February 26, 2020 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Brown’s Mixed Legacy of Big Fixes, Some Corruption

About a month from today, a new governor will sit in the state Capitol’s “horseshoe” suite and face some problems that not even the hyper-active and often contemptuous soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Jerry Brown could not solve.

Those problems will obscure neither Brown’s achievements nor his failures.

When Brown took office in early 2011 for the first term of his second go-‘round as California’s chief, the state faced a huge budget deficit of $27 billion, which he turned into both a positive and a large rainy-day fund via a combination of parsimony and the political courage needed to run a major tax-increase ballot initiative, one that now forms part of state government’s financial base.

He also inherited from predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger an over-budget High Speed Rail project that faced numerous legal challenges over items as basic as acquiring the land for laying tracks. The so-called “bullet train” has not exactly proceeded with bullet-like speed and today is even more over-budget and behind schedule than when Brown took over, while still facing most of the same legal problems.

Mark that one as a problem not solved, which Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will inherit.

Brown helped appoint former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, also a former Homeland Security Secretary, president of the University of California and did little while she and her aides accumulated a $175 million slush fund at the same time students were assessed roughly the same amount in tuition increases.

He’s been a leader in the global movement against climate change and last fall even dared the world to revive the “Gov. Moonbeam” tag once applied to him by the late Chicago columnist Mike Royko, promising California will “launch our own damn satellite” to track global warming. Royko coined the nickname in the late 1970s, when Brown previously advocated a state satellite.

Brown sees the putative new space project as one part of California’s resistance to climate change reluctance from President Trump, who ordered federal agencies like NASA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency not to track worldwide temperature changes. Newsom said in October he likes the satellite idea.

If there’s a large negative in how Brown is remembered, it likely will come over the corruption his appointees spawned at the state Public Utilities and Energy commissions.

The PUC consistently favors utilities over their customers and never penalized any commissioners who helped orchestrate a settlement between the Southern California Edison Co. and its customers on the costs of closing the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations. That deal was illegally reached in a secret meeting involving former PUC President Michael Peevey. Peevey has supposedly been under investigation for his role, but that alleged probe is now more than four years old, with no result. Meanwhile, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, a Brown appointee just elected in his own right, won’t say where it stands.

Similar collusion by Peevey and other PUC members with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has also gone unpunished, while costing consumers billions of dollars.

At the Energy Commission, highly questionable multi-million-dollar “hydrogen highway” grants favoring automakers and big producers of industrial fuel were first pulled back by commissioners after this column exposed the cronyism behind them. Most were re-instituted to the same recipients after the commission changed its rules a short time later. Brown did and said nothing about this scandal, then reappointed the commission chairman who oversaw it.

Brown also went along with almost all demands of public employee unions and signed every bill reaching his desk that eliminated delays under the California Environmental Quality Act and promoted large building projects like the Golden State Warriors’ under-construction new arena in San Francisco. Similar bills boosted the Los Angeles Rams/Chargers coming new stadium in Inglewood, the Los Angeles Clippers’ nascent arena also in Inglewood and the Sacramento Kings’ already completed new home.

And he did nothing to prevent the “motor voter” debacle at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which has mis-registered thousands of voters.

So how will Brown be remembered? Most likely as a governor who solved some problems he inherited and worked hard against climate change. But his legacy will also include doing little about corruption and virtually ignoring the state’s biggest financial problem: Its massive public pension deficit.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

Edify TV: The Empty Mall

February 24, 2020

February 24, 2020

Once considered to be one of the most popular shopping destinations in Los Angeles, a former mall is now being...

Edify TV: Longtime Westwood Bar’s Future

February 24, 2020

February 24, 2020

New retail and office space is being built on the site of a former beloved Westwood Village bar. Learn more...

Driver Charged With Murder for Driving Wrong Way on 405

February 20, 2020

February 20, 2020

“Horrific night” for first responders By Sam Catanzaro A man faces life in prison for driving the wrong way on...

Up to $50K Reward for Information on Hit and Run

February 20, 2020

February 20, 2020

LAPD seeking the public’s help By Chad Winthrop Los Angeles police are offering up to $50,000 for information to help...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Library Porn

February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

A pornographic video of two people having sex in a Santa Monica Public Library branch has gone viral. Learn more...

Edify TV: Westwood Panic Party!

February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

Climate justice through art, advocacy and action went down at the Hammer Museum Panic Party dance for a greener future over the...

Dr. Jane Goodall Coming to UCLA

February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, will deliver the Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership at UCLA’s Royce Hall on April 1, 2020,...

Office Revolution: Luxury Hotel Meets Modern Home

February 17, 2020

February 17, 2020

By Staff Writer Say “goodbye” to the old doctor’s offices you used to remember. No more old, stained, uncomfortable chairs,...

Mobile Showers for Homeless Individuals Coming to Westwood

February 14, 2020

February 14, 2020

Pilot program set to begin By Chole Marie Rivera There will soon be mobile showers at the Westwood Recreation Center...

Metro Secures $1.3 Billion to Complete Purple Line Subway to Westwood

February 12, 2020

February 12, 2020

Feds commit grant to LA Metro this week By Sam Catanzaro Nearly half a million workers commute every day too...

Edify TV: Westwood LGBTQ+ Health Conference

February 11, 2020

February 11, 2020

A very important health conference for members of the LGBTQ+ community came to Westwood this past weekend. Learn more in...

Two Women Sought for Stealing Expensive Watches

February 10, 2020

February 10, 2020

LAPD detectives asking public for help in IDing suspects By Sam Catanzaro Two men, two women meet at an exclusive...

Edify TV: Welcome to Westwoof!

February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020

Welcome to Westwoof! Los Angeles is amending city code and Westwood dogs are wagging their tails in excitement as seen...

Measles Exposure at Westfield Century City

February 6, 2020

February 6, 2020

Westfield Century City among dozens of Westside locations visited by individuals with measles By Staff Writer Westfield Century City is...

Local Homeless Housing Project Breaks Ground

February 4, 2020

February 4, 2020

By Jeff Hall A new housing development that will provide affordable housing to low-income individuals – including some who are...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *