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Wilson Tapes Perot-Style 'Informercial' on Economy

April 27, 1993|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

SACRAMENTO — A la Ross Perot, Gov. Pete Wilson has filmed a 30-minute "infomercial"--produced with campaign funds--on California's economy to be offered to cable television systems across the state for airing on community access channels.

In an address to the California Cable Television Assn., Wilson said his televised message would outline his concerns about the health of California's economy.

"It is our responsibility to seize the opportunities that cable offers," he said.

Wilson has devoted most of his recent public speeches to his efforts to stimulate the state's economy with measures including reform of workers' compensation laws, repeal of some regulations of business, and tax breaks for job-creating businesses--all likely themes of his cable message.

Responding to reporters' questions, the Republican governor answered with a firm "yes" when asked if he was trying to copy the TV programs that Ross Perot aired during his campaign last year.

Later, Wilson's communications director, Dan Schnur, said the filming and editing of the program was paid for with campaign funds, but Schnur said the message is "educational, not partisan," which he said makes it suitable for the free community access channels.

Schnur said it is possible that Wilson may buy commercial air time for the program, but he said it would have no connection with Wilson's expected reelection campaign next year.

Peggy Keegan, vice president for public affairs of the California Cable Television Assn., said she considers the governor's infomercials different from conventional political commercials that appear during campaigns because Wilson's messages are not direct appeals for votes.

"These are issue-oriented reports," she said, and added that those who disagree with Wilson's views would be free to contact their local cable companies and ask to present their own views.

Cable systems statewide maintain one or more community access channels, which often carry city council or school board meetings as well as interviews with public officials. In addition, most cable operators offer public access to others on a first-come-first-served basis.

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