Went to see former and next (?) Governor Jerry Brown in Santa Rosa this last week. Made me smile and tear up a bit. Big ideas still; the best. California is a place of imagination – we have the imagination to create solutions to our fiscal and social problems; we can tackle the prison industry; we can give schools what they need; we can bring California back to where it was when Jerry was Governor? Oh, yea, he created over 1/2 million jobs then and the budget was sound. Take a look at his announcement video at Jerry Brown for Governor site You may need to leave your email to watch the video.

He spoke of high speed rail, which he proposed way back when. Will happen now. “If Japan, France and others can do it, we can do it,” he says. “Truth is, ever since I left the governorship, we’ve been in trouble,” he said and you have to admit. BART is a good cooperative project, creating transportation hubs as it goes – a good story starting with his father, former Governor Pat Brown. Here’s what WIKIPEDIA says about (his) father Pat Brown and the son, Jerry:

“Brown served two terms, which were marked by an enormous water-resources development program. The California Aqueduct built as part of the program now bears his name. He also presided over the enactment of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, fair employment legislation, a state economic development commission, and a consumers’ council. He sponsored some forty major proposals, only five of which failed to pass in the Legislature.” Great role model for 2-time governor Jerry.
But Jerry has dreams of his own. He wants to help create an “elegant density” in cities – and did so in Oakland as Mayor there. 10,000 new residents revitalized Oakland’s downtown with Jerry’s creation of an enterprise district there.

“California is a state of imagination,” he said, “and this is a wonderful moment.” Agreed – and a scary one in which I for one don’t want a “leader” who doesn’t vote and has no government experience!

“We don’t want to scapegoat immigrants,” he asserted. We want to treat people fairly – that common thread – a place of equality – hard work.

The day of his appearance at Santa Rose Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Jerry had a chance to vote for a new Chief Justice, a women who was an immigrant from the Philippines. “We are becoming a more open society,” he asserted. Recalled I met him at a conference on Social and Economic Justice and he never forgets those principles.

Early on, Jerry reminds us, California was the leader of the world in wind generation. We need to recapture that title, he says; take the lead back from China.

Plans aren’t it, he says. He has lots of plans. What we need is leadership, experience and 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, creating 500,000 new jobs in the process.

We invest in schools; we don’t cut them! Jerry went to St. Ignatious – It’s a village that has to produce results. Its the humanity of the teachers – its the heart as well as the mind.

A governor has to know how to get stuff done. There’s a power here to reform criminal justice, to get renewable energy, to be real; to tell the truth. “I just want to get the state working again,” he said in conclusion to a standing ovation.

Since those earlier days, California has built 22 new prisons and 1 school, recidivism rate for released prisoners has skyrocketed from 35% to 75% and that is a crying shame according to me.

I’ll have to put myself into this campaign; it’s worth it if California could again be a world leader in environmental sustainability and make real strides toward a more just way of living – with more people working.