“Jerry the Barbarian?”

Gov. Jerry Brown, speaking to the Pacific Coast Builders’ Conference today at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, sounded a distinctly aggressive note at one point as he talked about how his stint as Oakland’s mayor prepared him to get back into the governor’s office.

California BudgetAt first he was a bit lighthearted. He said he learned a lot about development not only as a mayor but as an apartment dweller. “I enjoyed calling the landlord when things didn’t work right,” he told the audience of several hundred residential builders, developers, architects, engineers and so forth.

Later on, Brown said his mayoral work reinforced the need to identify your assets – in Oakland’s case, its proximity to the Bay, San Francisco and Silicon Valley – and focus on achieving a few most vital goals – such as packing more disposable-income toting residents into the downtown area – rather than working scattershot and accomplishing little.

“I learned that every project is opposed by somebody,” he said. “I never had such an experience of mindless resistance.”

As an example of ideology over practicality, he cited anti-military activists who took issue with his founding of the Oakland Military Institute college prep academy charter school. Ultimately, you have to be steadfast in your pursuit of policy goals and “crush the opposition,” he said.

“Crush,” huh? Kind of sounds like something Arnold would’ve said. Oh wait – he did.

“Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!” A budget-crisis battle cry if I ever heard one…

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.