In a race as important as governor of California, theres usually a long list of qualified candidates even in the primary. Not this year.
So theres no reason to delay endorsing Jerry Brown for an unprecedented fourth term as governor.
Its not a hard call. The other two candidates Republicans Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari are simply not viable. That was amply demonstrated Thursday night when they debated. Donnelly, playing to a tea party audience egged on by a couple of radio talkers, refused to explain or acknowledge past inflammatory racial comments that are certain to alienate the majority of voters. It is difficult to believe he has actually been endorsed by the California Republican Assembly.
Kashkari, meanwhile, does not appear to be ready to compete with Donnelly, much less Brown. The Wall Street expat has never held elective office. The governorship of the nations most populous state is not a training ground.
That leaves Brown. But thats plenty good enough. Brown won re-election four years ago by pledging to be fiscally responsible, to restore order in Sacramento and create a more inclusive state. Hes done what he promised mostly and has earned four more years.
Brown often has spoken of being the adult in Sacramento. Its true hes old enough to be the father of many of the legislators, but his point is that hes willing to make adult decisions. He refuses to cave to demands mainly from his own party to spend money as fast as it comes in. We appreciate that. Further, he has worked with both parties to do the things most Californians want done mainly, getting our economy back on track, increasing opportunities and focusing on solutions in health care and education.
An example last week was his embrace of a bill written by Republican state Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres to put a rainy day fund proposition on the November ballot.
Yep, I worked with him on that. I also helped elect his father, said Brown, who met Friday with The Modesto Bees editorial board. For all I know, I might have helped his grandfather, too. (Cannella has) been collaborative on this rainy day fund and on workmans comp theres been a lot of collaboration.
And thats what is so vitally needed in this state. Competent people working together.
As he seeks an unprecedented fourth term, Californians seem comfortable with Brown. And he seems more comfortable being their governor.
Brown has tended to shift authority from Sacramento to local government, empowering school boards and reducing prison populations. His criminal justice realignment holds promise, though it remains a work in progress. In Stanislaus County, he helped make a new jail a reality.
We dont agree with all of the governors priorities. He is the leading proponent of the $68 billion high-speed rail project; we remain skeptical. He understands the need for California to do its part to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change. To that end, he has implemented many of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggers ideas about renewable energy, and expanded upon them. He would do more over the next four years.
Where we absolutely part company is on the governors plan to build twin tunnels to divert much of the Sacramento River which constitutes 75 percent of the Delta directly to farmers to the south. After such diversions, the state plans to divert three times the water it currently takes from the Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus rivers and send it to the Delta. That will devastate agriculture in our area. The governor must alter that plan from his bureaucrats.
No matter who becomes his opponent, Brown is all but assured of winning in November. And that will be good for California.