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Michael Jonas: I've seen enough of Whitman's character

Democratic Voices

Posted: October 5, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: October 5, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Yes, I am a Democrat and yes, I will be voting for Jerry Brown for governor this November. But I believe character alone is the real reason to discredit Meg Whitman, regardless of political affiliation.

I reached this conclusion because she is attempting to buy an election, lacks civic involvement, favors the wealthy and is a hypocrite. People tell me Brown has issues as well, and while I agree with the sentiment that he is not the perfect candidate, he is undeniably the better of the two.

The amount of money Whitman has spent on her campaign makes me cringe. According to the Sacramento Bee, Whitman added $20 million to her campaign last week, making her fund more than $119 million.

Whitman said she will spend more of her own money if needed, and has now broken the United States record for most personal funds used by a candidate at any time in any race.

Michael Bloomberg, who won his third term as mayor of New York City last year, spent a comparable $109 million of his own money. While both fund totals anger me, there is a difference. Bloomberg has been civically involved his whole life; Whitman has not.

I'm not saying that campaign funds and civic involvement are interchangeable. I'm merely expressing that Bloomberg's civic involvement allows me to be more forgivable when it comes to "buying" an election.

Civic involvement does not mean having government or legislative experience. In fact, numerous politicians have come from varied backgrounds.

I am referring to the fact that Whitman didn't vote for 28 years. Each time I hear this is another time I throw up in my mouth.

At the University of California, Davis last year, Whitman told the crowd, "My voting record, my registration record, is unacceptable."

In comparison, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was criticized during the Gray Davis recall election for not voting in five of the past 11 elections. Five out of 11 is quite different from zero out of 28.

My other issue with Whitman is what I will call "wealth blinders." She seems to think that if she gives tax breaks to the wealthy, shuts down Assembly Bill 32 and any other environmental measures, California will suddenly get back on track.

As Brown mentioned in their debate last Tuesday, tax breaks for the wealthy will not improve California's budget deficiencies. Nor will killing environmental measures. In fact, "greening" California will create more jobs and re-establish much of the manufacturing and service middle class that has been missing.

Last but not least, we have recently been bombarded with what I'll call "housekeeper-gate." Whitman and her husband have been accused of employing an illegal undocumented worker as a housekeeper for nine years, and allegedly kept paying her even after they knew she was here illegally.

I was skeptical of the story because I am familiar with attorney Gloria Allred's love of controversy. However, a copy of the 2003 letter from Social Security has surfaced with a note alleged to be written by Whitman's husband.

All these things put together establish Whitman's character. She is someone who is willing to put her personal gain over the public's trust. She is someone who believes that not voting for 28 years should be glossed over or forgiven because she has now found the path to "civic salvation."

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, I ask you to remember the fundamentals of representative democracy.

Whitman represents exactly what we don't need.

Michael Jonas is a graduate of Valencia High School, UC Santa Barbara and Thomas Jefferson School of Law. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" runs Tuesday in The Signal and rotates among SCV Democrats.


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