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Ghost Story

November 21, 1986

A special session of the California Legislature, called by Gov. George Deukmejian, has dragged on for two months with no compromise on a new state prison in Los Angeles. All that taxpayers have to show for it is $33,000 in bills for ghost sessions of the state Senate for which just one person shows up.

That kind of money would have gone a long way toward paying for an environmental-impact report on the state's plan to put a new prison in downtown Los Angeles. In the weeks that Deukmejian and Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) have wasted showing each other who's boss, a good team of analysts could have put together a substantial part of an impact report.

The state needs a Los Angeles prison. It also needs new San Diego and Stockton prisons--both under construction, both scheduled to add 2,600 beds to an overcrowded system early next year, and both barred by law from opening until the Los Angeles standoff ends.

The way to achieve that is for the governor to call off the ghost sessions and start work on an impact report, and for Roberti to agree that this is the best deal he will get. The sooner the better.

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