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The Campaign to Get Wedaa : Gov. Wilson needs to veto a very misguided bill

September 16, 1993

It's tempting to make bureaucracy a scapegoat for the troubles brought on by California's prolonged recession. Gov. Pete Wilson is on the spot now that two archconservatives from Orange County managed at the eleventh hour of the Legislature's session to get through a bill that takes aim at the politically moderate chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Henry W. Wedaa, also a Yorba Linda city councilman. Wilson should veto this legislation.

Under the bill, by March 1 two-thirds of Orange County mayors would have to affirm support for Wedaa--who is the representative of Orange County cities on the district's board--if he is to retain his seat.

The rap on the chairman is that he's anti-business, but it's not true. Through his efforts to simplify the permit process and to get the AQMD to be more user-friendly he has shown he clearly understands the balancing act between cutting red tape and cleaning up the air.

No other air quality district in the state would have new ground rules for city representatives on its board under the special provision of this legislation. The measure is simply the latest salvo in a long-running witch hunt carried on by state Sen. John R. Lewis (R-Orange), this time with the assistance of Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove).

Having a moderate at the board level of the AQMD won't hurt business in Southern California. And Wedaa should not be sacrificed for what ostensibly is the main purpose of the legislation--exempting very small businesses from AQMD ride-sharing programs. In fact, the ride-sharing exemption is already in effect in the South Coast region.

This quarrel is illustrative of a larger concern for all who come under the umbrella of the AQMD. With all the concern about competitiveness, there is a need both to streamline regulations and improve quality of life. Wedaa's critics would prefer to dismantle the agency, or at least deter it from its charge.

Gov. Wilson should see this campaign for what it is, and refuse to have any part in it.

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