Jerry Brown: An Era Ends

Jerry Brown isn't the Governor of California anymore. It's the way our system works, and yet, it feels weird. 

It's probably just me.  

You see, I was born and raised in California---and then left for a long time.  So, during the part of my life in the Golden State that I was conscious of such things as who the Governor was (elementary school onward), there were only three men in that office.  Edmund G. Brown (who everyone knew as "Pat"),  Ronald Reagan (who everyone now knows as "President Reagan") and Edmund G. Brown, Junior (who everyone knows as "Jerry").

I left the state (for what was only supposed to be a year) in November of 1977 and came home in November of 2013.  My stock joke for a long time was that nothing had changed in 36 years.  When I left, there was a drought and Jerry Brown was governor (yes, I knew about George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger...they just didn't fit the joke I wanted to tell).

Mike Hagerty and Jerry Brown, Los Angeles, 1992

And while most people in my business who stayed in California have probably put a microphone in front of Jerry Brown more times than they can count,  it only happened for me once, when I was a Phoenix, Arizona TV reporter, Brown was a candidate for President and Los Angeles was burning in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King verdict.   

Most people long ago made up their minds about Jerry Brown---probably some on both sides who picked their side back in 1974.  But if you want a fascinating read, not just about Brown, but his family, our state, and just how intertwined those stories are, let me recommend Miriam Pawel's book "The Browns of California".  I found it hard to put down, and also found myself reminded of things that I'd frankly forgotten, and learning things about the family and the state that I never knew.

In the sense that Jerry Brown meant, in part, to complete the work of his father that ended when the senior Brown was defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1966, the era that ended when Jerry Brown left office today at noon began all the way back in 1959.  

So, if you hear me slip on the air and say "Governor Brown" in a story about Governor Newsom the next few days, I hope you'll understand.   I hope Governor Newsom will, too.

(I'm back after 10 days with laryngitis.  Please join Kitty O'Neal and me for the KFBK Afternoon News today at 4) 

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