“We can restore the dynasty of California.” – former Governor Jerry Brown
April 19, 2010 (Los Angeles) – At the California Democratic Convention in Los Angeles Saturday, ex-Governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown noted that he created 1.9 million jobs during his eight years as California's governor, then outlined his plans for creating new jobs and restoring California's economic prosperity. He called for easing the credit crunch to get funds flowing to small businesses as well as investing in ”innovation and creativity” at public universities, in green job creation, and more.
Brown also challenged his Republicans opponents Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner to California’s first three-way pre-primary debate. Poizner has accepted the debate invitation, the Mercury News in Silicon Valley reports. But Whitman, who criticized Brown before the convention for being “vague” on proposals to fix the economy, has rejected his invitation as a “stunt” and reportedly refused to participate in a debate with the former Governor.
“Come out from behind those glittering poppy fields, those beautiful car crashes over a mountain, and let’s have some honest debate in prime time,” he said, poking fun at his opponents’ TV commercials. “Campaigning in a democracy is not about buying hundreds of millions of dollars of 30-second TV ads…These are not ordinary times and we face an extraordinary crisis. So I challenge my two Republican challengers to a face to face debate.” Brown hopes to engage in a series of debates set in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco.
Brown recalled his accomplishments as California’s Governor from 1974 to 1984, an era when 1.9 million new jobs were created. “I started the first energy efficiency standards in the country,” he said, also taking credit for 50% solar energy tax credits. Those policies saved California over $50 billion and created hundreds of thousands of jobs, Brown added. “We Democrats can make it happen –we absolutely know how it’s done.”
The Civilian Conservation Corps, another project created by Brown, created another 60,000 jobs. “We can increase it,” he said, noting that federal laws allow for dollars to flow through state highway systems and more to “put young people back to work. Democrats saved us from the Depression. Now Democrats will save us from Wall Street rip-offs and the credit meltdown.”
The financial collapse has cost California over 1.5 million jobs, Brown said. “Government didn’t do that. Wall Street mortgage scams did that,” he added, faulting Republicans for “trying to rewrite history” of failed policies under the Bush administration.
“What happened in the massive meltdown is called a credit collapse and small businesses, which create the vast majority of jobs, need credit,” Brown said. “The big banks got bailed out. Now it’s time to get smaller banks as well as bigger banks lending to small business. Get that credit flowing. We’ve got to make that happen at both the state and federal level.”
He also called for creation of green jobs and investment in new biofuels through research at California universities.
Brown denounced cuts in funding and tuition hikes at the University of California and state colleges. Noting that new jobs can be created in energy, healthcare and hospitality industries, he called for increased investment in universities for research and development in fields such as new medicines and medical procedures. “The whole world needs that—and it creates jobs of the future,” he said. Brown also supports expansion of the arts and entertainment industry. “That’s Hollywood—that’s California.”
In his speech, Brown mentioned support for speeding up approval of transmission lines to transmit electricity generated from renewable energy resources. During his press conference, East County Magazine pointed out that Sunrise Powerlink is opposed by many residents concerned about fire dangers in an area that has already had major fires. The former Governor noted that the line had been rerouted from a park (Anza Borrego) and expressed surprise to learn that the Environmental Impact Report termed Powerlink a severe and unmitigatable fire danger.
“If there’s a fire danger, I’d like to know and I will take a look at that,” he said when asked if he has met or would meet with leaders of the 79,000 member coalition opposing the Powerlink project. But he added, “Our whole planet is burning if we don’t take action. If fire is an issue, it’s got to be dealt with—but the decision shouldn’t take nine years.”
Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, once took vows of poverty and reminded convention delegates of his frugality while serving as Governor. He sold the Governor’s mansion and a private plane. Brown lived in a modest apartment and walked to work at the state Capitol. He has pledged “no taxes unless people want them and vote for them.” In a press conference after his speech, he also said he wants to move more authority on spending issues back to local governments.
Brown holds a law degree from Yale University and a degree in Classics from the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as Mayor of Oakland as well as Governor and Attorney General. He ran for President twice, beating out Bill Clinton in five states while accepting no campaign donations larger than $100. His father, Pat Brown, also served as Governor of California.
Brown emphasized his support for investing in educating young people, strengthening public education, and putting people back to work by investing in creation of jobs for the future. “Our democratic future of investing in people is on the line in this election,” the past and would-be future Governor concluded, adding later, "We can restore the dynasty of California."