Jerry Brown announces run for governor

California's governor from 1974-1982 wants to serve again

Promising to use his knowledge and skills to end "partisan bickering" in Sacramento and fix "this state I love," Attorney General Jerry Brown yesterday formally announced his candidacy for governor of California.

"The political breakdown in Sacramento is threatening jobs, our schools and the state's credit rating, which is the worst in the country," Brown said in an online video message to voters released as he began a series of news interviews around the state.

"Our state is in serious trouble and the next governor must have the preparation, the knowledge and the know-how to get California working again. That is what I offer and that's why I'm declaring my candidacy for governor."

Brown, who served as mayor of Oakland before being elected attorney general four years ago, was California's governor from 1975 to 1983.

During those years, Brown said he marshaled both Democrats and Republicans in the legislature to slow the growth of state government, eliminate capital gains taxes for many small businesses, abolish the business inventory tax, index personal income taxes, adopt the nation's first energy efficiency standards, and make California the leader in co-generation, solar and wind energy. Private-sector jobs grew at almost double the national rate, he added.

"When I was governor, California added 1.9 million new jobs in eight years," Brown said. "I know we can do it again and be the leader in renewable energy, good jobs and quality schools."

Brown said the key to ending the state's partisan gridlock is a governor with in-depth knowledge of how government and Sacramento politics actually function.

"Some people say that if you've been around the process you can't handle the job, that we need to go out and find an outsider who knows virtually nothing about state government," Brown said. "Well, we tried that and it doesn't work. We found out that not knowing is not good."

The attorney general said the answer to Sacramento's problems "is not a scripted plan cooked up by consultants or mere ambition to be governor."

"We need someone with insider's knowledge, but an outsider's mind," Brown added, "a leader who can pull people together - Republicans and Democrats, oil companies and environmentalists, unions and businesses. We need to work together as Californians first. And at this stage in my life, I'm prepared to focus on nothing else but fixing this state I love."

Brown explained that he has seen state government "from every angle."

"I've seen our government...when it works and when it doesn't work," he said. "And it's no secret that Sacramento isn't working today. The partisanship is poisonous. Political posturing has replaced leadership. And the budget, it's always late, always in the red and always wrong."

Brown said that if elected he will be guided by three "governing principles."

"First, I'll tell you the truth," he said. "No more smoke and mirrors on the budget. No more puffy slogans and platitudes. You deserve the truth and that's what you'll get from me."

"Second," he added, "in this time of recession when people are financially strapped, there will be no new taxes unless you the people vote for them."

"Third, we have to downsize state government from Sacramento and return decisions and authority to the cities, to the counties and to local schools," he concluded.

As governor, Brown said he consistently had budgets approved on time and built a prudent budget surplus to serve as a "rainy day fund." He said that he reduced the number of state employees per 1,000 Californians from 9.6 in 1975 to 9.2 in 1982. During his term in office, the tax burden for California residents declined from $6.90 per $100 of income in 1975 to $6.72 in 1982.

Following the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, which cut property taxes collected by local governments by two-thirds, Brown said he used the state's "rainy day fund" to help local school districts, police and fire departments, cities and counties maintain essential services.

While curbing the growth of state government, Brown claimed that it was his "cutting-edge" environmental protections that became guidelines for the nation to follow.

Among his other accomplishments, Brown cited the strengthening of the California Coastal Commission and establishment of comprehensive policies governing development along the coast. He also signed the nation's first legislation requiring high school students to demonstrate basic proficiency before graduation. State funding for higher education, including community colleges, more than doubled during his eight years as governor, he said.

"These are really serious times, but our state is still the best place on earth to live and to raise a family," Brown said. "Our businesses lead the world in technology and innovation. Our natural environment is second to none."

He added: "By making the tough decisions now, we can get through this crisis leaner and more efficient, poised for a comeback that will lead to a whole new period of prosperity. That's what drives my candidacy. But it's not going to happen overnight or with empty promises and photo ops. It takes patience and courage. But, together, we can all get California working again."

He also made the announcement for governor on the Internet in a letter-formatted message addressed to "Dear Supporter."

"Today, I am formally announcing my candidacy for the office of governor of California, to deal head-on with the challenges facing this state I love," he stated in the Internet message. "I have lived in California all my life, and I believe the obstacles in our path are substantial, but not insurmountable. If we have a governor who will truly commit to dealing personally with the tough choices facing our state, and who will get in the trenches side by side with legislators, we can get California working again."

"This campaign will not be easy," the statement reads.

Referring to his opponents, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner or former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who are vying for the Republican Party nomination for governor in the June 8 primary, Brown added:

"I will face an opponent with nearly unlimited personal resources to pour into television ads and attacks. I am counting on your support and your hard work over the next nine months. I believe I have the experience, the understanding of state government, and commitment required to move California forward. I look forward your help in this important campaign."

