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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)

Instead she spent the $140000000 to show us what a poor candidate she is.

The Meg apologists here don't understand that Meg caused the election weapons race in the first place. If she had not spent $140 million (probably more when it's all counted) of her own money on this ego trip, the Dems wouldn't have had to spend so much either, so its totally appropriate to have some fun at her expense. Her money could have been spent to benefit the state as a whole which she claims to be concerned about. Instead, the main beneficiaries of her spending are the media conglomerates who own the TV stations and out of state consultants!

Whitman, the loser, will probably top out at over $150 Million dollars. But it was not a complete waste as she was able to provide a much needed stimulus for California media plus all the loser GOP consultants who don't know how to get real jobs but instead make a dirty living as fear mongers. Even those losers have their innocent children to shelter and feed.

She is about to become The Biggest Loser.

Meg Whitman seems like the current governor, who came into office with plenty of promise. Several years later, he didn't change the tone in Sacremento and the Golden State still lacks luster. Politicians who want to run government like a business, do not understand how government works or how to provide services to their constiuents. George W. Bush keep running on making Texas like a business and the United States like a business. Now his brother will never be President and we see why wealth or family connections are not qualifiers for political office. California is screwed as long as the Senate is divided with two for every state. You have 13 states with two or less Congressional representatives, most of them red and undereducated. People with college educations leave for greener pastures in the larger states.

How about spending the money to promote campaign finance reform, to level the playing field and make it more likely that people win elections because of what they stand for and not how many ads they can buy?

A few of our Democratic friends here in very red Modoc County were talking about the huge amount of money Meg Whitman seems to be wasting on this campaign and of course what other places it could have been used to benefit real people.We decided that 140 million could have been put to very good use by providing scholarships to deserving students who couldn't go to college for lack of funds.

Meg could have spent her $140 million financing a new action film starring soon to be former Gov. Schwarzeneggar! That way neither of them would be messing things up in Sacramento, and they would be creating jobs for the L.A. Film industry instead. It's a win/win!

How about using that money to increase teacher salaries

At least she spent her OWN money, instead of Jerry Brown who is very good at spending OUR money. He's been a hack since he started in politics, at has played both sides into bankrolling his campaign. We're broke in California, and having someone go in who sides with the legislature who is continuing to spend, won't fix anything! It's a no win vote, almost glad to see Jerry get in so that we can sit back and see how bad it gets, but didn't we already try that with Obama, and now see where the country is. BROKE ALSO!!

140 million - Tacos at $1

mmmm delicious

How about creating million dollar endowments at each of the UC schools for the children of exploited Housekeepers...... then spend some of it moving far away from CA.

Face it, there are two ways to get elected in California:

1. Indenture yourself to every left leaning special interest group, union and lobby by promising to continue to drain the tax coffers in the manner begun by, well, by Jerry Brown and his Pop.


2. Be really, really rich and try and spend your own way in.

Oh goody, just like the 70's again. Without the tax base.

I don't always agree with Steve Lopez, but amen to this. My goodness if Meg Whitman really wanted to help California she could find a lot better use of her money. Saying that she wants to help California reminds me of the band who stopped their truck and traffic on the 101 Freeway and defended their actions by saying that drawing attention to 1.5 million homeless children made doing so a good cause.

We have an epidemic of narcissism and attention seekers in our society and the above mentioned cases are two good examples!

This reminds me of Mahoney spending all that money on his cathedral instead of putting it back into the community.

If Whitman really cared about California, she'd have spent the money helping us instead of trying to convince us she can run our state. Oh wait, that would mean delayed gratification. Nevermind.

"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."

Alan is undoubtedly a graduate of a liberal arts college.

I'm still laughing at "human sole."

Great minds think alike! I'm sure all Californians, with half a brain, is thinking the same thing. This Great State of ours deserves better than a egomaniac, like Whitman. Anything would have been better than wasting such an enormous fortune, for virtually all people, on a singularly egotistical excercise as Whitman has engaged in. Jeers, for life, on Whitman. Our State's children could have used those funds to improve the public education system (like what New Jersey got).

Great minds think alike! I'm sure all Californians, with half a brain, are thinking the same thing. This Great State of ours deserves better than a egomaniac, like Whitman. Anything would have been better than wasting such an enormous fortune, for virtually all people, on a singularly egotistical excercise as Whitman has engaged in. Jeers, for life, on Whitman. Our State's children could have used those funds to improve the public education system (like what New Jersey got).

They don't want Corollas in Ojai, they want Priuses!

She could have given over $40,000 to each School on Program Improvement status by No Child Left Behind in the state. What was that about more money in our classrooms?

doing the math, she could have spent over $40,000 on each and every school in California on Program Improvement Status under No Child Left Behind. I know I saw an ad somewhere about more money in our classrooms... Maybe she was talking about when she takes her wallet with her on a photo op...

Rather than criticizing how Ms Whitman chooses to waste her money, why not just report on how extraordinarily expensive any political campaign has become. Without regulating this in someway we will all just end up with the best Government that money can buy rather than a free, democratic choice.

Food Banks! Medical Care! With $140 million, Meggie could have stocked every food bank in California to the rafters AND hosted another medical/dental free clinic at the Staples Center.

It's very nice to see that $140 million won't buy you the governors office. And if she were really interested in creating jobs, rather than furthering her own wealth, that money certainly could have been better invested.

1. 5,600 teachers for a year -- or 1,120 for five years
2. Cal Berkeley just cut five sports --- reinstate those ($4 mill per year!?!)
3. Fund 280 social entrepreneurs' start-ups at $500k a pop
4. 1500 public libraries across California funded to stay open an extra two hours a week
5. 1,120 Sarah Palin visits at $125k per (fee, Lear jet, hotel suites all inclusive!)

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