Gov. Jerry Brown visited Los Angeles Friday to urge defeat of an initiative to repeal the gas tax. During his talk he called the initiative effort a “political stunt” and “devious, deceptive, unfair and un-Californian.” Interesting, considering that Brown, himself, is an expert at getting the political edge.

Let’s put aside a discussion of the merits of SB 1, the gas tax increase measure and the projects it will fund and discuss Brown’s rhetoric in hopes of defeating the tax repeal.

Brown’s invective was referring to the strategy by Republican members of Congress who helped qualify the initiative with the idea that it might draw Republican voters to the polls who might help hold Republican congressional seats.

Whether the gas tax is needed for transportation projects or whether other revenues are available for transportation purposes was, and will be, debated. There is little doubt that more money must flow to transportation needs.

However, Brown’s hands are not clean when it comes to manipulative strategy to gain a political victory.

In 2012,  Brown engineered his income tax initiative, Proposition 30, to the more prominent position of being first on the ballot instead of further down the list as the law previously required. He also colluded with the legislature to move all initiatives to the November ballot and away from the June primary knowing that his core voters tended to vote on issues in greater numbers in November rather than June. He helped change the rules on choosing when a recall election might occur in an effort to improve the chances of Democratic state senator Josh Newman who faces a recall on primary day instead of a special election when the voter turnout would be less beneficial to his holding his seat.

The Republicans are not the only ones who try to work the system and use “political stunts” for political gain. At least, in this case the Republicans are working within the rules. Brown and the legislative majority changed the rules to gain political advantage.