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GOVERNOR : Brown Bus Tour Ends; Wilson Speaks on Crime : Governor is lauded by victims group and pledges to continue his work if elected to second term. Challenger arrives at boisterous rally at UCLA.

November 04, 1994|BILL STALL and AMY WALLACE | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

In a contrast of styles between scrambling challenger and front-running incumbent, Democrat Kathleen Brown ended a marathon tour of California on Thursday with a boisterous rally at UCLA while Republican Gov. Pete Wilson solemnly pledged to crime victims and their families that he would continue the battle against violent criminals in a second term.

In what his staff said was a surprise to Wilson, about 200 members of the group known as Memory of Victims Everywhere gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood to honor the governor for his crime-fighting efforts, including the passage of the "three strikes" bill that mandates terms of 25 years to life for three-time felons.

"We thank you for all the people who won't be dead this year . . . because you cared enough," said Collene Campbell, the mayor of San Juan Capistrano and a leader of the crime victims movement that has worked with Wilson. "We love you."

Then each person attending the ceremony at the church--the setting for Wilson's crime conference early this year--walked forward to hang a white cutout heart bearing a victim's name on a three-foot-tall "halo tree" assembled as a gift for Wilson and his wife, Gayle. The tree also was decorated with green ivy and blinking white lights.

Wilson told the group it had made the difference in getting anti-crime legislation passed during the last year, saying, "My God, what a fight you have put on."

Ater a long pause, Wilson added: "The only way I can thank you, and Gayle can thank you, is to continue working with you and insisting that we get all of it--all that we didn't get this year."

That would include extending the death penalty to those convicted of killing others in the course of a carjacking or drive-by shooting, and toughening sentences even more for first-time rapists and child molesters. Brown opposes both measures.

Meanwhile, Brown was nearing the end of a 30-hour tour of the state in which she sought to enlist support for her opposition to Proposition 187, the anti-illegal immigration ballot measure, and to spur the sort of Democratic voter turnout she needs to overcome Wilson's recent lead in opinion polls.

About 1,000 greeted Brown at the campus rally at UCLA, where she continued to attack Wilson's support for Proposition 187.

Brown also renewed her accusation that Wilson's Trade and Commerce Agency has worked to get McDonnell Douglas to postpone--for Wilson's political advantage--an announcement that its next generation of medium-range airliners, the MD-95, will be built in Texas instead of Long Beach.

Such a move, reported in a Dallas newspaper Wednesday, would cost California 3,000 jobs, Brown said.

"This is just one more example of the two faces of Pete Wilson," Brown said. "The candidate Wilson who runs 30-second TV spots claiming he fights for jobs versus the real Pete Wilson, who uses your tax dollars to cover up the loss of 3,000 good-paying jobs."

Brown called for an official investigation to determine if state funds were used in an effort to delay the announcement.

The governor's office denied any involvement in the timing of the announcement. Wilson has done nothing but work to persuade the firm to keep all its civilian aircraft production in Long Beach, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Wilson took out an advertisement in today's editions of The Times to reproduce a letter to President Clinton accusing him of hypocrisy in his approach to the financing of services provided to illegal immigrants.

"For you to suggest that Californians are mean-spirited for wanting to reduce the burden of illegal immigration is absurd, when the Congress and your own Administration have sought to reduce social services for illegal immigrants on the federal level," Wilson said in the letter.

"That's one reason voters just don't buy your hysterical claims and scare tactics about 187."

The ad was timed for Clinton's arrival in Los Angeles today to address a rally at City Hall on behalf of Brown, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other members of the Democratic ticket. The President was scheduled to remain in California until Sunday.

Amid rumors that it was running out of money, the Brown campaign delayed from Thursday until today the release of two television commercials attacking Proposition 187. The campaign also will rerun the hourlong Oct. 16 Brown-Wilson debate on cable television systems throughout California today through the weekend.

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