Happy birthday, Governor! Jerry Brown turned 74 on Saturday. What should you get him? Here are five gifts he needs -- some of which he might even appreciate.
5. Funding for his high-speed rail plan.
Brown's revised plan is cheaper, but it still has a price tag of nearly $70 billion. But even with state bond funds, federal money and the new backstop of cap-and-trade revenues, he's at least $50 billion short. No one has that kind of cash around, except... China, can you get on that?
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4. A weekend place in Southern California.
We don't see Gov. Brown all that much in Southern California, which wouldn't be such a big deal except for the fact that 2/3 of Californians live here. Brown is our first Northern California governor since, well, Pat Brown (Jerry was living in LA when he got elected the first time). And his administration is very Bay Area in its outlook, and the Bay Area has never been more different than the rest of the state -- it's the rich, rich, rich island in a state that is suffering badly. Come visit us, have a barbecue in a local park, drive over some of our freeway potholes.
3. A 2/3 supermajority for Democrats in the legislature.
This is still unlikely, and it's a gift that Brown can't receive until after the November elections. But the good news is that, unintentionally, the redistricting commission and the hapless Republican party are already busy working on delivering this to the governor.
2. Lessons in delegation.
Brown has revealed himself in office to be a control freak. Only a handful of advisors are empowered to make decisions. And it seems that nothing ever happens on a problem until Brown sits down, focuses, calls people at all hours and make a decision himself. You can't govern a state of 38 million people that way.
1. An honest argument for his tax plan.
Enough about this being about the schools. It isn't. Brown needs an honest argument. That case? This sucks. It won't fix the budget. And no one can be sure exactly what any budget and tax measure will do. But this will help me keep things from being even worse.