Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 3, 2012
VIDEO: Jerry Brown says 'I feel the power' in South Central LA

LOS ANGELES - Gov. Jerry Brown, rallying union workers and volunteers here Saturday for his campaign to raise taxes, continued to hammer his opponents for accepting an $11 million donation from an opaque, out-of-state group, while urging supporters to intensify their efforts in the final days before the election.

"You are so powerful and so important, and we are up against secret money coming across the border from Arizona, from where we don't know," Brown told about 100 members of a Service Employees International Union local at a school in South Central Los Angeles.

He told the union members - a major part of the Democratic governor's own donor base - they are "a combination, a collection, a coming together of individual people, school workers, to counteract the millions and millions of dollars from billionaires and others who evidently don't care as much as you do about the schools of California."

Brown chanted "Yes on 30," pumped his fist and said, "I feel the power."

Proposition 30, Brown's proposal to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, is likely heading to a close finish Tuesday. Likely voters favor the initiative 48 percent to 38 percent, with 14 percent undecided, according to the most recent Field Poll, released last week.

"The surveys look good," Brown said, "but we're not there yet."

Brown's appearance at the school - and at an event later at a phone bank in East Los Angeles - highlighted his organizational advantage over the opponents of Proposition 30, potentially significant in turning out voters on Election Day. Union allies and other supporters of Brown are canvassing neighborhoods and calling voters throughout the state for Proposition 30 and against Proposition 32, a controversial campaign finance measure.

The No on 30 campaign acknowledges its own effort to turn out voters is nowhere near as comprehensive.

Brown is continuing his prodigious fundraising, as well, collecting more than $1.2 million for the initiative on Thursday alone, according to a report filed Friday. The donations include $600,000 from Service Employee International Union locals in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oakland. Brown and his supporters have raised more than $55 million for the effort since the beginning of the year.

A committee formed to oppose Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32 has raised about $50 million, including major contributions from GOP donor Charles Munger Jr. and the Arizona-based nonprofit Americans for Responsible Leadership. That committee has provided the majority of the nearly $13 million raised by a separate committee specifically opposing Proposition 30.

Brown has used the $11 million donation from the Arizona group as a rallying cry for two weeks, and he showed no sign of letting up Saturday. One day after California's 3rd District Court of Appeal denied the state's emergency request to force Americans for Responsible Leadership to disclose the identities of its donors, Brown said he is optimistic for a favorable review by the state Supreme Court.

Asked about his fundraising advantage, Brown said, "You bet, and we're still going to do that. We're going to do everything we can to fix our schools and get California back on track, but we disclose our donors, and we have a much broader base."

The committee that accepted the $11 million donation has said it was legal and that Brown's criticism is politically motivated.

Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the campaign against Proposition 30, criticized the source of Brown's own campaign money, which he described as public employee unions "who want to prop up the status quo because they're benefiting from it."

McLear said, "We don't have armies of union workers who are encouraged to take days off of work to campaign for Prop. 30."

At the school event, union members in purple shirts lamented the impact on Brown's measure of a rival tax initiative, Proposition 38, which is lagging in public opinion polls but threatens to siphon votes from Brown.

Courtni Pugh, executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 99, called Proposition 38, backed by wealthy civil rights lawyer Molly Munger, a "spoiler." Manuel Helguera, a custodian and union member who was canvassing neighborhoods Saturday, said Proposition 38 comes up when he visits voters at their doors.

"People are hearing a lot of things that are confusing," he said. "Some of the people ask, 'What about 38?'"

In East Los Angeles, Brown visited a nonprofit where California Calls, a group attempting to reach minorities and infrequent voters for Brown's initiative, has set up one of 16 call centers around the state.

"It's really important that each of you contact people," Brown said. "There are a lot of TV commercials. They only go so far."

Brown will visit four predominately African American churches in Los Angeles on Sunday morning. Following a relatively quiet summer, he is holding public events at a pace of about one per day in recent weeks.

November 3, 2012
Video: Tax measure draws financial support from unions, corporations

Capitol Alert's Torey Van Oot sat down this week with a few of her colleagues in the The Bee Capitol Bureau to go over the basics of some of the statewide ballot measures facing voters on Tuesday.

In this installment, she talks to Kevin Yamamura about Propositions 30 and 38.

Torey's chat with Jon Ortiz about Proposition 32 can be viewed here.

Torey's chat with Laurel Rosenhall on Proposition 37 can be viewed here.

November 3, 2012
Video: Organic backers, food industry spar over labeling law

Capitol Alert's Torey Van Oot sat down this week with a few of her colleagues in the The Bee Capitol Bureau to go over the basics of some of the statewide ballot measures facing voters on Tuesday.

In this installment, she talks to Laurel Rosenhall about Proposition 37. Look for a segment on the tax increase measures later today. Torey's chat with Jon Ortiz about Proposition 32 can be viewed here.

November 3, 2012
AM Alert Extra: Yep, California is still blue

This just in: President Barack Obama is expected to win California's 55 electoral votes.

The latest Field Poll shows that the state's voters are pretty much where they've been all year, with 54 percent of likely voters preferring Obama and 39 percent of them preferring Republican Mitt Romney. Among the rest, 5 percent are undecided and 2 percent will pick someone else.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a lead of 21 percentage points among likely voters over Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken, 54 percent to 33 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Emken has polled in the low 30s since July.

Voter preferences are highly partisan, but both Obama and Feinstein hold leads among political independents. Voters with no party preference and those who are members of minor parties back the president over Romney 51 percent to 34 percent, and they prefer Feinstein over Emken 51 percent to 25 percent.

Jon Ortiz has more details in today's Bee. If you want more numbers, click here to read statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert and The Bee. Find the publicly released poll at this link.

Come back to Capitol Alert later, too. We'll be posting videos of Laurel Rosenhall discussing Proposition 37 on genetically modified foods and Kevin Yamamura discussing the three tax measures. If you missed Jon Ortiz talking about Proposition 32, you'll find it here.


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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