Thanks to A Clear View, a five-page publication of the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., we have a better understanding of how a proposed takings law in Washington state was defeated. The toughest in the nation, the law would have forced taxpayers to pay property owners whenever any government regulation led to a loss of land. The key to victory was rallying a diverse group of dedicated volunteers who worked on the local level against what seemed an impossibly tight deadline. The coalition drew members of the League of Women Voters, an association of Washington churches, a group of Washington cities and many environmental organizations. But a green message never predominated; instead the coalition emphasized the sheer costs of the takings law. Because the effort brought together many interests, campaign directors say they were able to raise $900,000 and collect 231,122 signatures - far more than the 90,000 names needed - to defeat Referendum 48. For more information, call the Environmental Working Group at 202/667-6982.