ‘Chip’ Thoma of Juneau alleges Palin launched a campaign ‘to punish, embarrass, discredit and silence’ him after he raised serious concerns about traffic in the neighborhood surrounding the governor’s mansion.


Thoma’s attorney, James McGowan, said that after Thoma complained about tour bus traffic on the narrow streets around Palin’s place, the governor attempted to turn the tables and make it appear as if Thoma were directing ‘some unsavory and lunatic’ campaign against the first family, the Associated Press reports.

The traffic was due, in part, to Palin’s sudden national fame after she was picked by Republican Sen. John McCain to be his running mate in his failed bid for president.

Thoma is a 2010 recipient of the Celia Hunter Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions presented by the Alaska Conservation Foundation.

‘Chip Thoma arrived in Alaska by ferry in 1971, and so began his environmental advocacy career,’ the blurb announcing his award states. ‘His volunteerism ranges from informing state officials and tourists about poor pipeline design during the Alaska pipeline build phase to working closely with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) on wilderness protection in the Tongass.’

Thoma has been an enviornmental activist in Alaska for 40 years. This is the second time he has sued an Alaska governor. In 1997, Thoma claimed Walter Hickel had engaged in a smear campaign against him over his activism. When Thoma lost that case, he was ordered to pay the governor’s legal fees totaling $77,865.50.


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-- Tony Pierce

Sarah Palin at Big Lake, Alaska, in 2009. Credit: Al Grillo/Associated Press