Image for The Great
Go Back to the article page

Please upgrade to a browser that supports HTML5 audio or install Flash.

Audio MP3 Download Podcast

Duration: 57:56

Webinar--Book-Talk-Burkle-Center_1-fo-epv.mp3


Transcript:

0:00 Good morning, I'm Kal Raustiala, director of the Burkle Center for

International Relations at UCLA and I'm glad to be able to welcome you back to one of our online book talks. we've done a couple of these. we have a couple more coming up and today I'm really happy to have Jim Newton, my UCLA colleague, who I will introduce properly in a moment but before we do that just to remind everyone how these work and let you know

about a couple of upcoming things. so so first of all I'm gonna introduce our

speaker Jim Newton and Jim will talk for a little bit and then we'll have a conversation and then I will pose questions posed by all of you. please use the chat function to put in

your questions and then I will sift through those and read them to to Jim and we'll wrap in about an hour so. that's our that's our basic kind of structure and and mode of operating. in terms of upcoming talks before we get into this one I just want to remind

people

1:02

you should have seen an email for this if you're on our list but on June 17th we're gonna have Ben Rhodes former deputy national security adviser to President Obama who recently wrote a piece in the Atlantic on the 9/11 era and the end of the 9/11 era and so Ben's gonna come on and talk about about that piece but also about what time we're in and and how we've transitioned out of the kind of national security framework that's that's really shaped by the last two decades. and then I think our last one until we take a summer pause though I guess in this current world I'm not sure if we need to pause any more, Peter

Singer of New America who's one of our partners has a new novel out called

Burn-In and it's a novel that also is really a sort of futurist book about warfare and cyber warfare and the changing role of Technology in conflict. it's heavily footnoted and source so it's not your typical novel. so we're gonna Peter on to do probably a little

reading and discussion about that as well

2:07

on June 24th so so those are our two upcoming events for today's talk

Jim's book about Jerry Brown man of tomorrow the relentless life of Jerry

Brown is available really everywhere but we have partnered with diesel books in Brentwood and Delmar as a kind of local bookstore partner and they have the book available through purchase so I think online and in-person so I urge you to do that. and with those preliminaries out of

the way let me introduce Jim and turn

things over to him in a moment so so

first of all Jim Newton is probably

known to many of you if you're a

longtime Angelenos as an editor as

a reporter as a news figure at the LA

Times for many many years. he currently

is at UCLA where he teaches in our

communications department and at its

Blueprint Magazine for UCLA out of the

Luskin School. and Jim has written

several biographies over the years and

many other books as well

3:05

but I was

really struck by this one and I was glad

to be able to get Jim to come on and

talk about Jerry Brown. and let me just

say a word about why I wanted to do this

because obviously it's a little bit of a

different topic the Burkle Center

typically doe. but I think that Jerry

Brown as governor first of all is a

incredibly important figure for for

California and therefore for the United

States in the world but also really

pioneered a very proactive foreign

policy for the state of California in

his first two terms to some degree but

especially in his second two terms. and

we'll talk about that and we'll talk

about the way that Jerry Brown in his

later years travelled the world as

almost a head of state and was treated

as such by many people around the world.

especially in the Trump era and I think

that's made hims kind of a unique

governor in many respects. so so that

drew me to the book and I really want to

recommend the book. it's fantastic but

obviously there's a lot of depth to the

book that goes well beyond the foreign

policy dimensions

4:06

so with that kind of

long introduction out of the way let me go

over to Jim. Jim maybe you could just

start us off with some some basics about

how you came to write this book.

Alright well listen first of all thank you

Kal thank you Burkle Center and for all

of you for joining us. I appreciate this

has been an unusual book tour for me but

you're now part of it

very much. so yeah I thought I would talk

for just a couple minutes on how I came

to write this book and then I'm really

eager to take questions from all of you.

I was born California raised mostly in

California with high school up north in

Palo Alto and then went away for many

years first to college and then I

worked for the New York Times and the

Atlanta Constitution. throughout my

interest has always been in covering as

a journalist has always been covering

government politics. I came I became an

editor at the Los Angeles Times in the

early 2000s 2001 or 2002

5:00

and at that

point was given responsibilities among

other things for Sacramento coverage. it

was the first time that I that my covers

responsibilities had included state or

men and I then I was interested in

learning more about the history of

governors in California as a result.

mm-hmm my research in that led me quite

soon quite quickly to realize that there

wasn't a great biography of Earl Warren,

which at first seemed

sort of frustrating and then seemed like

kind of an opportunity and so I wrote my

first book. It was a biography of Warren.

because Warren grew up in California and

was longest-serving governor at that

point in history of California through

the early 1950s my biography of Warren

covered California history roughly

speaking from 1900 to 1950 and then kind

of left off because of course he left to

6:04

go to Supreme Court where he made most

was national impact. but that but then as

I later didn't know that it was his book

when you talk more about that later if

you'd like but that book allowed me to

write it back his time Kal when he's

congressman from the Monterey area I

still was there but I still was eager to

kind of wrap up or bring into the

present the history of California.

