Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 12, 2012
Jerry Brown to start 'full-on' tax campaign Tuesday

OAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown, who has done little public campaigning for his Nov. 6 ballot initiative to raise taxes, said tonight that he has been busy fundraising but will launch a "full-on campaign" of events starting Tuesday in Los Angeles, the state's largest media market.

"It's definitely a very close and challenging race, and I'm going to spend the next three weeks doing everything I can to make sure we put it over the finish line," the Democratic governor said after an appearance in Oakland. "This will be a full-on campaign."

Brown, whose Proposition 30 seeks to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, said he has been "very busy" raising money, including at a fundraiser Thursday night in Sacramento.

He said his appearance Tuesday will likely be at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"You have to raise the money," Brown said over salmon cakes at a restaurant here. "This is not a free good. I've got to be on the phone ... calling people. When you ask people to give you 35 million bucks, it takes time. You have to eat, you have to drink, you have to talk, you have to sit, you have to stand. And I do all of that."

Brown's remarks come after Molly Munger, the proponent of a rival tax measure, unloaded on Brown with a television ad this week criticizing his initiative. Her measure, Proposition 38, would raise income taxes on all but California's lowest-income earners.

Brown, who also started campaigning relatively late during his 2010 gubernatorial run, held a handful of events at schools earlier this year. He billed an August press conference as a "kickoff" to his campaign, though his public appearances were few.

Brown said the initiative campaign is only now beginning to resonate with undecided voters.

"Now's the time," he said. "We didn't need to do this a month ago."

Brown acknowledged the difficulty of persuading undecided voters to support his initiative, however, saying people "who are undecided tend to vote 'No.'"

Brown was in Oakland to address a gathering of faith-based community organizations. He was speaking in a tented area of a restaurant when someone outside heckled him for his recent veto of legislation that would provide overtime and other job-related protections to caregivers and other domestic workers.

Brown acknowledged the heckler, saying, "This is part of speaking truth to power, so that's good."

Later, Brown said he is "very concerned about domestic workers, that they be treated right," but he also worried about the cost of the legislation to "ordinary people who have to take care of their mother or father or their aunt or their uncle, and they need someone to come in."

Brown said further study is in order.

"This is a very personal thing. I've had two cousins and one aunt die in the last 12 months, and they all had live-ins, and they all were not subject to this law," he said. "So I think we've got to ... see how it works."

October 12, 2012
Molly Munger believed brother wasn't spending against Brown

Molly Munger, who has spent nearly $36 million on tax initiative Proposition 38, said she believed her brother was not financing the campaign against a rival tax increase measure, Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30.

Charles Munger Jr. has contributed $22 million to the Small Business Action Committee PAC, designed to both oppose Brown's tax measure and to support Proposition 32, a campaign finance measure aimed at curbing union power.

Her brother, she said, "has assured me his money is going to 32 and not 30. I don't know where they're getting their money...The first time he put money into that PAC, I called him and said, 'What are you doing? And he said, 'I'm doing what I always said I was doing, I'm backing 32 ... He said, 'It's all for 32, that's my deal with that PAC.'"

But the math suggests that Charles Munger Jr.'s money has to be flowing to No on 30. SBAC has spent $5.9 million so far on No on 30 ads - yet the PAC has only collected $2.2 million from contributors not named Charles Munger Jr.

Beth Miller, SBAC spokeswoman, said the committee "does not accept contributions earmarked for any specific measure...All donors understand that it is up to the discretion of SBAC PAC regarding how any funds are spent."

October 12, 2012
VIDEO: Howard Berman and Brad Sherman get physical in debate

Here's the You Tube video of the debate last night in which California Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman went nose to nose -- literally.

"You wanna get into this?" Sherman asks at one point -- before law enforcement interceded.

The two veterans are battling for one redrawn House seat in the San Fernando Valley.

Related: Read the AP story about the debate here.

October 12, 2012
AM Alert: 'Unprecedented situation' also called 'murder-suicide'

Now that the talking heads have dissected last night's No. 2 match-up between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, California political junkies can go back to watching what's being called a "murder-suicide."

That's one of the terms showing up in recent emails and conversations bouncing around the state's education community, should Molly Munger's ads attacking Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 take down both that proposal and her own Proposition 38.

"This is an absolutely unprecedented situation in California politics," Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, told The Bee's Kevin Yamamura. Read his story at this link.

Those propositions -- and the other nine on the ballot -- get an in-depth look in The Bee's print edition Sunday, which includes a 22-page special voter guide for the Nov. 5 election. Ready to mark your ballot? You can also access our online voter guide at this link.

Californians, meanwhile, have until Monday, Oct. 22, to register to vote in that election. You can now register online at But registering online isn't automatic. As the Secretary of State's Office explains in this FAQ, "Your county elections official will contact you when your voter registration application is approved or when more information is needed to confirm your eligibility."

Keep in mind that the deadline is midnight the night of Oct. 22 to submit your application online. If you're submitting a paper application, it must be postmarked or hand-delivered that day to your local elections office.

On the campaign front, one of this weekend's fundraisers that caught our eye is a birthday reception and dinner Sunday benefiting Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's 2014 re-election committee. Tickets start at $1,000. Newsom is hosting the event at the Marin County home he shares with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Two Rancho Cucamonga Republicans celebrate their natal days this weekend. Sen. Bob Dutton turns 62 on Saturday, and Assemblyman Mike Morrell turns 60 on Sunday. Birthday wishes to both.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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