Capitol Alert

With eye toward 2018, Antonio Villaraigosa starring in TV ads

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has fall initiatives to legalize pot and impose tougher gun-control.

Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and prolific donor, has put himself in TV ads and is behind ballot measures to hike tobacco taxes by $2 a pack, abolish the death penalty and push for a reversal of the Citizens United campaign finance ruling.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, among the potential candidates for governor in two years, has been focusing much of his efforts on the presidential race and Donald Trump through his Building Bridges, Not Walls committee.

That’s not to say Villaraigosa won’t be as visible to voters as some of the others. After confirming he’ll appear on the slate mail card targeting 1.6 million Latino households, perhaps California’s most recognizable Latino official said he’ll star in what organizers describe as a series of “water awareness” ads airing on Spanish-language TV stations.

The ads, jointly paid for by the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority and individual contributors, are running as part of a four-week, $600,000 buy on KMEX (Univision), KVEA (Telemundo) and KRCA (Estrella) in Southern California. Organizers hope to eventually double that and expand to Bakersfield, Fresno and then, the rest of the state.

In the ads, he advocates for a reliable water supply for agriculture.

“The Latino community has been hit hardest by California’s ongoing water crisis – from families living on limited incomes facing rising water bills and higher food costs to farm workers and small businesses struggling in the Central Valley,” Villaraigosa said in an announcement. “The bottom line is we need to ensure a reliable supply of water for all California and our Latino community needs to be part of the solution, because water is everyone’s business.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago