The initiative: Proposition 134, a November ballot measure sponsored by nonprofit public interest, law enforcement and mental health organizations. Under the proposal, the per gallon tax on wine would jump from a penny to $1.29; on beer from 4 cents to 57.5 cents and on distilled spirits from $2 to $8.40.
Whose ad? Taxpayers for Common Sense, an organization financed by the beer, wine and liquor industry. The organization’s first television advertising campaign features three 30-second spots that will run statewide for two to four weeks. The ads use a schoolteacher, a casually dressed young man and a spunky elderly woman to convey a negative message about Proposition 134.
Elements of the ads, with an analysis by Times staff writer Virginia Ellis :
Ad: Remember those promises about all that lottery money for schools? I wonder where it all went.
Analysis: The California Lottery, approved by the voters in 1984, began its first Lotto game Oct. 18, 1986. Although it is required to return 34% of all revenue to public education, it has consistently returned slightly more. In the fiscal year 1988-89, education received just over $1 billion from the lottery. In 1989-90, it will receive just under $1 billion.
Ad: It (Proposition 134) claims its purpose is to stop youngsters from abusing alcohol. But not one penny goes to schools to teach them how to do it.
Analysis: The proposition does not specifically direct that funds go to schools for education programs that deal with alcohol and drug abuse. However, the proposition earmarks funds for education programs on alcohol and drug abuse that will be forwarded to county supervisors. Schools are expected to compete for these funds on the local level.
Ad: So where’s it (money from the tax increase) going?
Well, litter . . . parks and aircraft.
Analysis: The law enforcement section of the proposition permits a small portion of the funds to be spent on litter cleanup, the idea being that a prime source of litter in parks are people who drink and leave their beer cans and wine bottles behind.
Again under the law enforcement section, the proposition designates funds for the operation and administration of an emergency medical air transportation network. Supporters of the proposition say a major purpose of the program would be to airlift victims of drunk-driving accidents to hospitals.
The measure also earmarks money for community programs for teen-agers run by parks and recreation agencies. Supporters say the idea is to keep teen-agers occupied and away from drugs and alcohol.