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State Journal: Governor's blast; Campaign blunder; Stop v. Go

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One of the leitmotifs of California education over the past eight years has been the tension between Gov. George Deukmejian and the state's public-school community, in particular Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig.

The long-running conflict came to a head this summer, as education lobbyists waged a bitter battle against the Governor's efforts to cut school funding in order to reduce a multi-billion-dollar deficit.

With only a few months left in office, Mr. Deukmejian recently gave vent to his frustrations with the schools and the people who run them.

The education system has a "paramount concern with money, salaries, and personal benefits," he said.

With $27 billion being spent on state schools this year, the Governor said, "it is clear that we are not getting our money's worth."

Mr. Deukmejian did make one conciliatory gesture, however. He indicated that he would not contest in court a move by State Controller Gray Davis to begin sending school districts $462 million that the Governor had earlier impounded.

While he went down to an overwhelming defeat in Arizona's Democratic gubernatorial primary last week, Dave Moss may have earned himself a spot in the hall of fame of campaign blunders with some observations on education at a recent candidates' forum.

"I would like to remind the people in this audience and on television that Adolf Hitler had the right idea," the Phoenix businessman said in response to a question about drug education.

"He took those children at 7 and 8 years old, and by the time they were 16, 17 years old, he educated them, and he had one of the best armies in the world."

"What [Hitler] did is brought them up right," Mr. Moss added. "They didn't drink, they didn't smoke, they did everything he said."

Although the ballot status of a proposed referendum to overturn a tax-increase bill passed by the Oklahoma legislature this spring remains uncertain, forces on both sides of the issue are preparing for battle in November.

Leading the revolt against the higher taxes, which will be used to fund a variety of school reforms, is a group called stop--Stop Taxing Our People.

Education and other groups in the state recently formed a coalition to oppose the anti-tax referendum.

The group has dubbed itself Growth Oklahoma--go.--hd

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