The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on October 28, 2004 · Page 180
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 180

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Page 180
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ME_B_10_B10_OC_1_10-28-04_th_1_CMYK 2004:10:27:23:06:54_gdoggrell Prop. 66 Ad Blitz Is in Full Swing criminals will be released from prison.” The statement is nearly identical to one that a Superior Court judge in Sacramento ordered opponents not to use in their ballot argument. At issue is how many inmates would qualify for resen- tencing under the changes to the law, which would require that all strikes be for violent or serious felonies and would remove eight crimes from that category. Proponents — as well as the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office— contend that only about 4,200 inmates serving 25 years to life on third strikes for lesser felonies would be resen- tenced. They say those serving enhanced sentences for second strikes would not qualify. “The airing of patently false advertisements violates the public’s trust that only truthful information be disseminated to the public,” Yes on 66 attorney Lance Olson wrote the stations. Tom Hiltachk, legal counsel for the California Recovery Team, a political committee set up by Schwarzenegger to fund various ballot measure campaigns and political expenses, said the governor had no intention of backing off. “Fortunately for us, our ads are truthful,” Hiltachk said. “The governor shares the opinion of the California District Attorneys Assn., as does the attorney general, [Bill Lockyer], that Proposition 66 will lead to the release of 26,000 felons.” Supporters of the measure also began a statewide television ad this week. It featuresJoe Klaas, whose granddaughter Polly Klaas’ kidnapping and slaying helped spur passage of the original law. Klaas appeals to voters to fix what he calls “a flaw in the law.” Schwarzenegger is scheduled to appear today with former Govs. Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and Jerry Brown, as well as a representative for George Deukmejian, at an anti-Proposition 66 news conference in downtown Los Angeles. Polly Klaas’ father, Marc, is also scheduled to speak against changing the law. The state’s tough three- strikes sentencing law was passed a decade ago with the support of nearly three in four voters. Recent polls, including one conducted by the Los Angeles Times, have indicated that voters now appear ready to reconsider, saying they would vote 3to 1 in favor of changing the law. The fight has gotten increasingly nasty — with accusations of lies and misstatements being traded with growing frequency. In addition to the donation from Nicholas, California Recovery Team officials said they would spend at least $500,000 more on the effort to defeat the measure. “I should have put the money in a long time ago,” said Nicholas, who added he was jarred by polls showing the measure winning easily. “In a short amount of time there has been a huge wake- up call, and we think things can turn around very, very quickly.” Backers of the ballot measure say that opponents have continued to use arguments they know are untrue — citing Judge Raymond Cadei’s assessment that it was “mathematically impossible” for 26,000 inmates to simply be released from prison under the revised law. Hiltachk said he was confident the proponents’ appeal to television stations would go nowhere. Hopcraft said Proposition 66 backers planned to dispute the governor’s position in new ads. [ Proposition 66, from Page B1 ] B10 THURSDAY,OCTOBER28,2004OC CALIFORNIA LOSANGELESTIMES coming to her aid, she started to price lodging, and found nothing cheaper than $67 a night. “It’s ridiculous,” she said. “My neighbor went to New York to stay with her kids because it was less than the price of a hotel.” Attorney Donna Bashaw, an elder-law specialist in Laguna Hills who was contacted by Nicholson, said the management company should have been more sensitive to the needs of the Leisure World residents. “They really need to make some kind of accommodations for these people: a lift on the stairway or hotel accommodations,” Bashaw said. “If they were going to be working on the elevator for two days, that’s one thing. But nearly two weeks, that’s egregious what they’re doing.” Larry Bush, a Western region public affairs officer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which enforces housing laws, said his agency had not received a complaint from Nicholson or her neighbors. “I’m willing to look into this to see if the law obligates these people to any kind of protection,” he said. Nicholson is not alone in feeling stranded. Sam Moussa, a 67- year-old cancer patient who has apacemaker, said he huffed and puffed while negotiating the 48 steps leading down from his third-floor condo. “It took me 20 minutes to cover three floors, and I had to wait five minutes at each floor to catch my breath,” Moussa said. “This is not a comedy. It’s a tragedy.” On Sunday, the day before the elevator went out of service, Nicholson gave the stairs a try. