A Jesuit seminarian, a former governor, and a humanitarian ambassador all walk into a bar to discuss solving California’s problems. A student of Zen Buddhism, a former mayor, and an attorney general join them. Each of them is asked to introduce themselves. They all have the same name – Jerry Brown.
Brown has worn a lot of different hats in his lifetime. His history and range of public service is unparalleled by most political candidates in any race, at any time, making him the best choice for governor in the upcoming election. Having walked in so many shoes (including Mother Theresa’s), Brown brings perspective and experience to the office of governor that California needs.
The state is crumbling and at the top of the list of crises needing to be tackled is unemployment. With a 12 percent jobless rate in California, all political candidates have been running on their promise to fix that.
While economists will argue who and what are really responsible for job creation, Brown can quite safely claim that while he was governor of California, nearly two million jobs were created.
The LA Times reported in August that a former state Employment Development Department director ran the employment growth numbers under the past five governors and Brown came out on top. In fact, new jobs in California, during Brown’s tenure from 1975 to 1983, accounted for nearly 20 percent of the national growth.
With an eye towards the future, Brown sees employment potential in the rapidly developing sector of green technology and investing in state infrastructure.
Jobs in green technology have increased five percent in the last five years while jobs in California overall have only increased by one percent, according to a report by a non-partisan organization called the Next 10. As students looking to where the best job prospects will be, we especially need to vote for someone who is willing to invest in the next big commercial boom.
Brown’s opponent, Meg Whitman, wants to suspend the incentives of AB 32, that lure green technology to the state, for at least one year. This would postpone the momentum of growth in green jobs.
Recognizing one of government’s most important functions, Brown wants to increase employment by improving the state’s infrastructure of roads, bridges, and ports. These improvements will cost money but they will put people to work thus jump-starting the economy.
Brown is a great candidate for governor because he is fiscally conservative and socially liberal –a perfect combination for California.
While attorney general, this democrat has downsized government. Hear that Republicans! He cut 800 Department of Justice jobs and merged ten divisions of operation into four, which ultimately resulted in nearly $300 million in budget saving for the state general fund. His state budget plan includes a review of all state agencies and spending to cut unnecessary funds being spent on government.
He is socially liberal as he supports the DREAM Act to give undocumented students a path to citizenship. While attorney general, Brown refused to defend Proposition 8 and has made every effort to overturn the measure. During his time as governor, he signed a law in 1975 that legalized sexual relations between consenting adults of the same gender – before that it was a felony.
On the other hand, we have all witnessed Whitman throw her nanny of nine years under the proverbial bus by refusing to help her try to gain legal status in the US and says she would ban admission of undocumented students to UCs, CSUs and community colleges.
Admittedly, he has no great master plan for how to fix the problems with the UC and CSU systems and he is, in fact, quite frank about the uphill battle facing public colleges and universities.
When asked in a recent debate about rolling back cuts to education Brown said, “Not in my first year. Not with a $19 billion deficit…I’d love to roll back the fees. But that would require the university either becoming a lot more efficient than it is or the state finding billions of dollars that it doesn’t yet have.”
You may be asking yourself, “Why on earth should I vote for this guy then?”
Because he is honest with voters and that is something so rare in a politician that we should grab this guy while we can.
He may not give us all the answers we want to hear, but because he can be honest and he has made putting money into education a priority during his political career, I believe he will do it as soon as he possibly can.
Jerry Brown has had a lot of different titles in his lifetime and I’d be happy to meet any one of those guys in a bar for a drink.