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Dec 15, 2003 - 01:30 PM
Sky-Boxing With Arnoldby Jamie Court
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 governor.
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.
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