SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown, who once had a frosty relationship with the business folks who ran the traditional Sacramento Host breakfast, had them rolling in laughter Wednesday with one quip after another in a 30-minute address.
He joked about being the smartest person in the room, quoted a Zen master and college professor while coining a "Jerry Brownism," and drew a connection between being called "contumacious" by a federal judge and being kicked out of school as a youngster.
Here's another installment of Brown's sayings: After being introduced as having won all six state races he'd run, Brown said: "I'm glad you separate out state races from federal races. It's true, I've won every state race. But I did lose a little old election in 1982 for the U.S. Senate. But I don't count federal races.
"Actually, in 1976, I beat Jimmy Carter in the California primary and I actually won five presidential races twice -- once in 1976 and one in 1992, so I've got 10. So another 15 and I'll have a majority of the country. But time is running out on that. I guess I'll have to stay and work at being governor, which I actually enjoy." "The new -- as another professor of mine said -- comes out of the random. I'm not going to explain it. That's a Jerry Brownism. Just take it home." As he said, it came from a professor, Gregory Bateson, whom Brown appointed to the UC Board of Regents in 1980 and inducted into the California Hall of Fame this year. "It means if you're tightly organized, there's not a lot of possibilities. Since I'm feeling good this morning, I'm going to quote an old Zen master, Zen Master, founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, Suzuki Roshi was his name, he said, in a beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In an expert's mind, very few." "By the way, the Gold Rush was the best stimulus program ever invented; 300,000 people came from every country in the world, got a shovel and pick and started picking. They got billions into the economy. Federal Reserve didn't even exist. The federal government wasn't even heard from, so far away. They dug and they got gold, they spent it and more and more people came and they haven't stopped." "We got our problems. We had this deficit hanging around for 10 years and lo and behold, our credit rating was dead last. We were 50th. It's hard for me to believe that a state this rich was rated by S&P and Moody's as the 50th worst ... state. Well, after a lot of hard work, we got an upgrade. We are 49th! We're on our way. We're moving up. We'll be 48th before you know it; we'll be back in contention." "I gotta do one thing at a time. You can't get it all done. And if I got it done all in one year, you wouldn't need me. So, I like to be needed and I've got a pretty surefire formula how you're going to need me. Just walk across the street." "The thing about schools: Everyone thinks they know about schools because they went to schools... A (bill) I got last year wanted to eliminate willful defiance as a grounds for suspension. I vetoed that bill. I vetoed it because I used to be willfully defiant myself. Getting kicked out of school, that got my attention. Luckily, my father was the attorney general. So, I got back in the next day. But it left the impression that willful defiance was something serious." "As a matter of fact, the federal court said, with regard to my prison policy, that I'm being 'contumacious.' So, I looked it up on Google. What the hell is contumacious? It means willfully defiant." "I went to St. Ignatius, took four years of Latin. They told me you couldn't think if you didn't have four years of Latin. Now, I can't find anybody who takes Latin. So, by the way, I cannot find that many people who think, either. It makes me think the priests were right. Anyway, I like Latin. It's obscure. It makes you smarter than everybody." "Lots of people depend on the Delta. Fifty percent of Silicon Valley gets their freshwater through the Delta. If those levies should ever fail in an earthquake or because oceans are rising because of climate change, or the snow melts too fast and rushes into the Delta, that would cut off 50 percent of the water. East side farmers, west side farmers, Los Angeles: Huge, we're talking a hundred billion dollars in immediate devastation. This is insurance we gotta invest in. "When I did (the Peripheral Canal in 1982), I didn't know there was such a thing as smelt. I never heard of smelt. Now, the smelt has probably got a more powerful lobbyist than most of the people in this room." According to a statement by 500 scientists, "Human quality of life will suffer substandard degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path. ... Our best scientists are telling us, 'Watch out.' Unless we get a miracle drug, I don't expect to be here in 2050. Kind of a stretch since I was born in 1938. And, look, some of you other folks -- a lot of you guys -- you're not going to be here, either, so you don't have to worry about it. Relax. But, you know, you've got kids. Maybe you got a young wife. Think about it." "Remember, that bear on the (California) flag. It's a grizzly bear. Extinct, unfortunately. But, ferocious, courageous, determined. Go Bears!"
Contact Steven Harmon at 916-441-2101. Follow him at Twitter.com/ssharmon. Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics.