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Jerry Brown honored by GOVERNING magazine

Gov. Jerry Brown is among nine public officials nationwide honored as the year’s most outstanding leaders in state and local government by GOVERNING magazine.

From the magazine’s website:

Not that long ago, people were questioning whether California could be governed. The state faced multibillion-dollar shortfalls every year, leading to questions about whether California would go broke before Greece. In terms of dysfunction, Sacramento appeared to have beaten even Washington.

Then Jerry Brown returned as governor. When he took office in 2011, the state was $26 billion short. This year, lawmakers were fighting about what to do with a surplus. Much of that had to do with the state’s rising economy, but Brown had helped put the state back on a sustainable course.

In 2012, he convinced voters to raise sales and income taxes. Since then, he has managed to curb the impulse legislators have to spend money as fast or faster than it’s coming in, using his veto power freely and instead diverting the money to the state’s rainy day fund. “His ability to follow through on his promise to voters that he was going to stabilize the financial situation, which every year had been a problem, has made all the difference in the world,” says Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California.

GOVERNING’s profile also praised Brown’s work on benefits and rights for undocumented immigrants, higher education funding, climate change, and combating the state’s historic drought.

“We’re thrilled to be recognizing such remarkable officials,” GOVERNING Executive Editor Zach Patton said in a news release. “These outstanding men and women are tremendous examples of the power of public service, especially at the state and local level.”

“We are all too aware of the daunting challenges facing many of our states and localities and the people who live in them,” said GOVERNING Publisher Mark Funkhouser. “But this year’s award recipients inspire me with great optimism, showing how determined leadership can address even the steepest challenges.”

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 3 Comments »

Jerry Brown blasts states fighting carbon-limit plan

California Gov. Jerry Brown vowed Friday to fight the 25 states and various business groups that are suing to block the Obama administration’s plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants.

“While the world’s scientists warn of the existential threat we face, these misguided political representatives seek to take America into a dark age of climate denial,” Brown said in a news release. “I will do everything in my power to fight this pernicious lawsuit.”

Power plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases among stationary sources in the United States, accounting for about a third of all emissions. The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan sets greenhouse gas emissions guidelines for each state based on current levels of pollution; on average, it would help cut pollution from existing power plants nationwide approximately 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

California already is primed to meet and exceed these new, national reduction targets, having committed to cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 under an executive order Brown issued in April – the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.

Brown has been focused on subnational pacts – collaboration between cities, states and provinces around the world – to fight climate change, even as national governments seek a deal ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference next month in Paris.

Posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2015
Under: energy, Environment, Global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

Jerry Brown signs beer-bike bill, goes for a spin

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Sunday creating inspection and safety standards for pedal-powered quadricycles – sometimes called “beer bikes” – on which up to 15 people can tool around town knocking back drinks.

Off the Chain beer bikeCompanies in cities including Sacramento, San Diego and Palm Springs already have been offering guided tours through tourism and entertainment areas, often including stops at bars and restaurants. But until now they’ve been licensed by host cities without any state involvement, creating some uncertainty about whether the car-sized rigs can lawfully use city streets because there was no existing vehicle definition that covered them, according to a legislative analysis. And while they could stop at bars, no alcohol could be consumed on board.

State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, pedaled to the rescue with SB 530, which expands the definition of a pedicab to include a device which is primarily pedal-powered, has a seating capacity of not more than 15 passengers, and cannot travel faster than 15 miles per hour.

The new law requires this type of pedicab to have basic safety equipment including seat belts, seat backs, brakes, reflectors, headlights, and grab rails, and to be operated by a 21-year-old adult with a valid California driver’s license. Existing devices have until January 1, 2017, to retrofit with this equipment. The quadricycles still must be authorized by local ordinance and cannot operate on a road with a speed limit greater than 30 mph, and any accidents in which they’re involved must be reported to the California Highway Patrol.

But perhaps most important to keeping the party a’pedalin’, the law now provides for allowing consumption of alcohol on board so long as the locla municipality allows it and the operator provides an on-board adult safety monitor; both this monitor and the driver must have completed the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s licensee education program.

The Assembly and state Senate both passed the bill unanimously last month.

But Brown didn’t just sign the bill Sunday. Oh, no – he signed it in style.

Brown signs SB530

Brown signed his name to the new law aboard a quadricycle run by Sacramento’s Off The Chain Bike Bus Tours and then – accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust; his top aide, Nancy McFadden; and Senator Pan – immediately took off on a ride.

Cue the Chris Christie jokes here.

Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2015
Under: California State Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

Gov. Jerry Brown creates cybersecurity center

Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order Monday to bolster California’s preparedness for cyber-attacks which could disrupt the Golden State’s economy and infrastructure or violate residents’ privacy and lead to identity theft.

