The Governor is hell bent finish his legacy boondoggle projects, tunnels to steal our water and his way over budget high speed rail project. Now he seriously stretching the truth on Prop 53 that would force statewide votes on big state building projects requiring $2 billion or more in revenue bonds.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown launched television commercials Thursday urging Californians to reject a ballot measure that threatens two of his so-called legacy projects, deploying his considerable political capital against a spending-control question likely to appeal to voters.
The 30-second spots feature the popular Democratic governor speaking against Proposition 53 amid the chandeliers and glossy marble of the governor’s mansion. The initiative would force statewide votes on big state building projects requiring $2 billion or more in revenue bonds.
“It may sound OK, but it’s bad for California,” says Brown, who also lent his voice to recorded calls fighting the measure. His increased public involvement could signal the measure’s opponents are worried it will pass.
A nonpartisan state analysis has said Brown’s proposals to spend $15.7 billion to build two giant tunnels to help haul water across the state and $64 billion on a high-speed rail system are the two projects that would most likely be affected.
Brown has made defeating the proposition one of his priorities for Nov. 8. That includes giving more than $4 million from his leftover campaign funds.
No major public polls have been released on where the ballot question stands. Its stated goal of public input on giant projects probably would resonate with voters, especially in a state known for a landmark 1970s curb on property taxes, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political scientist at the University of Southern California.
Over his years in office, Brown has been measured in meting out personal support and unused campaign funds. This election season, he also has spoken in radio ads for another state priority of his, a measure on parole.
Given Brown’s favorable approval rating from more than half of Californians and his available campaign funds, it makes sense he would take the lead role on defeating the initiative, Jeffe said.
“These projects are so important to him,” she said.
Steven Maviglio, spokesman for the campaign fighting the proposition, said the TV ads with Brown will run until Election Day, less than two weeks away.
It’s not clear if the late start of Brown’s commercials will limit the impact. Californians have already returned more than 1.8 million mail-in ballots, according to Political Data Inc., which compiles the information from county offices.
Both sides deny their stand is singling out the two pending megaprojects.
The TV ads feature Brown arguing that the initiative would reduce local control of building projects and increase costs of projects overall.
It appears comparatively few projects other than the tunnels and high-speed rail would be big enough to trigger a statewide vote, according to the nonpartisan review by the state’s legislative analysis office.
Dean “Dino” Cortopassi, a prosperous Stockton farmer and food processor who brought the measure to the ballot, said Proposition 53 is meant to reveal the cost of big state projects and allow voters to weigh in before paying for them.
“The governor, who campaigned on giving voters a voice in big state decisions, is doing everything he can to silence voters,” Cortopassi said by email Thursday.
So far, Cortopassi and his family have reported spending about $5 million to support the measure. Brown, the state Democratic Party, construction-industry interests and other donors have reported giving more than $15 million to defeat it.
Brown’s administration is pushing to launch the tunnels project and high-speed rail before he leaves office in 2018. The governor denies that he wants those projects to be a legacy of his leadership.
Supporters and opponents disagree about the environmental impact of the tunnels project, which would build two giant, 35-mile conduits to more easily pipe Northern California river water south for central and Southern California cities and farms.
The rail project would link Los Angeles and San Francisco with ultra-fast trains.