Gov. Jerry Brown urged charter school supporters at the Capitol this afternoon to back his ballot initiative to raise taxes, as he continues to try pushing the proponents of competing tax initiatives to step aside.
"We need your support," the Democratic governor told a cheering crowd on the Capitol lawn. "We need the support of all the teachers and the supporters of the public schools in California."
Brown's remarks follow his private meeting in Los Angeles on Tuesday with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. A so-called "millionaires tax" proposed by the California Federation of Teachers is one of two tax measures threatening to compete with Brown's November ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.
Brown, who met with other labor leaders in Washington over the weekend to "build support for the single tax," believes the presence of multiple tax initiatives on the ballot could dilute support for any one of them, causing all to fail. He said as he left the rally this afternoon that his meeting with Weingarten was "very good," but he declined to discuss it in any detail.
"She's a real educational leader, and we found a lot to agree with," Brown said. "It was a very, I thought, very stimulating meeting, and I certainly learned a lot, and I might have even given her an idea or two."
Weingarten, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Brown, who started two charter schools when he was mayor of Oakland, was warmly received at the California Charter Schools Association rally. He compared starting a charter school to giving birth.
"Sometimes births are associated with pain," Brown said. "But after the pain comes the joy and the excitement of some new being and reality, and that's what charter schools are in California."
Brown said charter schools represent "power coming up from the bottom."
He told the charter school supporters, "That's what you represent: You're rebels out there, insurgents."