WESTMINSTER, Calif. — After spending more than $80 million and building a major lead in public opinion polls, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman may finally have met her match Tuesday in the parking lot of the Asian Garden Mall in Orange County's Little Saigon.
The billionaire candidate was delivering her stump speech to about 150 people at an open-air rally when about 50 protesters from the California Nurses Association and its schoolteacher allies interrupted by chanting and blowing whistles just a few dozen yards away.
Flanked by banners reading "Take Back Sac," Whitman finished her speech without acknowledging the protesters and later said she wouldn't let the unions stop her from talking about her plans for the state. But it was clear Tuesday that the nurses union was aiming to play the giant killer again this election year.
"We hope we got people to look at the other side and figure out what's going on," said Long Beach-based nurse Margie Keenan, who took part in the protest. "It's pretty sad. We're the working people of California. We're the ones who she's trying to cut our pensions. … That's firefighters, nurses, people on the front lines who take care of the community."
The unions will be repeating history if they manage to wound Whitman this election year. They proved to be powerful opponents six years ago when they took on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who at the height of his popularity upset nurses by delaying a plan to lower state nurse- patient staffing ratios.
Read more of this story at SacBee.com