Clearly energized from his Proposition 30 victory, and preparing next year’s budget and his State of the State speech, Governor Jerry Brown sat down with the Bay Area Council Board of Directors Thursday for an informal, candid and productive discussion on a wide range of issues that was scheduled to last an hour but stretched for more than 90 minutes before he joked he better let his CEO audience return to work. In his inimitable style, the Governor humorously reflected on the “temptations” that the Legislature may now feel with its supermajority, shared some of the interesting political jockeying that produced Proposition 30 (giving partial credit to some unlikely and perhaps unwitting sources), and expressed views on both Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento that reinforced his well-known independent streak. He went through much of what appeared to be his 2013 agenda. He was very interested in the Bay Area Council’s approach to reforming CEQA.
The Governor engaged with the Board in a frank discussion about the state’s massive infrastructure needs, including water, telecommunications, energy and transportation and he noted the challenges of balancing new spending against the state’s considerable debt burden. We discussed his thoughts about taxation and Prop 13. He expressed concern about climate change and California’s readiness to address the massive economic and human impacts of both severe weather (a la superstorm Sandy) and sea-level rise on low-lying regions like the Bay Area. And he discussed his strong interest in improving California’s educational performance through such vehicles as student funding formulas, new common core standards and online technologies.
Thank you to Governor Brown for his time, Kaiser Permanente and CEO George Halvorson for generously hosting the meeting.