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'Prison or Mirage'

January 16, 1987

Because I live about six blocks from Gov. Deukmejian's proposed prison site, I have demonstrated against it and have also become a member of the Coalition Against the Prison. Because of this interest, I read the text of the governor's speech in The Times (Jan. 6) in detail. I was not very surprised, but I was unhappy with his easily apparent two-faced stand in support of the Los Angeles site.

In his speech, Deukmejian states that "in the name of fairness" he wants the Legislature to back the Eastside site "identified by the Department of Corrections."

I'd like to ask, what is fair about imposing a prison on a deprived community already burdened by five jail sites, crisscrossed by freeways, wracked by unemployment and bad schools, on a community fully opposed to the prison and which is fighting for dignity, a better environment and some measure of self-control and self-determination in regard to its future? What's fair about refusing to consider outlying unpopulated or under-populated Los Angeles County areas for a prison site?

If the governor wishes to both be "fair" and to also augment the state's prison industry by building more prisons, he should do so at his own expense, siting in an area he might call "home" and not siting at the expense of a deprived segment of Los Angeles--a minority community who, in this age of Reaganomics is feeling the pressure on all fronts.

PATRICIO SANCHEZ

Los Angeles

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