By Jeff Girod
California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was recently outted for employing an illegal alien as a housekeeper for nine years. And I for one am shocked—SHOCKED!—by her sordid and lascivious actions. So is my gardener, Felipe; my handyman, Paulo; and the local familia with the umbrella stand who sells throw rugs, roses and oranges. (Ethnic-sounding names may have been changed to protect the incredibly awesome deals they give me.)
Knowingly or not, most of us do business with illegal aliens on a daily basis. But the rest of us aren’t Meg Whitman—Republican candidate for California’s highest office and former CEO of eBay with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. That’s billion with a “b,” as in Meg Whitman has a butt load of money to employ mucho illegal aliens.
Never mind a housekeeper. For that kind of dinero, Meg Whitman could afford to buy a new house every time her old house gets dirty. (Kind of like Handy Wipes, but with a security gate to kick the illegal aliens out after they’re done folding the laundry and mowing the lawn.)
According to the Los Angeles Times, Meg Whitman and her neurosurgeon husband—of course he’s a neurosurgeon; he couldn’t just be a podiatrist?—repeatedly forced their housekeeper, NiCad Diaz Satilla, to put in more than her agreed-upon hours without compensation. The wealthy couple also refused to pay Diaz Satilla’s mileage even though she had to use her own car for household errands. Josh, Meg, even eBay has fairer buying standards than that. If I were your housekeeper, I’d make sure to leave negative feedback on your eBay account. That would really screw up your seller profile.
Not surprisingly, Whitman denies all this, but she does agree that she fired Diaz Santillan in June 2009, shortly after the housekeeper asked for help in legalizing her immigration status. Apparently Meg was too busy running for governor by that time and preferred to fire Diaz Santillan—the woman who scrubbed her toilets and made her beds every day for nine years—by phone. I wonder if Meg called her own telephone or Diaz Santillan’s.
Diaz Santillan alleges Whitman told her to vamoose rapido, saying: “From now on you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. You never have seen me and I have never seen you. Do you understand me?” Then Whitman hung up.
If only it was that easy to make Meg Whitman’s TV commercials disappear, or the automated phone calls or the junk mail. You know, for such a powerful, confident woman who has had so much to say over the past year, Meg sure hasn’t been saying much since Nannygate.
Then again, this whole thing brings up an interesting hypocrisy: As Californians, heck, as Americans, we believe everyone deserves certain rights and freedoms—just as long as they don’t get in the way of a good bargain. Sure, we love our high-top basketball shoes. We just don’t want to hear about the 7-year-old girl in North Korea who earns 8 cents a day sewing them. We love our delicious 10-piece buckets of chicken, but we’d rather not see the PETA photos of bloody conveyor belts.
Everything has a price. And if we can lower that price a few nickels by wedging a few more chickens into a coop, or outsourcing sneakers to some foreign land we never have to visit—or in Meg’s case, by hiring a housekeeper a few hundred miles south of the border—then, on some level, what’s the big deal?
I don’t know have all the answers, but I’m thinking Meg Whitman probably should have seen this one coming—like a cold, soggy, pine-smelling mop to the face. Illegal immigration is a hot-button issue right now and if I was planning to run for governor, I might want to check out the lady shuffling down my hallway speaking broken English and insisting on always being paid in cash. At the very least, Meg Whitman should’ve treated her former housekeeper with a little more respeto instead of kicking her to the curb like a Hefty bag full of wadded paper towels . . .
That reminds me: Rosa comes tomorrow and we’re out of paper towels.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.