Labor protest planned for Meg Whitman Beverly Hills fundraiser

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor plans a demonstration outside a Beverly Hills fundraiser today benefiting Meg Whitman's gubernatorial campaign.

The protest is an attempt to get Whitman "to respond to legitimate and serious questions" she "has yet to answer about her candidacy," federation communications director Caroline O'Connor said.

The demonstration will include "Queen Meg," a satire character who will be in full regalia, arriving in a horse-drawn carriage as part of "street theater" performed by members of the California Nurses Association, the group's Shum Preston said.

"Californians want to know where Meg Whitman stands on the issues facing working men and women," said Maria Elena Durazo, the federation's executive secretary-treasurer.

"Californians want to know why Meg Whitman thinks she is qualified to be governor. Californians want to know more about Whitman's background, including her connection to Goldman Sachs and Wall Street."

Whitman campaign press secretary Sarah Pompei called Durazo's comments "ridiculous criticism from a group attempting to prop up the campaign of a guy who hasn't even been on the campaign trail," a reference to Attorney General Jerry Brown, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

"Brown continues to refuse to provide Californians any specifics on where he stands on the important issues facing the state, which is in stark contrast to Meg's full schedule of direct voter outreach and grassroots organizing," Pompei said.

Whitman plans to discuss "out-of-control spending in Sacramento and her plans to reduce state spending by $15 billion in her first term," Pompei said.

Part of the reductions will come from changes to pensions paid to retired state employees, according to Pompei.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is also scheduled to speak at the fundraiser at The Beverly Hilton.

Whitman is scheduled to begin her day by discussing her plans for California at the Industry Hills Expo Center in Industry, Pompei said.

Whitman's main rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Steve Poizner, is scheduled to campaign in the Central Valley today.

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