Saturday, May 28, 2011

Palin welcome in Arizona neighborhood, media less so

SCOTTSDALE (Reuters) – Residents in this sprawling neighborhood of horse properties in far north Scottsdale welcome Sarah Palin as a potential neighbor, although they are mixed about the news media on her trail.

"I'm very happy that the house finally has someone living in it. it's been empty for a while, and it's nice to have a neighbor," said Monica Rahman, the owner of a busy stable across a dirt road from the manse the former Alaska governor is reported to have bought.

A company acting for an unnamed cash buyer ponied up $1.7 million for the sprawling 5-bedroom horse property in this saguaro-studded neighborhood northwest of Phoenix on May 13, and sources close to the deal have told some news outlets like the Wall Street Journal that Palin is the buyer.

The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate's possible purchase of a home in the Lower 48 has stoked speculation she may shortly announce as a contender for her party's nomination to run against President Barack Obama in 2012.

For days, Rahman says, the formerly quiet neighborhood has been buzzed by clattering news helicopters, while an influx of reporters has boosted traffic up and down the previously quiet roads, some of them unpaved and used as riding trails.

"The horses get spooked. It's dangerous," she said, her exasperation at the media clearly straining a natural courtesy.

"I'd much rather have our neighborhood as calm as it was," she added.

The reported sale comes less than six months after Palin's single-parent daughter, Bristol, bought a house in Maricopa, a sleepy dormitory town in the desert about a 45 minute drive south of Phoenix.

Fresh from riding horses, local trainer Maggie Lang said she hoped the younger Palins might stop by the local riding camp and learn to saddle up.

"We're hoping her kids take riding lessons ... and hang out with the horses," she said.


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