Everybody likes Jerry; now what?

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SF Examiner file photo

For the first time in many years, Californians seem to like their governor. Jerry Brown's approval rating is now above 50 percent; actually, it's closer to 60 percent. And the Legislature is more popular, too. (Although ratings of the state Leg, like ratings of Congress, are pretty bogus -- I may think the Legislature as a whole is doing a crappy job, because there are too many conservatives, but I think my own Assemblymember, Tom Ammiano, and my own state Senator, Mark Leno, are excellent. Republicans feel the opposite way. Nobody likes the body as a whole, because the body as a whole will never be liberal enough for me or conservative enough for Orange County.)

So here's the question:

In politics, one of the things you do is build capital. You build it with your reputation, by doing things well (or at least things that make some group of constituents happy). You can't keep it in the bank forever, or it gets stale and eventually starts to fade away; at some point, you have to use it.

The typical younger politician builds capital for future races -- you get high marks as a city council member or county supervisor and you cash in some of that to get elected to the state Leg, then maybe to statewide office or Congress. But our guv isn't typical in any way, and he's not young; he might have one more term in office, which at this point he would win easily if he seeks it. But that's almost certainly the end of the line. For better or for worse, I just don't see a President Jerry Brown in our future.

So what's he going to do with his political capital? What are the Democrats in the state Leg, who finally have the confidence of the voters, going to do?

If Jer thinks he's going to build a couple of giant tunnels under the Delta to move more water south, he's even battier that we think; that's never going to happen. The entire environmental world is against it, it's way too expensive, it will wind up getting delayed by lawsuits until long after Brown is out of office, and there's no guarantee a future governor will keep Jerry's Big Dig alive.

He's got high-speed rail, a much better use of money that has widespread support, but that's also a long-term project.

So what about reforming Prop. 13? He knows it's a policy disaster. It's not going to be repealed, but with the governor's support, a split-role measure or some other credible reforms could transform local government and do more for the public schools than any pointed-headed "education reform" plan will ever do.

Or single-payer health care. Everyone knows that California's getting screwed by the insurance industry. We have to write new rules for implementing Obamacare anyway. Twice, the state Leg has passed single-payer bills that were vetoed by the governor (not this governor).

It's actually possible to lead the way to some changes that people will remember for decades. Jerry: You won't get this chance again.

 

 

 

 

Comments

has by attacking the third rail of CA politics - Prop 13? With 2/3 of CA voters owning their own home, materially changing Prop 13 is a non-starter.

As for ObamaCare, even the Dem's in Congress would not pass the public option, so why should Jerry?

He's balanced the budget, and that will be his legacy.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

have as equal allies in the matter them who's property tax is miles above their own?

Isn't that like exactly like claiming that those who have only recently rented apartments are just as motivated to keep rent control as them who have been in their units for decades?

As for asking "why" legislators should now start doing the bidding of the people they ostensibly represent, it's a bit of a sucker question. There's a systemic problem which needs to be addressed first.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

vehemently support rent control seem miraculously to oppose Prop 13, which effectively does the same thing.

Makes no sense, does it?

Wanna abolish both then? Didn't think so.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

I believe. Split roll or a variant is good. Removing Prop 13 protections on a home when its owner passes away vs. allowing them to continue as the home passes into a trust and then is rented - is another. No law should remain static forever but as Tim noted, there is no support for repealing Prop 13 and returning to the awful days of the stratospheric property tax increases of the late 1970s and even Jerry Brown has said so.

Jerry should vigorously work to solve the public employee pension issue - which will be an enormous drag on our state in the future. He's get universal kudos for that.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

Wait until the revenues from the new state taxes "unexpectedly" come in much, much, less than anticipated, and California slides back into massive deficit.

Jerry will rue the day that he announced that the budget was balanced without actually seeing how much money the new taxes are bringing in.

So much for his "political capital"...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

are working to prevent single payer healthcare from being a reality in California as it is in Vermont. Sure, the Democrats passed single payer bills when a Republican (whom they knew would veto it) was Governor. Now, that the Democrats have a super majority in both houses and the governorship, no Democratic legislator will sponsor single payer legislation, instead supporting Obamacare giveaways to health insurance and drug companies. Cynical corporatist party politics at its worst.

http://www.singlepayeraction.org/blog/?p=3603

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:20 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

we have lives here--jobs, friends, interests, etc. I'd prefer to improve the place where I live rather than flee. But Montreal is great and is really close to Vermont. Hard to emigrate to Canada and I would have to learn French at my increasingly advanced age

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 5:11 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

Come tax season in about a month, when Californians wake up and realize Jerry's tax was retroactive, his popularity might plunge a bit.

Saying high speed rail has "widespread support" isn't credible. The latest poll I saw said that the majority of Californians are now against it.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

He's done a lot of cutting of spending, and only agreed to a tax hike if the voters approved it, and even then it is mostly a sales tax hike, which is preferable.

As a moderate SF voters, I'm comfortable with Jerry.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

the legislators approval is up, up from what, up from 1% to now 2% . they sure as he11 did not poll me.

Posted by Guest oldfart on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 4:58 pm