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Davis, Lungren Campaigns

November 01, 1998

I find The Times' Oct. 25 endorsement of Gray Davis to be seriously lacking in several key areas. First, you cite the failures of our education system without pointing blame at the true culprits--the teachers unions and those who basically advocate the status quo. I find it mystifying that you consider Dan Lungren and not Davis to be more likely to maintain the status quo. Second, why does your endorsement fail to mention two key issues in California: the onerous state tax burden and the importance of maintaining a friendly climate for business? The key issues you seem to emphasize (like assault weapons and problems with corrections officers) are strange, to say the least.

But what I find most bizarre is your reference to the fact that Lungren has ignored the public will with his half-hearted enforcement of the state's assault weapons ban. Since when is The Times worried about the "public will"? Did we hear a peep out of The Times in the past when liberal judges slapped injunctions on the implementation of the two propositions that passed at the polls--ending affirmative action and denying benefits to illegal aliens?

STEVEN ZELMAN, Manhattan Beach

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So Lungren is concerned about the status of our schools. Well, once upon a time California's educational system ranked at the top in the nation. We have since had 16 years of Republican governorship. Any questions, class?

CONRAD J. DOERR, Palm Springs

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Re "A Leader Who Doesn't Tailor Beliefs to Polls," Column Right, Oct. 27: The problem with Lungren is not the degree to which he follows the polls. (Though his decision to support Prop. 187 can be viewed in that light.) The problem with Lungren is his lack of integrity. For example, he falsely accused Davis of lobbying against the death penalty (Oct. 22) and has falsely claimed credit for winning reparations for the thousands of innocent Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by the U.S. government in World War II.

In truth, Lungren was the most prominent opponent of redress and fought to delay the legislation authorizing payment of reparations to the victims at every step. While Lungren did eventually vote in favor of the reparations, he only did so after it was clear that the law would pass in spite of his opposition. Lungren lacks the requisite integrity to be governor.

ANDREW J. YAMAMOTO, Culver City

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