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Gov. Edmund "Jerry" G. Brown Jr. Esq.

Self Description

January 2008: "Edmund G. Brown Jr., known as Jerry, was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1938. He attended both public and parochial schools, graduating from St. Ignatius High School in 1955. He completed his freshman year at the University of Santa Clara before entering Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary in August 1956. Two years later, he took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1960, he left the Society of Jesus and enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his B.A. degree in Classics the next year and then entered Yale Law School, where he graduated in 1964.

Following law school, Brown worked as a law clerk to California Supreme Court Justice Mathew Tobriner, traveled and studied in Mexico and Latin America and then took up residence in Los Angeles, working for the prestigious law firm, Tuttle & Taylor. In 1968, he helped qualify a slate of presidential delegates to oppose the re-nomination of President Lyndon Johnson. The following year, Brown was elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, placing first in a field of 124. In 1970, he was elected California Secretary of State. During his term, he forced legislators to comply with campaign disclosure laws, exposed President Nixon’s use of falsely notarized documents to improperly earn a large tax deduction and drafted and helped pass the California Fair Political Practices Act. Brown personally argued before the state Supreme Court and won against Gulf, Mobile and Standard Oil for election law violations (Brown vs. Superior Court).

Brown was elected Governor in 1974 and reelected in 1978, by over one million votes.

During Governor Brown’s tenure, California produced 25% of the nation's new jobs. His eight years in office are generally considered among the most innovative in American history. He established the first agricultural labor relations law in the country, enacted collective bargaining for teachers and other public employees, started the California Conservation Corp (CCC), signed into permanent law the California Coastal Protection Act, earned federal protection of Northern California wild and scenic rivers, brought about the country's first building and appliance energy efficiency standards and made California the leader in solar and alternative energy.

Brown appointed more women, Asians, Latinos and African-Americans to high government positions than any other chief executive. He also created the nation’s first Wellness Commission, the Office of Appropriate Technology, the Native American Heritage Preservation Commission and the California Commission on Industrial Innovation. As president of the University of California Regents, Brown successfully sponsored the establishment of the prestigious Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Brown legalized the practice of Acupuncture and strongly supported the rights of chiropractors, osteopaths and lay midwives. He also significantly expanded apprenticeship programs and created the California Worksite Education and Training Act (CWETA). He mandated every high school district to establish clear graduation standards and successfully fought for increased math and science requirements for both the California State University and University of California systems. Finally, Brown restructured the California Arts Commission so that it was composed of practicing artists and increased funding by 1300%.

In the field of crime fighting, Brown enacted hundreds of tough anti-crime measures, including the “Use A Gun Go To Prison” Law and mandatory sentences for rape, sale of heroin, violent crimes against the elderly, child molestation and selling PCP. He established and funded the Career Criminal Prosecution Program, the Career Criminal Apprehension Program and the Crime Resistance Task Force.

After his defeat by Pete Wilson in the 1982 U.S. Senate race, Brown lectured widely, led delegations to China and the Soviet Union, studied Spanish in Mexico, spent six months in Japan studying Japanese culture and Buddhist practice, worked with Mother Teresa in India at the Home for the Dying and traveled to Bangladesh as a CARE ambassador of good will during the devastating floods of 1988.

Brown again practiced law in Los Angeles and in 1989 became chairman of the state Democratic Party. He resigned that position in 1991, expressing his disgust with the growing influence of money in politics, and sought the 1992 Democratic Presidential nomination. During that campaign he refused to take contributions larger than $100 and used an "800" number to raise funds.

Despite limited financial resources, Brown defeated Bill Clinton in Maine, Colorado, Vermont, Connecticut, Utah and Nevada during the 1992 Presidential primaries and was the only candidate other than Clinton to receive enough voter support to continue until the Democratic National Convention.

In 1998, Brown ran for mayor of Oakland against 11 other candidates and won in the primary with 59% of the vote. Before taking office, he successfully passed a voter initiative, changing the ceremonial office of mayor to that of a “Strong Mayor” form of city government. Brown was re-elected in 2002 with 64% of the vote.

Upon taking office, Brown emphasized three goals: reducing crime, revitalizing the downtown and encouraging charter schools. All 3 have been accomplished: Going into his eighth year, crime is down over 30 percent, new housing units for more than 10,000 people have been approved and are either built or under construction, and several excellent charter schools have been established. Brown has fought for tougher laws to keep criminals off the streets by imposing a strict curfew for those who have committed serious crimes at night and was a leader in the campaign to defeat Proposition 66 - an attempt to dismantle California's three strikes law.

Brown personally founded the Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. Both schools serve students from the 6th grade through the 12th and are among the best performing schools in Oakland.

On June 18, 2005, Brown married Anne Gust in a ceremony officiated by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Later the same day, they had a Catholic ceremony at St. Agnes, the San Francisco church where Jerry was baptized and his parents were married. The marriage is the first for both."

Third-Party Descriptions

June 2013: "As a practical matter, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, instructed officials to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the Ninth Circuit acts."

August 2011: "But now, with a United States Supreme Court mandate in May to reduce the populations of California’s overcrowded prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown has thus far upheld 207 of the parole board’s 253 decisions to release convicted killers. Already this year, more release dates granted to killers have been allowed to stand than in any year since governors got the power to reverse them."