The order directs the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to create a California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC), responsible for strengthening the state’s cybersecurity strategy and improving inter-agency, cross-sector coordination to reduce the likelihood and severity of cyber-attacks.

The new Cal-CSIC will work closely with the California State Threat Assessment System and the U.S Department of Homeland Security to improve information sharing between local, state and federal agencies, tribal governments, utilities and other service providers, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Cal-CSIC will also establish a multi-agency Cyber Incident Response Team to serve as the state’s primary unit to lead cyber threat detection, reporting, and response in coordination with public and private entities across the state.

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

Jerry Brown on Hillary’s emails: ‘Like a vampire’

California Gov. Jerry Brown called Hillary Clinton’s email controversy “a vampire” that she’ll have to stake through the heart, in an interview Friday with NBC News “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

Jerry Brown on Meet the Press (NBC NEWS)In a segment that will air Sunday, Todd noted that Brown in March had cautioned that the email problem might not go away on its own, and asked what Clinton should be doing better to deal with it now.

“Well, I don’t know,” Brown replied. “This email thing, it has kind of a mystique to it. You know, an email is just an utterance in digital form. But it has some kind of dark energy that gets everybody excited. So I don’t know how.

“It’s almost like a vampire,” the governor continued. “She’s going to have to find a stake and put it right through the heart of these emails in some way. But I don’t think a leading candidate for president needs the advice of another politician. Generally they don’t follow it, and I think they know everything I can figure out on their own.”

Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Gov. Jerry Brown, Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown | 9 Comments »

Jerry Brown on Donald Trump: ‘Oh, my God.’

Asked Wednesday what he thought of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign tactics, California Gov. Jerry Brown replied with a pained, “Oh, my God.”

Jerry Brown in Oakland 8-19-15 (photo by Anda Chu)But Brown, questioned during an Oakland news conference on transportation funding, acknowledged The Donald is bringing a lot of attention to the GOP presidential field.

“I did watch that debate from beginning to end,” he said. “I did think that when he raised his hand and said ‘I might run as an independent,’ I think there are very few politicians who would do that.”

Pressed for more opinion on Trump’s trademark bluster – which in recent weeks has involved insulting Mexicans immigrants, prisoners of war, his GOP rivals, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and (obliquely) most voters’ intelligence – Brown replied, “I think you need to dial it back.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had opined Monday that if Hillary Clinton’s email woes continue to build, other Democrats might choose to enter the race – including Brown. Brown said Wednesday he’s “flattered by what Mr. Gingrich said, but I wouldn’t look to him” for prognostications of candidacy.

Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 8 Comments »

Jerry Brown enters the presidential debate fray

California Gov. Jerry Brown threw himself into the presidential debate fray Wednesday morning by pressing the Republican candidates to describe their plans to deal with the threat of climate change.

Jerry BrownBrown wrote an open letter to the 17 candidates and also submitted his question using the “Debate Uploader” on the Fox News Facebook page, through which members of the public can send queries for Thursday’s debates in Cleveland.

“Longer fire seasons, extreme weather and severe droughts aren’t on the horizon, they’re all here – and here to stay. This is the new normal. The climate is changing,” Brown wrote in his letter. “Given the challenge and the stakes, my question for you is simple: What are you going to do about it? What is your plan to deal with the threat of climate change?”

“Continuing to question the science and hurl insults at ‘global warming hoaxers’ and ‘apostles of this pseudo-religion’ [ed. note: Rick Santorum’s words] won’t prevent severe damage to our health and economic well-being,” Brown continued. “Americans, their children and generations to come deserve – and demand – better.”

Brown then describes California’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and details efforts by Republicans – including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and current presidential candidate and former New York Gov. George Pataki – who’ve dealt with the issue head-on.

“And lest you think this movement is limited to Democrats and only embraced within our borders, the conservatives in England, the moderates in Germany, and even the communists in China are on board,” he added. “As the fires continue to burn here in California, don’t wait for the smoke to clear. It’s time to act.”

Brown issued an executive order earlier this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America, and part of California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. Last month, he attended a Vatican symposium on climate change and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, both as part of his work to build cooperation between cities, states and provinces on climate-change pacts.

Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 4 Comments »

Good news for California beer & spirits lovers

There’s good news from Sacramento this week for Californians who enjoy a sip of this or a shot of that.

beer tastingGov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law AB 774 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, which will allow limited beer tastings at certified farmers’ markets.

“This bill recognizes that at farmers’ markets brewers meet consumers face-to-face and build a relationship,” Levine, D-San Rafael. “AB 774 allows tastings where brewers are already selling their products at certified farmers’ markets.”

The new law, which also lets nonprofits receive donated beer as items for auction, will give farmers’ market managers full discretion on whether or not to allow beer tastings; limit tastings to one brewery per day per market; allow tastings only in a controlled, cordoned-off area; and limit tastings to eight ounces per adult customer.

