The three leaders are hoping voters will pass the governor's November tax initiative. But beyond that, they want more favorable budget treatment at the Capitol. Here's CSU Chancellor Charlie Reed's pep talk before the lobbying began:
Reed: "Let's talk today about changing the priorities in California from a set of priorities that's based upon failure - and failure is an investment in the prison system."
When asked whether that's possible, given that state revenues are coming in several billion dollars below expectations, Reed basically shrugged his shoulders:
Reed: "Well, you gotta do the best you can, okay? And if you're not here looking out for yourself, good things don't happen."
All three systems say they're bracing for drastic mid-year budget cuts in case the tax measure fails.