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Davis' Slow but Steady Approach Yields Results

August 01, 2003

Frank del Olmo's "Now Latinos Are in the Driver's Seat" (Commentary, July 27) fails to recognize that it was Gov. Gray Davis' choice of mediation instead of litigation that led to much-needed legal closure on Proposition 187. Many -- but not all -- Latinos were angered that Davis didn't just call off the already-in-progress appeal (begun during the Wilson administration) of a court decision that nullified much of Proposition 187. But with federal law addressing many of the same issues as 187, mediation was the best choice.

Then-Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa seemed to agree, saying the eventual settlement signaled "that the era of hate politics is truly over." Even Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who was critical of mediation, said: "I think people ought to just focus on what eventually took place," and "I wasn't for the mediation. It could have been done earlier, but it got done."

As for criticism of Davis on SB 60, a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, Davis is in the middle of months-long negotiations with state Sen. Gil Cedillo (D-L.A.) to hammer out a compromise. The goal is to ensure that undocumented immigrants can become safe, licensed drivers through a process that addresses public safety concerns.

Russell Lopez

Senior Deputy Press

Secretary to Gov. Gray Davis

Sacramento

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