At Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium, where I graduated from high school an ancient era ago, Californians inaugerated Jerry Brown their new Governor this morning. This is a return trip to the Governorship for Jerry. He served 8 years in his two terms between 1975 and 1983
Brown had ran his campaign against Meg Whitman with the promise, "NO NEW TAXES without voter approval." California's budget woes have prevailed for a number of years now. State money issues helped unseat Grey Davis as Governor when he was recalled in 2003. With seven years of the Governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the disfunctional political gridlock, of the state assembly accomplished little in dealing effectively with budget concerns.
There is one thing I can say about Jerry Brown, while sitting in and observing a meeting of his Council on Wellness and Fitness, back in the early 1980s. The council had become bogged down for a number of hours while trying to give life to an action item. It was then, Jerry Brown in his second term as Governor, walked through the door, early afternoon. I watched as he quickly and skillfully was able to extract information as to where the panel was in the process. He put them on tract, and headed the panel on the path to success as a council.
Conservatives railed because he chose to live in a small apartment directly across the street from the State Capitol, rather than live in a newly built Governor's Mansion, began during the Ronald Reagan Governorship. The new digs had been built a distance from the capitol. Brown was often seen driving around town in a green Plymouth Satelite, he remained popular with those that saw him as being practical and a fiscal conservative.
The new Governor's Mansion was never occupied by any California state Governor, and was eventually sold.
Brown has promised to travel California and engage in town hall meetings to determine what Californians want from their government, while questioning what they are willing to pay for. There are already rumblings that a proposed "tough budget for tough times" will be presented as soon as March, with it possibly coming to the people via special election by June. It will be interesting to watch how all this shakes out.
California has a penchant for the unusual and the avante garde. I must admit I will miss our Governator, but also look forward to what Jerry will bring, this time around. He isn't likely to be boring - His history includes a stint in a Jesuit seminary, with his intent of becoming a priest. He has practiced Buddhism in Japan, and worked with Mother Theresa. Throw into the mix - his one-time relationship/friendship with rock star, Linda Ronstadt, and I doubt the glitz "The Governator" brought to the capital, will cast much of a shadow on Jerry Brown.