Meg Whitman’s Latino Outreach & the Pete Wilson Connection

November 20th, 2009 · 32 Comments

California Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman has upped her Latino outreach in the past week or so. Blogger Matt Ortega has a good post up about her latest attempt, more mariachi style politics, which isn’t something new. Both political parties like to show candidates behind a backdrop of mariachis and tacos. You can see the video she released here:

However, one key issue that Meg Whitman conveniently leaves out is her relationship with former California governor Pete Wilson, who serves as her Campaign Chairman. Yes, Pete Wilson, the guy who publicly supported Proposition 187, which prohibited the undocumented from utilizing social services, health care, and education. Proposition 187 was eventually overturned in federal court, but Pete Wilson continued to defend the measure.

I believe that Proposition 187 helped tip off some of the anti-immigration hysteria that we are still confronting today. Instead of offering a way to regularize undocumented immigrants, who provide so much of the low wage labor that fuels California’s economy, Whitman’s Campaign Chairman Pete Wilson wanted to make sure that they stayed disenfranchised.

My thought is that Meg Whitman would be more genuine in her Latino outreach if she told us why she has chosen to feature Pete Wilson so prominently in her campaign. Is this the kind of change we have to look forward to in the Golden State?

Photo Credit: CHERYL A. GUERRERO Associated Press, Former California Governor Pete Wilson & Meg Whitman at her formal announcement for 2010 governor’s race, September 22, 2009.

Tags: Democratic Party · Education · GOP · health care · Immigration · Republican Party

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Nov 21, 2009 at 1:50 am

    What incredible bullshit proceeding out of Meg Whitman’s mouth! To lie so openly about the GOP’s relationship with Latino voters tells all of us she is just another blowhard ready to feed off the public trough. You would think she would try something different, or does she think the Latino voter is so ignorant we can’t remember who Pete Wilson is?

  • 2 Reyfeo // Nov 21, 2009 at 6:20 am

    I believe there is a growing sentiment in the state which shows more and more Californians (both Hispanic and non) are growing weary of the way California hands out social service with no real rate of return from illegal immigrants, to wit the state is broke.

    This makes someone like Meg Whitman popular (even within Hispanic/Latinos of legal Citizenship). Like it or not, if you make a fair assessment, and without any sustenance from the left of a solution to the growing debt California is surmounting, Meg and Pete’s stance on illegal immigration is a forced hand waiting to happen…at some point we/the state of California has to stop the free social services it has extended to illegal immigrants. It didn’t work in the past, it’s not working now and it won’t work in the future. What’s frightening to the left (and I suspect most on the website) is that I’m not alone in this thinking. Meg Whitman, doesn’t have to hide her relationship with Pete, it just might encourage a few like me to start seeing (at minimum asking who, what, when, and why?) that doing something is better then nothing and consequently finding ourselves in the broke predicament the state is in. Might be, the timing on this run, given the environment and the issues, is on target. If Californians can’t get a guarantee the Propositions, they favor (58.7% in favor of Prop 187, overturned by a very Liberal Fed Court Judge!!)), can be upheld in a court of law, then they’ll vote someone like Meg Whitman to send their message of disdain. More and more Californians are starting to see they are Americans first, Latino second…Like it or not, this makes Meg and Pete a force to be reckoned with.

  • 3 Anna // Nov 21, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Pete Wilson supported amnesty during the 80s when he was a US Senator. He’s the one who lobbied Reagan to pass it. But in the early 90s when we had a recession and Governor Wilson’s approval ratings fell to 15%, he jumped on the 187 bandwagon. 187 was just a device to get Pete Wilson reelected.

    As for Whitman, any Latino who votes for her is a moron. She will continue the devastaing cuts in education, healthcare, etc. All Republicans are the same. They try to hide behind labels like “moderate,” and”maverick,” but since 1929, all they have ever done is wreck the economy.


  • 4 Anna // Nov 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Reyfeo, when are you going to get it through your head that the GOP doesn’t like you. They do not see you as equal. They think you should be mowing lawns, fighting in their wars, or sitting in prison.

    Whitman will make deep cuts in education to make sure that there is a big pool of cheap labor. Pete Wilson made deep cuts in education and so has Arnold. How you can vote for an ideology that dehumanizes you is beyond comprehension.

  • 5 webmaster // Nov 21, 2009 at 1:42 pm


    Good point about Pete Wilson (as a senator) backing immigration reform in the 80s.

