ArnoldWatch was understandably
disappointed when the Lakers refused us a jumbo-tron advertisement at
Staples Center for last Friday’s basketball game — where donors paid
at least $10,000 per sky-box seat for a meet-and-greet with the Gov.
So we secured a few nearby sky-box tickets for real people with real
problems who didn’t have the ten grand but wanted to talk to their
Pat and Dave Parker of Orange came as our guests. Dave voted for
Arnold. Pat for McClintock. They’re both in their early sixties and,
since David was laid off by a small electronics firm in October 2001,
the two have struggled to pay for their health insurance. With little
notice, Blue Cross recently increased their monthly premium by 38
percent – from $673 to $941. Pat and Dave wanted to talk to their
governor about requiring health insurers to justify premium increases
to the state — the way auto insurers now have to. They had a letter to
give him. They had his schedule — the five sky-boxes he’d visit (with
twelve seats in a box, that’s $120,000 minimum per stop). Pat and
Dave’s tickets let them into the hallway between the boxes.
Would they get their man?
Somewhere between Box A7 and B14, Pat made her move. A throng of ushers
and bodyguards waited for the Gov to exit Box A7, prepared to whisk
Arnold up the stairs. They spotted Pat and a guard cautioned her, "No
autographs." Then Arnold quickly emerged and the convoy of guards
darted to the stairs. The sixty-four year old grandmother in red
sweater and white pearls was just as quick on her feet. She shifted
with them and, with the agility of an NBA guard, made the play. She
squeezed between Arnold’s security and placed the letter in the
governor’s hands just before an aide took it away. Pat was out of
breath by the time it was all over. Outside the door to skybox B14 a
staffer assured Pat the letter would be read, but not necessarily by
the governor. Pat and Dave’s phone number was on the top. Whether
Arnold personally calls them or not will say a lot about the type of
special access $10,000 per person can buy.