Well, lookie here: Jerry Brown serves as voice of reason

Nov. 28, 2012

By Chris Reed

I think Gov. Jerry Brown’s good image in the media is driven much more by how competent/effective he seems in contrast to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis than by actual success in making California a better state. He is best defined as the tax collector for the public employee state, not as someone concerned about all Californians.

But I do think he’s much more frugal than the average Democrat, and he showed it again Tuesday:

Gov. Jerry Brown, facing a demand from the University of California to raise its revenue, showed up at the UC regents meeting Tuesday in Oakland to scold the university leaders for handing a $50,000 raise to the new Cal chancellor in a time of austerity.

Brown, a regent himself, joined the panel in unanimously approving Nicholas Dirks, a scholar and executive vice president at Columbia University, as chancellor of UC Berkeley beginning in June.

But the governor balked at approving Dirks’ $486,800 annual salary, which is $50,000 more than what current Chancellor Robert Birgeneau earns. The increase “does not fit within the spirit of servant leadership that I think will be required over the next several years,” Brown told the regents before their vote.

The pay hike, from private donations, is a raise of more than 11 percent. By contrast, the nation’s gross domestic product rose by less than 2 percent last year – a fact not lost on the governor.

“When the growth in cost exceeds the annual GDP, where does that come from?” Brown said, using the moment to remind the regents and UC President Mark Yudof that they can’t depend on the state to give them more money, and that unless they want to keep raising tuition, they need to reduce costs.

That’s from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brown’s common sense on spending is vastly different from the magical realism shown by the Obama administration on federal spending, which builds off the fantastical idea that you can borrow your way to prosperity.

On the other hand, Brown is very much guilty of magical realism on AB 32. He has never backed down from his argument that unilaterally raising energy prices is somehow a boon to California’s economy. The sheer illogic of that is understandable coming from a green fanatic. But from a governor who gets some basic things right, it’s strange.

Tags assigned to this article:
UC regentsAB 32Jerry Brownmagical realismUC

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