Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Hits YouTube To Sway Voters

Mar 22, 2011, 13:06 by John Steele

It turns out Rebecca Black isn't the only thing going on on YouTube this week. California Governor Jerry Brown posted an appeal to the voters of his state urging them to vote on a budget amendment that would allow Californians to weigh in on state spending cuts.

After being inaugurated 3 months ago, Brown says his team has made great progress, cutting nearly half of California's budget shortfall. But state lawmakers now must decide whether to "extend temporary taxes" to close a $26.6 billion budget deficit, he said, or "double up on our cuts," which he warned would mean "drastic alteration in the very fabric of our public service."

"About half of the deficit has now been reduced by some courageous moves by the California legislature but more has to be done, we're only half way there," Brown said in his video. "In order to really put our books in balance, we either have to make drastic cuts to our universities, to education, to health care, to police services, to fire services and many, many other things. I don't want to do that and I don't think it should be done to you without your voice."

If Brown wants to get this vote on the ballot for June, he has just a few days left to do it. That's why the Governor, who regularly used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, recorded the three-minute video Sunday in his office. The video was done in one take, without a script, Brown's spokesman, Gil Duran told the San Francisco Chronicle Monday.

"We're not looking at conventional media strategies that others might engage in," Duran said. "This was how he launched his (gubernatorial) campaign - he felt he had something to say."

The video, which has already generated over 10,000 hits on YouTube, punctuates a last-ditch effort in a budget battle with state Republicans that has raged since Brown took office. Brown needs two republican votes from each state legislature to take his tax extension to the people. So far, they have failed to reach an agreement.

Now that the California Republican Party's annual convention has ended, some political analysts have suggested that talks may resume in a more positive manner. But during the convention, it didn't look good.

"If the Republicans vote to raise taxes, hell hath no fury like a taxpayer scorned," Republican pollster and commentator Frank Luntz said at the convention March 19. "Don�t you dare vote for the taxes."

Republicans have not completely stonewalled however, offering several olive branches towards taking the tax extension to a vote. According to Bloomberg, Five Republican senators met with Brown, suggesting that they might back the referendum in exchange for limits on public pensions, a ceiling on spending and changes to environmental regulations.

Brown remained positive, telling reporters this week after a labor conference in Sacramento "I�m not prepared to cease negotiating in good faith in every way that I can. I remain hopeful. There are some positive signs."

Source: San Francisco Chronicle