Jerry Brown seemed like a logical sort

of vehicle by which to explore of that

history and so this book really attempts

to do two things which is to write to frame it

as a biography of Brown which I hope it

is enough to satisfy in that regard

but also to be a history California from

about 1960 to the present day. yeah

the book starts at opening day in

Candlestick Park the first day of

baseball was played at Cal State Park on

April 12th of 1960 and though it flashes

back a little bit after that because

7:02

Brennan was born in 38 just sort of

bring you up to speed in his early life

it then kind of attempts to cover the

history from that point forward I was

encouraged in that by the way by a great California historian who wrote

most of the history of California,

although this period is largely missing

from his history of California. I knew

Kevin he was friend and I went to him

when I was thinking about this project

just frankly to kind of make sure that

he wasn't intending to fill in this

period in his history and he told me no

he wasn't.

He wasn't fond of counterculture and so

he had no intention of covering this

so he opened the gate for me. um so all

that grew to the book. I say one more

thing about it and then and then turn it

all back over to all of you but the real

big question then for me is would Brown

cooperate with this book.

and I didn't...I knew Brown a little bit

before. I knew him as

governor.

8:01

he was governor when I was high

school. sort of feels like he's been

governor my whole life. but I didn't know

him personally. I'd met him a few times

in the context of my work at the LA

Times he'd come in for editorial board

they did some things we chatted and I

was a member of the panel when he

debated you know Kashkari in 2014, so our

paths had crossed. but a an exaggeration

to say that I knew him. so I approached

his campaign consultant Smith up in

San Francisco who I also knew from

reporting who kind of referred me on who

liked the idea but sort of referred me

on to Brown's wife and also

his closest advisor and she and I

discussed it a couple of times before I

ever talked about it with Jerry Brown.

ultimately I think once she was

persuaded that I was interested in

writing an objective history of the period and

centering it around him but not being

exclusively about him

9:00

she recommended it

to him and then he agreed to a bunch of

interviews so we talked every few months

from beginning in 2015 through the end

of his fourth term and Beyond. and we can

again we can talk more about our

relationship as we go today but that

became not not the exclusive by no means

the exclusive source of the book, but

he's obviously an important those

interviews became a important pillar of

the book. he also gave me access to some

private papers that he hadn't revealed

to anyone prior and you know basically

in many ways are sort of pattern was for

me to come with him to talk about it

ends of the day to talk about history,

and then for him to end up talking about

whatever he felt like talking about and

he come along for the ride so if we

spent a lot of time together, talked

about a lot of subjects in my my sense

of him deepened and in some ways change

over the course of that the book as a

more is more heavily emphasizes his

10:00

spiritual and intellectual roots and

interests. I think that I would have

thought I was doing that's not something

if you were writing a book say about

Earl Warren that would be a direction

that would come naturally. but it is so

fundamental I think to who he is that

the book is less of a traditional

political biography and more of a kind

of intellectual spiritual exploration

than I expected it to be when I set out.

and that's the the

byproduct of the luxury of having had a

lot of time and so that's that's all I

guess how this book came to be. it

attempts to tell the story of Jerry

Brown and all his contradictions and

difficulties and complexities the the

story of a you know very unusual a

political figure who governed twice as

in the same job. governor 28 years apart.

so also trying to examine and if the

11:00

difference is what what you can learn by

seeing a person at two different stages

of his life

in such a consequential job and also to

tell the story of California across that

same period. so whether it succeeds or

not is ultimately up to you but that's

that's what I set out to do.

and so back to you Kal.

yeah okay

terrific so um let me start off first

obviously cannot ignore what's been

going on in in Los Angeles and

throughout California really throughout

the world over the last week in regards

to George Floyd and and kind of policing

in general and I'm curious I haven't

seen Jerry Brown say anything about this.

maybe he has and I'm curious what if you

know what he has said

but regardless what do you think he

would be doing if he were governor right

now?

I have not spoken to him in the last

week nor have I seen him speak publicly

so since this disturbance really took

the country by the throat. I have not I

don't know what his response has been I

have spoken to him and appeared at some

events with him web event since the

coronavirus ripped the country so one

crisis ago.

12:02

there I can say with more

confidence I think how he's responding.

