Jerry Brown’s signature was notably absent from the ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 30, the tax increase measure he pushed so hard in this fall’s election. He was essentially responsible for its content and for the now-mooted triggered budget cuts that — barring a “Perils of Pauline”-style rescue — would have cost public schools and universities more than $6 billion over the next year alone.
Brown, who raised most of the money for his measure and rounded up endorsements from business and labor that gave it added credibility, has prided himself for decades on being iconoclastic and different from other governors.
Now he should become known as one of the most effective governors California has seen. For sure, his Prop. 30 win proves him pretty unique. A long string of California chief executives before him tried and failed to pass pet initiatives after state legislators refused to okay the laws they wanted. The list goes back at least as far as Ronald Reagan, who staged a special election in 1973 in an effort to pass a property-tax-cutting initiative, which lost badly.
Reagan’s subsequent presidency, of course, stands as evidence that losing an issues battle at the polls does not necessarily mean the end of a political career...