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."