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GOVERNOR : Brown Boosts Anti-Crime Proposal

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Pledging to be “the best governor rank-and-file cops ever had,” state Treasurer Kathleen Brown on Wednesday bolstered her 33-point anti-crime plan with two new points that she said would lead to “tougher management and safer streets” than California has enjoyed under Gov. Pete Wilson.

Speaking in a largely empty gymnasium at the Los Angeles Police Academy, Brown said that as governor she would create a Public Safety Council modeled on the National Security Council that would coordinate the state’s law enforcement agencies. She also said she would seek input from rank-and-file law enforcement officers when making judicial appointments.

“Today, the only formal evaluations of judicial candidates comes from attorneys--the California State Bar. Their input is important,” she told a small audience of prosecutors that appeared not to include a single police cadet. “But when I select judges, I also want to hear from law enforcement, including rank-and-file police officers.”

Brown’s comments were the latest in a series of recent speeches that have attempted to portray Wilson as an ineffective manager.

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Wilson’s reelection campaign immediately dismissed Brown’s proposals as political posturing. Law enforcement officials already have significant input into Wilson’s judicial selection process, said Dan Schnur, a spokesman for Wilson’s reelection campaign.

“All Kathleen Brown would do is add seats at the table for the trial lawyers, the defense lawyers and the ACLU,” Schnur said. “Anyone who opposes the death penalty . . . is no friend of California’s crime fighters.”

Brown has said that although she personally opposes the death penalty, she would enforce it vigorously if elected governor.

Among the law enforcement groups that have endorsed Wilson, Schnur said, are the California Police Chiefs Assn., Los Angeles Police Chiefs Assn., Los Angeles Probation Officers Union and the Assn. of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, whose president, Shaun J. Mathers, attended Brown’s speech.

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“If this comes down to an issue of crime, if that’s what the California voters decide this election on, Wilson wins hands-down,” Mathers said after hearing Brown’s remarks. “I don’t believe she has any credibility on this issue.”

John Whitehurst, a spokesman for Brown’s campaign, said the state treasurer has been endorsed by the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, California Professional Firefighters Assn. and the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Officer’s Assn., among other groups.

On Wednesday, Brown accepted the endorsement of the Assn. of California State Attorneys and Administrative Law Judges, a 2,300-member organization that includes prosecutors and attorneys with the Department of Justice.


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