    I do remember Pete Wilson being wildly unpopular on college campuses and within the Latino community. It will be interesting to see if other Latinos make the connection.

  • 6 Reyfeo // Nov 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Right now I don’t like either the Dem or the reps and consider myself a straight conservative.

    That said, by default, cuts in Education and healthcare are coming in California…it is unsustainable and moronic to think you can keep paying for everything and for everyone who is here legally and illegally.

    Again, “the times are a changing” and so we as a Latino community need to stop bitching about benefits we need to start acquiring for ourselves through hard work and education, less we become nanny-state minded.

  • 7 Anna // Nov 21, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Re: “It will be interesting to see if other Latinos make the connection”

    Probably. Fortunately not many Latinos are confused like Refeyo. lol

  • 8 stephen // Nov 21, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I am pretty sure Prop 187 was not overturned by the federal courts.

  • 9 webmaster // Nov 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm


    A federal judge ruled that the federal government has the final say in immigration policy, not the state.

    Also, don’t you remember Plyer v. Doe, which held that the undocumented had equal protection guarantees (school children)?

    But I’m curious as to your interpretation of Prop 187 and how it wasn’t overturned by the courts. Maybe you have another version of what happened.

  • 10 stephen // Nov 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Web- yeah, I know that, but the injunction was never appealed and never made it to the 9th circuit, largely because the judge took her time and waited the Wilson administration out. Despite the short-circuited word of the courts because of politics, a new Prop. 187 might make it to the SCOTUS, and has a better than even shot of being affirmed given the court’s composition.

    I am aware of Plyler, but that has to do with children and 14th amendment jurisdiction. Perhaps that decision would rule in a new 187 case. Regardless, to say prop 187 is unconstitutional is far from a closed issue.

    For the record, was against prop 187. Doesn’t mean I can’t be objective about where it stands. I suppose technically it has been ruled unconstitutional, but again, the final word on this is far from done.

  • 11 webmaster // Nov 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    I too know that Prop 187 never made it to beyond that particular court. But as it stands now, the federal court threw out a lot of it.

    Your original comment made it sounds like Prop 187 still stands as it was voted in.

    BTW, you have a response to your last comment on the Honduras post.

  • 12 stephen // Nov 21, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Fair enough. I’m not even gonna read the Honduras post. Too tired. Suffice it to say, the State Dept. pulled the rug from under Zelaya. The question is will you and Anna support the newly elected president this month?

  • 13 Cockroach People // Nov 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Prop 187 ,as far as California is concerned, was and is unconstitutional. This is not a technicality. Appeals are afforded to a losing party under very narrow circumstances, usually for error or abuse of judicial discretion (rare). Also, the Supremes are under no obligation to hear a decision from a lower court. It is purely discretionary whether or not to grant certiorari.

    As a long as any case is not appealed and reversed, then the judgment is final and not a mere technicality. One might as well argue that someone convicted of murder but chooses not to appeal his case( or alternatively does appeal but loses and is not granted certiorari by the Supremes), is only technically guilty. Such reasoning borders on the absurd.

    Could the constitutionality of a proposition similar to 187 be passed and make it’s way to the supremes, ultimately leading to a reversal of the reasoning in 187 case? Yes, but that question is different from the question of whether 187 is unconstitutional–it is, plain and simple. Even a final decree by the Supremes is not really final, despite the myth of stare decisis, as our current activist court has quite eagerly gutted out precedent inherited from its more liberal iterations. The Law is never a “closed issue.”

  • 14 stephen // Nov 24, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Coackroach, that granting cert is discretionary does not make the lower court the final arbiter of what is constitutional, even assuming coherence across districts. Its merely all the federal court has to say on the matter for now. So far, as you point out, the lower court has deemed prop 187 unconstitutional, but the statement that it is unconstitutional is usually designed to stop debate over a new prop-187.
    As in the original post where the author states that prop 187 was “eventually” overturned, but Wilson “continued” to defend the measure, as if he was being defiant against a final decision, not merely taking the case through its proper course.

    This is disingenuous, I think, particularly when appeal was not denied, but dropped by the Davis administration. For whatever political reasons, the constitutionality is far from final. As you say nothing is a closed issue, sure, but its certainly more closed when SCOTUS decides it. And I don’t know which law takes precedence in a prop 187 case. Are you saying SCOTUS has already decided on a prop 187 case?

