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Property lists

It seems to me that the choice of whether property lists should be kept
as ASSOC lists or as alternating lists should be an implementation issue.
Functions for adding, deleting, finding, modifying them should exist
so that the user hardly ever needs to actually see the structure except
when debugging. Yet the CL manual insists that in CL they must be implemented
as alternating lists, not as ASSOC lists. Why was this decision made??
Should it be rescinded?