Yes, California, we’re in the middle of a sappy Kenny Loggins moment with our new governor, where lyrics of love, youth and imminent springtime apply: “Even though we ain’t got money / I’m so in love with you, honey.”
This Loggins phase may last another, oh, 15 minutes or so, the hard facts of no money doing what they do to love real or imagined. Still, will the plight of the economy squash the sound instincts of our greatest environmental governor to date? During his first stint, Brown did more than any governor before or since to win the love of wizened enviroclasts everywhere.
The New York Times, in calling him the most experienced environmental candidate in the country last November, put it thus: “In Brown’s long record of public service, one area stands out where he has arguably put in the most time and had the most effect: the environment. Brown for four decades has collided with oil companies, blocked offshore drilling, sought solutions to the state’s water-supply puzzle, advocated for clean energy, pressed appliance and efficiency standards, barred nuclear development, and, most recently, taken his belief in greenhouse gas emissions limits to state courts.”
Good stuff. A governor Auntie Ruth could actually love.
It wasn’t just as governor. As California’s secretary of state from 1971 to 1975, Brown argued against Mobil, Standard and Gulf oil companies before the state Supreme Court, helping to win campaign-finance cases that led to the Political Reform Act of 1974.
More recently, candidate Brown came out against Proposition 23, despite concerns it would cede ground to Meg Whitman.
In between? In 1977, he signed the first-ever tax incentive for rooftop solar; he oversaw the imposition of a nuclear-power moratorium in California that is still in effect, he set up the South Coast Air Quality Management District to address air pollution in Los Angeles and he added more than 1,200 miles of Northern California rivers to the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Dear Jerry Brown: It’s just an economy. While yours is certainly a mind-numbing balancing act, Mama Earth needs you now more than ever, to “bring a tear of joy to my eyes and tell me everything’s gonna be alright.”