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Bradley Ads Hammer Away : Governor Fires Back on Toxics

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Times Staff Writer

Gov. George Deukmejian, maintaining that he is “very pleased” with his record on toxics cleanup, found himself increasingly on the defensive Friday in the face of an advertising campaign launched by his Democratic rival, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

“Actually, we have a very good record,” Deukmejian told interviewers at the taping of KNBC-TV’s News Conference show in Los Angeles. “I have doubled the funding for toxic waste programs in the state. . . . Further, I’ve increased the number of (staff) positions that are involved in our toxics enforcement program by nearly 40%.”

Deukmejian has sought to run what he calls a “positive” campaign for reelection. But for the moment, anyway, Bradley’s advertising spots are succeeding in focusing much of the campaign on Deukmejian’s toxics cleanup record.

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Dogged by Problems

The Deukmejian Administration’s cleanup effort has been beset by an FBI investigation and has been criticized by both the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state auditor general. Furthermore, the governor has not been successful in winning the Legislature’s approval of his proposal to create a new state department to clean up toxic waste.

Bradley, in a series of television and radio ads, has been hammering away at Deukmejian’s veto of 21 toxics-related bills and his receipt of more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from firms that handle hazardous waste cleanup or that have been linked to toxic pollution.

In his defense Friday, Deukmejian repeated his charge that Bradley is misleading the public with his commercials and is ignoring the governor’s accomplishments, including signing more than 60 toxics bills into law.

“He doesn’t talk about the other 60 bills I have signed,” Deukmejian said. “It’s always very negative, very whiny, very complaining.”

Cites Bradley’s Record

Deukmejian also suggested that Bradley’s own hands are not clean when it comes to pollution. Pointing out that the City of Los Angeles was fined $180,000 for dumping raw sewage into Santa Monica Bay, Deukmejian said Bradley’s Administration “is one of the major polluters in the state.”

During the KNBC interview, which will be broadcast Sunday morning, Deukmejian also indicated that time has healed his rift with former Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, who lost to Deukmejian in the 1982 gubernatorial primary. At one point in that bitter campaign, Deukmejian disclosed that Curb did not register to vote until he was 29.

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Curb is running for lieutenant governor again this year, facing state Sen. H. L. Richardson of Glendora in the GOP primary.

“Whichever one of those gentlemen gets the nomination, I’m certainly going to be willing to campaign with in the fall,” Deukmejian said.

Backs Jail Bonds

Earlier in the day, Deukmejian announced his “unqualified endorsement and support” for Proposition 52, a bond measure that would provide $495 million for construction of new county jails.

At a press conference on the steps of Los Angeles County Central Jail, Deukmejian said new construction funds are needed despite two previous jail bond measures in the last four years. County jails throughout the state, he said, are still at 125% of capacity.

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