Monday, January 28, 2013


    "Unique," "quirky," "Jesuitical" and as a headline read
"a speech like no other" are published descriptions of Jerry Brown's California State of the State address."
      I've covered many State of the State and State of the Union addresses and I was struck by its eccentric and quintessential "California-Brown" singularity. 
        Regardless of your political skew, or attitude about  Brown, it was crafted and spun in an inventive way to make it a memorable offering. 
       It was fresh, unanticipated, non traditional  and a bit of an inspirational charge. It prompted memories of the "Moonbeam" era.
     He painted a scenic California time-scape including the building of the missions, expeditions, the discovery of gold, to the establishment of Apple, Google and the silicon valley invoking impressions of California as the land of creativity, innovation and leadership. He even referenced the original Californians in the tableau that was sun drenched, hopeful and full of can do.  
     He spoke of the Pharaoh's dream, quoted philosophers and poets.  He also reprised FDR's line about a "rendezvous with destiny." 
      As he was in the 70's, Brown is a hybrid. A thinker, idea merchant, philosopher, master of old school "backroom" and retail  politics, and a wonk. He is a political mystic.
      In the world of Sacramento and real politics he's laboring at imposing fiscal restraint, profound educational and regulatory reform, quoting French intellect Montaigne, breathing life into building a bullet train and borrowing from his father's legacy addressing future water issues.
      He's got a challenge in hemming in legislative spending especially with pumped up revenue from taxes approved by voters. He applied the State of the State address as a tool in the retooling of California legislative budget making principals that he seeks. He told the story of seven years of famine in Egypt and Joseph's interpretation of the dream.  He told the lawmakers we should remember the wisdom of Joseph to pay down debts and to store up reserves. 
       Given the normal political flack in the air, hearing a state's Chief executive channel such an eclectic scan was both pleasing and entertaining. Certainly one of the season's better speeches. Memorable indeed. 

     Late January on the Central Coast prompts the season reminiscent of Midwestern spring. Here, winter is green. 
     See you down the trail.


  1. You've piqued my curiosity and now I need to Google Jerry's speech.

  2. I listened to his speech and enjoyed it in my own way. You may know that I am a conservative but I am always willing to listen to both sides. Maybe I am a moderate unless the issues conflict with what the Lord tells me. I remember Moonbeam very well from the 70s. I was a CHP officer who did not get a raise for about 3 years and when he got elected I got a 21.6% catch-up raise. Hard to hate him for that. Rumor was his LtGov was gay and we did check the W.Sacramento gay bar parking lots for state cars. Later I got to know Sharon Davis on a social level and that dispelled that rumor. I even slipped her an application from the Vietnam Veterans of America and asked her to have him join. He did serve in Vietnam even if he was in the rear with the gear, there were no safe places in Vietnam. Back to Jerry Brown. He sounded like the good old politician he is with his recall of history and passion for California. I am okay with a small sales tax hike to balance the budget and it looks like it did (don't tell John E that I said that). I am also glad that he started doing things to bring state pensions under control. I retired in 1994 and I thought it was a pot of gold then. The pension system now is highway robbery of the tax payers. The new hirers will be under a new system but thousands of current hard workers and drones alike, are still looking at 90% retirements. Jerry has some leadership style that seems to work. He doesnt talk like a big shot, hs comes across as a guy who has been there and done that. Being in charge in Oakland, he would have had to been a contender in the ring. So we will sail along okay and see how it goes as we contemplate life in the prettiest community in California. Eat your heart out Carmel.......

  3. Sounds like you have some cause for conversation in idyllic Cambria, Cochrun.

  4. Brown is practical Democrat, he knows what he is doing and works his tail off for all of us. Now if we could get an oil extraction tax, we're the only oil producing state without one and we've been pumping oil since the late 1860's!

    Nice to have Conan's sword off the wall of the Governor's office!