By Doug Porter
The forerunner of today’s reality TV programming was a program called ‘Queen for a Day.’ Starting out as a radio program, it made the jump to black and white TV in 1948, staying on air until 1964.
Women selected from the studio audience were ushered to the stage and urged to tell tales of woe, which were rated by the audience using an “applause meter.” The winner was crowned, showered with sponsor-provided prizes and expected to cry profusely. ‘Queen’ was a ratings monster in its day.
California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, whose running-on-empty campaign is desperate for attention, is hoping his latest campaign stunt –‘Poor for a Week’– will resonate with voters.
This time around around, the winner is all the ‘poors,’ we’re told. The multimillionaire Laguna Beach resident’s week posing as a homeless man in Fresno has given him the insights of how lower taxes and less regulation will lift the least fortunate into a miraculous life of minimum wage success.
He submitted an essay to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), presumably in the hope that the downtrodden residents of California would find inspiration from reading it.
Here’s the Los Angeles Times, telling the tale of woe:
Kashkari wrote that he took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles to Fresno on July 21 with “only $40 in my pocket (and no credit cards), a backpack, a change of clothes and a toothbrush.” He said he planned to find a job. “I am an able-bodied 41-year-old. Surely I could find some work…”
…Kashkari has been trying to garner attention in unconventional ways for a GOP statewide candidate — visiting churches in South L.A., marching in a gay-pride parade in San Diego and crashing a teachers’ union conference to criticize Brown’s education policy.
During his Fresno trip, Kashkari writes, he walked miles in 100-degree heat while seeking work, showering once during the week, sleeping on park benches and running out of money, forcing him to find meals at a homeless shelter.
Here’s the money quote from the Wall Street Journal article:
I walked for hours and hours in search of a job, giving me a lot of time to think. Five days into my search, hungry, tired and hot, I asked myself: What would solve my problems? Food stamps? Welfare? An increased minimum wage?
No. I needed a job. Period. Like others, I have often said the best social program in the world is a good job. Even though my homeless trek was only for a week, with a defined endpoint, that statement became much more real for me. A job was the one thing that could have solved my food, housing and transportation problems.
California’s record poverty is man-made: over-regulation and over-taxation that drive jobs out of state…
Over at Digby’s Hullabaloo, David Atkins marveled at Kashkari’s dense take on the issue:
Any normal person would have come away from the experience saying, “Whoa, there but for the grace of god go I.” Or perhaps “what the hell is wrong with the economy that no one will even hire me for $9/hour to sweep floors or wash dishes?” But not Republicans like Kashkari. They immediately assume that taxes and regulations must be to blame for all of it.
But Kashkari’s experience would have been far more instructive if he had actually gotten a minimum wage job. It would have been far more interesting to have seen Kashkari’s reaction to trying to find an apartment, decent food and workable transportation on $9 an hour. Methinks just “getting a job” wouldn’t have really solved his problems.
Maybe that can be his next stunt. He could even learn from Democrats who have documented their own time “living the wage” that just having a job doesn’t really cut it.
Or perhaps Kashkari could have spent a week in Kansas, marveling at how Gov. Sam Brownback’s sharply reduced taxes haven’t done squat for the economy.
Here’s economist Paul Krugman, describing the Kansas ‘miracle:’
Two years ago, Kansas embarked on a remarkable fiscal experiment: It sharply slashed income taxes without any clear idea of what would replace the lost revenue. Sam Brownback, the governor, proposed the legislation — in percentage terms, the largest tax cut in one year any state has ever enacted — in close consultation with economist Arthur Laffer. And Brownback predicted the cuts would jump-start an economic boom — “Look out, Texas,” he proclaimed. But Kansas isn’t booming — in fact, its economy is lagging both neighboring states and America as a whole. Meanwhile, the state’s budget has plunged deep into deficit, provoking a Moody’s downgrade of its debt.
Kashkari and congressional candidate Carl DeMaio are running for office trying to portray themselves as different-from-the pack-Republicans. As long as they keep espousing the mantra of trickle down economics, the portrayal amounts to than putting lipstick on a pig.
Southwest and SeaWorld Breaking Up
After 25 years of joint marketing, Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld Entertainment are parting ways.
From UT-San Diego:
Bid farewell to the three whimsical Shamu- and penguin-branded planes that will return to the traditional Southwest design.
The announcement comes following protests earlier this year that sought to persuade the airline to terminate its marketing relationship with Orlando, Fla.-based SeaWorld Entertainment in the wake of the documentary “Blackfish” that is critical of the theme park’s treatment of killer whales.
Southwest and SeaWorld, which has marine parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio, insist that the decision was a mutual one, predicated on “shifting priorities” by both companies.
‘Jane Doe’ Lawsuit Settled
The trial phase of a lawsuit involving the on-duty sexual abuse of women by former San Diego police Officer Anthony Arevalos was just two weeks away from happening.
Major media from around the country were expecting to cover the case, with current and former SDPD officers were set to testify, and the jury expected to hear explicit details pertaining to four other women allegedly victimized by Arevalos, before Jane Doe.
For months now City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has been telling the media that this case was all about plaintiff ‘Joe Doe” being greedy, citing the $2.3 million already paid in settlements stemming from this case.
From the UT-San Diego story:
The city appeared to be building a defense that would question Jane Doe’s lifestyle and undermine her version of events, including a psychological expert who questioned whether Jane Doe was blowing the encounter out of proportion, according to arguments in court.
It is unknown how the tentative settlement came together this week. When the parties met for a motion hearing last week, U.S. District Judge Michael Anello asked if one last formal mediation session would help. The lawyers said no, although Mitchell Dean, a private attorney working on behalf of the city, said the parties had been in regular contact by phone with a mediator.
In January, the City Attorney’s Office said it had tried to make a “generous” offer to Jane Doe but her lawyers wanted an “outrageous” sum. The amount was never disclosed.
The publicity about the money was an attempt by the city to drawn attention away from Jane Doe’s real goal, which was to force the government to take actions addressing the underlying culture in the SDPD allowing Officer Arevalos and roughly a dozen others to be charged with crimes in recent years.
From Voice of San Diego:
Doe’s lawyers wanted a court-ordered monitor to oversee SDPD and address numerous misconduct problems. In April, a judge said Doe had presented enough evidence of a “code of silence” within the department to cover up officer misconduct that a jury could hear those claims. The main example: Department brass missed numerous red flags about Officer Anthony Arevalos, the cop who was convicted of soliciting sexual bribes from Doe and other women.
So here’s the big question: Will the settlement involve some sort of outside oversight of the department or broad reform in how SDPD handles officer misconduct issues?
And here’s my prediction: we’ll have no way of knowing whether any actual reforms come about beyond the press releases issued by the city when this settlement is approved. The details of the SDPD’s past bad actions will remain sealed up in the non-disclosed part of the agreement.
On This Day: 1917 After organizing a strike of metal miners against the Anaconda Company, Wobbly organizer Frank Little was dragged by six masked men from his Butte, Mont., hotel room and hung from the Milwaukee Railroad trestle. Years later writer Dashiell Hammett would recall his early days as a Pinkerton detective agency operative and recount how a mine company representative offered him $5,000 to kill Little. Hammett says he quit the business that night 1956 – The Social Security Act was amended to provide benefits to disabled workers aged 50-64 and disabled adult children. 1960 – Elvis Presley was named Public Enemy #1 by the East German newspaper, “Young World.”
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