Meg Whitman’s Bad Week

Every once in a while you have one of those weeks where it seems like nothing goes right. For Meg Whitman, it’s been one of those weeks.

Workers and community allies have been out in force protesting at a number of her recent appearances, she continues to get slammed from both the left and the right for her hypocrisy on immigration and other issues, top economists shredded her economic plan and polls show she’s continuing to lose support, even though she’s up on the air with wall-to-wall TV ads.

It all started to go south for Whitman at her East LA office opening last Wednesday – coincidentally Meg’s 54th birthday. Whitman has been flip-flopping on Latino issues as of late, trying to deceive Latino voters on her positions on immigration, education and other issues. She’ll say one thing to an English-speaking audience, and then deliver another message through Spanish-language advertising. As part of her cynical strategy, she decided to open an office in East LA to do “Hispanic outreach.”

Bad idea. Twice as many protesters showed up to her office opening as supporters.

LA Times reporter Seema Mehta chronicled the office-opening debacle in a story last Thursday:

Mike Garcia, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1877 and one of Wednesday's protest organizers, scoffed at Whitman's efforts to woo Latinos. The ads she aired during the World Cup soccer games, the billboards she has scattered across Latino communities and the glossy Spanish-language booklets being mailed to Latino voters won't work, he said.

Latinos will remember that former Gov. Pete Wilson, who was the most visible supporter of Proposition 187, is her campaign co-chairman and that she spoke harshly about illegal immigrants during the primary campaign, Garcia said, adding, “She can't buy the Latino vote.”

After the protest, she was skewered on the conservative “John and Ken Show” over her flip-flopping on immigration.

On Tuesday, Whitman’s day got off to a bad start when a group of prominent economists, including former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, released a scathing criticism of her economic plan. Her proposals, top economists said, would hinder economic recovery. They blasted her plan to cut taxes on the very wealthy while eliminating 40,000 jobs.

Later that day, Whitman sought refuge where she’s most comfortable, at a high-dollar fundraiser with her corporate friends. Unfortunately for Meg, workers led by SEIU Local 521 organized a raucous protest at the Bakersfield event to continue educating voters about her attempts to deceive Latinos. The protest received widespread media coverage.

Whitman was greeted by more than 100 protesters last night in Sacramento, where she held a private $25,000-per-plate fundraiser. Union members representing a range of public and private sector unions protested in front of the Elks Building for about two hours, questioning Whitman’s Wall Street agenda, her corporate background and her proposals to slash jobs, overtime pay and retirement for workers.

Firefighter Jason Livermore, from Local 1909 in Hayward, made the trip to Sacramento to set the record straight on which of the two gubernatorial candidates stands with working people:

Jerry Brown has a proven record of supporting firefighters’ rights. He gave state workers collective bargaining rights, so he has a record of supporting labor and supporting workers’ rights.  Meg Whitman does not.  She has a proven record of supporting the rich.  She is trying to buy the Governor’s race.  

And if that weren’t bad enough, the latest SurveyUSA poll on the race shows that Whitman, despite now having spent more than $100 million in an effort to buy the election, saw her poll numbers slip two percentage points. The race is now statistically even, according to the poll.

While Whitman’s week may be one she’s trying to forget, $100 million can buy a lot of good weeks, too. Whitman’s expected to reach deep into her personal wealth to continue the barrage of misleading TV ads she’s been running for months.

Workers and community allies are going to continue to keep the heat on Whitman in the coming weeks to ensure that come Election Day, her hidden corporate agenda is exposed.

Paid for by the California Labor Federation. Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate.