The State Budget & Meg’s Housekeeper

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Don’t think that because the Big 5 announced agreement on the budget that it is a done deal. I ran into a Democratic Assemblyman at a book festival over the weekend as I was plugging my mystery novel, Lincoln’s Hand, and he told me he had just been briefed on the budget. He said it was ugly for both sides and he wasn’t sure he could vote for it.

A Wall Street Journal article reports similar remarks from other legislators. This budget drama is not over.

And, neither is the drama over Meg Whitman’s housekeeper, Nicandra Diaz Santillan. The two dramas could be linked in looking at the "big picture" of California’s problems.

More questions remain to be asked about the maid’s status, but not all questions should be directed at Whitman.

The media should direct questions at the former housekeeper. Why let Gloria Allred stonewall? Allred won’t say who recommended Diaz Santillan to come to her. Why not? Why shouldn’t Diaz Santillan answer media questions? What about the union representative the media reported was in the room at the press conference? Some questions must be sent in that direction.

As the drama continues, the discussion will go beyond Whitman and Diaz Santillan’s actions to the larger question of illegal immigration. Doug McIntrye in his Sunday Los Angeles Daily News column argued the question of immigration "is why a trivial incident like "Housekeeper-Gate" is also vital."

McIntrye stated the cost of providing services to illegal immigrants is a major part of California’s budget problem. As he put it: "We arrived at insolvency one illegal housekeeper at a time."

In the end, the Whitman-Diaz Santillian incident could resonate more broadly on the political scene and bring us back to the basic issue of California’s late budget – what we are paying for and why.

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