Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown looks ahead to possible ‘finish with a flourish’

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters at a campaign stop in Pleasanton on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters at a campaign stop in Pleasanton on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that he may use stockpiled campaign funds to “finish with a flourish with some major ballot measure battle” in his final term, though he said he does not know what that might be.

“I can’t tell you what they are, but I think there will be some issues that will come up in ’16 or even ’18,” Brown told reporters at a campaign event. “And even in ‘18, I might want to finish with a flourish with some major ballot measure battle that I can’t even conceive of, but between now and then I might be able to imagine, design and execute.”

Brown, a third-term Democrat, said he made a mistake when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, when he had “zero money in my campaign account” to push an alternative to Proposition 13, the tax-limiting measure.

“I don’t want to make that mistake again,” he said.

Far ahead in public opinion polls, Brown has all but ignored his Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari, focusing instead on a $7.5 billion water bond and ballot reserve measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. He reported last week that nearly all of the $3.4 million he has spent this month was for advertising for Propositions 1 and 2, while he still held about $21 million in cash on hand.

Brown said, as he has previously, that he does not support extending or making permanent temporary tax increases he championed two years ago in Proposition 30. This is despite calls by some Democratic lawmakers for an extension of the temporary taxes.

“I said when I campaigned for Prop. 30 that it was a temporary tax, so that’s my belief, and I’m doing everything I can to live within our means,” Brown said.

He said he has refrained from spending significantly on his reelection effort because, “on the natural, I don’t like to spend money” and because, “I don’t spend money stupidly. If there’s no need, I won’t spend it.”

He said, “When you run for a fourth term, it’s not like running for your first or your second term. I’m very well known … and I’m doing things.”

Kashkari has made education the centerpiece of his criticism of Brown, especially Brown’s appeal of a closely watched court ruling that found California’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional.

Brown said teacher dismissal rules “could use a lot of change,” but he said California schools face bigger challenges.

“You have to look at the basics, and the basics is the curriculum, the 330,000 teachers, and are they paid enough...?” he said. “It is a problem, dismissal, make no mistake about it. But in many school districts, 10 percent of the teachers are leaving. Retention is even a bigger problem, and recruitment and training and practicing on the common core curriculum.”

Brown said he is not interested in becoming mayor of Oakland again if he wins re-election and after he terms out in four years.

“Other than being governor, I don’t know that you should repeat things too often,” Brown said. “Didn’t they say first time is tragedy, second time is farce? So I want to be wary of that.”

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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