At Jerry Brown's March L.A. news conference, in which he called the late Anna Nicole Smith's former companion, Howard K. Stern, her "principal enabler," the Attorney General sounded very much like a man making a campaign speech. As in, the 2010 governor's race. His rambling, 17-minute talk denounced the threat posed to the California Republic by people in "white smocks" "with their medical degrees" -- meaning doctors like Smith's shrink and gerontologist, who allegedly kept her fed a diet of painkillers. Brown was casting himself as a protector of the people against those people in lab coats. Following yesterday's postponed arraignment for two of the people arrested in connection with the Smith case, Stern's lawyer, Steven Sadow, blasted Brown for using Smith's death and his client "to further his own political agenda."
It does seem that Brown has been in the news a lot lately. Only the other day he was announcing a big black-tar heroin bust and, before that, the arrest of a travel agency operator who'd allegedly swindled some Cancun-bound students of $55,000 three years ago. Many of Brown's appearances seem tied to consumer fraud issues, which always get the attention of people -- and the media. The Brown busts also seem weighted toward headline-fresh issues upsetting the citizenry in these uncertain times -- mortgage modification scams, pyramid schemes and lots of real estate fraud.
In fact, according to the Attorney General's Web site,
the number of Brown's appearances are definitely up. In his first year
of office, 2007, he issued a total of 76 press releases regarding A.G.
indictments. Last year he issued 100 and, with 42 so far in 2009, he is
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quickly outpacing himself -- doubling the number he was putting out by
last April. Perhaps it's merely coincidence that Brown seems to be
increasing his crime fighter profile the closer we move to 2010. Or
perhaps his comments about Steven Sadow, as reported by the L.A. Times, also describe a not-so-stealth campaign: "Their rhetoric is just smoke and mirrors."