Garcia: Nurses battle could hurt

Maybe you actually can have too much money in politics, since it gives people the freedom and time to tackle just about anything — your opponent, major unions, truth.

But, we’ll give credit to Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor, for having the moxie to battle on all fronts, including trying to fend off angry nurses showing up to protest at her home.

Whitman’s camp should have been all atwitter about recent polls that show her in a virtual dead heat with Democratic nominee Jerry Brown. Most of the media focus, however, was on other news: Whitman’s ongoing battle with the California Nurses Association and reports that she was possibly going to raise up to $30 million for the GOP to help it with other statewide races (something staff officials deny.)

Besides the fact that we should be wary of anyone who actually wants the job, the race for the state’s top office gets more curious by the week. Whitman has set up a new website dedicated to answering the onslaught from the CNA — which begs the question as to why anyone would take on a union when running against California’s major brand name.

And then she announced that she wanted to set up an advisory committee to help reach out to nurses, which got the union’s leadership so mad you’d think they were asked to start working consecutive 24-hour shifts.

History has shown that taking on popular and powerful unions in the middle of a campaign is a sure way to derailment. (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered a devastating election a few years back due to his battles with the CNA and he’s never quite recovered).

And, it’s even more puzzling when the one thing that you do well — spend money — has been a surefire success. Whitman’s high-profile attack ads against Brown have put him on the defensive, and his major response so far has been to go on cable TV and hold out his hand to supporters, saying, “Man, she’s really got a lot of money.”

When Brown employed his rope-a-dope strategy against Mayor Gavin Newsom early in the primary it made sense because Newsom had no money and was up against 40 years of name recognition. At nearly $100 million and counting, Whitman has purchased a televised debate — for herself.

Camp Jerry may be smarter than the rest, but right now there are few signs to prove it.


Single, rich? Avoid Money’s best-of list


Those of us in the media that constantly come up with lists — best Bay Area hot spots, worst place to sit at a Giants game — know well that all things with a “top 10” in their title are by their nature controversial.

Yet, they generally include some consensus views or at least are halfway steeped in reality.

But you can drop Money magazine off that list.

The magazine for affluent spenders recently came out with its top cities for the “rich and single” guide, a list that includes Irvine, Rocklin and Milpitas among California’s entries — further proof that the publication’s editors have never been to most of the places praised.

Rocklin did have some panache years ago when the San Francisco 49ers held summer training camps there, but it’s better known as just another town filled with strip malls in a Sacramento regional-planning kind of way.

Irvine, as Money pointed out, does have many tech companies, but I didn’t realize that gave a city quality-of-life points. Irvine is a “new town” built with some of the strictest planning limits in California (no working on your car in the driveway, for instance), and as such is one of the most sterile cities around.

It does have a UC campus, but, then, so do Merced and Riverside.

Milpitas was praised for having vast areas of parkland, but what it really has is tons of open space yet to be filled with tract housing. Sounds like a real singles magnet.


Crusader for medical pot should read the rule book


When Matt Lucero says he’d rather fight than switch, he’s not kidding. The founder of a recently closed pot club in Mountain View — which he operated despite a moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries — says he’s going to run for mayor of the town because its laws are archaic.

Of course, he’ll have to move there first. It’s the lack of attention to detail that got him in trouble in the first place.
Lucero, who lives in Campbell, told the San Jose Mercury News that he’s running because his clients have been urging him to continue his lengthy battle with the Mountain View City Council, and ultimately the courts, to remain in business.

After the courts shut him down, Lucero moved Buddy’s Cannabis Patient Collective to Sunnyvale, even though he doesn’t have a permit and the city also has a moratorium on pot clubs. Lucero reportedly was cited and will face fines for each day he keeps Buddy’s operating, which means that at about $1,000 a day, he’s going to have to sell a lot of buds to keep his buddies happy.

Someone may want to tell him that when mayors are sworn in, they usually pledge to uphold the law.


Board proves it can make good decisions


In San Francisco, land fights are never over, but give the Board of Supervisors credit for doing the right thing in approving the massive Hunters Point shipyard environmental report this week rather than giving in to small groups of naysayers who seem bent on battling progress.

The report is the first major step in reaching a 20-year goal of reinvigorating the southeastern part of San Francisco and building the largest residential development in a generation. The project is expected to bring in billions in revenue to The City and create thousands of construction jobs.

Particular praise goes to board President David Chiu, who coolly presided over a long, difficult hearing that featured the kind of ranting we’ve come to expect from project opponents who’ve used threats and bullying tactics to block the best hope for the Hunters Point area since the can-do days of the Navy’s presence.

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