    I understand the insistence on shutting out debate by declaring prop 187 unconstitutional, as if it were a closed issue, especially since it got almost 60% of the vote. A new prop 187 would almost certainly pass again, given the economy. But politically speaking, insisting on its unconstitutionality, I think promotes lethargy in fighting against a new prop 187. “But I thought it was unconstitutional?”

  • 15 Cockroach People // Nov 24, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Stephen, your “final arbiter” argument is a straw man. The question is whether or not 187 has been declared unconstitutional by a court competent to hear such a case or controversy. It has. This would be the same result for any decision made buy a lower court with proper jurisdiction (e.g. see my murder analogy). The decision as it stands is binding on California whether or not an appeal was lost or the losing party chose not to appeal. Yes its unconstitutionality is inconvenient and may chill some debate among the uninformed, but that does not change the reality of the final jurisprudence expressed by the district court that was not appealed and is therefore the law on point with regard to 187.

    I understand that in the popular mythology a lower court decision is merely something to be appealed until one gets the result they desire. Unfortunately that is not our system. Again, appeals are generally waged on narrow grounds for significant error or abuse of judicial discretion. Seldom is a case reviewed de novo. Is there room to craft something that avoids the points declared unconstitutional in the district court? Yes. Might a similar law get on the ballot? Yes. Might that law be declared unconstitutional as well? Yes. Might those people appeal to the 9th circuit (notoriously liberal according to more than a few) if they have grounds for appeal? Yes. Might that law get to the Supremes (a court that is quite conservative yet under Roberts has sided with noncitizens in 75% of its immigration cases [citing the importance of precedent an adherence to the letter of the law]) ? Yes. In fact there, is a whole host of things that could happen either way. But that potential does not negate the validity of the decision of the district court regarding 187. It’s unconstitutional until the fat lady sings; it’s not the other way around.

  • 16 Stephen A. Nuño // Nov 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

    It only negates the validity that this its constitutionality a closed issue, as implied above.

  • 17 Cockroach People // Nov 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    “It only negates the validity that this its constitutionality a closed issue, as implied above.”

    Yes, but again no one made that argument here (implied or otherwise). LP said: “Proposition 187 was eventually overturned in federal court.” She was right. You said: “I am pretty sure Prop 187 was not overturned by the federal courts.” She offered proof that it was, then you said “yeah, I know that” yet proceeded to argue with yourself about whether constitutionality was a closed issue.

    BTW, you are also quite wrong about Plyler. The holding was substantive with regard to the 14th amendment of the CONSTITUTION. The jurisdictional question was resolved in favor of the children which then allowed the court to continue with the substantive holding that in fact
    the Texas statute violated the equal protection clause.

  • 18 IE // Nov 24, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Should Meg win, I’m just wondering if she is going to hang the “Sombrero” given to her at this rally above her desk.

    I bet she has in her attic at best.

  • 19 Stephen A. Nuño // Nov 24, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I took it as implied. I agree with the rest.

  • 20 Xavier Cardenas // Nov 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    And how do explain this.

    This just goes to show that the climate is their for a xenophobic, racist anti-immigrant hater to flourish in this current enviornment. All these folks will have a big suprise when the latino people decide to exercise their rights like they did in 2009.

  • 21 Southern Cali // Nov 25, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    IE if Meg wins, she won’t hang the “Sombrero” because she will have to display the afro wig she received at the Crenshaw District Rally.

  • 22 Update on the Meg Whitman Campaign // Feb 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    […] in November, I blogged about California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and her connection to former Governor Pete […]

  • 23 Mark C. // Feb 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    It is a fact that there many like me, ( loyalty to the betterment of American first, of Latino background), that clearly are in line with Reyfeo’s position here. ( Although I am not speaking for Reyfeo through my post, he can speak for himself just fine.) More importantly, we are organized and ready to let our voices be counted at the polls in 2010 and 2012. Fiscally reckless Tax n spend liberals and RINO’s (including the Meg Whitman type), have destroyed California and will NOT get our vote. Let’s be clear, Americans of Latin descent are NOT the property of the Liberal Democrats and do not respond to their marching orders on command. – maybe those illegals (regardless of ethnic background ) that make their way off govermant handouts from the legal taxpaying citizens of a liberal controlled CA and are always looking for the WIFM in the equation dolled out by liberals do, but conservatives, regardless of skin color, gender or religion do NOT need Gov handouts to make our way in a free market society so long as Gov stays out of the way. Conservatism is on the ascendency and the liberals on this board need to perform their pro-american patriotic duty and cooperate with the Conservatives and help us bring California back to greatness; the California they destroyed.

