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The Huge Job Pete Wilson Faces

December 30, 1990

For this issue of Sunday Opinion, The Times called upon leaders from all over the state to come up with their own wish lists for Gov.-elect Pete Wilson. Unlike the wish lists sent to the North Pole last week, these wishes to Sacramento are anything but fanciful and light. They are about serious issues that won't be solved quickly or easily. That's why two thoughts--long-term planning and prevention--are the unscintillating but most important ideas the new governor should remember from the advice offered by Californians who care deeply about the future of this state.

When he takes office Jan. 7, Wilson will be the chief executive of a state in which, if it were a private corporation, would be the target of hostile takeover rumors. It's a great state whose sheer dollar power is world famous; whose style innovations are copied; whose new industries have rejuvenated an entire region; whose big, why-not-the-best thinking made it the model in varied fields, especially education.

It is in the very areas of past excellence where the state now is full of seemingly intractable problems and, worst, full of doubts. Reevaluations and blame-placing are natural after any gubernatorial administration ends. But there's a grimness to the evaluations this time, a pervasive feeling among many that Wilson has the last and best chance to turn it around for California.

It is with great hope, then, that leaders offer their suggestions to the governor-elect. Through examples, the themes again emerge: long- term planning and prevention. That means questioning the very process of the state budget and eliminating ways in which laws and procedures punish local government and its services. That means turning up the heat on insurers, doctors, lawyers, hospitals, employers and anybody else whose vested interests have impeded the path to progress for decent widespread health and car insurance. It means creating policies that recognize that smog and sewer and transportation needs don't respect municipal boundaries.

This is not easy work. But Pete Wilson wanted the job. The governor-elect would do well to listen to people who are working to make this state all that it should be.

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