Some politicians lack all common sense. Worse is when some of them act like Hollywood divas and lay on heavy demands. Still worse is when an already cash strapped university bends over backwards to accommodate said diva without revealing their source of funding.
As you may have guessed, we’re talking about Sarah Palin.
A couple of weeks ago, the former vice presidential candidate and governor of Alaska had been invited to give a speech at a CSU Stanislaus gala celebrating the university’s 50th anniversary, on June 25th.
Like many in this nation, I could not avoid raising my eyebrows when I found out what she’s asking for in addition to a no-doubt hefty clump of dough:
Two first class tickets or a private jet between Anchorage, Alaska and the event city of Turlock, California.
The right for her and her accompanying party to be the sole passengers if they have to travel on a private jet (a Lear 60 or larger).
Ground transportation by SUV from a professionally licensed and insured car service.
Bendy straws with two water bottles.
A suite with three rooms in a deluxe hotel.
We do not know how much she is asking for her presentation, but based on her past public appearances, it could cost the university around $100,000.
But don’t worry, CSU Stanislaus president, Hamid Shirvani, has said they planned to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 with Palin’s presentation.
Palin’s speech has caused a huge controversy because CSU’s Foundation has refused to reveal who is paying for her appearance. Students, teachers and even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have said the contract should be open so that everybody can be assured that there’s no public money involved.
CSU’s president said the organizer is a private foundation. The problem is that CSU Foundations have offices in the CSU campus and its personnel are part of the university.
Not a hard working mother
Palin’s weighty demands are shocking and conflict with her image as a hard working mother.
After learning how much she’s asking for her appearances, it’s understandable why Palin resigned her post as Alaska’s governor eighteen months before the completion of her term. Between her book, speeches and an upcoming TV show, she could bring home more money as a celebrity than as a governor. According to one account, she already made 12 million dollars.
I wonder if Sarah Palin is aware of the fiscal crisis facing state universities in California. If so, maybe she would give a presentation to students, not just the rich republicans who can afford to pay $500 per ticket .In America, politics is also a big business. All politicians charge money to give speeches. But do all of them act like divas and ask for bendable straws to drink water during their public appearances?
Where is the money coming from?
In the end, I imagine Palin can ask for a fortune if she wants. After all she’s not in government any more.
The true issue is why CSU Stanislaus and its foundation are not explaining where the money comes from to pay for Palins’s presentation and for her other demands. It would be practically a crime to use public money in times when students are struggling to pay for college.
Still, former politicians should not act as Hollywood divas when their public experiences and opportunities were possible thanks to American taxpayers. At the very least, they should be more compassionate when public schools are involved.
Editor: Maria Ginsbourg with help from Carina W. a journalist graduate.