WILSON: L.A. Times, Mercury News Blast Governor For Vetoes
Two California dailies criticize Gov. Pete Wilson for vetoing the majority of health care legislation that lawmakers sent him. A Los Angeles Times editorial: "Executives normally use the veto as a scalpel. Wilson took up a bludgeon." The paper says that health care was one of two issues that "took the broadest hit from Wilson's veto scythe" as mental health parity and minimum nursing- ratios were struck. The editorial also criticizes the manner in which Wilson conducted his vetoing, saying the "governor killed a third of the 950 measures, often writing churlish or sarcastic messages to justify his vetoes or airily dismissing legislation by declaring it was something his administration already was doing." In one instance, the paper contends, Wilson said he was "frankly disgusted" at state Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks) for "retaining a particular provision in a bill dealing with female contraceptives." But "[w]orse than the rhetoric was the manner in which the administration led lawmakers to believe their bills would win approval if they were changed to meet certain objections." Again, the Times uses Hertzberg as an example, noting that Hertzberg worked out a compromise to appease Wilson, but the governor vetoed the bill -- which overall he said he supported -- because of another provision ( see CHL 9/14). The Times concludes, "Thousands of hours of legislative work, by both Democrats and Republicans, were swept away by Wilson for reasons that were often left unclear. That work will have to be done all over again beginning in January since most of these bills attempted to deal with problems and issues that will not go away" (10/2).
The San Jose Mercury News echoes the Times, calling Wilson's veto of the mental health parity measure "prejudiced, short-sighted and cruel." The paper holds that Wilson's assertion that the measure was "too broad and would prove too costly" is incorrect. Wilson's "decision shows a shocking lack of compassion for people with mental illnesses as well as an inability to see long-term benefits over minor, short-term costs" (10/1).