Just 48 hours after the general election began, the right wing attacks have started. Yesterday, Sarah Palin went on TV and attacked Jerry Brown, falsely attributing his term in office with tax hikes and deficits, even saying he's part of the "foundation" of our current economic mess. What a joke.
Sarah Palin said, "Look at what he did." So let's do just that: Jerry's governorship was a model of fiscal responsibility. He ditched the governor's limousine, private jet, and sprawling mansion. Brown reduced taxes by $4 billion, and California created 1.9 million new jobs. How about that, Sarah Palin?
Right now, we need a leader who can do this again -- who will rise above the petty politics and fierce partisanship, and bring people together to overcome California's daunting challenges. Help us make this a campaign about the candidates' actual records, experience, leadership, and positions on the issues, not negative attacks.
We have the power to fight back against this poisonous brand of politics. If every one of us responds to these pathetic, right-wing attacks by raising money for Jerry, they might just think twice before throwing out another false hit. And it will give us the resources we need to get our message out and correct the record (...a very good record, I must add).
Will you donate $10, $20, $100 dollars and send Sarah Palin and Meg Whitman a signal that these negative attacks will be matched by our grassroots power?
What you do right now really matters. The general election just began. Let's kick this off with a bang and show the extremists on the right what we're made of.
SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the arrests of five members of a suspected loan-sharking syndicate, headed by a reputed Chinese mobster, that trapped casino gamblers in a "never-ending loop of debt and fear" by loaning them hundreds of thousands of dollars at exorbitant interest rates.
Working inside tribal casinos in the Sacramento area - including Red Hawk and Thunder Valley -- over the last 18 months, the suspects often preyed on Asian gamblers. Once the gamblers accepted loans, the amount they owed began to skyrocket. Some were charged 5 percent interest a week. Because of high interest rates and other charges, one gambler's $100,000 loan mushroomed to $400,000 in five months.
"Loan shark enterprises like this one terrorize people through spiraling financial obligations and threats of violence," Brown said. "Victims are trapped in a never-ending loop of debt and fear."
LOS ANGELES - In a continuing probe into a defunct Southern California mortgage brokerage, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the arrests of president and co-owner Sean McConville and two associates who used "deceptive promises and forged documents" to steal almost $1 million from homeowners falsely guaranteed attractive home loan refinancing packages.
"These criminals employed a classic bait-and-switch in their refinance scheme," Brown said. "With deceptive promises and forged documents, they maliciously cheated homeowners who trusted them and just wanted a fair deal."
OAKLAND - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that he has asked to intervene in a lawsuit in order to protect newly adopted motor vehicle emission standards that would save nearly two billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion tons.
Brown filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a suit brought by energy companies and other industries challenging the EPA's authority to enforce the tough emission standards beginning in 2012.
"The thousands of barrels of oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico each day are a graphic reminder that we need to cut oil consumption in America," said Brown. "These regulations would do that, as well as vastly reducing pollution from tailpipe emissions."
YUBA CITY - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that narcotics agents of the Department of Justice and local law enforcement officials arrested 59 gang members, including one who bootstrapped his way from foot soldier to local commander by committing or ordering murders.
In sweeps today, agents arrested 33 gang members and seized 24 firearms in five Northern California counties as part of "Operation Crimson Tide." The operation was conducted by more than 300 law enforcement agents in Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba, Colusa and Stanislaus Counties and involved more than 30 search warrants.
"Tragically, those arrested today chose to join dangerous gangs that deal in meth and murder," Brown said. "By removing them from society, we are disrupting their criminal activities and making the people of Northern California safer."
Saying that "disrupting a private funeral with vicious personal attacks goes too far," California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has signed a friend-of-the-court brief filed today in a Supreme Court case that will test whether families grieving at a funeral have a right to be free of hate-filled attacks from fanatical protesters.
Brown is one of 48 state attorneys general who gave their support to Albert Snyder in his lawsuit against Fred W. Phelps, Sr. and the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
Near the 2006 Maryland funeral of Snyder's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, the vehemently anti-gay Phelps and his parishioners demonstrated and waved signs that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and some that employed even more offensive language. Matthew Snyder, 20, was killed in a Humvee accident a month after he arrived in Iraq.
"Free speech is a cherished American right," Brown said, "but disrupting a private funeral with vicious personal attacks on the grieving family goes too far."
PHOTO BY JOSEPH A. GARCIA
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and California Attorney General Jerry Brown stopped in Santa Barbara Monday to reach out to a group of voters born years after his tenure as state governor ended in 1983 — college students.