Brown has also served as California secretary of state and mayor of Oakland.

A San Francisco native and son of former California Gov. Pat Brown, his campaign is positioning him as a battle-hardened leader with the experience necessary to steer the state out of its fiscal crisis.

Poizner, who formally announced his candidacy at a news conference in San Jose on Monday, and Whitman, who has been campaigning for months, are portraying Brown as part of the political machine that brought California to its current state of crisis. Both have poured millions of their own dollars into their primary campaigns.

Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, said campaign financing is important, but how money is spent is equally important.

Spending too much on TV ads, for example, could create a backlash if voters get tired of a candidate, Whalen said. Spending money on campaign infrastructure, focus groups, polling and voter turnout efforts is more effective, he said.

Brown will likely need to work hard to encourage youth voter turnout, which could be bolstered by a visit from President Obama, Whalen said.

Brown's best-known potential rival for the Democratic Party nomination in the June 8 primary, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, dropped out of the race in October. That allowed Brown to bypass a lengthy and expensive primary campaign, Whalen said. That could work to his advantage or disadvantage, according to Whalen.

"This is one of the bigger what-ifs of the campaign," he said.

"The Republicans fear they will have a bloody primary campaign where the winner comes out so bruised it will affect their chances," Whalen said. "But Democrats fear Jerry Brown won't be as sharply focused without a primary campaign."

Other what-ifs include Brown's age and experience.

Voters could respond well to a candidate who has dealt with Sacramento's tough political climate, but Brown's record could make him vulnerable as Republicans prepare to pick apart his history, Whalen said.

Whitman's campaign released a statement yesterday saying of Brown, "We'd like to welcome him to the race, and we're looking forward to discussing Brown's 40-year political career."

If elected, Brown would take office at age 72, nearly three decades after he last held the governor's job. Whalen said no other state has a governor in his or her 70s.

"It makes for a fascinating contrast in California," Whalen said.

Whalen said voters also respond well to the "political newcomer platform," which he said Schwarzenegger ran on in 2003. Schwarzenegger has not yet endorsed a candidate in the 2010 race.

"He's been very coy," Whalen said. "He keeps saying he will endorse whoever is best."

Whitman has attacked Schwarzenegger's prized anti-global warming bill, AB 32, saying she would put a one-year moratorium on it if elected.

Brown's record is much more pro-environment, which could also resonate with younger voters, Whalen said. In short, Whalen added, it could be a close race.

"I would guess this will be a nail-biter one way or the other," he said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

California, Über Alles!

Like this comment
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Yes, "we ... i.e. California citizens ...have an even bigger problem now" should Moonbeam be elected.

Like this comment
Posted by My 2/100
a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Then I recommend not voting for the man.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Watch out for Brown. He has already sued Pleasanton to try and get rid of our housing cap. I think he likes what Dublin has turned into and wants all California cities to have all the high-density housing, including in the hills.

Like this comment
Posted by do NOT vote for Jerry, Please!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

He is already 72, not to be discriminatory about age, but this guy has old ideas. Plus he sued Pleasanton because of the housing, I don't think we want him as governor. There are no good choices for governor, but really, anyone will be better than this clown

Like this comment
Posted by Rat turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I honestly think that no one over the age of 60 should be in elected office. We need new blood and new ideas. This generation of politicans have done their damage. Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, Byrd............all the old ones need to go and we need new people with new ideas. California is now bankrupt and we need to work on recovery.

Like this comment
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:35 pm

I love Brown's quote, "Third, we have to downsize state government from Sacramento and return decisions and authority to the cities, to the counties and to local schools."

If the City of Pleasanton has not settled with the Attorney General's office (the lawsuit they filed), they should bring up the Attorney General's position.

Brown will say and do anything to look good.

Here is some background on the lawsuit: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Ngo Loon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

The Euro is tanking primarily because Greece is bankrupt, and the CEO of Chase says California going bankrupt is a much bigger problem. Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have Californians become so crazy that they would actually elect Moonbeam again? Can you imagine what will happen if we pair Moonbeam up with the loons in the State Legislature? The election for Governor is going to be a test of whether the people of this state have lost their minds.

If the value of my house hadn't dropped about $300 grand, I would be out of here. Now that I think about it, if Moonbeam is ahead in the polls in September, I am out of here. If there's enough that do same, the value of your house will drop another $300 grand, or more. The last person out, shut of the lights, send your house deed to the bank, and smoke a joint in honor of Gov. Moonbeam.

Like this comment
Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:47 am

dublinmike is a registered user.

Jerry Brown, as Attorney General for the State of California, joined in a suit initiated Urban Habitat. The issue was that the housing cap voted in by the citizen’s of Pleasanton was in violation of state law. Inherently, but unintentionally, it discriminated against low income people. Brown joined in because of the state law, simple as that.

