Molly Munger is pushing an initiative on the November ballot that would raise income taxes to fund education. It is a rival to Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative. (Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press / February 6, 2012)
By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2012, 10:13 p.m.
SACRAMENTO — A judge handed Gov. Jerry Brown a key victory Monday, clearing the way for the governor’s tax initiative to appear first among the propositions on the November ballot, possibly increasing its chances of passing.
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled against Molly Munger, proponent of a tax proposal that rivals Brown’s. Munger contended in a lawsuit that Los Angeles County election officials and state legislators violated California law to make the governor’s plan first among the 11 fall ballot measures.
Munger’s attorneys asserted that election workers in Los Angeles County mishandled the tallying of signed petitions for the dueling initiatives, finishing work on Brown’s before Munger’s even though her campaign turned in signatures to the registrar’s office more than a week before the governor submitted his.
Kenny rejected that claim, saying election officials were under no obligation to count Munger’s signatures first and that her lawyers were asking him to “essentially micromanage the registrar’s office.”
Speaking to reporters in Oakland on Monday afternoon, Brown cheered the ruling. He called Munger’s suit “frivolous” and an example of “old-style politics, where you try to take $800-an-hour lawyers and try to bully people.”
Munger campaign spokesman Nathan Ballard said they would not appeal Kenny’s ruling, but the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. joined the case Monday and asked the 3rd District Court of Appeal to hear it.
The Democrats who dominate the Legislature gave a boost last month to Brown’s bid to temporarily raise levies on sales and upper incomes to balance the budget. They passed a bill that moved proposed constitutional amendments such as his ahead of all other measures on the ballot.
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