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California's Business Climate

April 27, 1993

I have noted the following two quotations in your paper:

"Just maybe it would be better for the ratepayers if companies left the state" (Don Schultz, California Public Utilities Commission staff, March 28).

"The message to the state is that the market has no more patience" (C. Michael Armstrong, chairman of Hughes Aircraft, announcing the movement of 1,900 engineering jobs to Arizona, March 30).

I believe that Schultz's comment should go down in history with the famous "Let them eat cake," uttered by Marie Antoinette just before the French Revolution. This statement is the encapsulation of the attitudes expressed by California's bureaucracy for the last 20 years. Does he think that people will be grateful for low utility rates if they don't have jobs? How do he and like-thinkers expect that the education, medical, and social services they want will be funded if there are no wage-earning taxpayers to bear the cost?

As a conservative who also wants to preserve the environment, I have been silently applauding the win-win approach embodied in the efforts extended by the utilities to help companies remain in California and reduce pollution. These efforts should be encouraged, not impeded. As a taxpayer and ratepayer who is paying Schultz's salary through surcharges on utility bills, I would like to see Schultz share the same fate of many who have lost their jobs due to the actions he is suggesting.

ERWIN H. STRAEHLEY

Santa Barbara

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