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it if I had to,” said Nicholson, who became disabled three years ago after a car accident. “I had to stop after one flight.” Tony Ervolino, 87, dressed in asweatsuit and Yankees cap, is one of the more mobile residents on the third floor, so he serves as amail carrier for many of his neighbors. But Ervolino is recovering from a case of shingles and has slowed down lately. “I walk and up down those steps very carefully,” he said. “Especially now that they are wet and slippery.” Allen J. Schaben Los Angeles Times ‘I WAKE UP CRYING’: Margurette Nicholson, 83, has complained to government agencies about the situation, but the Leisure World management company says it is complying with the law. No Elevator, so No Leaving Home [ Elevator, from Page B1 ] Schwarzenegger ads: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Titles: “Early Release” and “Criminals” -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Script: Walking among the oversized mug shots of convicted felons, Schwarzenegger warns, “Under Proposition 66, 26,000 dangerous criminals will be released from prison. Child molesters. Rapists. Murderers. Keep them off the streets and out of your neighborhood. Vote no on 66. Keep them behind bars.” -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Accuracy: At issue — as it has been throughout the fight over the ballot measure — is Schwarzenegger’s statement about “26,000 dangerous criminals” being released from prison. A Superior Court judge stopped similar language from being used in the ballot argument against Proposition 66, calling the figure “mathematically impossible.” Top law enforcement officials in the state, including Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and the state’s 58 district attorneys, insist that the figure is accurate. Supporters of the proposition, backed by the nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office, say the changes in the law would apply retroactively to only about 4,200 inmates now serving sentences of 25 years to life. The supporters also dispute Schwarzenegger’s claim that murderers and rapists would go free. The measure would applyonly to people whose last conviction was for a nonserious or nonviolent crime. However, such inmates might include those with previous convictions for violent crimes such as rape and murder. Independent legal analysts say the difference over the number of inmates who could be eligible for new sentences would be fought out in court if Proposition 66 passes. Pro-66 ad: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Title: “Joe” -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Script : “I helped lead the fight for a three-strikes law because of a personal tragedy in my family. That law has put a lot of dangerous people in prison. But there was a flaw in the law. We’re putting people away for life when their third strike is a nonviolent crime, like stealing aspirin ... and we’re paying a million dollars to incarcerate each one. That’s not what we voted for. Proposition 66 fixes the flaw in the law.” -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Accuracy: Klaas was an early supporter of the three-strikes law, which was signed by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994. However, he almost immediately expressed regret for his backing and actively campaigned against the law when it went before voters as Proposition 184 later that year. Whether voters who approved three strikes in 1994 anticipated how it would be used is a matter of dispute. The official ballot explanation at the time noted that life sentences could be given for offenses such as shoplifting if the defendant had two previous convictions for serious or violent offenses. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Analysis: The television push from both sides — and large contributions to both sides — come in the last week of the campaign after polls, including one by the Los Angeles Times, found Proposition 66 winning by a large margin. Schwarzenegger conceded that the measure is ahead, but hopes that he can turn the campaign around with a last-minute push. Supporters of changing the law say they have gone back to their big donors for more money to counter Schwarzenegger’s donations and ads. Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team and the state’s prison guard union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., have given almost all of the nearly $2 million reported by the anti-Proposition 66 group. That total does not reflect all of the $1.5-million donation made this week by billionaire Nicholas. Proposition 66 backers have raised more than $4million, about $2.5 million from Jerry Keenan, a Sacramento insurance brokerage owner whose son could potentially be released early from prison if the law is changed. Compiled by Times staff writer Megan Garvey Los Angeles Times AD WATCH Both Sides Crank Up on 3 Strikes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger began airing two 15-second television advertisements Wednesday opposing Proposition 66, a measure that would significantly scale back the state’s tough three-strikes sentencing law. The ads are paid for by donations to the anti-66 campaign of more than $1million from Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team and of$1.5million from Broadcom Corp. founder Henry T. Nicholas III. The pro-66 campaign has a new 30-second commercial featuring Joe Klaas, whose granddaughter Polly’s kidnapping and slaying a decade ago helped spur passage of the original three-strikes law. By Paul Gutierrez Times Staff Writer Bobby Avila, the first Mexican to win a major league baseball batting title when he hit .341 for the Cleveland Indians in 1954, died Tuesday in his hometown of Veracruz, Mexico, of complications from diabetes and a lung ailment. He was 78. Avila, whose given name was Roberto, was a three- time American League All- Star for the Indians, in 1952, ’54 and ’55. The second baseman, who had dreams in his youth of being a bullfighter and studied engineering at the University of Mexico, played for Cleveland from 1949 to 1958, then spent 1959 with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Braves. In 1954, the year he won his American League batting crown, Avila hit a career-high 15 home runs and drove in a career-best 67 runs. He played half that season with a broken thumb while helping the Indians win the American League pennant. Avila finished third in the