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LOS ANGELES - The choir sang, morning announcements were made and Mildred Rodgers watched as Gov. Jerry Brown took the pulpit at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

She has grown accustomed to politicians visiting in elections years.

"Every voting season," Rodgers said. "It's really funny when we get two running for the same (office)."

This morning there was only Brown, campaigning in four traditionally black churches here for his ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners. The churches Brown visited in Los Angeles' poorer neighborhoods have hosted Brown before, and also Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The congregations are large - the West Angeles church has more than 25,000 members - and the constituency reliably Democratic.

At West Angeles, Brown told the congregation a vote for his measure, Proposition 30, is a Christian act.

"It's like tithing," said Brown, a Democrat. "You've got to pay. And it's not about me, it's about us, it's about we, it's about us together."

In brief remarks at each church, Brown referred to the Gospel of Luke, as he has previously in the campaign.

"We are asking those who have paid the most money, those who've been most blessed, to give a little back in our time of need," Brown said at his last stop, at Ward AME Church.

The 74-year-old, third-term governor said he has been coming to Ward for 40 years, since he was secretary of state.

"Not that often," Brown said. "But when it counts. And it counts on Tuesday."

Brown finished speaking. He was uncharacteristically ahead of schedule and on his way to phone union members to encourage them to vote.

"Fun, isn't it?" Brown said, turning to a reporter. "Very interesting, very enthusiastic. And if you notice one thing: In churches, people are voting more, they're more knowledgeable, more committed."

Churchgoers and union members, he said, "perform a very important educative function."

Rodgers is glad so many politicians visit. It is important to listen to them, she said, and to pray for them.

"We are connected with the governor," Rodgers said.

She looked up.

"You know, the head governor."



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