Jerry Brown’s Canoe Theory

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There is a reason why Jerry Brown has lasted longer than just about any other politician in the history of California, and the nation.

That reason can be found in the message sent out following his veto of a bill designed to conserve water.

The legislation would have kept homeowner associations from banning artificial turf.

The idea was to make sure homeowners had the ability to replace water-guzzling lawns with plastic grass. The law also would have helped limit the use of fertilizers.

Brown vetoed the bill Monday morning.

"A decision to choose synthetic turf over natural vegetation is best left to individual homeowners associations, not mandated by state law," he said in the veto statement.

This is part of Jerry Brown’s “canoe theory” of politics.

Paddle a little to the right, a little to the left, and you will head straight down the middle.

This latest veto was a stroke on the right side of the canoe.

Brown has long been a strong environmentalist but he has always been concerned about government over-reaching.

Having Sacramento set ground rules for lawns, at least now when the drought is over, went too far. Let that be an issue at the local level.

The Governor is also reluctant to make wholesale changes to institutions he feels still have the capacity to reform themselves.

Another paddle to the right was his veto of the “card check” bill backed by unionezed farmworkers that would have eliminated the secret ballot and made union organizing far easier.

Brown thought the measure was too much of a radical departure from the Ag Labor Relations Act which he put together in the mid 70’s. That measure paved the way for formation of farm labor unions.

Will any of this give him credibility with conservative Republicans?

Doubt it.

But it may help with some of the moderates. They realize that Jerry Brown has never been an idiologue.

That's why he navigates so well.

Photoshopped image of Jerry Brown by Olsen Ebright

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