Maeve Reston - Los Angeles Times
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown joined two fellow former governors Thursday night at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for a reception honoring the work of the California Conservation Corps, a program they have all supported. In a rare joint appearance, Brown, former GOP Gov. George Deukmejian and former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis mingled with guests for nearly an hour in an ornate ballroom over cocktails, sometimes a few feet from one another.
The three men, along with former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, joined forces more than a year ago, using their political clout to advocate for the Corps after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed eliminating its funding in the 2009-10 budget. After receiving a letter from the four former governors strongly supporting the Corps, Schwarzenegger restored funding for the program, which is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps and employs 18- to 25-year-olds to do natural-resources work that includes emergency-response efforts to fires, floods and earthquakes.
In speeches Thursday night, the three former governors hailed the program as one both parties could get behind. "It's about service, it's about collaboration, it's about discipline, it's about acquiring skill in service to something bigger than yourself," said Brown, who signed the program into law when he was governor in 1976.