and you know there I have no I have not

heard him criticize Gavin Newsom in

any respect so I don't know that there's

any difference. I don't know that he

would be handling things materially

differently that Newsom is. I do know I

guess they were found was that you would

be handling things differently the

Donald Trump is and certainly he makes

that argument I think they think he i.s

I've heard him be most critical of Trump

with regards coronavirus is a

slowness to respond to take the lessons

of other countries. I've heard him talk

about South Korea and Taiwan in

particular as countries that had early

warnings and reacted strongly to them

and contained the buyers as opposed to

13:00

what he sees degree as Trump's haphazard

and and slow response you know they're I

think in many respects Brown you don't

have to take his word for it that he

would respond in that way that I think

his experience with climate change is is

an indicator of how he would respond to

a scientific crisis of international

proportions and and the way he's

describing how he would respond is very

much the way he has responded to climate

change

as to the current unrest I really don't

know I mean I you know his father was

governor during the Watts Riots in 1965

k├╝bra and was out of office and that

long in a regnum between his

governorships he was so he was out of

office in 1992 when we experienced the

Los Angeles Riots and certainly one

lesson of the Watts Riots that his

father learned the hard way is that

being had a position and responding

slowly has political consequences his

father was in Greece too when the Watts

Riots Rebbe did he was difficult for him

to get back and he was criticized for a

14:00

slow response there you know Jerry Brown

is not just a reaction to his father and

sometimes she takes umbrage at the

notion that he is but he did learn from

his father's experiences in so I suspect

that he would want to respond quickly

you know this is a different experience

than 92 I was active in covering the 92

riots and different in the sense that

it's much broader than much more of the

country is involved in this unrest also

different though and since the Los

Angeles at least is less it has been

less lethal here in LA and less violent

widespread a prolonged and broader but

maybe not as deep and as violent so

that's what lessons there are lessons on

all sides of that equation I suspect him

and all I can tell you for sure is that

Brown has lived through a lot of that

both directly and through others and so

15:00

I suspect that would inform his

response. exactly what it would be or

how it would compared to Newsom's though

I know less about that than I do.

great great thank you so let's let's

turn to some of the things you do cover

directly in the book that are relevant.

you just mentioned climate change which

is an issue that he really did champion

early on but even beyond climate change

one of the signature things about him in

in first two terms was that he was

really ahead of his time in terms of

thinking about environmentalism

as a political movement. so it existed as

you documented many of documents well

before he was in office but he really

took environmentalism on.

you talk a bunch of the book about small

as beautiful as a kind of mantra that

that both the movement broadly

understood believed in but that Governor

Brown really believed in a kind of

personal way with regard to many things

even arguably the University of

California.

16:00

okay he was not one to you

know you contrast him to his father his

father grew the University and

respectfully Governor Brown seems to

sometimes want to reduce it or certainly

keep it in its in its lane

yeah really not really offering the kind

of funding and support that his father

did so there are some differences there.

but but regardless with regard to

environmentalism he was someone who was

a path breaker and so I guess I'd like

to hear you just expand a little about

how he saw the environmental movement as

a political force and specifically as a

kind of Californian issue. what was

Californian about it?

yeah those are a lot

of big questions wrapped up in there and

it was yes yes I'm sorry there's Richard

Mack he was an early he recognized early

the dimensions of the environmental. you

know some people I think somewhat

incorrectly date one of the one of

the most moments in that was Santa

Barbara or as some people call it the

beginning of the environment. not sure

that's true

but it's important and one of the

17:00

interesting things when one looks back

on that period and compares today is

there was not really significant

partisan just difference of opinion with

respect that they were clearly

individual politicians who took

different views of environmental issues

but it wasn't a cleavage issue in the

way that it is today.

Brown's environmentalism goes back at

least that far and he the objects of

that environmental concern earlier have

changed over the years you know coastal

protection air pollution you know acid

rain smog those were the issues that

dominated the 1970s and by the way the

18:00

Air Resources Board here in California

was actually born under Ronald Reagan in

early

my her a reminder early on that these

four less divisive issues. one of Brown's

signature important accomplishments in

that early era was to put Mary Nichols

on the Air Resources Board she's then

one of our UCLA colleagues there you go

and and you know arguably the person who

has done more to clean air in this

country than any other person ever and

she enjoys enjoyed that Pedrosa today

Miss Brown identified her early on now

by the second terms which is to say the

third and fourth term the focus of his

environmental concerns had shifted not

shifted but had evolved into climate

change on and there again Arnold

Schwarzenegger also achieved some

important milestones with respect to

climate change maybe 32 which is the

greenhouse gas emission in California

that provides the framework for measure

this is assigned by Schwarzenegger like

Jerry Brown guided California through

the environment or the economic collapse

at the end of the night or at the end of

19:00

the 2000s 2000 2009 came back to office

in 2011 back to economic health while

also managing and imposing some of the

most stringent environmental

restrictions climate change goals and

restrictions of any state in the country.

