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TV REVIEWS : 'State of State' Finds No Solutions

October 26, 1994|ROBERT KOEHLER

It shouldn't be surprising to anyone who regularly tunes in to KCET's "Life & Times" that, of the show's three co-hosts--Latino poet-journalist-liberal Ruben Martinez, conservative activist Hugh Hewitt and sort-of-liberal reporter for The Times Patt Morrison--it's Morrison who ventures around California to offer a "State of the State" report.

Each of the trio has gifts; Morrison's is that she seems able to rise above any constituency, scan the Golden State for where the tarnish is building up and deliver keen if not profound observations--of which "State of the State" is full.

Few she interviews in her video travels from Sacramento to Los Angeles (California's second largest city, San Diego, apparently doesn't rate) want to see the state divided into three--described in a characteristic Morrisonism as "Logland, Fogland and Smogland." Other than that, though, no consensus is reached here on solutions to California's complex problems.

While Common Cause's Ruth Holten points to the chasm between the diverse population and the mostly white, upscale voter pool, Glide Memorial Church Pastor Cecil Williams says that fear is the wall that divides races and those within and without the city. Monterey Bay Aquarium Director Steve Webster wants a more systematic, ecological approach to wildlife preservation, while almond farmer Fred Starrh says some farmers are ready to "pick up their guns and go to war" over water rights and the meddlesome Endangered Species Act.

Can such a disparate group be governed? Probably. But without a comprehensive overview of Sacramento gridlock, the collapse of the state's military-industrial base and the rise of new industries, Morrison's "State of the State" goes only halfway in mapping California's crises and promise.

* "State of the State" airs on "Life & Times" at 7:30 tonight on KCET-TV Channel 28.

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