Jerry Brown was sworn in yesterday as the new governor of California. He inherits a pantload of problems, the biggest of which are a multi-billion dollar budget deficit and a dysfunctional state political environment. In the linked article, Brown is talking about budget proposals that reorient how government services are provided and try to decentralize governmental power and responsibilities from the state to local governments. Of course, the devil is in the details — but if the crushing state budget pressures are solved by getting rid of statewide services and allowing local governments to decide whether to offer those services, it will be a step in the right direction toward fiscal sanity.
It is weird to see Jerry Brown back on the national stage. He was the first politician I found interesting when, as the boy governor of California, he belatedly threw his hat in the ring and sought the 1976 Democratic nomination for President. Consider: Brown was elected California Secretary of State in 1970 and California governor in 1974. This guy has been in politics since the days of the Nixon Administration and the Vietnam War!
Californians have now turned to Governor Brown to deal with the most dire problems in the state’s history. He has never had any difficulty in looking at problems from a different perspective, so perhaps he will be able to come up with inventive ways to change how California works and to solve problems that his predecessors have found intractable. If he doesn’t, the likely road for California is default, and disaster — and Californians can bid farewell to the Golden State as they have known it for 50 years.
It reminds me of the title of a pretty good song by Jolie Holland, an excellent singer whom I discovered recently although she has been performing for a long while. A video set to her song Goodbye California is below: