Deukmejian and Honig Stage Impromptu Debate on Talk Dhow

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Gov. George Deukmejian of California appeared on a popular radio talk show in Los Angeles late last month to defend his education-spending policies before an estimated audience of 300,000 listeners.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Governor had taken telephone calls from three listeners--two criticizing his stance and one defending it--when a caller from Sacramento came on the air to weigh in with his views.

"Bill, you're on talk radio, KABC,'' the program's host, Michael Jackson, said.

"Hello, Governor Deukmejian?'' the listener asked.

"Yes, sir,'' the unsuspecting guest replied, his voice reportedly upbeat and crisp.

"I'm Bill Honig.''

And for the next 12 minutes, the audience was treated to the first one-on-one debate between the Governor and the state superintendent of public instruction since their war of words over Mr. Deukmejian's school-spending plan began in January.

"I've been listening to what you've been saying, and I know you've refused to meet with me, [so] I'm going to talk to you on the air,'' Mr. Honig said. He then proceeded to deny the Governor's on-the-air charges that he had been spreading "inaccuracies'' and "falsehoods.''

According to the newspaper, much of the debate centered on the Governor's plans for dealing with a $2.7-billion revenue windfall.

Mr. Deukmejian has said that a constitutional limit on state spending has forced him to propose that a total of $700 million be returned to taxpayers. Mr. Honig, meanwhile, has said that the law imposes no such limit, and has suggested that the money be earmarked for schools. (See Education Week, June 3, 1987.)

"I expected that Bill Honig would call,'' the Governor interjected at his first opportunity. "I expected that he would follow fraternity-type politics and try to get in on this program.''--T.M.

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