  • 24 Multilingual Mania // Mar 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I’m so sick of Whitman! She came out with LA Times opinion piece that says that the immigration debate should have more respect for Latinos. She is full of it!

  • 25 Poizner and Whitman Write Opinion Pieces on Immigration in the LA Times // Mar 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    […] this portion about her expressed opposition to Proposition 187 was somewhat ironic given the prominence of former California Governor Pete Wilson in her campaign (remember that Wilson was a big proponent of this ballot initiative, which was […]

  • 26 Proud Cal Latin Guy // Apr 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I’m so not surprised at the majority of comments posted by Latinos on this blog. As a California born Latino of immigrant “legal” grandparents, Reyfeo is the only person on this site that sees the issue as it is, like it or not, and can articulate it very well as a matter of fact.

    Hey, I grew up in a all black community and witnessed the Democrats for decades pandering to the the black and Latino communities for votes, while making empty promises, selling the idea that Big Brother will take care of ALL your needs,…. forever. It was grand standing and not one candidate ever came through with anything, and thank God for that!

    Latins are a proud race, with roots stemming back to Spain who was a major world conqueror once. Since when does the offspring of a world conqueror want, or need, a Government to give them everything (sustenance, education, health care, employment), thus making them dependent slaves? Where not Chinese, Cubans, North Koreans, or Russians are we?

    For those that voted for the so-called self proclaimed “yes we can” messiah, you got what you asked for. Historic debt, ill conceived and passed programs and worse, no leadership whatsoever. Why are you worrying about the Republicans at this point? Your Captain steered this boat, with you on it, right smack dab into an ice berg that he COULD’VE avoided.

    As for the very REAL problem we Californians have with illegal immigration, something needs to be done before the Golden State goes bankrupt. Legalizing them does not correct anything. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I’m perplexed at the reaction from so many? If you are a legal tax paying, performing citizen, as your parents and grand parents were, what in God’s name do you have to worry about? If you’re not, I’d be worried too.

    If any Hispanic American did to another country what the illegals have done here, there would be be no leniency because we broke their laws and they enforced it. So why is it wrong for OUR state / country to do the same?

    As the song says, how about we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

  • 27 Felipe // May 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    If you are going to soil someone’s reputation, at least get the facts straight.
    1. Pete Wilson DID NOT sign Prop 187 into law, because it was an initiative VOTED by 70% of Californians (with exit polls showing that 40% of us Latinos voting for it).
    2. Also it was not “easily overturned in the courts.” Grey Davis just didn’t defend it, even though he promised he would. It died in the court, but WAS NOT overturned NOR deemed unconstitutional.
    3. Senator signed the Amnesty Bill of 1984. Isn’t that was all of you open borders people want?

    Please read Pete Wilson’s speeches on 187. He was right then and he is right now.

  • 28 webmaster // May 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    ‘1. Pete Wilson DID NOT sign Prop 187 into law, because it was an initiative VOTED by 70% of Californians (with exit polls showing that 40% of us Latinos voting for it).’

    thanks for that correction… It has been noted:

    Yes, I know that Wilson was at one point supportive of IRCA:

  • 29 Cleto // Sep 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I am a conservative. I wrote to Whitman and told her Pete Wilson is a deal breaker. I will not vote for Whitman.

  • 30 Manny Avila // Sep 29, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Meg Whitman makes me sick, she is so too faced! I will never for the anti-Latino ads she ran on AM radio prior to the Primary. Now she has changed her tune and comes out acting like she is an “amiga” of our community. She is a liar and any Latino that votes for her is spitting on Cesar Chavez and all of the other leaders who have given so much of their lives on our behalf. Please don’t vote for this winch, SHE IS A TWO-FACED LIAR!

  • 31 Manny Avila // Sep 29, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Just so that all of you are made aware, Reyfeo is not a Latino. He is a right-wing zealot trying to pass himself off as a Latino. And for all of you Republican Latinos, you need to invest in mirrors, so that you can see that you fall into the category of people that Republicans love to demonize. A Republican Latino is like a Nazi Jew. Pretty much a self-hating person that has no self-respect and tolerates bigots and zealots in order to get taken-in as a token amongst certain groups.

  • 32 Create Jobs for USA: Why Latinos Should Take a Look // Nov 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    […] often bring up the fact that so many new businesses are started by Latinos (remember former CA GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman talking that up?). A few weeks ago, a new book by Melvin Delgado titled Latino Small Businesses and the […]

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