Progress on L.A. Prison Issue Cited

September 05, 1986|From Times Wire Services

SACRAMENTO — With legislative leaders reporting progress in negotiations with Gov. George Deukmejian over the sticky Los Angeles prison issue, the Legislature recessed for the weekend Thursday.

"A considerable amount of progress" was made toward resolving the stalemate over authorizing construction of the prison and funding for $283 million in budget vetoes, according to Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco).

Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) called the negotiating session in the governor's office "cordial and frank." But no details were given. Deukmejian and the legislators agreed to meet again Monday.

Compromise Proposals

Assembly Minority Leader Patrick Nolan of Glendale said the legislative leaders would discuss compromise proposals with their respective caucuses Monday to determine if some agreement can be reached.

The lawmakers were scheduled to adjourn their 1985-86 session last Friday but could not reach agreement on a Los Angeles prison site, or on $283 million for school, health and transit programs. They extended their session until Sept. 15 after Deukmejian threatened to call a special session.

The Republican governor wants authority to buy land near downtown Los Angeles to build a prison. The state Senate rejected the authorization bill twice because of the opposition of the mostly Latino community around the site.

The dispute is intensified by a law passed two years ago that requires a prison to be located in Los Angeles County, which has none, before any other new prisons can be opened. New prisons are scheduled to be completed by November in Stockton and San Diego and cannot legally be opened until a Los Angeles site is chosen.

One proposed compromise would have the state buy the site and do a mini-environmental impact study before turning it over to the Corrections Department for construction.

Roberti said Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp attended Thursday's closed-door meeting "to give legal advice as to our legal options." He said the advice concerned state action to satisfy the law and allow the Stockton and San Diego prisons to open.

Also being discussed is the restoration of $283 million that Deukmejian vetoed from the 1986-87 budget because the Legislature failed to approve a bill to provide that amount by reducing a public employees retirement fund reserve and forgoing the state's regular employer contribution.

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