Standing between Assembly Speaker John Perez, left, and Maria Elena Durazo… (Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles…)
Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday brought his campaign to rescue Proposition 30 to downtown Los Angeles, flanked by Latino leaders who support his plan to raise billions of tax dollars to prevent severe cuts to education.
"This is a stark decision by the voters," Brown said during an event at Grand Central Market. "It's going to be billions of dollars into schools and colleges or billions of dollars out of schools and colleges. This is not about politicians or leaders or the governor. This is about teachers and students."
The governor's high-stakes measure would temporarily raise $6 billion by raising taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year and imposing a quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax. If it passes, it would avoid further cuts to K-12 schools and tuition increases this year at California's public universities.
But Brown is having to put up a frantic fight for votes in the final days before the Nov. 6 election with a recent poll showing that support has dropped 9 points to 46%.
Opponents of the measure say the decline is a sign that voters do not trust politicians with the public's money. They have launched a fierce ad campaign, denouncing the governor's proposition.
"The Yes on 30 campaign is misleading and dishonest," said Aaron McLear, spokesman for the Stop Prop. 30 effort. "It claims money would go to schools, but the truth is, the money would go to half a dozen different things."
Another measure, Proposition 38, which would increase income taxes for most Californians to raise money primarily for schools and early childhood education, has confused some voters and diluted support for Brown's plan.
To save his measure, the governor has spent recent days rallying voters across the state, particularly young ones whose future he said is most at risk.
On Saturday, he focused on Latinos. He teamed up with Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles). Also by his side was Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
"Vota si a la 30!" he said in broken Spanish, holding up a campaign sign featuring a bright red teacher's apple.
Later, he toured the market, bought a bean and cheese burrito and stopped to shake hands and pose for photos with Latino children.
Outside, the "yes" effort continued as groups marched in the street and knocked on doors to alert voters.
Several thousand volunteers with California Calls for Action Fund, a statewide voter outreach network, campaigned in 23 counties including Los Angeles, San Diego, Kern, Santa Clara and San Francisco. They hoped their outreach would make the difference in what's expected to be a close election.
"We're going to keep working hard," said Anthony Thigpenn, chairman of California Calls. "There are potential trigger cuts that are going to devastate the education system, so it's important that voters know what's at stake."