Nurses plan protest at Whitman's Atherton home


Members of the California Nurses Association say they will be coming to the Atherton home of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman on today (July 15) at around noon to protest Whitman's proposal to cut 40,000 state jobs if she is elected.

A campaign flier paid for by the nurses association alleges that Whitman has "declared war" on California nurses by writing an "imperious" letter "demanding" contact information for the association's membership, then buying the list and "bombarding" the nurses with direct mail, and conducting a "fake telephone poll."

The rally will gather at 11 a.m. at Canada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd. in Woodside, according to the flier.

(The Whitman campaign has announced that, at the time of the Thursday protest in front of her Atherton home, Whitman herself will be meeting with employees of the Maglite Flashlights Corp. in Ontario, Calif.).

In the flier, the nurses association alleges that Whitman's campaign sent "spies" to the association headquarters to create "a ruckus."

The allegation refers to a press conference in the nurses association's Oakland headquarters, spokesman Shum Preston said in a phone interview.

Two people claiming to be reporters for the school newspaper at the University of California at Berkeley were allowed in, Preston said, but the newspaper, in response to a call to authenticate the reporters, said it had not assigned anyone to cover the event.

An unauthorized video of the conference showed up on Youtube, Preston said.

"I don't even know what that would be," Whitman campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said when asked to comment on the spying allegation. "It just seems like one of the tricks of the trade that they're using to misrepresent Meg and what she stands for. ... We often have volunteers that go to certain things and film them," she added.

As for Whitman's pledge to cut 40,000 state jobs, Pompei said that the plan is to reduce the state workforce through attrition. "It is very important that we get workforce levels to what we can afford," she said.

"That's a lot of people through attrition in this economy," said nurses association Co-President Deborah Burger in an interview, adding that Whitman had implied cutting 40,000 jobs during her primary campaign.

"Why would she say that," Burger asked, "and then back off and say it would be attrition? Which Meg are we going to get?"

A visit to the Whitman's campaign website confirmed that the campaign asked for a membership list and did conduct a phone poll of 303 nurses. The polling company was Hill Research Associates, a Texas-based company with clients nationwide, according to its website.

"That wasn't a big enough sample to really reflect a genuine survey," Burger said. "The questions were not what you'd normally see in a political poll. They were more of a union-busting kind of questions."

The survey included questions related to the association's use of union dues, whether its political stance is "too radical and over-involved in partisan politics," and whether it speaks for all California nurses, according to the Whitman website.

An excerpt from a letter from the Whitman campaign to the nurses association dated June 18 states: "Our campaign would like to mail each member of your union a letter from Meg explaining her positions on critical issues facing California, including the vital issues surrounding health care. ... We hope that you will decide to let us make an unfiltered case to your hardworking membership ... and do not fear giving your rank-and-file members access to both parties' ideas. Only good can come out of such a free and unfettered dialogue."

Asked to indicate to this reporter the instances of an "imperious" and "demanding" tone, Burger replied: "I guess we probably have a different take on it. I was really kind of shocked and puzzled that she had the right to demand that we turn over our membership to her."

Whitman, a former chief executive officer, is "used to getting membership lists just by asking for them," she added. "Our nurses trust us not to give their information to anyone else."

And writing separately to the nurses implies that they are "too stupid" to figure out what Whitman is saying on their own, Burger added. "It really is insulting to nurses (to allege) that we're blocking nurses from getting information on Meg Whitman."

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Like this comment
Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2010 at 11:59 am

Caution fellow nurses. Unions are not very popular these days. This might just help Meg garner votes.

Like this comment
Posted by Go, Meg!!
a resident of University South
on Jul 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Unions are bankrupting our state! It's time to put a stop to it.

Like this comment
Posted by We Have Great Nurses
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Read the letter. If the nurses association thinks the tone is "imperious" I can't imagine they had actually read it. Makes it easier to write their reaction off as knee-jerk, doesn't it?


