By Rebecca Kern / Assistant Opinions Editor
By Rebecca Kern / Assistant Opinions Editor
Every election season, candidates are exposed and opponents do whatever they can to raise their image by tearing down the competition. This year is no different for Meg Whitman and her campaign as it slowly begins to crumble.
Running against Jerry Brown for California governor, the New York native Republican has a huge elephant sitting in every room she enters.
Last year, housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan, admitted to her employer, Whitman, that she is an undocumented immigrant. Santillan made it publicly aware via her lawyer Gloria Allred, that Whitman was well informed of her citizenship status and that Whitman treated her poorly.
Whitman denies ever knowing about the illegal status as well as denies ever seeing letters from the Social Security Administration regarding mismatching information in Santillan’s documents.
Whitman has a thick past with business including her former position as chief executive of EBay, senior vice president at Walt Disney Co. and general manager at Hasbro Inc.
Although her resume is full of great leadership skills in a business world, where will she stand in actually creating a functioning California?
She has not taken responsibility in her actions of hiring an illegal immigrant when she stands so strong in the fight to tighten our state’s borders in cooperation with the nation as a whole.
Whitman’s platform consists of promises to create at least 2 million private-sector jobs by 2015, chopping $15 billion out of the California spending budget, as well as creating letter grades for schools to give accountability to failing schools and expand charter schools to improve choice.
Unlike her Democratic opponent Brown, she strongly supports the tightening of California’s southern border to keep immigrants from taking American dollars.
Whitman addresses her stance on immigration as the “need to build an ‘Economic Fence’ with a strong e-verification system that holds employers accountable for following the law. We are never going to solve the problem of illegal immigration as long as there is strong demand for undocumented labor.”
The Whitman family hired Santillan in 2000, at which time she provided a Social Security card and California driver’s license and falsely proved her citizenship.
In 2003, the Social Security Administration sent a letter to Santillan noting that there were discrepancies with her Social Security documents.
Though Whitman denies seeing any letter, the media were provided a copy of the letter addressed to Whitman and her husband Griffith Harsh. The letter informed the couple that Santillan’s earnings couldn’t be put on the employee’s Social Security record until the information given matched the government records. Harsh said he did not recall receiving the letter, as it was sent seven years ago, it is possible that he would have noted a follow up for Santillan. “Nicky Please check this Thanks,” is scribbled at the bottom of the letter.
This scandal has definitely affected her campaign in ways that may be irreversible. It places her in a state of mockery because she has gone against one of the platforms that is said to be most crucial to California, border strengthening. Rasmussen Report polls have shown that before Santillan’s immigration status became public, Brown and Whitman were virtually tied, Brown with 47 percent over Whitman’s 46 percent of voters support.
Now they stand with a substantial gap. Brown trumps holding 49 percent of voters’ support and Whitman with 44 percent. May it be that this scandal turns Whitman into a hypocrite if all facts stand true? Are voters seeing that Brown has more experience with politics and might have a better vision for California than the greedy businesswoman, Whitman?
So what if Whitman fired Santillan? As a true politician, she had to follow appropriate measures to ensure her campaign would be unharmed by her mistake. Doesn’t look like it did much help. It only threw Santillan under the bus in tears as she now tries to fight for citizenship after working in an American home close to nine years, with no help from her emotionless former employer.
It is absolutely ridiculous that it took this amount of time for Santillan’s citizenship status to become knowledge in the home. Especially in the heart of Southern California where over 60 percent of Los Angeles county informal work force are undocumented persons.
There is no doubt that Whitman had known about the undocumented status and is becoming extremely hypocritical in her campaign. She began producing campaign ads in Spanish to acquire support from the California Latino community.
If she wants to support the Latino community, then why not help Santillan in gaining her citizenship? Whitman would have been able to then keep her housekeeper and Santillan would have been able to keep receiving her $23 per hour.
Whitman is trying to save face and appeal to a community in a demeaning way. She does not support the D.R.E.A.M. Act which not only allows alien students to receive education from the higher educational institutions that set our nation apart but also to give the students an irrevocable status of citizenship.
“I don’t think it’s fair to bar and eliminate the ability of California citizens to attend higher universities and favor undocumented (students,)” Whitman said.
Whitman has to be held responsible a 100 percent for having a non-citizen working under her roof for nearly nine years. Brown criticized Whitman during a debate saying that she shouldn’t be running for governor if she cannot stand strong and admit fault.
Whether her fault or not, she ought to apologize and start fresh. He claimed that she blamed the housekeeper, blamed her competition, the left and the unions, but she never once accepted any form of responsibility.
This is tearing apart Whitman’s accountability and trustworthiness and will ultimately falsify her campaign as a whole.
Whitman made a huge mistake and because of this her supporters may not vote for her, giving Brown the upper hand in the running for California governor.