Brown one year ago signed Levine’s similar bill to allow wine tastings at farmers’ markets.

Levine also made headway this week with his bill to create a new license for craft distillers so they can sell up to three bottles of distilled spirits per person per day at an instructional tasting; hold private events at the distillery; and have ownership in up to three restaurants. AB 1295 was approved Tuesday by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.

Current state law prevents distillers from selling their products directly to consumers.

“This historic legislation changes Prohibition-era laws for craft distillers to reflect the modern marketplace,” Levine said, letting craft distillers “operate in a similar manner as wineries and breweries under existing law. This bill helps craft distillers to be competitive with large out-of-state distillers. Growth of the craft distillery industry means jobs in our local communities.”

Bottoms up!

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Under: Assembly, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

Gov. Jerry Brown will visit the Vatican

Gov. Jerry Brown will visit the Vatican this month to speak at a two-day symposium on climate change and modern slavery.

Brown, who was a Jesuit seminarian way back when, will make the trip one month after Pope Francis issued an encyclical on the environment including his call for a partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change. The visit also comes a few months before world leaders will convene in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“In the spirit of the pope’s encyclical, this unprecedented gathering of global leaders is a wake-up call to face up to the common threats of climate change and human exploitation,” Brown said in a news release. “This is about the future of humanity and how we as human beings live and treat one another and the natural world around us.”

The two-day event, hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, aims to drive awareness, dialogue and action at the local level on climate change and modern slavery – two pressing, interconnected issues highlighted in the pope’s encyclical. Brown will attend sessions on “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities” on Tuesday, July 21, and sessions on “Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities” on Wednesday, July 22.

It’s a continuation of Brown’s focus on building collaboration among “subnational” governments of states and provinces to combat climate change. He attended the Climate Summit of the Americas this week in Toronto, where Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind pact amongst states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions.

Since the agreement was first signed at a Sacramento ceremony in May, 18 signatories in nine countries and four continents have signed on, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

Brown names five from Bay Area to trade council

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday named a Berkeley policy consultant with a White House pedigree and several Bay Area business leaders to the board that advises him on expanding international trade and investment for California businesses.

EchavesteMaria Echaveste, 60, of Berkeley – who also serves as policy and program development director at the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy – will be vice chair of the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council. President Obama nominated Echaveste last September to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, but facing stiff opposition in the Senate, she withdrew her nomination in January.

Echaveste works as a public policy consultant focused on issues including immigration, civic engagement, U.S.-Mexico relations and food policy. She was assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001; assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 1997 to 1998; and administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division from 1993 to 1997.

“I am honored to have Maria Echaveste join me as vice chair of this critically important council,” former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis, whom Brown named the council’s chair in 2014, said in a news release Friday. “This dynamic group of individuals brings a wealth of experience in international affairs and business development and we are ready to help the Governor and GO-Biz continue to strengthen California’s position in the global economy.”

The council advises the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), helping GO-Biz identify foreign markets with the greatest potential for export expansion and develop specific export strategies for those markets – including the state’s top trading partners, Canada, Mexico and China, and emerging markets such as Brazil and India. The council will hold its first meeting next month in Sacramento. (Did anyone but me notice that the actual acronym for the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development would be GO-BED?)

BleichAmong a dozen other appointees named Friday was Jeff Bleich, 54, of Piedmont, an attorney at Munger, Tolles and Olson who was special counsel to President Obama for a few months in 2009 before serving four years as the U.S. ambassador to Australia. He served as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence from 1998 to 1999 and is a past chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and past president of the California State Bar.

Carl GuardinoBrown also appointed Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino, 53, of Monte Sereno. Guardino has been the tech region police advocacy group’s chief executive since 1997, and was its vice president from 1991 to 1995; he was director of government affairs at Hewlett-Packard from 1995 to 1997 and district director for Assemblyman Rusty Areias from 1984 to 1990.

anjamanuelAlso appointed was Anja Manuel, 40, of San Francisco, a cofounder and partner – along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – at RiceHadleyGates LLC, a strategic consulting firm. Manuel, also a lecturer in Stanford University’s International Policy Studies program, was special assistant to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns from 2005 to 2007, and was an international litigation attorney at WilmerHale from 2001 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2009.

WundermanAnd Brown appointed Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman, 57, of Pleasant Hill. Wunderman has led the regional business organization since 2004; earlier, he was senior vice president for external affairs at Providian Financial Corporation from 1997 to 2004; chief of staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan from 1992 to 1995; and special assistant to then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein from 1983 to 1987.

These appointments don’t require Senate confirmation and come with a $100 per diem.

Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 1 Comment »