Brown spoke to more than 600 people gathered at UC Santa Barbara, saying as governor he would fight student fee increases, support environmental regulations and scrap partisan bickering in Sacramento. He called on students for support and said the state should not allow the economic downturn to burden the cost of education.
Brown, 72, made light of the age difference between him and his young audience, telling students he had the experience to fight for reforms.
“I started doing this stuff before most of you were born,” Brown said. “I don’t know how you’re going to fight back. Maybe on Facebook.”
In addition to supporting reductions in student fees, Brown told the crowd he opposed offshore drilling in California. He pointed to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an example of its dangers, saying the state should support strong environmental regulations.
Brown’s ideas on the environment won the support of at least one student in the audience. Third-year UC Santa Barbara student and registered independent Ricardo Herrera said he would vote for Brown.
“I like what he said, especially about the environment,” Herrera said. “I make my choice on the candidate, not on the party.”
Read the rest of the story here.
SACRAMENTO — Jerry Brown's famous frugality was matched last week by his taste for the unpredictable, foreshadowing the kind of wily campaign he'll need to employ to overcome the personal wealth of either of the two Republican gubernatorial candidates in the fall.
Brown came up with a pair of well-timed maneuvers, aimed primarily at GOP front-runner Meg Whitman in an attempt to knock her off stride: calling for a three-way pre-primary debate, and becoming the first of the gubernatorial candidates to sign a Bay Area News Group pledge to release tax returns for the past 10 years.
And it didn't cost a dime in paid advertising, said Corey Cook, a political-science professor at the University of San Francisco.
"He's got to do it on the strength of his personality and his ability to be creative and being able to get free media," Cook said. "He's got to outthink her and out-message her because he won't be able to keep up with her on the airwaves."
Only a week ago, Democrats were fretting over Whitman's decided monetary advantage over Brown, worried that she was ready to turn her attention to him even before the Republican primary ended — and that he appeared to have no ready answer for the $150 million she could potentially spend on the race.
"That debate thing was brilliant — it was an example of something that was easy and affordable and that put Whitman on the defensive," said Robert Cruickshank, public policy director at the liberal Courage Campaign, who'd criticized Brown early for failing to assert himself more in the campaign. "What we've all been saying is: Look, you don't have to spend very much money to get coverage and drive the campaign narrative."
It's a developing narrative: The billionaire former CEO of eBay is hiding behind her glossy ads and high-price consultants. And it may have been aided a bit by a newly announced fraud probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission targeting Goldman Sachs, the finance giant for whom Whitman served as a board member for a year and with whom she has major investments.
And, in a slight hiccup in the campaign's horse race trajectory — in which Whitman appeared to be coasting toward the general election — several polls showed Whitman's Republican rival, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, reviving his dismal prospects by shaving some 20 percentage points off her 50-point lead.
Poizner's recent torrent of attack ads against Whitman may serve to tighten up the race, and will likely ensure that Brown won't have to worry about a TV campaign from Whitman until the primary is over.
Read the entire article here.
There's ample baggage to hang around Jerry Brown's neck from his stint as governor way back when. But it does not include his being a tax-and-spender.
Brown never raised general taxes. In fact, he reduced the income tax.
If anything, Brown didn't spend enough.
Ask anyone who was paying attention during that 1975-1983 period and you'll probably hear a complaint that the young governor allowed the state's infrastructure to begin decaying.
He especially didn't invest enough in highways and universities. That was a mistake, he now concedes. But back then, he was preaching an "era of limits."
Jerry Brown was continually snubbing his nose at the political establishment, embodied by his father, Pat Brown, an admired, old-school former governor.
That resulted in cute stunts such as serving Britain's bemused Prince Charles a soda-pop luncheon of cold cuts and tossed greens -- treating a prince like a pauper.
It also led to Brown's disastrous stroke in appointing Rose Elizabeth Bird, a trusted aide with no judicial experience, as state Supreme Court chief justice. She later was ousted by voters.
But a tax-and-spender? Hardly, even if such a charge does play well in Republican polling and focus groups.
That's one of the factors that made the California Chamber of Commerce's TV ad attacking Brown last week so hare-brained.
"The ad sounded like it was written by someone who wasn't even born when Jerry was governor," says Tony Quinn, a longtime Republican political analyst.
It was produced by an out-of-state ad maker, apparently with minimum knowledge or interest in California political history. But truth rarely ranks a priority in political advertising anywhere.
The other factor that made the spot seem dopey was that it was so out of character and unbecoming of its sponsor, the normally esteemed state chamber. This is a respected organization with a prestigious board that lobbies for business interests, but until last week had stayed above mud-wallowing.
That was the shocker. It was as if some nice church-going family man had gotten drunk and was barking obscenities while chasing a bar wench in front of stunned friends.