so not only is his a kind of rhetorical

leadership of the environmental movement

but it's practical leadership of it with

respect to climate change and and

proving to any remaining doubters that

the one does not have to choose between

economic health and environmental

protection but that there is a viable

way to achieve both

I mean it's within my life as a reporter

that that was an accepted wisdom that

one had to choose and so I think that

anyone who clings to that today really

has to reckon with the fact that

California has proved otherwise

and and I think Brown deserves the

lion's share credit for that so that's

now there is another way to talk about

him in the environment I will go on and

on here but and that is as an outgrowth

of his spiritual upbringing and

20:05

experiences Jesuits this experience was

then Buddhism there is a humility that

comes in when confronting environmental

issues that has to do in his mind I

think fascinatingly with the

contradiction of with an absolute that

it's not an argument in the same way

that some arguments and politics are in

fact one of that most interesting

political things that I have heard him

say that's a long list of those

is when Donald Trump dismissed climate

change his response to that was to say

that it was proof that Trump lacked a

sufficient fear of God that to me is a

nice merger of the spiritual and the

political and brand and the environment

is more than any other issue along with

criminal justice maybe but I would say

even more than that in some ways the

place where one sees his his spiritual

exploration expressed as a political

percent of priorities so interesting it

really makes him an unusual thing I mean

he's he's unusual in so many ways but

it's one of the really distinguishing

things about him

21:13

just to stick with climate and kind of

the environment for a moment when he and

though and say his fourth term in

particular I think but maybe even in his

third when he would go abroad he would

be received as essentially a head of

state and be be treated I mean granted

California is the fifth largest economy

in the world we ought to be I would

submit a nation state we probably better

off if we were but you know he was

treated that way by many people around

the world many foreign leaders and he

seemed from my casual observation happy

to play that role and so I'm curious why

you think he was so successful on the

global stage not just here in California

what made him attractive I mean there's

some obvious what what do you think made

him a truck yeah no I think that's a

it's an excellent question

the first and foremost I think what

you've already said which is that he

represented this enormous entity even

22:00

within the context of the United States

such an enormous part of the United

States and as you say the fifth largest

time they won the California is about

the size of Britain when it terms to

economic comes to economic activity so

in many ways I think was just you just

if you were a prime minister or brick

that is I think then even compounded

further by a couple other things one is

his longevity you know he talks about

meeting with you know leaders in China

whose parents he knew I mean you know

he's he his relationships are very deep

and very long with a lot of his a lot of

countries with wish the United States or

the California interact and then other

things the novelty of him I think he's

been he's interesting to people all over

the world I mean you know even things

that that may seem trivial but the

nevertheless make him interesting is

relationship with wonder once that his

you know his identification with the

kind of youth movements of the 1970s and

60s some of that is he's correctly

23:00

identified with and some not but he

comes out of a period in which

California is fascinating to people so I

think all of that makes him interesting

abroad

makes him fascinating and then finally

particularly with respect to climate

change is the fact that he he could make

an argument that he's done more than any

elected official anywhere to really

address climate change within the within

the limits that a state can do so and

actually I said finally but I'll had one

more which is that in the last two years

of his administration

it's just opposed against Trump and so

to have the leader of the largest unit

of the United States pushing in one

direction on climate change while the

leader of the overall United States

pushing in the other I think for a world

that's looking for leadership and

looking for American leadership on

climate change Brown became an effective

n leader because Trump abdicated that

role so egregiously yes-no agreed and I

think one of the interesting things as

some of the viewers probably know

24:00

California has been active Brown I think

initiated this though parts of it may go

back further to Schwarzenegger and

others in partnering with foreign

jurisdictions Quebec and other places

for cap and trade system system for a

b32 that's being challenged in the

courts right now by the Trump

administration kind of a

what arcane but really interesting

constitutional question about what

states like California can do on the

international stage but without question

Brown pushed it to to whatever limit

there is I think he pushed it there he

also I think what I really liked about

what you just said is he to me

represented sort of personified

California's soft power and one of the

things that made California such a place

of interest to people around the world.

