The Sacramento Bee’s Voter Guide published on May 11, 2014 stated that Gov. Jerry Brown “declined to respond to questions posed to the Candidates." In fact, Brown offered to answer all six of the questions featured in the voter guide.
Below are the responses to the questions in the voter guide that the Bee did not publish.
Q: High-speed rail: What should the state do next with the high-speed rail program?
A: Make no mistake: California will need to invest billions of dollars in transportation infrastructure to keep pace with our expected population growth during the next few decades. We can keep doing “more of the same”—adding to our costly and congested roads and airports—or we can follow the example of more than a dozen other countries (including Japan, China, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Taiwan) to try something more cost effective and environmentally sustainable: High Speed Rail. This voter approved project will connect the mega-regions of our state, create jobs, contribute to a cleaner environment, and is cheaper than any other transportation alternative we would need to build. With the money available from approved bonds, the federal government, and cap and trade funds, the construction of this project is fully fundable. And, unlike highways (which cost billions per year to maintain and repair), this rail system will be self-sustaining and paid for by those who use it. Its completion will show that California still possesses the boldness and imagination that has made us the 8th largest economy in the world.
Q: Water: Describe any changes in California’s water management you support.
A: I have proposed a long term water plan for the state which calls for a reliable conveyance through the Delta, water storage and conservation, local groundwater management and Delta restoration. I also support desalinization programs where feasible. During this extreme drought, I am calling for a 20% reduction in urban water districts and a regime of flexible water transfers for our hard pressed farmers.
Q: Marijuana: Explain your position on the issue of recreational marijuana.
A: As Governor more than 30 years ago, I reduced possession of 1 oz of marijuana to a $100 fine. As Governor this time, I have helped dramatically reduce the incarceration rates for simple drug offenses. However, recreating with potent chemicals is something we should never take lightly. A prudent step at this time is to carefully review how Colorado’s recent marijuana legalization unfolds.
Q: Taxes: What specific spending or tax changes would you push for?
A: It’s simple. Hold the line on spending, create a rainy day fund, and pay down our debts, pension and other long term obligations.
Q: Social Services: Give one example of how you would change a social service program in California.
A: We have made groundbreaking changes in two major areas: health care and education. Over 2 years, California will increase by 3.6 million the number of people covered by health insurance under our Medi-Cal program. This important social program will improve the health and life prospects of the newborns, children and elderly who are most in need. In addition, I led the fight for the passage of Proposition 30 which has sent billions of dollars more each year to California’s schools. We also created the Local Control Funding Formula that annually distributes billions of dollars to help students most challenged because of poverty or language barriers.
Q: Gun restrictions: Explain how you would change California’s gun laws.
A: Even though California has among the toughest state gun laws in the country, every year there is a plethora of proposals to further regulate guns and gun owners. As I review these proposed laws each year, I try to balance in the fairest way possible the rights of individuals under the Second Amendment and the legitimate concerns of public safety.