Republican Senate candidate Ed Zschau, caught between powerful and conflicting political forces, sided with California business and agricultural interests Friday, proclaiming his opposition to the toxics initiative, Proposition 65.
Zschau said the measure, supported strongly by environmentalists and many Democrats, would "make a wasteland of California's Central Valley."
For weeks, Zschau, a congressman from Los Altos, has studied and weighed the measure whose clean-water goals he had lauded but whose specific provisions he questioned. His decision was announced Friday by his office in advance of a speech to the California Grape and Treefruit League.
Environmentalists, business and agricultural leaders all have eagerly awaited Zschau's decision. The GOP candidate has offered himself to voters as a political moderate and has courted support in all three camps. And all three have called the ballot measure crucial to their interests.
Cranston a Supporter
Zschau's opponent, Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston, has been a leader in the campaign on behalf of Proposition 65 and has made control of toxic wastes a cornerstone in his campaign for a fourth Senate term.