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Pete Wilson and the Future of California

January 06, 1991

Thank you for sharing (Opinion, Dec. 30) the suggestions for Gov.-elect Pete Wilson's "do list" and the related article by Joel Kotkin on the premature pronouncements of California's decline. They prompt me to offer another recommendation.

I urge our new governor to provide the vision, political will and leadership to rethink how California raises and allocates revenue and to identify the resources necessary to keep our state humane, progressive and productive. I am confident that if Californians are aware of the very real needs and the unacceptable consequences of neglecting them, they will be more receptive to providing additional revenue earmarked for specific purposes.

California is a wealthy state. It is a disgrace that we have among the largest class sizes in the nation and our expenditure per student is near the bottom of all states. Our children's and family services have slipped from being a model for the rest of the country to repeatedly being given a D grade.

Withholding investment in California's future is shortsighted, a false economy. Scrimping now on social services such as prenatal and child care, infrastructure rebuilding such as freeways and rapid transit, and educational needs such as those necessary to help immigrants become productive citizens eventually will cost much more.

There is still time to fix potholes, build classrooms and fund preschool programs, but if we don't act soon those predicting California's decline will be right.

CHARLES W. LINDAHL, Fullerton

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