No one should doubt that Los Angeles civil rights attorney Molly Munger is passionate about improving public schools in California.
She has proven that by putting her money where her beliefs are, spending $31 million to promote Proposition 38, her initiative to raise income taxes by $10 billion a year to fund schools. That's all within the bounds of the California initiative process, in which wealthy interests and philanthropists propose initiatives and try to convince voters of the wisdom of their concepts.
But Munger has spent an additional $3 million to attack Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative to raise taxes by $6 billion a year to fund a variety of state services, schools among them. And that is troubling.
Recent polling showed Proposition 30 was ahead narrowly. But voters hate to raise taxes, even if taxpayers other than themselves are the ones who would pay those taxes. If Munger persists in funding the ad criticizing Proposition 30, she almost certainly will sink Brown's measure.
The California PTA and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson are the most prominent supporters of Munger's Proposition 38. On Wednesday, Torlakson called on Munger to cease the attack. The PTA ought to do the same. If she continues, they ought to consider dropping their support for Proposition 38.
For his part, Brown's Yes-on-30 campaign is airing misleading ads that portray it as helping schools, essentially piggybacking on Proposition 38, and benefiting by the tens of millions Munger is spending on her initiative. The governor should rethink that strategy, if it would mean that Munger would stand down.
This murder-suicide will help no one, least of all the kids both sides claim to want to help.