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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 about chartering some yellow buses and deporting all the illegal aliens in California?

I trust somebody who's trying to buy the governorship for herself much more than I trust somebody for whom organized labor is buying the governorship.

She could have done something with her hair.

You actually suggest a greedy megalomaniac like Whitman could spend money in a way beneficial to anyone but herself? Get a grip, man!

I agree Steve, she should've spent it on pizza.

What is important about this is that our great State of California is NOT FOR SALE. We are sending a clear message to the rest of the country saying "no, we will not be bought. We will not accept this style of leadership. If you want to accomplish something in this State, you have to work for it."

So Jerry Brown's campaign was helped a lot by union and private donors who believe in his cause, but he didn't pull out his wallet and write a blank check. If you don't like the donor system - let's talk about publicly financed elections. From what I can see, Brown would still be the candidate to welcome such a change.

If/when Meg Whitman loses in less than a week, Californians will send a powerful message: we value hard work and good values over money and power. We reject the cynicism of the Bush era. We welcome smaller campaigns, less negative ads, less personal wealth being used and more volunteer and public participation. We are the Moderates and Progressives in California. We are Fired Up. We are Ready to Vote.

Well, as much as I like the idea of two pizzas to every household in California, I'm guessing the majority of Meg's $140 million was spent in ways that created jobs and stimulus in California anyway. And this way we get to see her publicly humiliate herself, too.

If she can spend $140 million to save the American tax payers Billions to bale out CA if she is not elected, I think it is money well spent.
BTW, why would you want to put 7800 more cars on the road when CAs didn't even want to drill for oil off the coast. Hypocrite.

Those of you thinking Jerry Brown and his union backers have spent anywhere near what Queen Meg has spent are completely out to lunch. Jack Chang at the Sacramento Bee says Brown's combined have spent about an eighth of what Whitman has dumped --

"Her Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, spent less than a tenth of Whitman's total – about $11 million – but didn't face any serious primary challenger and could count on unions to run anti-Whitman advertising through the summer.

"Five of the biggest union-funded independent expenditure groups, including California Working Families, Working Californians to Support Jerry Brown and Level the Playing Field, spent about $13 million through the end of September running ads and campaigning against Whitman, the records show."

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/06/3082867/whitman-spends-record-140-million.html#ixzz13UhN5Gc5

I think I get this... So if you hate a candidate, s/he's evil for playing the political game and spending so much that could have gone to people you think deserve it more. But if it's your candidate, surely a righteous selfless hero, then their spending money to spread their unique set of lies is an investment in the future of society.

She could have gotten some really chic hairstyling or a really nice wig...

Consider the $140 million an insurance policy against California going down the drain of public union corruption. How many times does Jerry Brown need to get it right, he had plenty chances and failed everytime, we know what we're getting with him.

Money can't buy Meg love, and for that we have to be happy. She could have also stifled her oversized ego and donated her money to charity, like Bill Gates has. But no, Meg wants to shove her years of govt experience and abiding interest in politics down our throats. Open wide, kids!

NutMeg may be many things, but what she does with her own money is her own right. The real travesty is how effective big money really is when it comes to government. The fact that Meg-amillions went from zero to whatever polls you want to believe in, based entirely on money and hubris tells you where the problem lies: with the short-sighted uninformed public, regardless of political party, who are easily swayed by bright lights and sound bites.

How about providing jobs for people in California? Jerry Brown is getting donations from individuals who support his bid for Governor; some, perhaps many, are Union members, but they are people who have chosen to donate to their Union PAC. Meg is using her own money, but is that because she doesn't have enough backers? Does she get a tax write-off if she spent her millions, but doesn't win the election?

This is a timely question to be asking. I think it's the absolute height of arrogance to spend such a sum trying to buy the governor's office at a time when so many people are suffering economic hardship. It's nice to see that all those television ads have only succeeded in helping Meg Whitman dig her political grave.

Jerry Brown campaign has spent $200 million.

Meg Whitman's money is from her own pocket as you have pointed out, why not do some real investigative work and see where Jerry Brown's money is coming from. Its scary where his money is coming from, our pockets.

I think Meg Whitman has the right idea with outsourcing - if you dont have the lowest labor cost you loose and it is too expensive to do business here. Why not eliminate the minimum wage and get into business?

California has the ninth largest economy in the world, we would fall behind countries like Italy in GDP if we were our own country. There is no reason the special interests should run this great state.

Vote for someone who is willing to take a $140 million dollars to fight for a just cause.


Carly's campaign could have used some of it.

Yeah - stay out of the race, insteading try to "buy it now", and do what all these billionaires do with their tax cut largesses: put it in the bank. The last thing this person would do is foster economic growth. She CUT thousands off the eBay payroll. Hopefully, the recipients of the millions, I guess TV stations, ad agencies and the like, will in turn make good use of this, for her, pocket change.

We need government funded political campaigns so that not just career politicians or CEO "celebrities," or Hollywood Celebrities can have a chance at winning. We want representative government but how often do they truly represent the common man? Thanks for this article steve, pay no mind to the criticism.

We need government funded political campaigns so that not just career politicians or CEO "celebrities," or Hollywood Celebrities can have a chance at winning. We want representative government but how often do they truly represent the common man? Thanks for this article steve, pay no mind to the criticism.

PS Here come the trolls, making comments about unions and George Soros. HAHAHAHA. Go ahead, vote for the billionaire, suckers.

Jim, how much has the Chamber of Commerce and the police UNIONS spent for Whitman?

Since Meg has promised to create jobs, how about using the $140 million to create 2,800 jobs with annual salaries of approximately $50,000. Now that would be a worthwhile cause!!

I said the same thing about a month ago when Billion Dollar Meg proclaimed her "LOVE" for the Fresno area of the Central Valley. She could have invested in that community and had a real impact (economic).

The money could have been spent on preserving arts programs in the schools. Arts programs have a positive influence on all areas of a child's learning. The link below is to an article in Scientific American.


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