Although it received overwhelming support in the state Assembly, a bill that would have given Southland counties an additional $1.1 million to fight mosquito-borne encephalitis has been vetoed by Gov. George Deukmejian.
In a brief statement, Deukmejian said the bill would have "inappropriately" reimbursed local governments for expenditures already made, and that "its merits do not outweigh" those of other top priority programs. "It is imperative that the state of California continue to live within its means," the governor said.
The so-called St. Louis encephalitis, fatal to one in five victims, is a viral infection carried by migratory birds, picked up by mosquitoes and passed to humans who happen to be bitten by the insects. Last year, 26 cases of the disease were reported, about three times as many as in 1982. Several occurred in Long Beach.
The legislation, strongly supported by Long Beach and Los Angeles city officials, was designed to encourage the formation of new mosquito abatement districts. And it would have allowed eight counties to share in an emergency loan pool.