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Steve Lunetta: The dreams of a new billionaire

Right About Now

Posted: April 25, 2010 11:03 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2010 4:55 a.m.
The call that changed my life came last Thursday right after dinner. The caller said, “Steve Lunetta, please.” “Speaking” was my response.

“Mr. Lunetta, my name is Bill Gates. After reading your columns and realizing that you have a level head on your shoulders and stand opposed to the left-wing coffee-klatch liberals, I want to give you $1 billion, tax free, no strings attached. The money has already been transferred to your checking account. Have a nice life.”

“Bruce? Bruce McFarland? Is that you? You crazy kidder. I know how you like to have fun and make silly statements.”

Dead silence. Whoever the person was on the phone had hung up. Being a curious sort, I logged into my online bank account and nearly passed out when I saw the balance. It read $1,000,000,017.46. This was exactly $1 billion more than I had the day before.
I am a billionaire. After the shock wore off, I began to contemplate what I would do with my new fortune.

A billion dollars is a considerable amount of money. I could be entirely selfish and spend it on myself and my family. But, if you’ve taken one cruise, you’ve taken them all. I’m not interested in bling, and anything else you buy has to be washed, maintained and housed. So, my only alternative is creative public initiatives.

I suppose I could give a few million to the University of California Regents. They apparently need it. At their last meeting, they announced their intention to increase out-of-state enrollment, since this will raise more revenue than admitting those cheap, irritating, local California kids.

Gee, I thought our tax dollars went to the UC system to educate Californians, not Arizonans, South Dakotans or Alaskans. Maybe if the Regents renegotiated their fat-cat union contracts, they could save some bucks and limit out-of-state students so our kids could enjoy a UC education.

Maybe I can give $50-60 million to the city of Los Angeles and keep electrical rates down for a year. Or, better yet, I think I’ll buy the Department of Water and Power and lower rates so businesses can make a buck. This will cause business growth and increase tax revenue.  

This whole situation is why government should not be involved in the power industry.

Maybe I’ll give $10 million to Steve Poizner’s campaign and see what new nasty ads he’ll run. Then, I’ll give $10 million to Meg
Whitman and watch her carve up Poizner. It’s immense fun watching the mud flying. Unfortunately, Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown waits in the wings, growing stronger with every negative ad that airs. This does not bode well for California.

I’d definitely plow $100 million into youth sports programs for our state. We’d build sports parks in the inner city, create programs and make them free for any kid who wants to play. We’d keep kids out of trouble, teach discipline and give young men direction and hope.

And, while we are at it, I’d fund huge expansions of industrial arts classes in high schools. Let’s teach kids how to weld, plumb, tune engines, rebuild computers and do woodwork. Not all kids are destined for college.

Twenty million would go into grants for young filmmakers who want to create family entertainment. The commercial success of movies like “The Blind Side” and “Fireproof” shows that America is starving and willing to pay for decent, clean movies.  

I’d buy season tickets to the Dodgers, right behind home plate so I can heckle.

I would definitely plow money into the campaign of any politician who will stand up to the public-employee union corruption in Sacramento. I’d match the unions dollar-for-dollar to oppose the stranglehold they have on our state. And, I would require nothing in return from the politicians that I help.

“Honey? Honey? Wake up. You fell asleep in your chair again. Time to get to bed.” My lovely bride forced me back into reality, where I realized it was all a dream and I am no billionaire.

But maybe Bill Gates will still call.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident and Bill Gates can reach him at  His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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