Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Win proves Brown’s as different as ever

TomEliasW

By
From page A13 | December 16, 2012 | Leave Comment

Jerry Brown’s signature was notably absent from the ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 30, the tax increase measure he pushed so hard in this fall’s election. He was essentially responsible for its content and for the now-mooted triggered budget cuts that — barring a “Perils of Pauline”-style rescue — would have cost public schools and universities more than $6 billion over the next year alone.

Brown, who raised most of the money for his measure and rounded up endorsements from business and labor that gave it added credibility, has prided himself for decades on being iconoclastic and different from other governors.

Now he should become known as one of the most effective governors California has seen. For sure, his Prop. 30 win proves him pretty unique. A long string of California chief executives before him tried and failed to pass pet initiatives after state legislators refused to OK the laws they wanted. The list goes back at least as far as Ronald Reagan, who staged a special election in 1973 in an effort to pass a property tax-cutting initiative, which lost badly.

Reagan’s subsequent presidency, of course, stands as evidence that losing an issues battle at the polls does not necessarily mean the end of a political career.

It was the same for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in 2005 called another special election barely two years after ousting ex-Gov. Gray Davis in a historic recall. He ran four initiatives aiming to curb the influence of labor unions in politics and to give himself and future governors the power to cut budgets long after they’ve been signed into law.

Voters saw that last notion as a kind of fiscal dictatorship and rejected it — just as they did this year in voting down Prop. 31, which included something similar as part of its far-reaching so-called reforms.

Then-Gov. Pete Wilson tried much the same thing with his 1992 Proposition 165, and also lost. But like Schwarzenegger and Reagan, Wilson nevertheless went on to further electoral success.

He didn’t write, design or sponsor the 1994 Proposition 187, with its draconian anti-illegal immigrant provisions, but he used it skillfully to win re-election — and in the process wrote a virtual death sentence for the California Republican Party, which has won major office since then only in races involving movie muscleman Schwarzenegger.

Exit polls indicated voters saw Proposition 165 as a blatant Wilson power play. He tied the budget powers he wanted for himself and all future governors to welfare reforms, seeking to cut grants to mothers on Aid to Families with Dependent Children by 25 percent and demanding that the first year’s welfare payments to newcomers from other states be no higher than what they could get where they came from.

Wilson predecessors George Deukmejian and Brown himself also lost initiative battles during their first terms, but both were re-elected.

Which means the claims that Brown’s entire electoral future was on the line with Proposition 30 were a tad exaggerated. Still, by winning, Brown has set himself up as a possible fiscal savior for California.

The claim is yet to be tested, but he said in a pre-election talk that “this sets us on a path to a more harmonious California.” He noted that “Getting Republicans in the Legislature to approve new taxes has been a bit like getting the pope to back birth control.” With the new Democratic legislative supermajorities, maybe they won’t matter much anymore.

The win for 30 doesn’t guarantee that Brown will run again two years from now. But even before it passed, he hinted that he intends to.

“My goal over the next few years,” he said in one speech, “is to pull people together. We have our antagonisms and we always have had some, but we can find a common path.” Why? Because “California matters to us and our descendants, and also to the rest of the country and the rest of the world.” The implication, of course, was that Brown wants to be the trailblazer finding that common path.

No doubt, Brown would have had a tougher time both governing and winning the fourth term of his lifetime if Proposition 30 had failed.

Plus, no one does better than Brown at making adjustments on the run. When he saw in 2010 that his campaign for governor was flagging, he ran commercials where he spoke directly into the TV camera, saying “No new taxes without a vote of the people.” He did exactly the same when Prop. 30 — the product of that pledge — began to sag in mid-October.

Having lost a run for the Senate in 1982, and two tries at the presidency, Brown is well aware he’s not immune to the same sorts of defeat virtually almost all governors have suffered during the initiative era that began in 1970. The relief for him, and for the schools and colleges that might have been cut, is that this time he won’t have to demonstrate how to respond constructively to defeat.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Going green at church, school, everywhere

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

    Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

     
    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    UCD to host Global Health Day event

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Online K-12 school holds info night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Schwenger lawn signs available

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Volunteers needed for Grad Night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis grad makes rain collection a business

    By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    A few spots left on history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event to provide nature scholarship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Students have new options on leasing front

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Groups join for a day of service

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Food for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Dad makes mom look bad

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Early help is a great investment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    More tax money? Answer the question

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    UCD IS responsible for students

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    In search of great ideas

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Please keep the nursery open

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Acacia at Huntington Square

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Suzanne Kimmel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Andrew Dowling

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain & Dick Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20