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Taxpayers Group Backs Measure O

September 19, 2000|DAVID KELLY

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. has announced its support for Measure O on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The statewide advocacy group said the measure, which would transfer control of Ventura County's $260-million share of tobacco settlement money to seven private area hospitals, is good for taxpayers.

"Measure O ensures the tobacco settlement money will be used only for health-care services and programs, and it protects the public from governmental squandering of the windfall," said Jon Coupal, president of the Sacramento-based taxpayers association.

Ventura County Supervisor Judy Mikels said she can't understand why a group that is supposed to represent taxpayers would advocate taking money from the county and giving it to private business.

"This is taxpayer money, they own it, and they should decide where it goes," Mikels said.

Coupal said his organization is dedicated to supporting free enterprise. Ventura County, he said, has little credibility in determining how to spend taxpayer money.

Supporters of Measure O argue that county officials cannot be trusted to spend the money on health-care programs, despite a pledge by county supervisors to do so.

The initiative is sponsored by Community Memorial Hospital.

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