Sunday, March 29, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Candidate goes homeless to show economic gap

Neel Kashkari

Republican candidate for governor Neel Kashkari discusses issues related to poverty in California during a news conference outside of the River City Food Bank in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday, July 31, 2014. Kashkari said he spent a week living as a homeless person in search of a job to test Gov. Jerry Brown's claim that the state is making a comeback after the economic downturn. A video crew documented his week. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

By
From page A5 | August 01, 2014 |

SACRAMENTO — The Republican candidate for California governor said Thursday he spent a week living as a homeless person in Fresno to highlight the disparity between the governor’s claim that the state is making an economic comeback and the reality faced by the working poor in the nation’s most populous state.

Neel Kashkari, a millionaire and former Goldman Sachs banker who is far behind Gov. Jerry Brown in pre-election polls, released a short documentary about the six nights he spent sleeping in parking lots and on park benches, and wrote about his experience in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal.

Kashkari, 41, said he had hoped to find work and stay in low-priced motels, but he was turned away from dozens of businesses where he offered to wash dishes, sweep floors, pack boxes and cook meals after taking a bus from Los Angeles to Fresno with $40 in his pocket. He eventually turned to a homeless shelter for food.

Kashkari acknowledged that his experiment gave him “just a taste” of the struggles faced by poor people and said he could not truly understand their plight because he knew his situation was only temporary.

Still, he said he wanted to force a discussion about poverty.

“Gov. Brown is not talking about poverty,” Kashkari said at a news conference outside a Sacramento food bank. “He’s not talking about unemployment in our state. He’s not talking about our failing schools. He’s declared a California comeback.”

Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official who helped lead the federal bank bailout at the height of the recession, also criticized the media for failing to challenge the Democratic governor about endemic poverty in some parts of the state amid an economic boom in others, such as Silicon Valley.

Dan Newman, a spokesman for Brown’s campaign, said he was having difficulty reconciling Kashkari’s “bizarre campaign stunt” with his assistance for big banks.

“If one truly cared about the homeless and had $700 billion to spend, would he give it all to big banks and ignore families struggling to stay in their homes?” Newman wrote in an email.

California’s unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in June, higher than the national average of 6.1 percent, but it remained at 9.8 percent in the Central Valley city of Fresno. Still struggling with fallout from the recession, the Central Valley has also been hit hard by the state’s epic drought, which has fallowed fields and left many day laborers without work in the region.

In the agriculture-dependent city of Mendota 35 miles west of Fresno, unemployment is 29.8 percent. Yet a tech boom in the San Francisco Bay Area 150 miles west has fueled massive growth, pushing the median home price above $1 million for the first time last month. In San Mateo, south of San Francisco, unemployment is just 3.3 percent.

Brown has touted what he calls a California comeback, saying in his January State of the State address, “And what a comeback it is: A million new jobs since 2010, a budgetary surplus in the billions and a minimum wage rising to $10 an hour.” He did not directly mention poverty.

Asked for specifics on his plan to solve poverty in California, Kashkari said he would try to create jobs through “pro-growth economic policies” such as fewer regulations, investing in an overdue water storage solution, allowing greater development of oil and natural gas resources, and bringing back manufacturing jobs.

Gabriela McNiel, a spokeswoman for the Poverello House homeless shelter in Fresno, believes a clean-cut man who recently asked about a job was Kashkari. Other people shown a photo of the candidate on Thursday didn’t recognize him.

Kashkari wrote that five days into his job search, “I asked myself: What would solve my problems? Food stamps? Welfare? An increased minimum wage? No. I needed a job.”

“That’s an easy thing for a millionaire to say,” Fresno County Democratic Party Chairman Michael D. Evans said in a written response to Kashkari. He said welfare would have given Kashkari safe, temporary housing with at least a shower and a bed.

“As for his being ‘hungry,’ well, food stamps would have provided some sustenance, ensuring his job search was conducted on at least a half-full stomach,” Evans wrote.

Kashkari previously pegged his net worth below $5 million before he spent about $2 million of his own money on his campaign. In financial reports filed Thursday, his campaign reported spending $4.5 million to defeat a tea party assemblyman in the primary.

Kashkari is considered a longshot against the 76-year-old Brown, who has raised more than $22 million in his bid for an unprecedented fourth term after first serving from 1975 to 1983. A poll earlier this month found Kashkari trailing Brown by 19 points and the race so far has generated little public interest.

Kashkari said he walked for miles with a backpack, change of clothes and toothpaste in 100-degree heat searching for work in Fresno. He said he showered once and was awakened five of the six nights by security guards or police asking him to move on.

He said he was committed to finding a job and had to change his focus about halfway into the experiment as his money was running out.

“It was find a job, find a job, find a job. And then it switched: I’ve got to find food,” he said.

Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the campaign, said Kashkari later donated $500 to the homeless shelter that gave him food, which the shelter confirmed.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

Hike in minimum wage cuts deep into businesses

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B8

 
Don’t be an unhealthy breakfaster skipper

By Norma Lisenko | From Page: B8

Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Gang chief, international fugitive among dozens paroled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Man rescued after falling 200 feet off California sea cliff

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say it’s discriminatory

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Thanks for making prom dreams come true

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Free speech a right worth protecting

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Liberty, property rights 2 sides of same coin

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

 
Sound Off: March 29, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Improve Allan Witt Park; how about rest of Fairfield?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics