Sarah Palin's image as a "maverick," a woman of the people, doesn't stand up when one learns about the terms of her speaking engagement at Cal State University–demands that have caused quite a stir since being discovered in a dumpster:
Six pages of the contract Palin's handlers sent to Cal State Stanislaus were unearthed in a dumpster by students there this week, and one of the many requirements that must be met for the former vice presidential hopeful: two unopened bottles of still water and "bendable straws" must be waiting on a wooden lectern.
That was just one item among the pages of elaborate demands that must be met to land a contract for Palin to come speak at an event. More costly were the requirement for her travel – the venue must supply her with business or first class commercial airfare, or with a private plane. And not just any jet will do.
"The private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events.." the contract states.
Palin's fee has come under question in the midst of California's economic troubles:
The Cal State speech – which is believed to be costing the university's foundation about $75,000 -- became grist for controversy when California state Sen. Leland Yee questioned the wisdom of the expense at a time when the state is in the grips of a budget crisis. University officials have remained defiant.
Some students and faculty are also demanding greater transparency:
“Our students are being slammed by enormous fee hikes while cuts mean they can’t get the classes they need,” says Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association. “This resistance to transparency is another slap in the face. CSU executives are at the top of these so-called auxiliaries, and they need to show more respect for the people they supposedly serve.”
Once again, right-wing populism as exemplified by Palin has been revealed as a facade.