State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson tried to intervene Wednesday in the ongoing tax initiative fray by calling on wealthy Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger to remove her ads attacking Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30.
Torlakson, one of the few state leaders backing both measures, said he has personally expressed "deep concerns and disappointment" to Munger about her Tuesday launch of ads criticizing Brown's campaign for allowing politicians to take money from schools.
"I have urged Molly Munger, in the strongest possible way, not to air any such advertisement," Torlakson said in a statement released by the Brown campaign this afternoon. "I consider this to be the kind of negative campaigning that will confuse voters and turn them away from favorable consideration of either measure. I am concerned that this anti-Proposition 30 advertisement will create additional confusion about the two measures and lead to the defeat of both. This would be a tragic outcome our schools and our students cannot afford."
Torlakson said that his own polling shows that any negative ads have "a high probability of turning voters against both," though his office declined to release data backing up that claim.
Munger's campaign established a separate account to run ads attacking the governor's initiative, and she contributed $3 million Monday for that purpose. Her spokesman, Nathan Ballard, said Munger felt compelled to run the ad because Brown's initial Yes on 30 spot claimed to bypass Sacramento, a mantle she felt her initiative owned.