Tonight is the night that Neel Kashkari has been waiting for: his first, and probably only, opportunity to debate Gov. Jerry Brown.
If too many folks aren’t distracted by the opening game of the regular NFL season, the event could be a boon to the Republican gubernatorial candidate, who remains largely unknown to Californians two months from the election. In a new Field Poll, fewer than 60 percent of likely voters had an opinion of Kashkari.
On the biggest stage he has yet had in his underdog campaign, expect Kashkari to hit on Brown’s support for California’s controversial $68-billion high-speed rail project, which Kashkari has dubbed the “crazy train,” and Brown’s recent appeal of a court decision ruling the state’s teacher tenure and dismissal laws unconstitutional.
Even a successful debate appearance by Kashkari is unlikely to stop Brown from winning a historic fourth term, however; the governor leads by 16 percentage points in the latest poll.
The Sacramento Bee will be streaming the debate on its website at 7 p.m., courtesy of the California Channel. Go to sacbee.com/live starting at 6:30 p.m. for discussion, fact-checks and analysis of the debate.
The stakes have attracted the attention of 26 lawmakers, who sent a letter to the Board last week urging it to “preserve the intent of the Legislature in creating the Local Control Funding Formula” by ensuring that the additional funding is spent on educating the students who generate the money for districts. The letter, from Democratic Assembly members Phil Ting of San Francisco and Shirley Weber of San Diego and signed by 24 others, applauds several of the proposed changes to the program and asks for further efforts to increase transparency in order to assess whether school districts are “following state law by providing increased or improved services to high need students.”