Unions target Fiorina, Whitman fundraisers

Watch for snarled streets tonight in Piedmont and tomorrow in Burlingame as labor unions and others protest fundraising events for Republican U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina and Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, respectively.

The Fiorina event from 5 to 7 p.m. today on Bellevue Avenue in Piedmont, starting at $500 a head, will feature former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice also will headline Whitman’s 6 p.m. Tuesday, $1,000-and-up event at the Hyatt Regency on Burlingame’s Bayshore Boulevard, along with Grammy-winning songrwriter, producer and singer David Foster.

“Holding fundraisers with top officials of the Bush administration—whose unfair economic policies and short-sighted war in Iraq created a devastating crisis for American families–symbolizes exactly what is at stake in this election,” Malinda Markowitz, a co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, said in a news release. “Whitman and Fiorina are running on programs that would return us to the failed policies of the past. We need elected leaders who carry the values of nurses, caring, compassion, and community, not the corporate greed and failure so symbolized by the Bush administration and the CEO records of Whitman and Fiorina. Whitman and Fiorina are just too extreme for California voters, as they are demonstrating yet again.”

But the Republicans’ campaigns say it’s not the candidates who are too extreme.

“For 28 years in Washington, DC, Barbara Boxer has been first in line to promote the extreme and destructive agenda set by her special interest backers, so it comes as no surprise that these very same allies would work together to manufacture the illusion of support for her in an election year,” Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “The last thing they want in Washington is a Senator like Carly Fiorina who, as a political outsider with real work experience, is beholden to no one and will make decisions based on what will get California’s economy moving again and create jobs for the more than 2.2 million Californians out of work today.”

And Whitman spokesman Darrel Ng said Democratic gubernatorial nominee “Jerry Brown is bought and paid for by the unions. The events are ploys coordinated by a group of radical union bosses who have consistently misrepresented the views of hardworking nurses throughout the state. Californians deserve to know what Jerry Brown will give them in return for their generous financial support. Finally, how is this for union dues well spent? CNA President Rose DeMoro, who has never worked as a nurse a day in her life, is paid $300,000, five times more than the median salary of an American nurse.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

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