Whitman “live” on Good Morning San Diego
By Ross Becker
On Monday morning, I had the opportunity to interview Republican candidate for California governor Meg Whitman. This was not just a “sound bite”. We were allowed 15 minutes to ask here about many of the issues important to all Californians. You can watch the entire interview for yourself here at KUSI.com, but I would like to underline here in my Digital Notebook some of the moments I believe are the most interesting and significant.
We began by talking about the recent so-called “scandal” involving Whitman's former housekeeper. Whitman claims she did not know Nikki Diaz was not a legal resident when she hired here and did not find out until 2009. When she found out, she says she fired Diaz because it was wrong not because she was running for governor. I asked Whitman why she didn't turn her in to immigration authorities then, and she said she was trying to be compassionate. Whitman claims she told Diaz to turn herself in and admit she had falsified documents and lied about here social security number. I asked Whitman is she now thinks Diaz should be deported? She didn't answer directly, other than to say that she is afraid it will happen now because of Diaz' public admissions and Whitman warns her opponent Jerry Brown that her fate is now in his hands. She blames him and the democrats for creating this “scandal” and exploiting Diaz for political gain. Federal immigration officials say they will not pursue Diaz for deportation because they are focusing on deporting more dangerous felons who are here illegally.
One other interesting moment was when I asked Whitman what executive order she could sign on her first day as California governor that would immediately begin creating jobs in a state with an embarrassing 12 percent plus unemployment rate. She said, on day one, she would freeze all new state regulations. She believes the layers of government bureaucracy are hampering the creation of small business and therefore the generation of jobs in the state.
At one point during this campaign, Whitman declared she had a “Spine of Steel.” She smiled on Monday when I reminded her of that description, but she did not back away from it. She says it will take a spine of steel to stand up to the labor unions in the state who, she believes, have too much power rand influence over the legislature. She believes the contracts can be renegotiated and the “stranglehold” of the unions broken so state taxpayers will get some relief from pension payments and over-sized contracts.
Whether you agree or disagree with Meg Whitman, of course, the real question is can she deliver if she is elected. Most candidates say what they need to say to get elected and then find out the reality of public office sometimes gets in the way of real accomplishment. Whitman seems to understand that, but is convinced her business background will make her administration different.
Finally, I asked her about her own investment in her campaign. She has spent more of her own personal fortune to win and election than anyone in history. I asked her what she expects to get from that huge investment in herself. She said, nothing for herself, but wants the chance to prove that she can fix California. But if she wins, her personal investment will buy her real power. Before we choose who to vote for, we need to decide if she will use that power wisely. I hope my interview will help you figure that out.
(If you missed the “live” interview, we are airing Part one on the KUSI News at 6 and 10 on Monday and part two on the KUSI News at 6 and 10 on Tuesday.)