from let's say the mid 60's onward was

the dynamism the creativity the

weirdness of California . California was a

place those incredibly creative not just

in the conventional way of Hollywood but

you know we invented the internet we

invent you know you can go on and on

with the things that we invented and

25:00

Jerry Brown with his unusual life really

kind of embodied that soft power and I

think that continues today I think

that's absolutely right and I think

interestingly there are times in his

life where that has worked against him

politically and times when that's worked

for him I mean like in his presidential

campaigns yeah I mean I think you know

okay I hate to even even raise it but

it's always out there which is mundi all

right governor Moonbeam

what is what does governor Moonbeam me

and why did that stick with him well can

I pause for a second can you tell the

story about the reporter or the

columnist Jim that's a good I'm sorry a

good place to start this Rick Mike Royko

I was a columnist in Chicago very

successful newspaper columnist and Rieko

wrote a column that he later disavowed

but he wrote a several columns actually back

26:00

in the 1970s 79 80 in which he labeled

Brown government and they were part of a

larger kind of glib columnist dismissal

of California as a whole it's just a

wacky place where you know no good came

out of this sort of kooky left-wing you

know left coast kind of place. that was

the tone of the columns and they were

vastly unfair to Jerry Brown then I mean

less fair to him today but they are part

of a

so East Coast Midwest view of California

in the 1970s that it was kooky weird as

you say I think accurately. and Brown is

utterly identified appropriately with

California and so to some extent as

California went so did Brown and versa

27:04

now over time a lot of what was being

talked about then looks less kooky and

more prescient I mean the notion that

someone looks back and sees an advocacy

of solar energy for instance as kooky

ridiculous now I mean things that that

went into Moonbeam Solar Energy smart

buildings satellite technology also the

fact that he was unmarried and dating a

celebrity that all kind of wraps into

this idea. a lot of that's been

vindicated by time and so as I said I

don't think it was fair even in the

instant and Royko himself came to regret

it but the reason it's stuck in has has

haunted Brown I think to this day is

that it did capture a kind of feeling

not just about him but about California

and that that feeling has changed a lot

over time a lot of what seemed fringe

28:00

now seems foreshadowing and and

forward-looking. and and Brown some one

way I think much of what seemed kind of

wacky yeah I would even add his

championing of diversity in the

California government on the courts etc

it was not unique to him but he pushed

it arguably further than any other

political figure of his time and his

first two terms and continued that and

again has been vindicated let me ask

about another

29:00

topic that he really had a

great interest in and has kind of

international dimensions but also

domestic dimensions which is nuclear

power and weapons and just kind of the

whole question of what just the nuclear

revolution mean and Browns one of videos

one of the older politicians around

lived through you know the dropping of

the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

unless members but you know he was he

was you know old enough to remember I

think

an early stage in his career took a real

interest in a topic that many people

today simply ignore so tell us a little

bit about why that was a big deal for

him and what you know kind of what his

stance was yes well Brown as you say is

old enough to have lived through the

actual use of the bombs he remembers the

end of the war I don't know that he

remembers my conversation with him I

will call him talking about the bombs

themselves being trapped but he

remembers the war and so he's won in 38

he he was involved in the anti-war

movement and so I think early on found

it quite natural to question the place

of nuclear weapons in the American

military strategy he was a critic of the

use of the participation of the UC

system and particularly the Lawrence

Livermore Lab

in the development and refining of

nuclear weapons just because I know I

know we have a lot of UCLA viewers and

30:00

we're both UCLA people and I'm sure

there's many UC alums listening and

watching just say word about that

relationship is they think people don't

always appreciate that yeah it was I

mean the the complicated part of that of

course is that the lab performs work for

the Department of Energy in connection

with and the lab does other things as

well and so Brown there was a movement

Daniel Ellsberg and others were involved

in movement while Brown was governor in

the first two terms to try to end

weapons research at Lawrence Livermore

the the complicated aspect of that is

that the UC system had some dominion and

over that but not over the Department of

Energy's work itself and so we're led a

kind of half-hearted and ultimately

ineffective attempt to sever the

University from the weapons first round

as governor incorrect in his second term

31:00

I believe so in this first round is coming

yes it did it came through one of the

region's had failed he was not it's not

exactly clear to me anyway or am I sure

it's clear to him what

haven't had that vote succeeded but it

was at a minimum a an expression of

unhappiness that the UC system was in

some way supportive of this weapons

research and so at least as a as a

matter of symbolic debate it was an

important question that was debated that

was confronted in those years he came up

short in terms of the actual votes but

it was an avenue for him expressing his

unhappiness with the University and

therefore the state's problem in weapons

research he came a little more slowly

and with a little more nuance and

complexity of the question of non

weapons use of nuclear energy which to

say no clear energy there he had you

know. for instance I've been Diablo

Canyon protests which occurred again his

first term as governor he had to do the

complicated thing of being both a

32:05

protester and also the governor who had

responsibilities to ensure the

protection of these plans he didn't

actually have licensing authority over

them that's a federal Nuclear Regulatory

Commission responsibility but when there

were the protests the Diablo Canyon for

instance there was the question of how

to handle the protesters like we're

talking about today

whether its arrest people so had one

class rate who should be responsible so

he was both a speaker at the Diablo

Canyon purchase and also the governor

who oversaw the arrests of people at the

kingdom amazing that's complicated

and as a result he sort of walked a line

that maybe didn't totally pleased either

side in that very complicated debate he

has remained a in later years he's

focused much more energy on nuclear

weapons as opposed to nuclear power

33:11

there he was animated in part by Bill

Perry really lovely and quite shocking

in some ways examination of the state of

nuclear weapons on the threat of nuclear

annihilation post Cold War Braun read it

in manuscript forms Perry I guess Perry

or zone so they were very sensitive

Brown he read it and

you know Brown is very fond of the

warning shot he's very attentive to

those who sound an alarm that other

people aren't listening to you and in

this case Perry's book really got under

his skin he actually called up the

editor of the New York Review of Books

and and sort of demanded that they