Like this comment
Posted by We Have Great Nurses
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Second comment: careful nurses! The Association's attempt to imply that Meg's desire to cut 40,000 State jobs does not mean she is targeting nurses. There is a lot of fat elsewhere in the California government that can be cut. Does that perhaps make nurses jobs MORE safe?


Like this comment
Posted by A non moose
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

"imperious" ?

Doesn't that describe the whole strategy of buying an election without ever facing real discussion? taking questions from other than handpicked, select few? Open debate and sit down with the media rather than run?

Meg: come out from behind the $100 million veil.

Tell us how you are different from Arnold. Still waiting for him to "blow up the boxes!"

Like this comment
Posted by Disgusted with Nurses' Association
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I am tired of the Nurses Association targeting and now harassing Meg Whitman and her neighbors. The police department has to take time and resources monitoring this event and heaven help the neighbors that must deal with the noise, traffic, and media circus.

Since when is it ok to disagree with someone and go to their home and yell at them through the windows? They should be arrested for disturbing the peace.

I wish the nurses association would be so vocal about the quality and expertise of their members instead of attacking political figures.

I am also tired of hearing about Meg's money and success. Do we want our political figures living out of cardboard boxes? Are less fortunate people able to plan and implement a strong budget? Since when is it a bad thing to be educated and successful in this country?

Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

What an imposition this is for the entire neighborhood of Lindenwood and what a huge expense for the town of Atherton - hardly a good use of funds in this economy. Besides, it starts a precedent - do we want this area to be overwhelmed with protests by the unions, which are part of the reason we are in such a financial mess!

Like this comment
Posted by corrupt bankers caused this mess!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Anyone who thinks unions caused this mess have been listening to Fox News too much. The financial catastrophe was caused by 8 years of corruption by bankers, hedge funds, and speculators. They were trying to make a fortune based entirely on financial leverage without actually working for a living, unlike our hard working union members.

Like this comment
Posted by A non moose
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

"corrupt bankers"

Please, you can do better than that. Make the obvious connection next time.

Meg was on the Goldman Sachs Board of Directors compensation committee.

This is the "outsider" that working Californians want? Yeah, right.

Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

What a waste of time. They are going to go to Meg Whitman's house to protest "Whitman's proposal to cut 40,000 state jobs IF she is elected"!

Nurses, just don't vote for her if you don't like her. That's how the process works. To harass her and her neighbors when she is not even home is ridiculous.

And Whitman "demanding" contact info and "declaring war" on nurses through a letter? The union is really reaching to attack this woman and her campaign.

Like this comment
Posted by Check it out
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Adobe Meadows neighbor writes: "Anyone who thinks unions caused this mess have been listening to Fox News too much. The financial catastrophe was caused by 8 years of corruption by bankers, hedge funds, and speculators."

Gosh, and I aways thought the financial melt down was caused by the quasi-government Fanny Mae and Ginny Mae being pressured to make bad loans by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

Didn't the Democrats block Republican legislation to rein them in about 2004?

Check it out.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I believe that demonstrating in front of a residence is in poor taste.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

"I believe that demonstrating in front of a residence is in poor taste."

If Meg can't take the heat (and she ran from even this mild case), she ought to get out of politics and stick to online garage sales.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

As usual, Paul doesn't get it.

Like this comment
Posted by Quick Anatomy of Economics
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 17, 2010 at 7:43 am

Dear "Check it out"...little by little the truth is getting out, isn't it? I am seeing this fact ( CRA and Fannie Mae, Freddie MAc) become more well known.

Problem is, populist ideas pitting the "little guy" against "big bad banks" "big bad oil" "big bad CEOs", "big bad anything private" usually get it wrong. Leave it to the "big bad xyz" and they usually adjust to what the people want and sound financial/risk/cost:benefit analysis. Some mistakes, yes, but market adjusted as they pay the natural consequences of errors ( lost profit, lost market share, even bankruptcy, normally..survival of the best and fittest normally works best for businesses as in nature).