June 2011: "But a little-noticed clause in the legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed into law today gives California tax collectors a second, albeit legally untested, cudgel to use against the Seattle-based company. The law takes effect immediately."

January 2011: "But it is not only Republicans who are seeking to rein in unions. In addition to Mr. Cuomo, California’s new Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, is promising to review the benefits received by government workers in his state, which faces a more than $20 billion budget shortfall over the next 18 months."

November 2010: "The most obvious - and jaw-dropping - example came in the California gubernatorial race, where Republican Meg Whitman spent $175 million of her eBay fortune to lose badly to former Democratic governor Jerry Brown. That works out to about $57 for each of the roughly 3 million votes she won."

November 2008: "The effects of Prop 8 on the more than 16,000 gay couples in California who got married after the state high court authorized them to do so is much less clear. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has opined that he believes those marriages will not get washed out by Prop 8. His position comports with the general intuition that retroactive legislation should not deprive people of vested rights like marriage."

January 2008: "The office of California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) investigates charities that mismanage their assets, spokesman Gareth Lacy said. Lacy would not say whether Brown's office is investigating Help Hospitalized Veterans, but he said the head of the charities division would testify at today's congressional hearing."


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Possible/Unclear CARE Organization Jan 18, 2008
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) California (State Government) Organization Nov 10, 2008
Member of (past or present) Democratic Party / Democratic National Committee (DNC) Organization
Student/Trainee (past or present) Santa Clara University (SCU) Organization Jan 18, 2008
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of California - Berkeley (UC Berkeley) Organization Jan 18, 2008
Student/Trainee (past or present) Yale University Organization Jan 18, 2008
Opponent (past or present) President Richard M. Nixon Person Jan 18, 2008
Possible/Unclear Mother Teresa Person Jan 18, 2008
Opponent (past or present) Meg Whitman Person Nov 5, 2010
Opponent (past or present) Succeeded by Gov. Pete Wilson Person Jan 18, 2008

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Jun 26, 2013 Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings

QUOTE: In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there. The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions.

New York Times
Aug 19, 2011 In California, Victims’ Families Fight for the Dead

QUOTE: The rights of families like the Tays to be heard has been a fundamental tenet of a movement since California passed its first victims’ bill of rights three decades ago — a model that has been followed by states across the nation....with a United States Supreme Court mandate in May to reduce the populations of California’s overcrowded prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown has thus far upheld 207 of the parole board’s 253 decisions to release convicted killers.

New York Times
Jun 29, 2011 California targets Kindle lab in Amazon tax spat

QUOTE: said today that it's reluctantly severing ties with affiliates in California, a move that it hopes will let it continue shipping products to state residents without collecting sales taxes.... The measure says that any retailer who "through a subsidiary" has any "place of business" in California must collect sales taxes.

Apr 07, 2011 Prison spending bleeds education system

QUOTE: As prison populations have grown, prison spending has squeezed out spending on education... The "tough on crime" approach to sentencing disproportionately punishes poor and minority communities -- African Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of their white counterparts.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Jan 03, 2011 Strained States Turning to Laws to Curb Labor Unions

QUOTE: Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and some cases — mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities — officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones.

New York Times
Nov 05, 2010 Money doesn't buy many wins for self-funded candidates

QUOTE: Tuesday's midterms featured an unusually large crop of moguls who sought to ease their way into power by pouring millions of their own dollars into their campaigns. In most cases, they failed spectacularly.

Washington Post
Aug 04, 2009 California Prisons Must Cut Inmate Population

QUOTE: A panel of federal judges ordered the California prison system on Tuesday to reduce its inmate population... The judges said that reducing prison crowding in California was the only way to change what they called an unconstitutional prison health care system that causes one unnecessary death a week.

New York Times
Mar 02, 2009 Instant tax 'refunds' come under fire: States crack down on high-interest tax loans.

QUOTE: For years, consumer advocacy groups have warned against so-called "instant" or "same-day" [tax] refunds. The reason: these refunds are actually bank loans, and they often bring exorbitant fees.

Christian Science Monitor
Nov 05, 2008 Left at the Altar: What happens now to gay marriage, in California and elsewhere?

QUOTE: On Tuesday, California voters passed Proposition 8, the amendment to the state constitution that eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry, scuttling a California Supreme Court ruling in May that granted that right.

Jan 17, 2008 Scrutiny Of Veterans Charities Continues: Calif. Businessman Sees 'Witch Hunt'

QUOTE: Help Hospitalized Veterans is one of several military-oriented charities whose spending practices are the subject of a congressional investigation.

Washington Post
Jun 11, 2006 California's Crisis In Prison Systems A Threat to Public: Longer Sentences and Less Emphasis On Rehabilitation Create Problems

QUOTE: Despite a vow from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to cut the prison population, it has surged in recent months to more than 173,000...costing taxpayers more than $8 billion a year. More of those inmates return to prison because the state has the nation's highest recidivism rate.

Washington Post
Dec 24, 2002 2 Western Cities Join Suit to Fight Global Warming

QUOTE: ...Oakland, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., have voted to join Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace in a lawsuit charging two federal agencies with failing to conduct environmental reviews before financing projects that the cities say contribute to global warming.

New York Times