Would you vote for the homeless guy for governor?
I like gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari. He has some good ideas and, during the primaries, did not seem too worried about spending his money to make sure you got the message. Of course, his campaign coffers are nearly depleted now and it’s questionable how much he will be able to spend on his future campaign against Jerry Brown.
A recent stunt, however, has me wondering if he isn’t just another johnny-come-republican.
Allegedly, the multi-millionaire took a Greyhound bus and $40 to Fresno where he spent a week as a homeless guy looking for work. Backpack in hand, he supposedly trudged the streets of Fresno dragging along his toothbrush and videographer. Of course, one has to wonder if prospective employers asked why a homeless guy would need a videographer.
Calling it one of the “hardest weeks” of his life (really?), the investment banker talked about his experience on MSNBC. Going with only one shower for the week, the scruffy mogul also wound up eating at a homeless shelter (I wonder if he paid them for the meal).
Kashkari, who in the past was mistakenly identified by his enemies as a dreaded “Muslim” (He is really Hindu), has been trying all kinds of interesting ways to get free publicity. According to the LA Times he has crashed teachers union conferences, visited churches in South LA and marched in gay pride parades.
The homeless trick takes the cake, though.
Kashkari is going to have to step up his game if he plans to be a serious Jerry Brown contender. Trailing in the double digits, I doubt Brown sees him as any real threat. And, why should he? Stick your head outside the Orange Curtain, and Brown is immensely popular with the voters on both sides of the street. If you can get past his Hi-Speed-Rail-To-Nowhere boondoggle, he has done a remarkable job for a former space-case and shown that he really does have the Pat Brown gene.
In the meantime, Kashkari is demonstrating that he is more interested in publicity stunts than outlining any real plan to fix what doesn’t need fixing – unless you are a super rich investment banker type looking to make more money off the backs of poor Californians. Or, maybe Kashkari, like Meg Whitman before him, thinks money can buy the election.
Oh wait, in that case, throw in the towel now. Governor Brown has twenty-two mil in his campaign account and it doesn’t look like he will have to do any borrowing. Neel, on the other hand, is broke.
What this really shows us is that either Republicans are notorious cheapskates and won’t help fund Kashkari’s all-but-doomed bid or, they just see the writing on the wall. In any case, this may not be the last time you hear about a hair-brained stunt from Kashkari.
One thing I wonder about though. Why did Kashkari feel it necessary to travel to Fresno to demonstrate his homeless prowess. We have a huge homeless encampment right here in Santa Ana.
Maybe he was afraid he’d run into Chris Norby.
Kudos to our friends over at the Liberal OC who released their Annual Top Ten Scariest Politicians list. Although none of the stalwarts on our city council made number one, I am pleased to announce that Hizzoner, Jerry “Boss Tweed” Amante made number 6 on the list. Considering the contenders, this is quite an, uh… well… honor.
From the Lib (because we couldn’t say it any better):
6. Jerry Amante — The Boss Tweed of Tustin is doing his best to make sure everyone knows he is a fiscal conservative when all evidence is to the contrary. From overspending on legal fees, to doling out no-bid contracts for things like cleaning services, to buying iPads for the city council that don’t save a penny in paper costs, Amante bears the shame of being the second mayor of the city to be the subject of a recall. He still owes an apology to council member Deborah Gavello and members of the TUSD board for claiming they were part of his politically motivated recall when they certainly weren’t. Our favorite recent action — Amante wants Tustin voters to vote on city council compensation – which won’t affect him because it takes place after he’s termed out. How convenient! Now Jerry could do the right thing and pay the city back for all his past checks or refuse to accept another dime moving forward, but we’re guessing he won’t because it’s part of the larger narrative — do as I say not as I do. The good news for city staffers — hang in there. Jerry is out in a year and you can get your lives back.
The Lib is definitely right about Jerry’s political career. It would take a major salvage job to rescue that. When even Chris “I’m not homeless – it’s a study” Norby stands a better chance of making politics a career, you should know you are in trouble.
Unfortunately, Jerry’s love of money is likely to keep his one-man lobbying firm going for years. With the right people on the city council, he could be haunting city hall for a long time.
Hmmm. Maybe Our Town Tustin will start the Scariest Lobbyists of the Year list.