As a longtime opponent and a veteran of many campaigns against the death penalty, I appreciated Times reporter John Balzar's analysis (Feb. 10) of the impact of the anti-Rose Bird campaign in California.
The anti-Rose Bird forces have succeeded in creating a climate of mass hysteria in California, associating her bid to hold office with every uncontrollable fear that may lurk in a citizen's mind.
Under these circumstances, I can forgive people like Mayor Tom Bradley and Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy or any other elected official for distancing themselves from Bird. I do not see it as a compromise of their integrity, but as a political Hobson's choice in which, for them, no other decision is morally possible.
What I can't forgive is the anti-Bird coalition's shameless orchestration of the defeat of Rose Bird as a focus for the relief of people's anxieties and frustrations over crime and killing. And the Republicans' manipulation of this litany of fear for their own political purposes is even worse.
I think the people of California deserve better. I would hate to think that we didn't.