But, mess up that natural selection process with social engineering by Government, and you end up with the Fed Govt that caused this economic meltdown, turning the mortgage industry into a house of cards.

And it came tumbling down.

Follow the bouncing ball from mortgage meltdown back through time to the original Community Reinvestment Act under Carter.

Recommend searching on youtube for John Stossel on 2020 Mortgage Meltdown. He does an OK job, for those who prefer listening. But for those who want more pattern and detail: here goes.

Here is the "rest of the story".

Start: Problem with banks back before 1978 or so, was that they would "redline" mortgage applications by folks who lived in certain zip codes/communities because they were considered to be risky just by where they lived. Contrary to the myth, this had nothing to do with color, since many "whites" were denied on this basis also. But, in any case, judging on where one lives was was deemed wrong ( I agreed. This is America where we should judge individuals, not groups..or so I learned from MLK). So, along came Carter's Community Reinvesment Act forbidding redlining.

Fast forward 20 years: Unfortunately expanded by Clinton, with a Republican Congress, to become "affirmative action" lending, this became the perverted opposite of what it intended, instead AGAIN judging on "groups" on the basis of color, increasing the ease of lending to people so that more people of color could be claimed to "own homes".

Fast forward 5 years, turns out Bush et al liked the results also, and went along with yet more stringent affirmative action lending, getting to claim a huge increase in minority home ownership.. BUT, the winds of whistle blowing were starting, predicting financial meltdown from defaults from risky mortgages increasing. These whistle blowers were shouted down as "racists", since the riskiest mortgages were, by the nature of the regulations, to people of color. And we never heard anything about it.

Banks got nervous and wanted to rein in their risk....BUT under orders by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank of the Finance Committee Congress, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac told banks "match the colors of mortgages to the nation, or you won't be backed up by the Feds". Remember, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were quasi government, not "official", but a sort of dotted line humongous bank conglomerate which had an implied, not legal, understanding that they could use tax dollars to back up back mortgages with banks. ( We won't even go into, here, the corruption, nepotism and inbreeding between the Finance committee and Mae And Mac)

The Banks that didn't want to make risky loans said "Fine, we will protect our risks and securitize ourselves",..but then they started to be hassle lawsuited for "racism" by ACORN, even including ( yes, you guessed it) one lawsuit against Citibank with Barack Obama's name as one of the attorneys FOR ACORN
( Web Link

This amounted to blackmailing/extortion lawsuits by ACORN to force banks to give the keys to houses to people with no money down, and no proof of being able to actually pay back the mortgages,so that they would be in compliance with the "right" number of expected colors of the rainbow in their mortgage numbers and not get sued by ACORN, and get the security by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Banks had rough choices...stick to not giving risky loans, and keep wasting money and reputation on lawsuits, going against their shareholders interests ( their primary job is to make money for shareholders, who are you and me ..just like Oil company shareholders are you and me) or buckle under, shrug and say "ok, you wanna back bad loans Feds? Here ya go".

So banks were thug-armed into making bad loans.

And thus the match was lit. When the mortgages started foreclosing at a rate higher than they had for the prior 30 years, we went from a 1-2% foreclosure rate to 3% in 2008. This might not have rocked the boat too much..might have been a little windstorm, bringing on a little assessment of what had gone wrong, a little quiet changing of laws so that we aren't forcing bad loans, and we would have righted the ship and weathered it fine..

But, it was a perfect storm, coming in a major election year ripe for exploitation ( remember Rahm saying "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste"?) ..and exploited it was, whipped into a tornado of fear frenzy that caused the economic meltdown by screaming "the sky will fall and kill us all if you don't elect me".

A couple hundred million people got nervous, CAUSING rising unemployment by an ever spiraling fear cycle..started by buying fewer coffees ( coffee shops shut down), fewer new clothes ( retails went out of business), fewer cars ( auto companies that SHOULD have gone bankrupt to fix the system..didn't..we won't go into how the govt response to that worsened our economics yet more), fewer vacations ( resorts shut down), no upgrade to housing ( construction businesses failed), and onward spun the cycle.

