Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. (born April 7, 1938) is an American politician and the 34th and 39th Governor of the state of California from 1975 to 1983 and since 2011. He is the son of Pat Brown, the 32nd Governor of California (1959–1967). Both before and after his first two terms as governor, Brown was elected to a number of state, local and party offices. Brown previously served as Secretary of State of California (1971-1975), Attorney General of California (2007–2011), Mayor of Oakland (1999–2007), chairman of the California Democratic Party (1989–1991), California Secretary of State (1971–1975), and a member of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees (1969–1971). At the time of his election to a third, non-consecutive term as governor, on November 2, 2010, Brown was serving as the 31st Attorney General of California, an elected position. Brown was formally inaugurated as governor on January 3, 2011, the 28th anniversary of the end of his last term. During his first term (as California's 34th Governor), he was the sixth-youngest Governor of that state. Upon his inauguration as California's 39th Governor, he became its oldest serving governor. At the age of 73, Brown is also the oldest currently serving governor in the United States. Brown sought the Democratic nominations for President of the United States in 1976, 1980, and 1992, and was the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in California in 1982 but was unsuccessful in these attempts.
Brown was born in San Francisco, California, the only son of four siblings born to Bernice Layne Brown and former San Francisco lawyer, district attorney and later California governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr. Jerry Brown has Irish ancestry through his paternal grandfather and German ancestry through his paternal grandmother. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1955 and studied at Santa Clara University. In 1956, he entered Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary, intending to become a Catholic priest. However, Brown left the seminary and entered University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics in 1961. Brown went on to Yale Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1964.After law school, Brown worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court of California Justice Mathew Tobriner and studied in Mexico and Latin America.
Returning to California, Brown took the state bar exam and passed on his second attempt. Brown then settled in Los Angeles, California and joined the law firm of Tuttle & Taylor. In 1969, he ran for the newly created Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, which oversaw community colleges in the city, and placed first in a field of 124.In 1970 Brown was elected California Secretary of State. He argued before the California Supreme Court and won against Standard Oil of California, International Telephone and Telegraph, Gulf Oil, and Mobil for election law violations (Brown vs. ).In addition Brown forced legislators to comply with campaign disclosure laws. While holding this office, he discovered the use of falsely notarized documents to earn a tax deduction by then-President Richard Nixon. Brown also drafted and helped to pass the California Fair Political Practices Act which established the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Superior Court
Governor of California (1975-1983)
In 1974, Brown was in a three-person primary race with Speaker of the California Assembly Bob Moretti and San Francisco Mayor Joseph L. Alioto. Alioto had support in Northern California and Moretti in Southern California. Brown had the name recognition of his father, Pat Brown, whom Democrats fondly remembered for his progressive administration. Brown won the primary, and in the General Election on November 5, 1974, Brown was elected Governor of California over California State Controller Houston I. Flournoy. Republicans ascribed the loss to anti-Republican feelings from Watergate, the election being held only ninety days after President Richard Nixon resigned from office. Brown succeeded Republican Governor Ronald Reagan, who had planned on retiring from office after serving two terms. Eight years after his father left Sacramento in 1967, Jerry Brown took office on January 6, 1975.Upon taking office, Brown gained a reputation as a fiscal conservative. The American Conservative later noted he was "much more of a fiscal conservative than Governor Reagan." His fiscal restraint resulted in one of the biggest budget surpluses in state history, roughly $5 billion. For his personal life, Brown refused many of the privileges and perks of the office, forgoing the newly constructed governor's residence and instead renting a modest apartment at the corner of 14th and N Streets, adjacent to Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento. Instead of riding as a passenger in a chauffeured limousine as previous governors had done, Brown drove to work in a Plymouth Satellite sedan.During his two-term, eight-year governorship, Brown had a strong interest in environmental issues. Brown appointed J. Baldwin to work in the newly created California Office of Appropriate Technology, Sim Van der Ryn as State Architect, and Stewart Brand as Special Advisor. He appointed John Bryson, later the CEO of Southern California Edison Electric Company and a founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, chairman of the California State Water Board in 1976. Brown also reorganized the California Arts Council, boosting its funding by 1300 percent and appointing artists to the council and appointed more women and minorities to office than any other previous California governor. In 1977 he sponsored the "first-ever tax incentive for rooftop solar" among many environmental intiatives. In 1975, Brown obtained the repeal of the "depletion allowance", a tax break for the state's oil industry, despite the efforts of the lobbyist Joe Shell, a former intraparty rival to Richard M. Nixon.Like his father, Brown strongly opposed the death penalty and vetoed it as Governor, which the legislature overrode in 1977. He also appointed judges who opposed capital punishment. One of these appointments, Rose Bird as the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, was recalled in 1986 by voters angry at her opposition to the death penalty. She and two other Brown appointed justices were the first such removals in California history. In 1960, he had lobbied his father, then Governor, to spare the life of Caryl Chessman and reportedly won a 60-day stay for him.He was both in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment and opposed to Proposition 13, the latter of which would decrease property taxes and greatly reduce revenue to cities and counties. When Proposition 13 passed in June 1978, he heavily cut state spending and, along with the Legislature, spent much of the $5 billion surplus to meet the proposition's requirements and help offset the revenue losses which made cities, counties and schools more dependent on the state. His actions in response to the proposition earned him praise from Proposition 13 author Howard Jarvis who went as far to make a television commercial for Brown just before his successful reelection bid in 1978.
