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Steve Lopez: More worthwhile causes for Meg Whitman's $140 million


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f4150cbe970b-piFor $140 million, Meg Whitman could have bought every man, woman and child in Ojai -- population 7,800 -- a brand new Toyota Corolla.

Or, taking advantage of a deal now being offered by Domino’s, the GOP candidate for California governor could have sent two medium pizzas, with two toppings each, to every household in California.

Based on the latest polls, in which Whitman is dropping further away from Democrat Jerry Brown despite the huge investment of her own money in campaign staff and advertising, I’d argue that she might be doing better if she’d spent the $140 million on pizza.

Then again, since job creation is one of Whitman’s key promises, you have to wonder if she would have been better off handing out 140 $1 million grants to small businesses. In fact, it might have been smart to do that this year, establish some good will and a record of economic development, and then run for governor in four years.

Or she could have saved a state program that provides mental health services for 20,000 special education students -- a $132-million program that was one of the casualties in the latest budget cuts.

I’m wondering if you have your own suggestions on how, win or lose, Whitman might have put that $140 million to better use.

-- Steve Lopez

Photo: Whitman and Brown. L.A. Times file

Comments () | Archives (190)

How much has Jerry Brown spent? How much have unions spent for Jerry Brown? What is she supposed to do? It's a campaign, and it costs money. Honestly, what is the point of this article? If you're going to single out Whitman, why not single out every other candidate from a major party running for governor, senator, and in some cases, the house.

Is your next article going to be about George Soros' better options for the millions that he has poured into Democratic candidates' campaigns?
I would call that equally wasteful.
Not that I would ever tell them how to spend their money.
They made it, no one else.

Think about all the money the unions have spent supporting the Democrats. Especially the public employee unions. So get over it Lopez.

I have to agree with the other posters: what is the point of this article? I do not plan to vote for Whitman, but I don't support this kind of hit-and-run bashing in the paper. Isn't LA NOW s'posed to be the latest news as it happens? between this kind of bored, pointless, bashing, and Lopez's silly stunt with weed, perhaps he should be rewarded with his own separate column so we can ignore it more easily.

And dear Steve, just to be fair, why don't you tell us what you would have done with the nearly equal amount of money the labor unions have spent on behalf of the Moonbeam governor Jerry Brown? Oh yeah, that's right you are paid to spin to the left! You are not a journalist you are a propagandist!

Couldn't you come up with a more original hatchet job?

Si Se Puede!!!

This $140 million pill would have been easier to swallow if she hired ONLY California vendors and professionals on the campaign. Her outsourcing is the most offensive component of her extravagance.

For a $140 million she should have bought a clue.

I like this Lopez guy, he's not afriad to report despite the barrage of angry white jealous losers. the good thing about meg's campaign is we learned that she is a hypocrite and just plain nasty. i dont think meg is a leader and i would be embarrased if my governor was meg.
thank you meg for letting me know how nasty you are, at your expense. next time donate to charity, instead of trying to buy power. nasty sea hag.

....it says alot about Whitman's character and values that she would spend such a fortune on an ego trip!

How about giving Los Angeles a newspaper? With what's left over: free remedial economics and history instruction for the staff at the LA Times; A billboard graphing the amount actually owed by the state and the city of LA for union pensions--and what is left from the general fund if anything; a a broadcast telling the people of Los Angeles ans the State that "you're broke--the media won't tell you but I will. You are flat broke and if you elect the man that authorized state employee unions, you better get used to bad roads, disapppearing jobs, closed libraries and union retirees living on easy street while you work."

Or, she could have sent every CA voter approx. $3000.00 - that would stimulate the economy.

Jim, Toasty and Tornado (nice names); you get over it!

Meg Whitman drops 140million into a campaign that says: I have no clue what a governor does, or is supposed to do, so all I'll do is smear my opponent, smirk at cameras, lie til I'm blue in the face, try to blame my illegal slave on my opponent as well, and hey, while I'm at it: I'll throw in another ad belittling voters by telling them I'll treat them as grown-ups. How sweet is that, Nag Whitman?!

Meg Whitman drops 140Million into a campaign during a time people lose their job, their house, their car, their savings - when we are so broke we have to cut fundamental programs and tax the automobilist another $18 to upkeep state parks, regardless whether that automobilist visits those parks or not. Worst of all: Meg Whitman makes a whole lot of promises; but does not explain at all how she is going to create those millions of jobs, how she's going to reduce the deficit by 15billion. She could have thrown her 140Mln into saving the stateparks to start with.

She could have had her teeth fixed.

Oh lets see. Perhaps a few humanities classes and maybe a political science course should have been tops on her list. Right behind surgury to implant a human sole.

it's the fact she used her own money to try and buy power. and will lose from the voice and donations of the people. endless good could of been had with a portion of that money. from our impoverished locals to water in haiti and on and on. study philanthropy meg. it feels better. ego is a bummer.

Interesting, I wonder were all that campaign spending goes? Does it vanish into to thin air? Could it possibly go into businesses in the form of advertising, travel, etc? If so, I guess that would be bad for California in these prosperous economic times.

Whitman has spent more on this election than ANY state candidate EVER in history. That's why it's important to single her out.

It's historically significant. She'll be in this history books now.

"Or she could have saved a state program that provides mental health services for 20,000 special education students -- a $132-million program that was one of the casualties in the latest budget cuts."

Well said, Mr. Lopez. Meg Whitman (and Jerry Brown) are the reason why we need stricter regulations for campaign finance.

Apparently there are a lot of folks on here who are comfortable with a rich person buying their governor seat. Of *course* Jerry Brown hasn't spent nearly as much money, and the unions haven't on his behalf, either. They've got some economic power, but nothing like being able to drop $140 million in one place.

As for better causes... there are about 160,000 homeless people in California. $140 million could probably build at least 30,000 units of affordable housing, dramatically increasing the state's ability to keep low-income people housed and safe. Someone has to clean the hotel rooms for the tourists, after all; full-time employment at minimum wage is $16,640 a year... try paying rent on that.

How about a fund to help illegal housekeepers? Or a re-training fund for employees laid off when their jobs were sent overseas by the corporations she admires?

At least she created a lot of jobs (temporary) on her campaign on for her campaign vendors.

To all who are critical of this article, the point is that Meg thought she could spend her fortune and become a governor. Without the money she had absolutely no chance of getting her name out to every californian. We all know that her record participating in democracy was poor by her voting records. I do not support Jerry Brown by any means. We all have seen super rich people from both parties trying to spend their millions to get to power and wield influence. And that I don't prefer.

How about a one way ticket to commie china, where all the american jobs went?

A "Get Out The Vote" campaign in which every person who has not voted in YEARS is educated about the role of politics in everyday lives. Then maybe taken that last million and put it towards a candidate whose record of public service and interest in the political system is worthy of investment.

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