More people walked out on their mortgages, as homes lost value, and as those who had no skin in the game ( no money down), ..simply said "why not?" There was no economic incentive for them to gut it out. No lost money, no worries about bankruptcy since they had no assets, etc.

And foreclosures went from 3% to 4% then 5%. Still, 95% of all loans were good, responsible people making responsible choices..but the focus was on the 5% that weren't. With propoganda spewing about "greedy banks" and "lack of regulation" ( breathtaking since regulations CAUSED this), and the ever popular..what was it..predator lending?..anti-bank/greedy big guys spiraled.

All needing the right politicians to step in and "save" us from these monsters.

Unfortunately, skilled populist politicians will always win over by preying on fearful people clutching their wallets, afraid of and against what they can't understand, looking for a savior, being bombarded by "sky is falling" media and candidates whipping them into a frenzy. Fear is easier fed than rationality. Remember the laughter at Bush rationally saying, post 9/11, "don't panic, keep living and buying"? His was the rational approach, and it worked. But "a Great Depression is coming" works better in an election year if the circumstances are right and the media support you.

Every move by the Feds at the beginning of this meltdown was a "populist" one, telling the ignorant that the "government' can save the economy by, frankly, giving ever more water to a drowning man. The very government that threw the man into the pool in the first place.

Each move caused more meltdown by causing less confidence ( by those with money) in our government, our contracts, our laws, our ability to let businesses make rational choices...which caused more panic in the uninformed for WHY each move was melting us more.

But, skillful propoganda won the day, telling the masses that government could "save" them against the greedy Wall Street, greedy Banks, etc ( this theme has not changed,..think of an issue, and our valiant government is fighting "greed" and "racism" on every front, with nobody noticing the monopolistic greed of an ever growing Fed government, along with its recently revealed inherent racism)

It worked. We had full Congressional control since 2006 by "government can help you" ideologues, and now of the White House and the 150 or so Czars and every appointee from Attorney General to Surgeon General, of "government can help you" ideologues.

And here we are. The result? Millions of destroyed lives, 30-40% decrease in tax revenue at all levels forcing a coming shut down of all of the left's favorite wealth transfer programs since we have a lot less wealth to transfer.

And now we have more of the same policies by the same foxes who have been guarding the hen house for many years, the ones who caused this meltdown in the first place. Check out the more than 2,000 page "financial reform" bill you haven't even heard about that just passed the Senate. Web Link

Wonder why you haven't heard about it while it was brewing? Think about it.

Please note as you read it that there is no mention of fixing the Community Reinvestment Act and the laws that came about as a result..wonder why??? I lived to see the evolution of the Community Reinvestment Act destroy us, so I hope to live ANOTHER 30 years so I can see where this latest piece of their Progressive work gets us.. The politicians who architect this stuff don't care, they have no price to pay for it going wrong. None. They get to just tell the ignorant who don't know that "I saved you, reelect me"...the masses don't understand it well enough that they keep re-electing the very folks who make their lives worse.

And so we get to the Nurse's Union. You have no clue what you are talking about, you are being manipulated just like those busloads of people who were driven to Banker's homes to threaten Bankers. You are hitting at a straw man ( or woman in this case). Focus instead on the ideologies which are destroying our incentives for a good economy and thus our health care in this country.

And stop hassling private citizens. It sickens me that professionals are acting like paid rabble rousers, threatening private people. I happen to strongly disapprove of Meg Whitman's politics on many fronts, and will probably only vote for her in the same vein I voted for McCain, as one AGAINST one who is worse, but she, like all of our people, is an individual who does not deserve any hassling at all.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

Rallies outside homes is not on. Imagine if your next door neighbor was running for office and a rally was outside your home, blocking your street, making it impossible to hear on the phone, sit on your deck, or drive to get groceries.

Thoughtless behavior will only anger the family and neighbors of the target, not change perceived policy.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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