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

October 26, 2010 |  7:33 am


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