On November 7, 1978, Jerry Brown was re-elected governor. The Republican candidate was state Attorney General Evelle J. Younger, (1918–1989) a former Los Angeles County District Attorney. Jerry Brown had the attention of the state, national and international media. Brown was responsible for appointing the first openly gay judge in United States when he named Stephen Lachs to serve on the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1979. In 1981, he also appointed the first openly lesbian judge in the United States, Mary C. Morgan of the San Francisco Municipal Court. Brown completed his second term having appointed a total of five openly gay judges, including Rand Schrader and Jerold Krieger. Brown had completed his first term as governor without appointing any openly gay people to any position, but he cited the failed 1978 Briggs Initiative, which sought to ban homosexuals from working in California's public schools, for his increased support of gay rights. Brown proposed the establishment of a state space academy and the purchasing of a satellite that would be launched into orbit to provide emergency communications for the state —- a proposal similar to one that was indeed eventually adopted. In 1979, an out-of-state columnist, Mike Royko, then at the Chicago Sun-Times, picked up on the nickname from Brown's girlfriend at the time, Linda Ronstadt, who was quoted in a 1978 Rolling Stone magazine interview humorously calling him "Moonbeam". A year later Royko expressed his regret for publicizing the nickname, and in 1991 Royko disavowed it entirely, proclaiming Brown to be just as serious as any other politician.Brown chose not to run for a third term in 1982 and instead ran for the United States Senate, but lost to then San Diego mayor Pete Wilson. He was succeeded as governor by George Deukmejian, then the Attorney General of California, in 1983.
Mayor of Oakland (1999–2007)
What was to become Brown's re-emergence into politics after six years was also the start of the renaissance of Oakland, California, a down-on-its-luck "overwhelmingly minority city of 400,000." Brown ran as an independent "having left the Democratic Party, blasting what he called the 'deeply corrupted' two-party system." Prior to taking office, Brown campaigned to get the approval of the electorate to convert Oakland's weak mayor political structure, which structured the mayor as chairman of the city council and official greeter, to a strong mayor structure, where the mayor would act as chief executive over the nonpolitical city manager and thus the various city departments, and break tie votes on the Oakland City Council. He won with 59% of the vote in a field of ten candidates. The political left had hoped for some of the more progressive politics from Brown's earlier governorship, but found Brown "more pragmatic than progressive, more interested in downtown redevelopment and economic growth than political ideology".The city was rapidly losing residents and businesses, and Brown is credited with starting the revitalization of the city using his connections and experience to lessen the economic downturn, while attracting $1 billion of investments, including refurbishing Fox Theater (Oakland), the Port of Oakland and Jack London Square. The downtown district was losing retailers, restaurateurs and residential developers, and Brown sought to attract thousands of new residents with disposable income to revitalize the area. Brown continued his predecessor Elihu Harris's public policy of supporting downtown housing development in the area defined as the Central Business District in Oakland's 1998 General Plan. Since Brown worked toward the stated goal of bringing an additional 10,000 residents to Downtown Oakland, his plan was known as "10K." It has resulted in redevelopment projects in the Jack London District, where Brown purchased and later sold an industrial warehouse which he used as a personal residence, and in the Lakeside Apartments District near Lake Merritt. The 10k plan has touched the historic Old Oakland district, the Chinatown district, the Uptown district, and Downtown. Brown surpassed the stated goal of attracting 10,000 residents according to city records, and built more affordable housing than previous mayoral administrations.He had campaigned on fixing Oakland's schools, but "bureaucratic battles" dampened his efforts. He concedes he never had control of the schools, and his reform efforts were "largely a bust". He focused instead on the creation of two charter schools, the Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. Another area of disappointment was overall crime. Brown sponsored nearly two dozen crime initiatives to reduce the crime rate. Although he did decrease crime by 13 percent overall, and increased the police force, the city still suffered a "57 percent spike in homicides his final year in office, to 148". Critics were unable to convince voters in the 2006 race for attorney general that he was responsible for the increased crime rate.
