Jerry Brown reaches out to rival tax proponent


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It looks like Molly Munger has finally gotten the attention of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Munger, a Pasadena attorney, is backing a measure for the November ballot rivaling the governor’s tax plan. Brown has made it clear he would like Munger to drop her initiative campaign, but he has not yet met with Munger to discuss tax policy. Brown said Tuesday that he spoke briefly to Munger for the first time last week, and that his wife, Anne, had an email exchange with her, but that Munger seemed unwilling to back away from her initiative.

This week, Munger’s campaign launched a new spot, which will have a limited run in the San Francisco and Los Angeles media markets. It claims her measure, which raises income taxes on anyone earning more than $7,000 per year, would “send every K-12 dollar straight to our schools ... not to Sacramento,” and then includes a dig at Brown’s ballot proposal. “It’s the only initiative that can say all that.”


On Tuesday, Brown said Munger and his wife remain in touch. “She sent my wife a nice email and my wife responded,” the governor told reporters. “And then she responded back. So that’s where we are. But we do have two incompatible initiatives.”

When asked to characterize the tenor of the email exchange, the governor paused before finally settling on “nuanced … It was a cordial exchange,” he added. “It certainly left things as they are with a very fierce campaign on the horizon which I’m fully prepared for.”

Brown said he agreed to alter his own initiative at the request of a coalition of liberal groups last week because he was convinced his measure would fail unless they abandoned their plan to raise income taxes on people making more than $1 million. But he seemed unwilling to cut a similar deal with Munger.

“With three measures, it looked very, very difficult if not impossible to pass anything,” Brown said. “With only two initiatives, it’s real possible.”

Later, speaking to a group of optometrists, Brown reiterated his willingness to take his chances this fall. He remembered his two grandfathers, one of whom ran poker rooms in San Francisco and another who was a police captain for the San Francisco Police Department.

Brown joked that that lineage informed his style of governing. “I can think like a cop,” he said. “and also think like a gambler.”


[Updated 10:48 p.m.] An earlier version of this post said Munger and Mrs. Brown exchanged emails this week, after the new ad was released. Brown spokesman Gil Duran said all emails between the two were exchanged before the ad’s Monday release.

Related Links:

Jerry Brown seeks rewrite of tax initiative

Defying Jerry Brown, tax proponents launch campaign

Jerry Brown hails compromise tax proposal

--Anthony York in Sacramento