There is no lack of issues in the 1994 campaign for governor, but the differences between two of the leading Democrats--Kathleen Brown and John Garamendi--are mostly of emphasis and style. Tom Hayden has used his candidacy to push for basic reform in campaign finance, to limit the influence of special interests.
The sharpest clashes in philosophy are apparent between Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and his conservative GOP challenger, Ron Unz. Wilson, mostly ignoring Unz, has focused on illegal immigration and crime.
Here are some of the major issues that have arisen in the campaign:
ECONOMY AND JOBS
Brown has made jobs and the economy the keystone of her campaign, accusing Wilson of mismanaging state finances and allowing California to suffer "America's worst economy." She has proposed tax incentives to stimulate business and to create 1 million new jobs in a first term.
Garamendi talks about improving the economy, and jobs, in more long-range terms, arguing that most of the tax incentives adopted in recent years originated from his work in the state Senate. Garamendi says he would promote strategies to encourage new industries.
For the most part the candidates have steered clear of the state's budget problems. Hayden suggests a tax increase and he labels it as loophole-closing. He proposes that some businesses pay property taxes on the basis of current market value. This could raise several billion dollars. Hayden advocates economic growth based on new technologies that would clean up the environment.
Wilson says that 1993 reform of workers' compensation, the business tax system and business regulation have laid the groundwork for economic recovery. Wilson supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and has worked to open foreign markets to California export products. Brown and Garamendi opposed NAFTA.
Unz has proposed cuts in taxes to encourage business and has said he will encourage "high-technology industries."
All the major candidates say they will be tough on crime. Wilson and Brown support the "three strikes and you're out" legislation that has been passed into law, and back the identical law in initiative form on the November ballot.
Hayden and Garamendi oppose the initiative and believe that the existing "three strikes" legislation should be amended to apply only to violent crime.
The candidates generally agree on the need to repeal state laws granting prison inmates certain rights and want to limit the amount of time that can be cut from a convict's term for good behavior.
The death penalty has been raised as an issue by both Garamendi and Wilson because Brown personally opposes it. However, Brown has said that as governor she would vigorously enforce the law. Wilson and Garamendi argue that the governor's clemency powers gives the chief executive latitude in enforcing death sentences.
Unz has accused the Wilson Administration of being too lenient in letting violent criminals remain on parole despite violations of their parole conditions.
Illegal immigration has been one of the most controversial issues of the campaign. Most of the candidates say the federal government must do a better job of controlling the border and should reimburse the state for providing required services to illegal immigrants, such as emergency health care.
Wilson has been the toughest in proposing restrictions on services to illegal immigrants and has been criticized by his opponents for advocating an amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that children born of illegal immigrants on American soil are not automatically U.S. citizens. Brown, Garamendi and Hayden all oppose changing the Constitution.
Wilson has said that a major reason illegal immigrants come into California is for free services. Brown and Garamendi say the primary motivation is jobs. They believe the most effective control would be to more rigorously enforce laws that make it a crime to hire non-citizens.
Wilson has provided National Guard troops to back up efforts by the U.S. Border Patrol. Brown was criticized by some Latino groups for advocating use of National Guard troops, but she said she did not favor "militarization" of the border. Guard units would be used only in clerical and other backup duties, she said.
Garamendi has proposed more modern methods of border enforcement, such as high-intensity spotlights, but opposes use of the National Guard. Hayden favors more U.S. aid to Mexico and job development in that country to ease the pressure for illegal immigrants to come to California.
Unz says a tide of anti-immigrant sentiment is a danger to California. He says that elimination of "the welfare state" and bilingual education will ease illegal-immigration pressures.
All the candidates favor reform of the public education system and support proposals to keep guns out of classrooms and otherwise improve school security. Brown proposed creation of special disciplinary schools for students caught with guns. Brown and Garamendi both say that computer skills must be taught to all pupils.
Although Wilson opposed the voucher initiative in 1993, he has supported the concept and promoted creation of charter schools with greater local control. Brown also supports charter schools but only with state-certified teachers.
Hayden would close tax loopholes to provide the funds needed to increase state spending per pupil to the national average within five years.
Unz says he is disgusted with the decay of the public education system, and would eliminate all non-academic classes. Garamendi has pledged to work at least five days a year in classrooms so that he can keep abreast of the needs of public education.