Attorney General (2007–2011)
In 2004, Brown expressed interest to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of California in the 2006 election. In May 2004, he formally filed. He had an active Democratic primary opponent, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. who put most of his money into TV ads attacking Brown and spent $4.1 million on the primary campaign. Brown defeated Delgadillo, 63% to 37%. In the general election, Brown defeated Republican State Senator Charles Poochigian 56.3% to 38.2%, which was one of the largest margins of victory in any statewide California race. In the final weeks leading up to Election Day, Brown's eligibility to run for Attorney General was challenged in what Brown called a "political stunt by a Republican office seeker" (Contra Costa County Republican Central Committee chairman and state GOP vice-chair candidate Tom Del Beccaro). Plaintiffs claimed Brown did not meet eligibility according to California Government Code §12503, "No person shall be eligible to the office of Attorney General unless he shall have been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his election or appointment to such office." Legal analysts called the lawsuit frivolous because Brown was admitted to practice law in the State of California on June 14, 1965, and had been so admitted to practice ever since. Although ineligible to practice law because of his voluntary inactive status in the State Bar of California from January 1, 1997 to May 1, 2003, he was nevertheless still admitted to practice. Because of this difference the case was eventually thrown out. As Attorney General, Brown was obligated to represent the state in fighting death penalty appeals and stated that he would follow the law, regardless of his personal beliefs against capital punishment. Some legal scholars note that under current law the Attorney General does not have much discretion over death penalty cases. Capital punishment by lethal injection was halted in California by federal judge Jeremy D. Fogel until new facilities and procedures were put into place. Brown moved to resume capital punishment in 2010 with the execution of Albert Greenwood Brown after the lifting of a statewide moratorium by a California court. Brown's Democratic campaign, which pledged to "enforce the laws" of California, denied any connection between the case and the gubernatorial election. Prosecutor Rod Pacheco, who supported Republican opponent Meg Whitman, said that it would be unfair to accuse Jerry Brown of using the execution for political gain as they never discussed the case. In June 2008 Brown filed a fraud lawsuit claiming mortgage lender Countrywide Financial engaged in "unfair and deceptive" practices to get homeowners to apply for risky mortgages far beyond their means." Brown accused the lender of breaking the state's laws against false advertising and unfair business practices. The lawsuit also claims the defendant misled many consumers by misinforming them about the workings of certain mortgages such adjustable-rate mortgages, interest-only loans, low-documentation loans and home-equity loans while telling borrowers they would be able to refinance before the interest rate on their loans adjusted. The suit was settled in October 2008 after Bank of America acquired Countrywide. The settlement involves the modifying of troubled 'predatory loans' up to $8.4 billion dollars. Proposition 8, a contentious voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that banned same-sex marriage was upheld in May 2009 by the California Supreme Court. In August 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Proposition 8 violated the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Brown and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have declined to appeal the ruling. The state appeals court declined to order the men to defend the proposition and scheduled a hearing in early December to see if there is "legal standing to appeal Walker's ruling."
2010 gubernatorial campaign
Brown announced his candidacy for governor on March 2, 2010.First indicating his interest in early 2008, Brown formed an exploratory committee in order to seek a third term as Governor in 2010, following the expiration of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's term.Brown's Republican opponent in the election was former eBay president Meg Whitman. On October 3, 2010, Brown was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He was endorsed by the San Jose Mercury News on October 10. He was also endorsed by the Service Employees International Union - CA. Independent groups broke campaign spending records, with contributions totaling more than $31.7 million dollars. Approximately $25 million went to support Gov. Brown's campaign.On November 2, 2010, Jerry Brown successfully won the governorship for a third, non-consecutive term.
Governor of California (2011–present)
Brown was sworn in for his third term as governor on January 3, 2011, succeeding Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. He will be up for re-election in 2014. Brown is working on a budget that would shift many government programs from the state to the local level, a reversal of trends from his first tenure as governor.
May 10th, 2011