review and they responded appropriately

by asking him to review what you did and

he and Perry remain close there and in

content Brown is very concerned with the

notion of a nuclear accident in

particular and and I'm very concerned

about cutting heading back

weapons agreements and communications in

such a way that an accident could

escalate and as you he like Perry has

come to conclusion that the dangers of

nuclear war may actually have grown and

34:01

the post Cold War era not subsided so of

the things that he's now very involved

in post governorship the three things

that really seem to animate him the most

in our criminal justice reform nuclear

weapons and climate change and he's a

senior position with the bulletin of

Atomic Scientists he speaks out

frequently on nuclear weapons and just

become a it has been an issue for him as

long as I can go back with him but it

has become even more so I think it mmm

well I have the honor the very first

year I was director at Burkle Center we

had bill Perry to campus to speak it

fantastic and very prescient on these

things and what's interesting about

Braun is he does seem to have a very

finely tuned set of antennae for the

kind of cataclysmic long-term issues

35:01

that politicians simply ignore because

or typically ignore because they're so

far in the future and so abstract I

think most people have a hard time

grasping them and can I think

fortunately climate change has become

something maybe it's unfortunate that

people feel it's less far in the future

and we're seeing a little bit more

movement certainly here in this state we

have seen movement but not nearly enough

so I really applaud him for for doing

that so let me let me just ask about a

couple of other things that I will turn

to we have a lot of really great

questions

so I guess one you know one question is

how he you compare in the book is this

sort of shift out of the foreign policy

realm for a moment you compare in the

book his his first tour in his second

tour and then as governor and then in

the middle he's also a mayor and so give

us a little flavor of how being a mayor

changed his style of governing if you

think it did change it yeah where do you

think his his different approach in a

second tour was simply the results of

36:03

being older and wiser well listen we

started when I started this book one of

the things many of the things I ended up

saying in the book are not things that I

set out to say that I've learned along

the way but one thing I knew that was

interesting and important to address was

this question of comparing the two

governorships as I said earlier I was a

high school student when he was governor

the first time so I had memories of that

but not as a reporter and then of course

I watched job very close to third and

fourth terms and it's often and

correctly observed that he was quite

different in those two sets of terms and

let me more focused or effective I think

in certain ways at identifying and

addressing problems and actually solving

them in the third and fourth terms the

first two terms I think fondly

remembered by some and not so fondly by

others as we were chaotic is more

experimental as him really rattling the

37:09

cages of California government and by

extension national issues but more is a

provocateur I think unless as a

practitioner and so then the question

that you rightly pose is sort of what

changed he's 36 years old when he became

governor of California he was 80 years

old when he stopped being a from

California that in and of itself is part

of the change he is yeah as he likes to

say he didn't value experience until he

had experienced it many realized how

valuable it was so some of it is getting

older and living longer and but I think

two events of that you know in a regnum

period

really standout as transformative for

him and one is being mayor of Oakland

you know Jerry Brown was not a local

official before he was governor he was a

briefly a community college board member

in Los Angeles and then he was Secretary

of State and then suddenly at age 36

38:03

governor so he had never done the work

of a mayor or a council member or a

County Supervisor for him government I

think in the first iteration the first

governorship was there for more about

clashes of interests as he said and I

used in the book and said about labor

versus environmentalists or it's about

you know the military or you know that

the prison guards versus criminal

justice reform errs and it wasn't really

about people in their lives it was more

about these abstract abstractions and

confluence as mayor you know it's about

getting the Whole Foods into downtown

Oakland it's about building housing

units and it's about it's not

environmentalism as an ism now it's

about you know if somebody wants to

build a deck on their property

overlooking a lake what does that do to

people enjoy the lake and so some of

yeah Jerry Brown in many ways I think

39:03

one of the odd arcs of his life is that

he goes from abstraction toward a more

concrete life whereas most of us go the

other direction

and part of that I think in his

political development was being mayor

and seeing the actual implications of

policy and actually in the lives of

people I and then he brings that

experience back with him in the second

ownership and I think it's a big part of

why he's more effective the other one on

a more personal level is that he got

married the Angus Brown his really

extraordinary intelligent and capable

and also just really dear person to

things I would say him as marriage one

is this something very positive about

him that he recognized all those

qualities and and gasps that shows a

kind of connection on an individual

level that was more abstract to him I

think in the earlier years and the other

40:00

is that he listens to that that he

really does

rely on her and has come to trust

another person in a way that I'm not

sure I mean he had lots of advisers and

lots of people who talked to in those

regions but I don't know that he had

that kind of you know really concrete

reliance on another person in those

earlier terms so all of that I think

goes into making him a much much more if

I could governor the second time and a

mayor Merrill is a hmm great okay so we

have a lot of trivia questions from

viewers so let me go to them apologies

to those of you whose questions I won't

get but some some are some are just

really compelling and some are doubles

and some will just run out of time but

let me start off with a brief one which

really hits on a hot-button issue we

didn't discuss but you do spend a lot of

time in the book talking about and the

question is how does Jerry feel now

about his support for prop 13 mmm we

might query did he support prop 13

really and so maybe answer that as well

41:05

yeah he did not support Prop 13. um so

that's part of the answer he posed prop

13 but then it's not to absolve him

altogether he he opposed prop 13 he he

and the legislature once the momentum

behind prop 13 was gaining and therefore

too late in retrospect passed an

alternative tax for base measure that

appeared on the ballot as well I think

it was the obvious even at the time and

certainly more so in retrospect that it

was kind of too little and too late

there's another way in which Brown I

think contributed to the energy behind

prop 13 and though this is a little bit

being punished for a good deed but is

that he ran a big state surplus as he

did in his fourth term and for those who

felt overtaxed and had felt buffeted by

the threat of being taxed out of their

homes older people the notion that they

would be paying what they regarded it as

