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Sacramento FBI Sting

September 20, 1988

Your editorial was right on target with respect to explaining the plight to improve our society and especially the plight of those trying to improve a system originally established to represent the rights of injured workers.

California's workers' compensation system is not, however, as The Times noted in a subsequent article, just "another problem that lawmakers did not address this year." The Legislature made a noble attempt to address the existing problems in the system. Public hearings were held in which all parties participated and the real problems in the system were highlighted and discussed with an eye towards a legislative solution.

The roadblock arose, however, after Gov. George Deukmejian chose to supersede these hearings in favor of private "negotiations" in which only selected representatives were invited. The product of these meetings, "A Basis for Discussion for Workers' Compensation Reform," was released just three weeks prior to the end of session--hardly in time for adequate review.

Not surprisingly, the suggested "reforms" completely ignored the real problems in the system and the suggested changes were made at the expense of injured workers. Any legitimate attempt to reform the workers' compensation system would have addressed the problems of delays, high medical costs, inadequate benefits and insurance reform--the governor's proposal conveniently ignored all of these issues.

We should not be surprised by these actions. The governor's practice of acknowledging the needs of employers before that of employees was made blatantly clear with the abolition of Cal/OSHA. Deukmejian's failure to take the leadership role with respect to workers' compensation legislation, is simply another example of his agenda that places employers' and insurers' rights over that of employees.

Fortunately, the public has the opportunity to correct one of the governor's mistakes by voting to reinstate Cal/OSHA on the November ballot (Proposition 97).

BERNARD KATZMAN

Calif. Applicants' Attorneys Assn.

Sacramento

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