Bill for Flood Victims Awaits Wilson's Pen

A bill to ease the financial burdens of Ventura County and other areas hit hard by the 1995 floods is expected to win Gov. Pete Wilson's signature after passage by the Legislature this week.

Wilson's office did not comment specifically on whether the governor will sign the measure. In the past, however, Wilson has routinely signed such bills offering cities and counties relief from costs stemming from flood, fire or earthquake emergencies.

"He is in favor of trying to resolve everything in these areas that have suffered flooding," said Jesus Arredondo, a spokesman for the governor.

Of Wilson's past support for such legislation, Arredondo said, "We can read into it a little based on that but not too much because he hasn't seen this bill yet."

The bill, carried by Assemblyman Jack O'Connell (D-Carpinteria), is modeled after legislation enacted after each in the string of disasters that beset California in recent years.

It waives the costly requirement that local governments provide a 25% matching fund to attract disaster aid from the federal government. The bill applies to both the January deluge and March storms and will take effect immediately if signed into law.

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