STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Note: The Times does not ordinarily endorse in the contest for governor because this race attracts sufficient attention to enable voters to reach informed decisions, and it chooses not to endorse in every political race but to endorse in partisan elections selectively.
Lt. Governor: Leo McCarthy (D)
A hard-working problem solver. Quiet, persistent, decent and level-headed.
Attorney General: Arlo Smith (D)
A career prosecutor--non-ideological, professional. His opponent is a former congressman whose conservative political views may get in the way of an evenhanded approach to this important job.
State Treasurer: Kathleen Brown (D)
Her opponent, Tom Hayes, has done a good job as the incumbent treasurer, but Brown offers a vision of the office that's both imaginative and responsible.
Secretary of State: March Fong Eu (D)
A knowledgeable career public servant with a very capable staff.
Controller: Gray Davis (D)
Well-qualified to continue to watchdog the state's $55.7 billion budget.
Insurance Commissioner: Wes Bannister (R)
Independent insurance agent Bannister, who has agreed to put his agency into a blind trust if elected, offers impressive knowledge of the industry and ability to critically evaluate its weaknesses.
State Board of Equalization 2: Brad Sherman (D)
Brad Sherman, a tax lawyer and a certified public accountant, would bring a high level of professionalism, vigor and integrity to the board.
State Board of Equalization 4: No endorsement
The race for this seat is between Paul Carpenter, a man who cannot serve because he is a convicted felon, and Joseph H. Adams, who does not have the broader background needed to exercise the duties effectively.
30th District.: Reuben Franco (R-Monterey Park)
Young, aggressive challenger in a district represented by a low-energy incumbent.
36th District: George E. Brown Jr.(D-Colton)
Top science and technology booster, important at this critical juncture; in a stiff challenge.
124--YES: Hospital Districts, Constitutional Amendment
Community-owned hospitals, especially in rural areas, need freedom to use innovative and economical ways to broaden their services. Would authorize local hospital districts to acquire stock--currently prohibited by the state Constitution--in corporations engaging in health-care-related businesses.
125--YES: Rail Transit Funding, Constitutional Amendment
Right now using state gasoline tax revenues to buy commuter rail cars and equipment is constitutionally prohibited. This unnecessary encumbrance would be lifted.
126--NO: Alcoholic Beverages Tax, Constitutional Amendment
This poison pill to the "Nickel a drink" proposition (134) would hike liquor taxes somewhat, but the taxes collected would simply be dumped into the general fund, and two clauses designed to neutralize 134 and other liquor taxes are offensive.
127--YES: Earthquake Property Tax Exclusion, Constitutional Amendment
Would exclude existing buildings that are retrofitted with earthquake improvements from property tax increases. A sensible change in the law.
128--NO: Environment, Public Health Initiative (Big Green)
This grab bag of a ballot measure would in some areas aim to do a lot and in others not do very much. It proposes, among other things, to ban pesticides; require the state to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by as much as 40% by the year 2010; ban clear-cutting of ancient redwood forests; accelerate the timetable for eliminating use of ozone-depleting chemicals; write into state law an existing ban on new offshore oil drilling in state waters; tax oil companies to pay for future offshore oil spills; curb discharge of toxic waste into bay and coastal waters; create the post of environmental advocate to enforce environmental laws. It all sounds pretty good, but on closer examination it duplicates a lot of what's being done and adds some things that might be more symbolic than real. More wish list than effective environmental policy.
129--NO: Drug Enforcement, Prevention, Treatment, Prison Initiative
This is a political leftover from the June primary--a relic of Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp's unsuccessful run for governor. Proposition 115, passed in June, covers a lot of this. What's not covered, by and large, is better handled in Proposition 133 or better left alone.
130--YES: Forest Acquisition Initiative (Forests Forever)
By far the best environmental proposition on the ballot. Would ban clear-cutting in all forests; authorize a $742-million bond issue for the purchase of redwood forests; prohibit timber operators from harvesting more trees than could be grown on their land in any 10-year period; restrict burning of debris from logging; restrict export of California logs; reconstitute the state Board of Forestry and require appointment of environmentalists. Go for it.
131--YES: Term Limits, Ethics, Campaign Financing Initiative