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California school funding proposition campaign goes negative on Brown's measure

October 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The gloves are coming off in the battle over spending cuts in California. Governor Jerry Brown is asking voters to approve Proposition 30 to restore funding to schools. Supporters of Proposition 38 are now fighting back with a new attack ad.

Just Monday, Democrats begged the Proposition 38 campaign to avoid going negative, but those calls were ignored.

With Proposition 38 behind in the polls, wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger launched a new attack ad slamming competing tax measure Proposition 30 pushed by Governor Brown that also funds public education through an income tax hike.

The ad shows Brown's proposal may claim to fund schools, but the money will probably be raided through the back door by politicians.

Molly's brother, Charles Munger, is also funding a separate multi-million dollar anti-Prop. 30 campaign.

Brown's campaign staff did not want this to happen. In fact, pro-Prop. 30 ads have thus far stayed positive.

"I think what the Mungers have done is taken their eye off the ball," said Mike Roth, Yes on Proposition 30. "This is no longer obviously about students and our future and funding our schools. This is about winning to them."

Munger's campaign did not return repeated calls and emails, but in the past the campaign has said her proposal to raise the income tax on a sliding scale is better. Molly Munger has invested $31 million of her own money so far to get voters to agree.

"We think the governor doesn't have as good an idea this year as we do," said Molly Munger on February 6.

Brown's campaign did not want to reveal its next strategy, but typically in politics you can't let an negative ad go unanswered.

"What we have here is a civil war," said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic strategist not affiliated with either campaign. Maviglio says both initiatives want to help schools with more money, but may end up doing the opposite.

"At the end of the day, a negative ad really doesn't help either campaign," said Maviglio. "It usually brings both down. So that could mean neither of them pass, which is the worst-case scenario for our schools."

The stakes are definitely high. If both measures pass, the one with the most votes goes into effect.


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