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The Campaign for Proposition 51

May 23, 1986

Any newspaper piece about a forthcoming ballot measure seems to be routinely accompanied by a boilerplate paragraph which provides a capsule summary of "who's fer it" and "who's agin it."

Such has certainly been the case with articles about Proposition 51--the only state ballot measure which has attracted substantial media attention.

But something has begun to strike me as a mite strange: Prop. 51 is generally described as being opposed by (not surprisingly) the California Trial Lawyers Association--and by "environmental and consumer groups."

Which "environmental and consumer groups" are on record as opposing this measure never seems to be specified. I guess we're all supposed to take it as a "given" that this measure would not be in the best interests of "environmentalists" or "consumers." (Is that right, all you investigative reporters out there?)

I think of myself as an environmentalist, in my own quiet and personal way. I am, God knows, a consumer--of liability insurance policies, among other commodities.

I would dislike to think that any "consumer" or "environmental" group is presuming to speak for me in opposing Proposition 51. And if anyone can give me a clue as to which of these groups might be channeling my contributions into those nauseatingly sleazy anti-51 television commercials, I would surely appreciate it. My toxic-waste zap-gun is loaded and ready for bull.

Proposition 51 is not a panacea, but it's a step in the right direction. If it fails, perhaps newspapers and even trial lawyers will eventually find themselves out of business.


Westlake Village

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