With regards to the moniker “Governor Moonbeam,” he said in the seventies that someday each state may have its own satellite (for communications). That is, a pre-internet way to communicate. Likely cynics came up with the term. Even when I read the idea of satellites in the seventies I thought the idea was pretty wild. In hindsight, Jerry Brown was a head of his time. Also, I did not agree with all his ideas by the way.

In Oakland he worked on adding more police; believed a military-style boot camp was good for wayward teenagers; and worked on getting VC (that's venture capitalists, not Viet Cong...) to invest in Oakland. Not much about “Moonbeam” in any of that.

But, folks, let’s face the facts, Jerry Brown could walk on water and you would still hate him. Fess up…

Like this comment
Posted by RemembersGovJerry
a resident of Avignon
on Mar 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

I lived here when Jerry was Governor. Boy did we get "change you can believe in." He halted freeway construction in mid-span. I still remember driving through San Jose and, for many years, looking at the freeway flyovers off 680/280 that halted their path in the middle of construction. We got to look at his "accomplishment" for many years after he left office.

Like this comment
Posted by StampOutBias
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 3, 2010 at 11:59 am

Kind of interesting to compare the pair of articles in PW on Jerry Brown and that for Meg Whitman. Thank you, again, PW for your Leftist/Liberal/"Progressive" biased reporting. Don't you think we get more than enough of that style journalism in all the dominant media. Can't you hire a stringer to write a well researched article?

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Brown says we need someone with inside knowledge to get work done. I guess he feels he can work just as good as the legislature!

Like this comment
Posted by Thomas
a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Well, just maybe this old politician can actually get something done in this state. I don't know yet that I'll vote for him, but I'm certainly interested in what he has to say. Meg Whitman would have had my vote, even though I'm a Dem, but she hasn't voted, herself, for how many years? Truly unnacceptable. Truly.

Like this comment
Posted by Been there !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:29 pm

RememberGovJerry, I'm with you. To this day I think of Jerry Brown stopping the 680 to 101 flyover stoping mid-air ! He also stopped road repairs and other road construction. He also stopped the final 2 reactors of the 4 planned reactors at Diablo Canyon nuclear energy plant. So 25% of our PG&E power has been faithfully coming from there for 30 years...ALL-CLEAN power. So, instead of have 50 % ALL-CLEAN power for the last 30's been 25% clean and 75% dirty...SO he gave us DIRTY AIR !!! SHAME on him for being such a radical zealot. Truly kooky. He SLEPT on bare floor ! ! Maybe that affected his mind ! He UNIONIZED CA PUBLIC EMPLOYEE 30 years later, we are collapsing under the excessive reirements that are NOW coming home to roost ! ! ! SO, the question is...since he gave CA our 2 biggest problems...dirty energy and public is it that would make him the best Gov ????? I think NOT !

Like this comment
Posted by Been there !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Oh yea and med fly spraying from the sky....which pealed off the paint of most cars ! It was all just too bizarre ! What a legacy !
There's some things in life that are not worth repeating. Once is enough !

Like this comment
Posted by Been there !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Yep, that San Jose freeway just went up in the sky and stopped MID-AIR ! ! We thought that was the "Stairway to Heaven".

Like this comment
Posted by what's up
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

What's the situation with Jerry's lawsuit against Pleasanton ??

Like this comment
Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

If they had any thread of decency, every politican in the state, county, and city would resign. They cannot for a minute believe they are doing a good job. We need them all out and replaced. I do not believe we need more lawyers and millionaires in office. In addition, I am now a big believer in terms limits. Two should be the maximum nationally, state, county , and city.

Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm

To answer the one who asked what the situation with Pleasanton is,Mayor Hosterman and other council members decided to settle with Jerry Brown. Eventhough they settled the city of Pleasanton still has to pay 1.9 Million dollars in legal fees thanks to Jerry Brown's law suit. That means schools are losing this money and so are city workers. There will be further cuts to our schools now because of his law suit.
Our schools will be even more crowded than they already are with the extra housing we are forced to build. Did he have a plan to accommodate the extra children that will be living in those houses? No he does not, he doesn't care what happens to our town or schools he just wants to meet "quotas". I am so sick of politicians meeting quota's and not caring about the people who have to live in this town. We chose to live in Pleasanton because of the schools and friendly "small town" like environment. Now we will become another Oakland thanks to him.

Like this comment
Posted by Gary Schwaegerle
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

We must be Grateful to Meg; many are saying she will not Win. So let us say "Thank You very much for providing her portion $162 million dollar "Stimulus Package" contribution to "The Kalifornia Economy" For those that work in Political campaigning, Media, printing, air time, photographers, News People, Fuel, tires, Restaurants, Motels & more. "THANK YOU! Meg Whitman for Giving Back to California where Dreams can Come True!" Sincerely, Gary Schwaegerle

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