league’s most-valuable- player voting that season, behind the New York Yankees’ Yogi Berra and Cleveland teammate Larry Doby. But in the Indians’ four- game World Series loss to the New York Giants, Avila batted only .133. In his 11-year major league career, Avila played in 1,300 games and batted .281 with 1,296 hits, 80 homers and 467 RBIs. His fielding percentage was .978. Avila returned to his home country in 1960 and excelled for the Mexico City Tigers, batting .333 and driving in 125 runs. Later, he became the president of the Mexican league. “Everybody knows who Avila was in Mexico,” said Fernando Valenzuela, the former Dodger pitcher turned broadcaster and a native of Navojoa, Mexico. “He was an inspiration, of course, for Mexican ballplayers to follow to the States and play in the major leagues. He did a good job. Everybody knows and recognizes what he did.” Avila was at the leading edge of Latino expansion into the majors, a trend that continues today. Latinos accounted for 85.9% of the 227 players born outside of the United States who were on major league rosters on opening day this season — with such Latino stars as Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Edgar Renteria playing in this year’s World Series. “He had some impact on the Mexican players that came up in the 1960s and 1970s because he was the first Mexican to win a batting crown,” said Jaime Jarrin, the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster. “I think he was atremendous source of pride for the Mexican ballplayers.” In a 1962 interview with The Times, Avila said he had been close to signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 but money and history stood in his way. “Mr. [Branch] Rickey offered me $9,000, but I wanted $10,000,” Avila said. “I think he would have given me what I wanted if he hadn’t had Jackie Robinson. “If I’d gone with Brooklyn, chances are that I would have sat on the bench while Robinson played second base.” Instead, Avila signed with Cleveland for $17,500 and became a national hero while making history himself. Associated Press contributed to this report. Obituaries Associated Press BOBBY AVILA The 1954 American League batting champion, left, poses with Willie Mays, the National League batting champion, before the 1954 World Series. Avila was a three-time American League All-Star for the Cleveland Indians. Bobby Avila, 78; First Mexican to Win Major League Batting Crown Charles Seaver, 93; Champion Golfer, Mets Pitcher’s Father Charles Seaver, 93, the father of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver and a top amateur golfer in the 1930s, has died. Seaver died Monday in Pebble Beach, Calif., after a short illness, the New York Mets said. Charles Seaver played on the 1932 Walker Cupteam and won both his matches in the 8-1 victory by the United States over Britain at Brookline, Mass.The Seaver Cup,an amateur golf tournament in California, is named in his honor. “My dad was my hero,” said Tom Seaver, a former Mets star who is a broadcaster for the team. “All of my competitiveness on the playing field came from him. He always came to as many games as possible, and it was so important to me that he was there when I was inducted into the Hall of Fame” in 1992. Charles Seaver competed in 39 consecutive Bing Crosby National Pro-Am tournaments. He often paired up with movie stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Randolph Scott, and business executive Howard Hughes. Everett M. Rogers, 73; Author, Former USC Journalism Official Everett M. Rogers, 73, an author and former associate dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication, died Oct. 21 in New Mexico, where he lived and had been chairman of the communication and journalism department at the University of New Mexico. He died in his home after having kidney cancer. Rogers’ book, “Diffusion of Innovations,”was selected by Inc. magazine in 1996 as one of the 10 classic books on business. First published in 1962 and now in its fifth edition, the book offers an explanation of how new ideas are incorporated into a culture. He was also the author of about 30 other books and hundreds of articles and chapters in the fields of communication, sociology, marketing and political science. Born in Carroll, Iowa, Rogers received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Iowa State University and taught at several other universities, including Stanford. Nathan Miller, 77; Reporter, Biographer, Naval Historian Nathan Miller, 77, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun who was the author of more than a dozen notable books of American history and biography, has died. Miller died Friday at a Washington, D.C., nursing home two years after suffering a stroke. ABaltimore native, Miller served in the Navy, then studied history at the University of Maryland in the early 1950s. He joined the Sun in 1954 as a police reporter and later worked in the Sun’s Rio de Janeiro and Washington bureaus. In 1969, he became an investigator and speechwriter for U.S. Sen. John L. McClellan (D-Ark.). His first book, “Sea of Glory,”which chronicled the Navy’s birth, was published in 1974. Among his other books were “The U.S. Navy: A History”(1977) and “Theodore Roosevelt: A Life” (1992). His most recent book, published last year,is “New World Coming: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America.” From Times Staff and Wire Reports PASSINGS Amemorial for John Dreyfuss,a former architecture and design critic for The Times, will be at 11 a.m. Nov. 14 at Schoenberg Hall on the UCLA campus in Westwood. Attendees are asked to bring written remembrances to share. Dreyfuss, 70, died Aug. 21of complications from an appendectomy. Memorial Set for Times Design Critic at UCLA

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