Gov. Brown makes final push against Prop 53

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Governor Brown surrounded himself with mayors, supervisors, and union leaders to defeat Proposition 53 and the person behind 53, who has put millions of dollars into seeing it pass.

It 53 passes, it will require voter approval for any major project costing over $2 billion that are financed by state revenue bonds. Brown is worried passage will lead to costly delays and regional squabbles.

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"They used the word project, but they never defined it. What is a project? What's covered? Well, I know one thing. The lawyers of California will have a field day bringing one lawsuit after another trying to stop whatever they don't like. People in San Diego can stop stuff in the Bay Area and vice versa," said Brown at a rally on Friday.

But that's not true, says 79-year-old Dean "Dino" Cortopassi, a millionaire farmer from the Central Valley. He and his wife have contributed $5 million to get prop. 53 passed. Cortopassi was only available by phone.

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"It does not apply to local projects, to any schools, universities, colleges, etc. So, to characterize this as interfering with local control and that people from other areas would veto local projects is horsefeathers," he said.

Some believe Brown opposes prop. 53 because of the potential impact on two of his pet projects: the $68 billion high speed rail network and the $15 billion delta water tunnels.

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Cortopassi instead says he wants to curb the state's debt and the impact that has on future generations who must pay for it.

Under current law, general obligation bonds issued by the state must have voter approval while revenue bonds do not.

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