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OAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown stood this morning at a stand of microphones down the road from his home in the Oakland hills, outside the fire station where he votes, optimistic his ballot initiative to raise taxes may do even better "than most of you are probably expecting."

Brown's campaign for Proposition 30, his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, is expected to result in a close finish. The political implications are enormous for Brown, who has sought to raise taxes almost since taking office.

The Democratic governor acknowledged the difficulty he had in failed negotiations with the Legislature over taxes immediately after taking office last year, and later in his feud with the proponents of alternative tax proposals.

"It is a torturous path, but I think it manifests a certain determination," Brown told reporters outside Fire Station No. 6. "And I learned a long time ago, in my early education - under not the Jesuits, but the Dominican nuns - that perseverance is the key virtue, and exercising the will against obstacles is good for the character. And certainly I believe I've built up some more character these last two years."

He said he was "feeling good" about his prospects.

"I wouldn't be a bit surprised," Brown said, "if the outcome is even more positive than most of you are probably expecting."

Brown then walked up the hill to his house, holding the hand of the first lady, Anne Gust Brown.

They planned to go hiking today on family land outside of Williams, before watching returns in Sacramento.

"The only creatures I expect to see," the governor said, "are wild boar, rattlesnake and hopefully a few elk."


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