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Campaign Talk

April 06, 1990

A weekly window on the California elections

INTELLIGENCE

Platform prediction: California Democrats are expected to sweep one troubling issue under the rug when they adopt their 1990 platform this weekend. There is no mention of the death penalty in the 25-page draft platform. But an attempt to reduce the lavish attention usually paid to organized labor has flopped. Democrats had to add a full page of pro-labor proclamations after union leaders hit the roof when they saw only a single platitude in the draft: "We support collective bargaining and legislation that is fair to both employers and workers."

Halftime: Many voters are just now paying attention. But the two Democratic candidates for governor figure it's about halftime in their long race. Measured by effort, not time, the first quarter ran through 1989. The second was from January to this weekend's party convention. The third will run until mid-May, and then the final quarter to the June 5 primary election. Scorekeeper's note: John K. Van de Kamp was ahead at the first quarter, Dianne Feinstein at the half. Each side has spent about $1.2 million on television advertising already.

Hardball politics: State Treasurer Thomas W. Hayes has released his tax return and personal credit report, urging other candidates for the office to do the same. He didn't say so, but Hayes' intent is to smoke out his only opponent in the Republican primary, Angela M. (Bay) Buchanan. The Hayes campaign is quietly suggesting that Buchanan, a former U.S. treasurer, might have something to hide in her credit history. So far, Buchanan has not released her tax returns or a credit history, although she says she will do so.

Looking ahead: A group of black politicians, including Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Los Angeles) will endorse San Francisco Dist. Atty. Arlo Smith for attorney general today. Smith is vying for the Democratic nomination with Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner.

SOUNDINGS

From the Sacramento Bee, on Assembly Speaker Willie Brown's lament that a measure banning any gift worth over $250 to legislators "would create a major problem in terms of the normal social intercourse existing for humankind":

"Rubbish. . . . The social intercourse of humankind is hardly threatened because the Speaker might be forced to forgo the Academy Awards and Kentucky Derby, or heaven forbid, pay his own way."

From Bud Lembke's Political Pulse newsletter, on the effort to register the homeless to vote:

"Now there's a vote that pollsters and direct mail specialists are going to have difficulty tracking down." EXIT LINE

"Better Me Than Eu."

Campaign slogan for Kennita Watson, Libertarian candidate for secretary of state, referring to incumbent March Fong Eu.

WORDWATCH

"She's the only Democrat for governor for the death penalty."

Television ad for Dianne Feinstein

"He's put or kept 277 murderers on Death Row."

Television ad for John Van de Kamp

"He wrote the death penalty law for the murder of federal drug agents."

Television ad for Pete Wilson

THE RISING COST OF LEGISLATIVE RACES

Figures represent total campaign spending by Assembly and Senatorial candidates for both primary and general elections.

ELECTION CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES (millions) 1976 $14.76 1978 $20.28 1980 $34.33 1982 $44.00 1984 $44.82 1986 $64.10 1988 $78.92

Source: California Almanac

31 days left to register to vote before the May 7 deadline. 60 days left until the June 5 primary election.

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