By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
ATTORNEY GENERAL: JERRY BROWN
In the churning political waters created by term limits, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown stands as the oddest of political symbols: a safe harbor for California voters. Yet with dozens of would-be lawmakers scurrying across California seeking office — many without the slightest clue on how to fund education, expand health care or lure good-paying jobs — it’s oddly reassuring to encounter Jerry Brown, candidate for attorney general, a 68-year-old veteran policymaker with a full menu of life experiences. Who’d have thought 30 years ago that we’d be debating the merits of Jerry Brown, elder statesman?
Brown comes to the job with an impressive résumé: mayor, secretary of state, governor, presidential hopeful — perhaps the broadest background in politics and policy of any candidate in the state. He speaks with ease about the work of the Attorney General’s Office — the legal advice, the opinions, the advocacy — and, even better, has an enjoyable sense of perspective about the absurdities of politics. Unlike other candidates seeking the job, Brown wouldn’t be tempted to weigh his every move as attorney general on whether it could provide a springboard into the Governor’s Office. Let’s remember, he already was the governor.
Throughout his campaign, Brown has promised to elevate the profile of the Attorney General’s Office, making it comparable to New York’s, where Attorney General Eliot Spitzer remade his office into a political powerhouse. Spitzer showed a ferocity in his attacks on corruption and questionable business practices in the private sector, taking on securities firms, banks, and other financial giants — a strategy that secured billion-dollar settlements and protected the interests of investors and the general populace. Brown is setting a very high bar, and we intend to hold him to it.
With the Spitzer model in mind, Brown would not say exactly where he would place his focus. But he points out that there are more than a few workers being cheated out of overtime pay, minimum wage and other legally required protections. Brown also hinted that there are some major inequities in California’s education system that may deserve a look.
Which is not to say that everything that Brown touches turns to gold. Brown learned some hard lessons in Oakland about policing, economic development, ethics laws and public education. We’re anxious about the city’s recent spike in crime. And we have strong doubts about his promise to use his contacts to improve what he described as the “highly poisoned partisan environment” of Sacramento. To be honest, we’re not sure the Democratic Party wants to be anywhere near him. Wasn’t he the guy who couldn’t get the party to keep the volume on when he reached the stage at the 1992 Democratic National Convention? Considering the state of the Democrats, all of this is fine with us. We welcome his independent voice.
Brown easily outshines his opponent, Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo. Despite small-scale achievements involving neighborhood prosecutors and student truancy, Delgadillo simply has not demonstrated bold leadership. A bland political presence, Delgadillo has mastered generating bad press over his dealings with slumlords, billboard companies and contracting.
So vote for Jerry Brown, the guy who’s been around the block. Vote for political experience and real-world experience, and a candidate who’s promising to push the political envelope.
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