Saying there is a “pretty good shot” he’ll run for California governor, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado kicked off a drive against Gov. Jerry Brown’s handling of prison crowding, labeling Brown’s policies an “early release” program, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Republican, who lost a bid for Congress last year, said he was launching a campaign to repeal the governor’s prison policies, implemented in late 2011 to meet court-ordered population limits in state lockups.
“Today will be the beginning [of the] end of early release,” Maldonado declared. Beside him was an oversized placard bearing the image of an accused murderer whose case, it turned out, was unrelated to the new corrections law. Maldonado said he was forming a political committee to gather signatures to put a repeal measure on next year’s ballot. He is seeking to capitalize on the controversy over Brown’s requirement that counties begin housing lower-level felons and parole violators who in the past would have done that time in prison. Maldonado acknowledged that he does not have the financial backing for a statewide signature drive. Nor does he have his own plan to address prison crowding, although he said such a plan would probably include construction of new facilities.