Governor Jerry Brown reached out to the broke-ass peoples of California this evening in his career-second State of the State Address, telling us over and over that he respects our right to vote. (He even juxtaposed our glorious ballot-wielding powers with a shout-out to the oppressed Egyptian masses. What a trendster.)
Anyway, that's code for: Please, please vote to extend/raise your own taxes in 2011.
Or, if you don't -- it's whatever. You'll just be personally responsible for the death of "schools, public safety, our university and our system of protecting the most vulnerable." No biggie.
It was a brief, under-15-minute speech that let all California's publicly funded departments (and especially its shady redevelopment agencies) know, in case there was any confusion...
... that not one will be spared from cuts.
And Republicans weren't clapping.
Brown's shot at the dead-somber Eeyores in the audience, when they refused to clap: "Or, if you want to block the people's right to vote, stand up and say, 'Block that punt!'"
Awkward. (In case you're confused, Brown wants to hold a special election this June that would let voters decide to extend temporary tax increases -- something he promised all throughout the campaign trail he wouldn't do without a vote. You can imagine how Republicans feel about the prospect.)
A good third of the governor's speech was one big fat Valentine (uh-oh) to California, calling our sunny state the "great exception," a "model, miracle and some kind of gift" -- one with "boundless energy" that has "prospered in totally unexpected ways."
Damn. Is it just us, or was it hot in there? At least up until the point where Brown dated himself way back into the Stone Age, revealing the fact that when he first came to California, wind-generated electricity hadn't been invented yet. Neither had Apple Computers. Not even -- gasp -- Twitter.
Then came what everyone, especially Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was really waiting for: a verdict on the much-disputed future of the state's redevelopment agencies (RDAs).
Well, a half-verdict. Pretty much all stuff we already knew, actually.
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"Mayors from cities both large and small have come to the capitol and pressed their case," Brown said. He promised to protect current RDA projects (looks like they may have beat ya to it, Gov.), but once again pulled the golden-hearted "protecting the most vulnerable" line and told the RDAs to make a little sacrifice already.
After all, the governor's already done his part, with 7,500 fewer state-employee cars and 48,000 fewer cell phones. Our hero!
In other words, no change of heart on the RDAs. Sorry Villaraigosa -- can't win 'em all.
More to come as we speak with experts from affected California departments and agencies.