Chamber President Allan Zaremberg, of course, didn't see it that way. He contended the ad merely represented an effort to "educate" voters about the vital issues of job creation, taxes and spending.
Right. That's why the spot -- titled "Enough is Enough" -- was all about slamming Brown, the cinch Democratic nominee for governor.
"To any reasonably minded person, this is nothing more than a typical political attack ad," complained four chamber board members in a letter to Zaremberg. "It undermines the chamber's credibility to justify it as anything other than that. . . . This is not the kind of 'education' approach with which . . . the chamber should be associated."
After Brown and his wife worked the phones for hours asking board members "What gives?" and some of them griped to Zaremberg, he pulled the ad. It had run for only a few days around the state and was replaced with a neutral issues blurb.
But undoubtedly similar versions of the hit piece are being crafted by Republican front-runner Meg Whitman.
If you missed the spot, which featured a '70s-era Brown mug shot, this was the narration by a female announcer:
"California's lost 1 million jobs. We're $200 billion in debt. And Jerry Brown has a 35-year record of higher spending and taxes. Gov. Brown opposed Prop. 13. Spending increased 163%. He turned a budget surplus into a massive debt."
The narrator also says that when Brown was Oakland's mayor, city taxes rose, spending increased 60% and "jobs vanished." Admittedly, I'm foggy on Oakland. But I do know that all the tax hikes were approved by at least two-thirds of the city's voters.
I also know that Atty. Gen. Brown can't be blamed for California's job losses or debt.
Read the rest of the article here.
Read the entire article at The Daily Beast
Jerry Brown, California's once and could-be future governor, is a master of reinvention, just like the pop icon. He talks to Lloyd Grove about Meg Whitman’s money ("As King Midas found out, it can be a mixed blessing"), how he’d govern differently now (more emphasis on legislators' "personalities"), and his new marriage ("I should’ve done it earlier"). Plus, Gray Davis assesses Brown’s strengths.
Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr.—the once and possibly future governor of California—has reinvented himself so many times he’s giving Madonna a run for her money. His act involves fewer costume changes, but it’s at least as enduring.
At once spiritual and cynical, worldly and ascetic, personally ambitious and altruistic, and cerebral to the point of abstraction—an attribute that long ago earned him the nickname “Governor Moonbeam”—he is a public figure of quirky charisma, the stylistic opposite of his late father.
Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Sr., California’s governor from 1959 to 1967—when Ronald Reagan rudely ended his reign—was a back-slapping extrovert who was proud to call himself a “professional politician.” Jerry Brown, who succeeded his dad’s nemesis in 1975 and served two four-year terms, was certainly not that. Yet he remains, at nearly 72, the most intriguing politician in America.
“You’d find a lot of people who would disagree with you,” Brown tells me when I venture this opinion, although clearly he’s not among them. “I’m not trying to be my father, but certainly I’ve learned many of the things that he knew. It was 1970 when I started running for secretary of state, so I’ve had a lot of experience, and not just in government. I haven’t been in the senate for 40 years, but I’ve spent six months in Japan, I’ve spent several months in Mexico, I’ve traveled as a private citizen to Russia and China, Italy and Europe. I’ve worked with Mother Teresa. I was in seminary. So I’ve seen a lot of the world. I have a very unique perspective. I have an insider’s knowledge with an outsider’s mind.”
Today Brown is hoping to reclaim the throne after 27 years of wandering in and out of the political wilderness, a hiatus during which he explored the frontiers of downward mobility. He studied Buddhism in Japan, tended lepers in Calcutta, campaigned unsuccessfully for senator and president, chaired the California Democratic Party before quitting abruptly in the middle of his term, toiled for eight years as mayor of Oakland and, in 2006, finally got himself elected to his first statewide office in nearly three decades, that of California’s attorney general.
Now he aspires to fix a bureaucracy that, under its latest movie-star governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been an unmanageable mess. Why would Brown want to revert to his own personal Groundhog Day?
“I think that’s a very good question, and one I’ve reflected on probably not long enough,” he tells me as he rides to another fundraiser in Los Angeles. (The presumptive Democratic nominee, Brown has around $14 million in the bank, a pittance compared to the $45 million that the Republican frontrunner, eBay mogul Meg Whitman, has already spent.) “But my short answer is, the state is in breakdown. I feel that my preparation and skill and knowledge would help me turn it into a breakthrough. And I don't kid myself that it will be easy, or that it’s certain, but I enjoy this line of work. I find it intellectually stimulating.”
How would Jerry Brown 2.0 be different from the original?