unfairly high taxes at the same time

that the state was running a surplus

42:00

added to their anxiety and their anger

so all of that I think caused Brown both

to underestimate and in some ways at

least indirectly to contribute to the

minimum

on Prop 13. he opposed it and he was

warned that it might pass and he didn't

take it seriously and then it did once

it passed and this is probably what the

question is referring to he very quickly

embraced it now there he got a lot of

criticism to the criticism there I think

it's a little less fair of him he's

governor of California and the people of

California had just approved prop 13 I

don't know that he really had a

practical alternative other than to

implement and the way he implemented it

at least temporarily blunted some of the

negative aspects of prep 13 essentially

he spent the surplus on trying to make

up the difference the prop 13 created

now again you can criticize him for that

that delayed some of the political

reckoning with the seriousness of prop

13 to have allowed that reckoning to

43:01

come sooner and inflicted that pain

earlier while sitting on a surplus I

suspect would have created its own

criticism of him justified so I'm a

little less critical than some people I

think of his handling post prop 13 and

you know he described himself as a born

again tax cutter and though for

political purposes he kind of wrapped

himself around it going forward and that

one can be offended by that he but I

think the four in my view the more

serious offense that he committed

related to prop 13 is his

underestimation on that going he

probably he and the legislature had been

more attentive to the anxieties in the

state that led to prop 30 and had acted

more forcefully earlier to head them off

we might ask and he didn't do that great

great so another question is related to

where we began but yeah I think you can

kind of go in at some some different

directions so the question is what would

Jerry Brown's advice be to Gavin Newsom

in the current social crisis gripping

California but also the political crisis

44:09

in the face of White House animosity

towards California so one of things

that's interesting is we really do have

this kind of resistance

mentality to some degree in California

these would be the Trump administration

but that's reflected right back at us

and that's something we haven't seen

in the history of California quite as

much before so so I guess I would make a

friendly amendment do you think that's a

good thing in other words are we doing

the right thing by kind of having this

oppositional pose and and then back to

the question what yeah Gavin well one of

my one of my favorite photographs in the

book is that there's a photo you all

will recall that president from visited

California in the wake of the Paradise

fires when she weirdly were just a

pleasure city and pleasure but Brown and

Newsom accompanied him uncomfortably on

45:00

his tour of the fire area and there's a

great picture in the book of Newsom and

his windbreaker sort of with Trump and

Brown almost visibly biting his tongue

and between those people not Trump but

the others I was able to piece together

their day on the shoveling around the

fires Californians virus and something I

pointed to incredibly uncomfortable

experience with you know Trump come in

brown that he needed to listen to

environmentalists who said don't let the

dam up the rivers the idea that Donald

Trump real estate developer and golf

courses owner would lecture Jerry Brown

and Gavin Newsom about the

environmentalists it's just it hurts

your ears to hear but Brown did take the

view that well well you know he's huge

of this view he did take the view that

that he shouldn't engage in political

rancor with Trump just for the sake of

it that he had to keep the interest of

California and mind and if insulting

Donald Trump meant that it would deny

46:01

services or benefits of California's

that he should hold this time now he

didn't always do that because it was

hard to and you know on this day that

that Newsom and he retorted with drum in

Newsom's case loosen was governor elect

at that point it's the Animus is

strained even further by the fact that

nous sommes ex-wife is dating Trump's

son so there's a level on a personal

level this is just freakin horrible I

mean I mean it's just hard to imagine

you know I mean Brown for the most part

of tried to avoid kind of head-to-head

confrontations with Trump during this

those two years he didn't always do that

he was I

to be with him the day after the Trump

administration filed a lawsuit against

California challenging and sanctuary

policies on immigration Brown was

furious Leslie he was furious with me

again with the understanding and my

materials go into the book and therefore

wasn't coming out the next day but you

know he felt both the Jeff Sessions then

the Attorney General was wrong and the

substance that he misrepresented

California sanctuary policy and also

that it was just bad form for him to

47:07

come to Sacramento and file a lawsuit

and not even tell the leadership here

that he was doing any of that

the brothers outraged and then of course

Browns he just could not stomach Trump

on climate change and there are a couple

times when he just couldn't hold that

and I don't blame him to tell you the

truth but but I do think it's governors

are governor's first and political

figures second and there is an

obligation when someone might do some

work around to secure benefits for

Californians even if that means

occasionally having to hold the comp

that I certainly have seen that at work

with Newsom and coronavirus where he

seems that wanted you to have gone out

of his way to express his appreciation

with Trump administration I'm fairly

confident that's not out of any personal

appreciation for Donald Trump but out of

a sense of obligation to residents yeah

yeah agree next questions it is the lit

this is the the questioner writing he

writes I've always been impressed with

48:10

Governor Brown's focus on fiscal

austerity balanced budgets excessive

debt etc you talk a lot about this in

the book this is really a through-line

and the writer goes on he's unique among

progressives for his concern with these

issues

Republicans have generally left them

behind Democrats never seem to care much

how would he view this time and what

would be his prognosis for the future so

I'd say this as much of a

comment as a question in that but but

it's a great opportunity to talk about

the fact that he was even personally a

believer in austerity he lived a

relatively austere life

you talk in the book about how Pat Brown

sort of cashed in one might say at the

end after being governor and you know

Jerry does not seem to be doing that and

the way that his father did and as far

as I know he's not doesn't seem to be

his personal style and so Jerry Brown is

somewhat unique in terms of his

appreciation and even I might say kind

49:09

of fascination with austerity yeah yes a

lot of good information wrapped up in

that question too well a couple of

things first of all I would say this is

a good example before Jerry Brown didn't

I follow after his father either as a

governor really as a person it's often

said the jury reminds many people more

of his mother and his father

sometimes that's correct and sometimes

it isn't I think he looks more like his

mom so that sort of starts from that but

one way in which he very much is more

his mother's son than his father's is

that he's cheap he she was a coupon

clipper and oh she was careful with the

budget and you know Jerry Brown can tell

you how much she spent for lunch today

