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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Workers Take a Stand Against Wall Street-Big Oil Takeover at Whitman/Blakeslee Fundraiser

By California Labor Federation Communications Organizer Rebecca Greenberg

Last night, Meg “Wall Street” Whitman teamed up with Senate District 15 GOP candidate Sam “The Oil Man” Blakeslee for a ritzy Silicon Valley garden reception and fundraiser, where they raked in thousands upon thousands of dollars for their campaigns. Blakeslee, a former Exxon executive who is bought and paid for by the Big Oil interests that want to drill off California’s coast, was trying to squeeze out some last-minute campaign cash before Tuesday’s special election, when voters will choose between Blakeslee and labor-endorsed candidate and champion for working families, John Laird.

But the idea of Big Oil and Wall Street coming together in an effort to wage a hostile corporate takeover of our state was too unnerving for some South Bay workers, who protested outside the fundraiser in Los Gatos with signs and chants, saying “Sam and Meg, you shall fail – California is not for sale!”

The economic philosophy Whitman and Blakeslee share is simple: If it’s good for Wall Street and Big Oil, it’s good for everyone. But we’ve learned the hard way just how flawed that philosophy is. The consequences of Oil Man Sam’s “drill baby drill” philosophy can be summed up in one look at the disaster on the Gulf Coast. And the Wall Street agenda Meg Whitman wants to bring to California is responsible for millions of lost jobs and home foreclosures.

As Whitman’s car pulled into the private event, workers crowded the driveway and yelled “Meg Whitman, go away -- California is not eBay!" and "Meg Whitman’s just like Goldman Sachs – Don’t believe us, check the facts!” Inside the fundraiser, Whitman, Blakeslee and their rich cronies dined on a luxurious, gourmet meal, while outside, workers stood in the hot sun without water, calling on the GOP candidates to come out and have a real, face-to-face discussion with the people they are seeking to represent in Sacramento. Not surprisingly, they ignored our call. Check out the news coverage from the event.

Meg and Sam didn’t hide out behind closed doors to talk about how to help middle-class Californians recover from this economic storm. Instead, these two were doing what they’ve always done – planning to give more tax breaks and handouts to the same big corporations that crashed our economy and are destroying our environment.

Californians like their coasts clean and don’t want their jobs cut. We simply can’t afford Blakeslee and Whitman to bring their Big Oil-Wall St agenda to California.

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

Posted on 06/18/2010Permalink

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