In Speech, California's Wilson Talks Crime, Jobs

IN a short, specific state-of-the state address Wednesday, California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) surprised no one by highlighting crime and jobs.

``Many Californians ... are less concerned about the coming century than about the security of their job today and the safety of their family tonight,'' Mr. Wilson said in his fourth annual speech before the Legislature. ``The most urgent questions facing us are: How do we accelerate job creation? And how do we slam the breaks on violent crime?''

He got much applause for calls to pass get-tough measures against dangerous felons and repeat criminals. Reiterating that in his first three years he opened five new prisons, the governor proposed offering $2 billion worth of bonds to build six more. He also called for bills that would put three-repeat felons behind bars for good, as well as doubling penalites for two-time felons. And he proposed recruiting and training 500 new California Highway Patrol officers to be placed in high-crime areas.

``He linked crime to each of the other issues that will reappear in this year's gubernatorial campaign: immigration, recession, family values, and preventive government,'' notes Alan Heslop, director of the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College. ``The interesting question will be whether this is the beginning of his political resurrection or his swan song.''

Wilson also called, in this election year, for tax breaks for first-time businesses. And he lambasted the Clinton administration for a tax plan that hits California hard.

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