Gov. George Deukmejian challenged Mayor Tom Bradley on Wednesday to put to rest the issue of the mayor's political ambitions and declare that he "absolutely" will not be a candidate for governor next year.
Taking a swipe at Bradley, who is in the midst of a reelection campaign, Deukmejian said at a Los Angeles press conference: "Every indication has been that he plans to run for governor. If he didn't plan to run, why doesn't he say, 'I'm absolutely not going to run for governor'?"
Bradley, who is running against Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro for an unprecedented fourth term as mayor, has said that he has "no plans" to run against Deukmejian in 1986. But he has refused to rule out the possibility. Bradley narrowly lost to Deukmejian in the 1982 gubernatorial contest.
Contacted on his way back from a two-day trip to the East Coast, Bradley declined to accept Deukmejian's suggestion and said only: "I'm not running against the governor. I'm running against the candidate for mayor."
Deukmejian's criticism of Bradley, which came in response to a reporter's question, was the second time during the mayoral contest that Deukmejian has criticized Bradley in the mayor's home town.
In January, the Republican governor criticized the Democratic mayor's decision to reverse himself and approve Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s proposal to drill for oil along the Pacific Palisades coastline. Deukmejian said that Bradley had been "less than sincere" when he protested the governor's support of drilling in the Santa Monica Bay.
On Wednesday Deukmejian said that he expected Bradley to run against him next year. "I don't think there's any question," he said.
During the race for mayor, Ferraro has attempted to make an issue of Bradley's aspiration for higher office.
'He's Not Saying That'
"If he wanted to put that whole thing to rest," Deukmejian said, "all he'd have to say is he is absolutely not going to be a candidate; he's not going to enter the primary. He's not saying that."
On another subject, Deukmejian said Wednesday that the first California lottery ticket could be sold as early as this summer.
Under the initiative approved by voters to establish the lottery, the deadline for starting ticket sales was today, but the start-up has been stalled by delays in appointing the Lottery Commission and a lottery director.
Deukmejian said that he expects to select the director "very, very quickly." After that, he said, the lottery "could be operational in approximately four to five months."
Earlier this week, a substitute teacher filed suit to force the Lottery Commission to begin selling tickets by today's deadline or explain the delay. The teacher, Nancy Aovy, alleged that schools in the state would lose $1.4 million a day while the lottery is not operating. A San Francisco judge has set a hearing for May 3.
"We have been moving just as quickly as we possibly can," Deukmejian told reporters. "I would like to have been able to comply with the deadline, but unfortunately that deadline was not realistic.
"Because the lawsuit says the state is not receiving something like $1.3 million a day, then it seems to me that means that $1.3 million is in the pockets of Californians."
Deukmejian wound up his day Wednesday with a speech to the Orange County Lincoln Club in which he attacked the California Coastal Commission for failing to meet last year's deadline for certifying local coastal plans and returning authority over coastal development to local governments.
Common Sense Lacking
The governor, who favors abolishment of the commission and has cut its budget each year he has been in office, said that common sense is lacking on the commission. He said that the panel's "confusion and uncertainty discourages even prudent, responsible growth."
Deukmejian's speech was closed to reporters, but his office distributed a text of his remarks.