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Friday, October 8, 2010

'Whore' Comment Doesn't Cost Jerry Brown National Organization for Women Endorsement

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 1:59 PM

click to enlarge Be careful whom you call a whore...
  • Be careful whom you call a whore...
Be careful whom you call a whore...
The day after Jerry Brown's campaign landed in hot water for describing Meg Whitman as a "whore," Brown received the gubernatorial endorsement from the state's largest women's organization.

Patty Bellasalma, the president of the California chapter of the National Organization for Women, said she's not thrilled a Brown staffer used the term "whore" to describe Whitman's union-friendly decision to exempt cops and firefighters from her pension reform plans. "Due to the sexist nature of this society, the use of that word in any context is inappropriate," she said.

But, still, look at the context!

"When you look at the context of the conversation, Jerry was rightfully angry that the police unions were trying to extort him into capitulating into massive police pensions in order to gain their endorsement. And they knew Meg Whitman would capitulate. And that's what she did."

Members of the Los Angeles police union leaked an audio conversation between Brown and his staffers to the Los Angeles Times after the Democratic candidate didn't realize his phone call to a police union official was still being recorded on a voicemail message:

"Do we want to put an ad out? ... That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be - that they'll go to Whitman, and that's where they'll go because they know Whitman will give 'em, will cut them a deal, but I won't," Brown said.

At that point, what appears to be a second voice interjects: "What about saying she's a whore?"

"Well, I'm going to use that," Brown responds. "It proves you've cut a secret deal to protect the pensions."


Brown's campaign apologized for use of the term. The NOW president claimed that the Brown endorsement has been in the works for several days, and its timing immediately after the Democrat was pilloried for apparent sexism is coincidental.

While Whitman's campaign has called this statement an insult to all the women in the state, Bellasalma isn't feeling insulted. She accuses the Republican of cheap, gender-based politicking, and restates that the term "whore" was used to decry Whitman's political capitulation to a powerful special interest -- not her sexual proclivities.

With that in mind, if "whore" is a term meaning "a venal or unscrupulous person" -- which it is -- then is Meg Whitman a whore? 

"You're not going to get me to say that," says Bellasalma with a laugh.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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