Brown sworn in as new governor

Democrat Jerry Brown was sworn in just after 11 a.m. as California’s 39th governor in a low-key ceremony the Memorial Stadium in Sacramento and as we have come to expect (and fervently hope), he didn’t quite follow the script.

Click here to read my colleague Steve Harmon’s story.

When Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye administered the oath and asked him to state that he was taking office without “mental reservations,” the crowd laughed.

“No, really,” Brown added, to the huge amusement of the friendly audience, whose members included outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria; former Gov. Gray Davis; House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Later, during his 12-minute speech, Brown veered off script, got lost his place and earned another laugh when he said, “That’s what happens when you ad lib.”

Brown was clearly enjoying himself and the moment, which may be among the high points as he heads into deeply difficult negotiations over a $28 billion budget deficit.

It was good to see Brown’s choice of entertainment, too. The Oakland School for the Arts relatively small choir belted out a lively and jazzy version of “This Land is Your Land” and the Oakland Military Institute”s honor guard filled the stage with bright, young faces.

And after the choir sang the National Anthem, it felt as though someone should yell out, “Play ball!”

Brown’s wife, Anne Gust Brown, received a standing ovation, too, an indication of how fond Democrats have become of the woman the governor openly admires, not only as a mate but as a political adviser. The Browns each wore somber black clothing; she in a simple black dress, him in a black suit.

But the morning wasn’t all roses and sunshine.

Brown emphasized at least three times the importance of California’s future over political party and warned that the budget he will unveil next week will please no one.

With Schwarzenegger in the front row, Brown declared “no more smoke and mirrors” on the budget.

“I did not come here to embrace delay and denial,” Brown said.

He also put public employee unions on notice, saying the state must have pensions that are fair to both workers and taxpayers. That could prove interesting, as labor unions were among Brown’s strongest advocates.

Of course, as Schwarzenegger learned, grand speeches packed with earnest declarations and principles are easy. California is in serious financial trouble and as he acknowledged in his opening words, its leaders do not agree on the solutions.

But for Brown’s final works, he quoted an Al Jolson song, “California, here I come, right back where I started from!”

He is here. Again. And the stakes are higher than ever.

(Forgive the lateness of this post. Our blogs were down most of the afternoon. LAV)

I’ve posted video of the event below, in two parts. Brown’s speech is in the second part. (Forgive the poor quality of the video. I was seated toward the rear of the stadium, and the camera slipped off the railing — I was using a gorillapod to hold it up there — mid-way through the event. But the audio is decent!)

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Get to Work Gavin

    It’s time for Gavin Newsom to also take his oath and get to work doing the job CA voters elected him to do!


  • Elwood

    Re: #1

    And what exactly are the duties of this job which require his presence in Sacto. immediately?

    Call the governor’s office every morning and if Jerry answers go back to bed?

  • Elwood

    Re: #1

    Won’t you please enlighten us as to what is this “work” that Gavin needs to do immediately?

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    (I’m glad I didn’t hold my breath while the Political Blotter blogs were down!)

  • Gettoworkgavin

    Re: #3 Like Vice-President Biden, the Lt. Gov’s #1 job is
    to be ready to replace the top dog if he goes down. Right now,
    instead of the Democrat we elected in Nov., the person who would
    replace Gov. Brown for the next four years if something unforeseen
    happens is Republican Abel Maldonado. Did we just endure 7 years of
    Ahhnald to risk getting 4 years of Abel? Unlikely, but not worth
    the risk. Take the oath & get to work Gavin!

  • Elwood

    Re: #5

    You need to lie down with a damp cloth over your forehead.

  • John W

    The Lite Gov spot can wait a few days. Keeps the crazy lame duck Supervisors from selecting the interim mayor. Important, since SF has a strong-mayor form of government. However, Gettoworkgavin’s post raises an interesting hypothetical. What if Jerry did suddenly depart this life before Gavin was sworn in? Is Maldonado still Lite Gov until the new one is sworn in, or has his term expired? I think the latter. If Gavin was sworn AFTER Jerry kicked, would he still become governor for the remainder of Jerry’s term? Or would a special election be held, since there was no sworn Lite Gov successor in place at the time of his untimely demise.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Re:No. 4 What’s it all about, Ralphie?

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    RR, in the next to last paragraph, LAV wrote “(Forgive the lateness of this post. Our blogs were down most of the afternoon. LAV)”

  • steve weir

    I’m not certain of the answer to John W’s question, but here goes:

    Article 5, Sec. 10 of the Calif Constitutions states in part: “The Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor when a vacancy occurs in the office of Governor.”

    Vacancy is defined in Government Code Sec. 1770 to include “(a) death of the incumbent.”

    Article 2, Sec. 20 of the Calif. Constitution states that the term of office for the Constitutional Offices (not Legislative) begins on the first Monday after January 1st. Government Code Section 24200 further clarifies that by saying that the term begins at Noon on that day.

    Government Code Sec. 1360 states in part: “…before any officer enters on the duties of his office, he shall take and subscribe the oath or affirmations set forth in Section 3, Article 20 of the Constitution of California.”

    Since current officers hold over until their replacement has taken the office, the current Lieutenant Governor remains in office until his replacement has taken his oath. (I’m looking for that citation.)

    Without looking at any legal precedents, I believe that the current Lieutenant Governor (Maldonado) would become Governor if a vacancy occurs in that office and the new LG Elect has not taken his oath.

  • John W

    Thanks Steve Weir. Hope you are rested from the recent election. Your explanation makes sense, except that the rule that current officers hold over until their replacement takes office is new to me. Maybe a California thing? I’m fairly new to California and have lived in numerous other states. I was always under the impression — perhaps wrongly — that the person holding an office leaves at the end of his or her term, regardless of whether the elected replacement has taken office. In the disputed Alaska Senate election, Murkowski could not have been seated at the opening of the new Congress if the election results had not been certified in time, even though she was the incumbent and apparent winner. But perhaps it’s different for constitutional offices than for legislative bodies.

  • steve weir

    Further observations:

    Government Code 12058.5. “In case of the death, disability or other failure to take office of the Governor-elect, whether occurring prior or subsequent
    to the returns of election, the Lieutenant Governor-elect shall act as Governor from the same time and in the same manner as provided for the Governor-elect and shall, in the case of death, be Governor for the full term or, in the case of disability or other failure to take office, shall act as Governor until the disability of the Governor-elect shall cease.”

    This appears to apply to a Governor Elect(prior to taking the oath and assuming the office).

    Gov. Code Sec.12070 also established the Commission on the Governorship and states that its five members (President Pro Tem of the Senate, Speaker of the Assembly, President of UC, Chancellor of Cal. State Colleges, and Director of Finance) shall have the authority to petition the Supreme Court of Calif. to resolve issues of vacancy and succession to the office of Governor.

  • steve weir

    Article V, Sec 2 of the Calif. Constitution states: “The Governor shall be elected every fourth year at the same time and places as members of the Assembly and hold office from the Monday after January 1 following the election until a successor qualifies.”

    Governmetn Codes Section 1302 states: “Every officer whose term has expired shall continue to discharge the duties of his office until his successor has qualified.”

  • John W

    Very interesting. All moot presumably. But still interesting for all of us junkies. The Commission on the Governorship seems like a very good approach for dealing with various contingencies not specifically forseen and addressed in law. Thanks again, Steve W.