It was another e-mail from the Meg Whitman large and excessively financed campaign staff, which pumps out a half dozen of them a day or so it seems: "Once again," the release stated, "Jerry Brown's rhetoric doesn't match his record." The e-mail was a response to Brown's call for more transparency about salaries paid to government employees in California.
That same afternoon, Whitman was out on the stump talking to a couple hundred workers at Yelp in San Francisco. Asked about the $119 million of her own money that finances her weekly whirlwinds around the state, Whitman said, "You have got to tell people why to vote for you."
Whitman has been doing that for a long time now, spending millions here and millions there, and yet most polls indicate she hasn't been able to shake loose from Brown. It seems there are a lot of working Californians who aren't yet convinced that Whitman's plans to fix Sacramento are going to help them directly.
How different that perception might have been had she decided to invest her campaign dollars differently.
She could have easily bridged the budget shortfall of $18.5 million in Long Beach and ingratiated a lot of voters in the process. Think of the goodwill she might have created by eliminating deficits of more than $4 million in both Ventura and Stanislaus Counties. She could have put Maywood and Del Norte County and Glenn County in the black with a $1.5 million. Contra Costa County has lots of voters and a $6.6 million dollar deficit. Redwood City is staring at budget shortfalls that total nearly $6.5 million through the next fiscal year. Dublin needs $4.6 million and Benecia nearly $2 million. Throw in another $4 million and Amador County's deficit is gone.
She could have done all that for slightly less than $67 million and had $52 million left to spend on a different kind of advertising binge.
Can't you just see it? "Meg Whitman. She personally saved millions of Californians from losing services and police officers. "
Of course we know that will never happen. No other candidates, most with deeper pockets than the voters they are courting, would do that either. It's just a thought as I watch another political commercial featuring Bill Clinton and read another e-mail pointing out that Jerry Brown's memory has receded faster than his hairline over the years.