Jerry Brown – Role Model?

Posted on March 22, 2012 by

I thought Jerry Brown’s return as governor would be more fun.

He’s an interesting guy with a unique political trajectory.

In the 28 years since he last held the job, he served as Oakland mayor and state Attorney General.

But what seemed most intriguing was that Brown – like many of his generational peers – had continued his personal evolution.

I was eager to see how a more mature Jerry would conduct himself as governor and – I suppose – was hoping he would personify the wisdom which comes with age.

Instead, the 14 months he’s been in office seem pretty run-of-the-mill.  Though he appears, for the most part, to be a capable administrator and executive, Brown has not exactly risen to the status of “leader.”

Bogged down by budget and tax battles, he looks like a rather small player in a state crippled by high unemployment, deficits and severe cuts in public services.

In the seventies, Jerry Brown enjoyed an over-sized national profile for his quirky style and visionary ideas. California was cutting-edge, foreshadowing national trends in life-style, progressive policy (coastal protection) and economic backlash (prop 13).

As a democrat, I’m not going to complain too much about Gov. Brown’s performance.  His November tax initiative could help rescue the state.

And I’ll admit that I might have had unrealistic expectation for the Jerry Brown encore.

He may be a decent and thoughtful mainstream democrat, but he’s certainly no role model.

Comments (3)


  1. Gavin Koon says:

    I do not fully agree with your assement of Jerry.
    I have been a few meetings with him in past year, he still committed to Unions and their mission. That being said, he has stated he is trying so save California. Right or wrong in his approach is a decision that each of us has to make but he is still on Unipn side of most issues and has often sided with us on other matters and made for the most part positive appointments. the proof is in one’s actions.

  2. Salvador Sanchez says:

    Back in the 1970s Brown was single and was a more independent thinker. Now, his corporate wife has tremendous influence in his decision making process. I agree with Mr. Koon that Brown is committed to Unions and their mission so is he to the Chamber of Commerce and its mission……..

  3. Jerry says:

    Lou, although I enjoy reading some of your opinions on various subjects (sometimes agreeing and sometimes not), I hardly ever take the time to leave you feedback. However I have to in this case. Having worked with Jerry back in the day as well as presently, I believe your assessment of the Gov is off base. First of all here’s a guy with a pretty good history and certainly what a Gov should consider his values and commitments are to the people who elected him should be, especially the labor movement in CA.

    Looking at most current U.S. Gov’s, Dems and Republicans, Jerry is clearly focused on resurrecting our state to economic stability. NOT AN EASY JOB! He is what I can call an intellectual Gov who uses his best quality, his brain, to ascertain problems and with competent staff, in reviewing, analyzing and implementing what so far have been tough but realistic directions. He is very pragmatic in how to hone in on the most severe of problems, such as “CA’s BUDGET” and evaluate these problems from their core in reaching conclusions. And yes you’re right in your comment that his November tax initiative could help rescue CA. I will say that although he and his staff may not be perfect in all decisions that have been made, I’d rather have him as our Gov then any other throughout the Country. This is a huge State with a number of issues which have a huge financial impact in the U.S. (as well as countries doing business through our ports). Being considered a role model is basically in the minds of those who are looking to identify values leading up to that title. Some leaders in sports, politics, business, religion, etc. have been considered role models at one time and revered as such, only to find them tied to dirty laundry, crooked deals or other nefarious events. NOT SO HERE!

    So why wouldn’t you want to use Jerry as a poster guy for honesty, integrity, commitment and working his way through a “hell of a career” to his current role as CA’s Gov? Whether it’s been to negotiate (or at least attempting to so) among parties which rarely agree as to what’s right for the State or forced to implement programs we’d rather not have, he’s been the guy where the buck stops. He gets the good and bad of what happens. It’s a sad state of affairs when any City, County, State, Country or for that matter any governing body has to cut social, educational, healthcare and other areas so relevant to those that need help. I’m sure he wrestles with that burden every time these kind of cuts are required. So in ending what I meant to be only a few words in my response to your question, I believe Jerry can be considered a role model for many who realize the responsibility of what it means to be a Governor of one of the most influential States in the country or world for that matter. Fighting to create jobs and stabilize CA’s economy is one of his most important jobs. He’s doing pretty well so far in my book. Jerry

Leave a Reply