I'm sure we'll be putting - you hardly

ever spend any money on lunch he was

famous for not having money and not

carrying a wallet not anybody's pocket

is Governor Willie Brown lost any

governor or mayor of San Francisco and

also a Speaker of the assembly I

50:04

interviewed Willie Brown early in this

process and I never seen him at one

point you know just described your

relationship with my new friends are you

business colleagues and how do you how

would you describe your your connection

to Jerry Brown he said you know friends

when you know often at dinner in the

city or do this or that I'll tell you

boy one time just one time I'd love to

see him pick up a check yeah

Jerry Brown doesn't think that stories

as funny as I do by the way but in any

case he's and he'll say I'm not really a

fiscal conservative I'm really cheap

he's very frugal and yes cheek to the

questioner that just set him apart from

a lot of progressives these days it also

sets them apart from Republicans I mean

I don't know that there's a I was right

to the questioners credit he mentioned

that that Republicans remanded not as it

has an important ring I mean this really

is their a hawk left in Washington

I don't really know if so did escape me

56:06

I mean but but Brown is I mean Brown

really boy he but he supported the

balanced budget amendment back in the

90s when that was popular he he bounced

in 16 California state budgets I mean

there's some play in that budget and

pensions are a different conversation

and so it's not he's not addressed all

issues of deficit spending but he has

you know he took a twenty six twenty

eight billion dollar budget shortfall

that Schwarzenegger left in his final

year and left with about a twenty

billion dollar surplus so that's about

you know fifty billion dollar turnaround

in California's finances that's

astonishing and that's not an accident

that is also to that partly that as it

was a willingness to support increased

taxes but it also just as importantly it

was a willingness to say no to spending

and and yeah I've covered politics a

long time and most one thing that most

politicians have in common is that kind

of reluctance and unwillingness or

desire not to say no to people it's

obviously better politics to say yes

52:08

Jerry Brown not only is capable to say no

but I think he kind of likes saying that

that comes very naturally to him and you

mentioned the UC system earlier that's a

place where sometimes saying no lesson

always wise I think but he is willing to

say no to spending and has done so and

that is definitely a hallmark of his

life in politics and initially

distinguished him from progressive

Democrats today he distinguishes them

from just about ever

greed agreed so we're almost out of time

so what I'm gonna do is kind of take two

questions and kind of mash them up

because they both relate to Biden so one

is one is a little more complicated one

simpler so one is when Brown was running

for election in 2010 one of his campaign

messages was that he'd solve the

partisan gridlock that paralyzed

California and by many accounts he did

do that successfully you talk about that

53:01

in the book you can opine on that part

and then the question is are there any

lessons here for Biden giving he's gonna

face even more drastic levels of

animosity amongst the parties and then

there's another questioner who asks

would brown accept a position in a Biden

administration what position so take

your pick amongst those yeah well as to

the divide

yes Brown was successful in recovering

their life sometimes by and he did on

some key boats recruit some Republican

support I mean the dividers were

different in California than it is

though in Washington where essentially a

50-50 divide that divides Washington in

California the Republican Party is so

marginal at this point that while it

helped Brown on occasion to pick off a

few Republican votes and to be able to

show bipartisanship behind cap and trade

for instance that governing in

California is possible only with the

slightest bit of participation of the Republican

54:03

Party that's not the case in Washington

so I can find challenge if he's elected

is much more difficult in that sense

than tried and then Brandt Jim can I can

i interject on that point yeah what

leave you know one one read that I

personally subscribe to you is that if

you went back in California history as

you know that wasn't always the case

Republicans were governors for many many

years then Along Came prop 187 very much

similar to what Trump had done Pete

Wilson kind of demonized immigrants and

and basically the end of the Republican

Party followed suit as the Latino vote

grew and and he really needed a lot of

moderates and now we have a

shrunken sort of republican party hardly

Powerforce anymore in a state word used

to really dominate do you think that

that's the playbook that's going to

unfold over the next decade this is one

of those areas in which California is

55:03

the vision of the future for sure

I don't but that future is not going to

catch up with the country in time for

Jeb I yeah I think you know the the

cycle in which white votes are dominant

is true now we're still in that cycle

and we may be in it for one or two more

but it is that historical demography of

the electorate is changing for the

nation as it already has changed for

California so that stuff I agree that

catches up with the country eventually I

don't think it will address the dis

divide in time for it to benefit Biden

but I think that is the long arc of

history on this and you know brown brown

could have chosen to govern as purely a

Democrat there are issues where it would

have been more popular for him to be

more liberal than he was he chose not to

because that's truly about who he is

I think and so in he had a luxury a

56:01

meeting to end up being good at

recruiting votes trust you out when he

needed to the second question would he

accept a position in the Trump

administration and the Biden

administration I don't know I you know I

mean that's a question but it was to him

than me I kind of doubt it I guess by

the way respondents 82 years old now

he's got to be in your 80s so he was

doing good work he's doing work he

enjoys he's living up in Colusa I I have

a hard time imagining him at this point

in his life up ruining it for Washington

I've heard I'm imagining and supporting

that too but you know he's led an

unconventional life I mean my behind

when I was writing this book he was it

it started from the premise that this

would be the first book to capture Jerry

Brown's entire public life right and so

it's in my interest that he not have

another chapter of public life but my

biggest concern

was not that he would go off and join an

administration but he would run for City

Council and Colusa you know and Williams

because he's you never know I mean his

arc has been so unconventional he might

57:07

have one more chapter in public life I

doubt that it would be in a Biden

administration but I I agree I think

it's unlikely it may be even crazy but

if he did what would what would he want

to be I would think it would be

something I mean whether that would take

Him to Interior or EPA or whatnot I don't know I

mean that I of all the things that

animate him in every conversation the

environment is this rule I I'm so I I

assume or something at you great

great

well Jim thank you so much for coming on

talking about the book maybe hold it up

for look I really recommend it again Jim

thank you so much for for doing this and

thank you everyone for listening and

watching thank you very much I

appreciate it take