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The Campaign for Proposition 51

May 23, 1986

During the closing days of any heated campaign the facts all seem to shake down into a calculated distortion, and this is especially true with the tactics chosen by the opponents of Proposition 51. Their inaccuracies and misleading advertising offends and dismays me.

The advertising campaign opposing Proposition 51 attempts to link me and many other members of the coalition supporting it as being in league with "murderers, rapists and toxic polluters." This, as far as I'm concerned, is political demagoguery at its very worst; it is irresponsible, and preposterous, and it is being bankrolled by Proposition 51's primary opponents, the trial lawyers. They are the ones who stand to lose if Proposition 51 passes; the people of California will be the winners.

Their campaign insinuates that Proposition 51 supporters are involved in a conspiracy to protect toxic polluters. That is nonsense. The truth is, Proposition 51 provides no protection whatsoever for those who illegally dump toxic waste. If they are found guilty of such acts, they will have to pay for their crime, and that is something I think everyone finds fair and appropriate.

What Proposition 51 will indeed do is change a law that is unfair and inappropriate for a justice system that revolves around a simple concept: punishment based on the crime. Nearly every city in the state, and all 58 of California's counties, support the proposition because it will re-establish that concept to our courts, and, in the process, save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Trial lawyers will continue to duck the real issue because the truth of their argument just doesn't stand up. What is disheartening is that they are willing to resort to deception and misrepresentation to mislead the voters of California. I am confident that the voters will see through the smoke screen and vote on the merits of the proposition as it stands, which is pretty straight up and out front.

It is time to sew up the "deep pocket."

PAT RUSSELL

President,

Los Angeles City Council

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