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State PTA chief responds to Feinstein, Boxer on Prop. 38

August 17, 2012 | 12:24 pm

One day after receiving a scolding letter from California's two U.S. senators and top legislative Democrats, the head of the California State PTA, a chief backer of Proposition 38, has fired off a letter of her own.

Addressing the letter to Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, along with Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, PTA President Carol Kocivar stopped short of an iron-clad pledge to not mention a rival tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democrats as part of the Yes on 38 campaign. But she assured the nervous Democrats that the focus of the Proposition 38 campaign would be on policy.

"I can assure you that California State PTA will continue to advocate on behalf of all children in a manner that is mutually respectful and aimed at educating voters in a constructive, fact-based manner about the vital policy issues and solutions presented by the initiatives," she wrote.

That said, Kocivar did point out some perceived hostilities to Proposition 38 from Gov. Jerry Brown's camp.

"Some supporters of Proposition 30 are formally and actively opposed to Proposition 38. Some even formed a political committee and also submitted ballot arguments against Proposition 38 and testified publicly against Proposition 38," she wrote. "Perhaps a good first step in creating a positive environment is to urge supporters on both sides to agree not to formally and actively oppose each other's initiatives."

Ballot arguments against Proposition 38 were signed by officials of the California State Sheriffs' Assn. and the California Medical Assn., both major backers of Proposition 30. A No on 38 fundraising committee has been set up by Democratic consultant Jason Kinney, who counts Steinberg as a client.

Although little money has materialized to formally oppose Proposition 30, backers of Brown's tax measure fear the Proposition 38 campaign, which has the financial backing of attorney Molly Munger, could drag down support for the governor's initiative.

Early messaging from the Yes on 38 campaign is rooted in a critique of Sacramento politicians. Proposition 30's backers view a well-funded campaign drawing strong comparisons between the two measures, and fanning voter distrust of state lawmakers, as a major political threat.

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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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