“I think the difference,” Brown answers, “is best encapsulated by something my chief of staff, B.T. Collins, the Green Beret who lost his arm and a leg in Vietnam [and died of a heart attack in 1993 at age 52], once said: ‘If you want to understand politics, it’s all personalities, it’s not ideas.’ Well, that was his point of view, and I do think ideas are very, very important. But this time around, I think the personality of every single legislator, all 120, is extremely important. Being able to get the requisite number of Republicans and Democrats to sign on to a budget that takes a two-thirds vote means a very serious engagement with the world view, the political life, of each of these legislators in a very extended set of meetings and exchanges, such that I can build camaraderie, mutual understanding and the kind of working together that existed to a much greater degree when I was governor and to even a far greater degree when my father was governor.”
It’s a bracing notion: the onetime lone wolf as the cruise director of a legislative Love Boat. Brown concedes that when he entered the family business 40 years ago, after studying to become a Jesuit priest and struggling with the bar exam, he “found politics rather distasteful. But, for whatever reason, it stimulates some of my best thinking. I also see California as somewhat of a microcosm of the country, and I think it’s more manageable. Our deficit is probably 1.8 percent of our state GNP. The United States' is about 11 percent, and Greece's is 12 percent. So even though people allege that California is a failed state, we’re doing a helluva lot better than many other important entities, including the United States. So I’m willing to do what I can, get in, knock heads together, and stay the course as we work our way through this deficit and poisonous partisan breakdown to a more effective-functioning California.”
A voracious reader, and a ravenous consumer of all media, Brown has always been able to talk a good game. He is, after all, the epigrammatic leader who popularized the phrase, “Small is beautiful,” the mantra of limited-government neoliberalism of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Rare among politicians, he is perfectly comfortable thinking on his feet and unsheathing his sharp sense of irony; he seldom gives the impression of a political hack addicted to his own spin. Curious about the world around him, he listens and absorbs (indeed, during our conversation, he peppers me with questions about The Daily Beast and the journalism biz in general). But at this late stage, can he actually deliver?
"No one is better qualified than Jerry Brown to straighten out the mess in Sacramento," says another former chief of staff, Gray Davis, whose own unhappy governorship, years later, was cut short by a recall election and the Terminator. “Jerry has the maturity to call a spade a spade, and he doesn’t see the governorship as a springboard to a national political office.” Another big change, Davis says, is Brown’s marriage five years ago to his longtime girlfriend, former corporate lawyer Anne Gust. “Anne helps organize him and keeps him on track,” Davis says. “Because of her, Jerry is more linear than he was in the ‘70s. He was always very cerebral, but many people faulted him for not following through. Now there’s much more follow-through.”
Brown—who, before settling down with Gust, enjoyed the bachelor lifestyle of a wonky Warren Beatty, at one point living in Malibu with pop star Linda Ronstadt—affects to be mystified by Davis’ observation. “I’m not sure I understand ‘linear’ and ‘nonlinear.’ I’ll leave that to you and Gray,” he says. “People like to be able to peg an interpretation on some obvious fact, and getting married for the first time at age 67 is a rather obvious fact—so you can peg a fair amount of conclusions on that.”
Yet he acknowledges that marriage has changed his life for the better. “First of all, I enjoy it. I should’ve done it earlier,” Brown says. “It’s just wonderful to have somebody who is fun to be with, who is extremely intelligent, who is caring, and has a very good mind and not a lot of ego to go with it. So that’s a very unusual person and we enjoy each others’ company and we work together amazingly well, given our rather different styles of thinking and approaching problems.”
The 52-year-old Gust, who ran Brown’s attorney general’s campaign, is playing a key role in this one. “She’s very organized, she’s very quick, she cuts to the chase, she’s not given to sidebar diversions,” Brown enthuses. “She’s a good manager, delegator, a good reader of résumés… We’ve lived in three different places—two lofts and now a very spectacular home high above Oakland in the hills. So we share some aesthetic taste and that’s always good.”
As Brown’s closest confidante, Gust has displaced the colorful Frenchman Jacques Barzaghi, a controversial figure who was inseparable from Brown from 1971, when they first met at a party, until he was dismissed from the Oakland mayor’s office in 2004. Barzaghi was bullet-headed and dressed entirely in black, his torso tattooed with Buddhist symbols and Tibetan mandalas, and he functioned for three decades as Brown’s closest aide. A tough bureaucratic infighter with a puckish wit and a fondness for New Age buzz-phrases, Barzaghi was every bit a part of the Brown mystique as the mattress Brown slept on instead of living in the governor’s mansion and the 1975 Plymouth he used to drive himself to work. Their falling out seems painfully final. “I haven’t talked to him in several years—since he left Oakland,” Brown tells me. “He left and, I think, went to Morocco.”
Read the entire article at The Daily Beast