Deukmejian Plan : Budget Proposal Includes Increases for Area Schools

Times Staff Writer

The $44.3-billion state budget unveiled Thursday by Gov. George Deukmejian touches the San Fernando Valley area primarily through major increases in education spending.

The increases included modest appropriations for construction at California State University, Northridge and equipment at Sylmar's Mission College campus.

At CSUN, the governor set aside $933,000 to equip an addition to the Oviatt library and $1.3 million for remodeling of a biological and physical science laboratory.

At Mission College, Deukmejian earmarked $993,000 to equip the administration building at the new Sylmar campus. And the Ventura County Community College District would receive $1.6 million for construction of a graphic arts building at Moorpark College.

Among other Valley area items in the budget are:

$618,000 for operations of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, an increase of $17,000 over the current year. However, for the second year in a row, Deukmejian did not add any funds for the agency to buy open space in the mountains that ring the Valley.

In the past, the Legislature has regularly added funds for the agency to buy parklands. "We totally expected this. There are no surprises," said Joseph Edmiston, the conservancy's executive director.

Edmiston said the lack of funds for the conservancy to acquire land highlights the need for passage of the $776-million parks and wildlife initiative that recently qualified for the June ballot. The conservancy will receive nearly $46 million to buy land if the bond passes.

$1.5 million to add a truck lane to a one-mile uphill stretch of the westbound Simi Valley Freeway from Topanga Canyon Road to Rocky Peak Road, said a spokesman for Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley).

At least $7.1 million to remodel five living units, originally built in the 1930s, as part of continuing modernization at Camarillo State Hospital. About 150 mentally ill adolescents and elderly residents will live in the rebuilt units. "This is something that's been needed for some time," said Frank Turley, Camarillo's executive director.

Deukmejian's budget also includes a Jan. 1, 1989, faculty salary increase of 4.7% for the California State University system, including CSUN. He also proposes to increase fees for students in the state university system by 8.6%--about $54 for full-time students--raising the annual fees to $684.

The budget also sets aside $17 million statewide for a variety of transportation management plans, including expansion of a center in downtown Los Angeles to monitor traffic flows in greater Los Angeles.

Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys) also said he would seek to insert funds into the budget to cover a courtyard at the State Office Building in Van Nuys. Last year, Deukmejian rejected $400,000 for the project, but Robbins said he plans "to push hard" for the appropriation.

Although Robbins said he is pleased with the budget in general, he voiced surprise that it contained few specific park and transportation projects for the Valley area.

"A number of Valley concerns have to be dealt with," said Robbins, who sits on the powerful joint Assembly-Senate budget conference committee. "They can't expect us to pass a budget that doesn't give the greater San Fernando Valley its fair share," especially of park projects, Robbins said.

Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sepulveda) said the treatment of the Valley in the 1988-89 budget was better than in previous years.

"There was a time when the Valley was really neglected," Katz said. "Now, things of importance to the Valley get included in the budget. . . ." Otherwise, he said, the Valley delegation will try to have it added.

In recent years, Valley-area lawmakers have successfully pushed for funds for large construction projects, among them last year's $8.5-million appropriation for Mission College's new campus.

Valley-area lawmakers split along party lines in their reaction to Deukmejian's overall spending package and his State of the State Address, delivered Wednesday night. The budget, which takes effect July 1, must be passed by the Legislature.

In his budget message, Deukmejian painted a rosy picture of the state's economy, saying California "has never been stronger," and announced that he would add nearly $1 billion for elementary and secondary schools, and place $1.6 billion in school construction bonds before voters this year.

Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Los Angeles) disagreed with Deukmejian's portrait of California, saying, "It's maybe the best (time) for the country club set, but it isn't for your single mother without health insurance.

"He just neglects the problems that afflict so many people in this state and paints this Norman Rockwell view."

Sen. Ed Davis (R-Valencia) said the governor painted "a good, upbeat picture. Most of all, education can't be unhappy."

Davis said he supports the proposed increase in education funds, even though he is uncertain how school districts in his Senate district would be affected by it.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World