Conceding there is a "pretty good shot" he'll run for governor, Abel Maldonado on Wednesday kicked off a ballot drive that targets Gov. Jerry Brown's handling of prison crowding, labeling it the thing Brown's administration has worked hard to avoid: "early release."
"Today willl be the beginning [of the] end of early release," Maldonado declared at a news conference staged on the windy rooftop of a Sacramento parking garage, the state Capitol framed behind him.
The former lieutenant governor is chairing a signature-gathering drive to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would roll back Brown's prison realignment plan, AB109. He acknowledged Wednesday he does not yet have the financial backing to run a statewide signature drive, but said "angel donors" are expected. Nor does he yet have his own plan to address prison crowding, but Maldonado said it would likely include expansion and construction of new lockups.
Brown's 2011 prison legislation, in response to federal court orders to reduce prison crowding, requires counties to house lower-level felons and parole violators who in the past would have done that time in prison. In areas where those jails are full, that has led to early jail releases.