Friday, October 27, 2006

Former Gov. Moonbeam Rises From Political Crypt

Jerry Brown wants to rise up out of his political coffin as Mayor of Oakland, to become the state's Attorney General. Are there no political wooden stakes to drive through him?

Interestingly, in the article by Jill Stewart, Former Governor Moonbeam complains of leftists who attack him:
Mr. Brown then promptly slams the (Berkeley) Daily Planet, saying the paper repeatedly and wrongly reported that he tried "to remove the black leadership of Oakland, and they have always quoted or used that description against me, that my efforts were a racist move! In order to try to get me! . . . My efforts in Oakland had nothing to do with racism! The people who needed to go just happened to be African-Americans. I was the insurgent moving in to--as I've said for 30 years--'throw the ins out'!"
I actually feel a bit for Former Governor Moonbeam here. Could it be he has wised up a bit in the last 30 years? Once upon a time he was a big proponent of "Affirmative Racism", which along with a holier than thou desire to stop the death penalty in spite of what California voters clearly wanted, gave us such "justices" as Rose Bird and Cruz Reynoso. Gee, Jerry, it's not so easy when the shoe is on the other foot, now is it?

Then again, Jerry Brown, despite his overall leftist tilt, has a reputation for sometimes being persuaded by, and then championing, "right wing" ideas:
--property tax rollbacks (notably Proposition 13 back in 1978)
--the flat tax
--"Three Strikes And You're Out" (felons getting 25 to life on the 3rd felony).
Is that because Mr. Brown has a "true believer" personality that once converted to an idea will champion it to the end? Or is it a very shrewd "wetting of the finger and noticing which way the political winds are blowing?"

In fairness, Governor Moonbeam has done quite well as Mayor Moonbeam. Why is that? Probably because he understands how to actually run an entity, unlike prececessors like Elihu Harris or Lionel Wilson, who, sadly, were “Affirmative Racism” token Mayors, picked on the basis of skin color alone. There is no “Black” way to repave and sweep the streets.

And, in large part, Jerry Brown became Mayor of Oakland because of substantial demographic changes in Oakland during the 1990’s. “Black Power” appeals lose their impact in a city that is increasingly Latino or Asian, and yes, even increasingly White. The skyrocketing cost of housing in the Bay Area led many seeking a home of their own, (a home somewhat nearer to their Bay Area jobs than Vacaville or Modesto!) to take a second look at once-shunned Oakland. “Gentrification” has followed.

This phenomena has also happened to other once almost entirely African American ghettoes: Marin City, East Palo Alto (formerly the per capita "murder capital of America"), Richmond, Vallejo, and the Bayview, Hunters Point and Western Addition neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Still, there's a damn good reason to keep Mr. Moonbeam as the Mayor of Oakland, and not just because he's actually been the best Mayor they have had in years. The California Attorney General sits on a three-person panel that confirms top gubernatorial judicial nominations. His record there as Governor was less than stellar.

I must say, however, that I am not entirely pleased with Chuck Poochigian’s campaign against Mr. Moonbeam, although I will vote for him. Initially, all Chuck’s campaign did was bash bash bash Brown, and not give any positive recommendations for Mr. Poochigian. I would much prefer a candidate start and stay positive, only going negative when the other guy does first (then go negative with a vengeance, but please don’t start it).

At last, Mr. Poochigian has recorded some wonderfully positive campaign endorsements from the wonderfully endearing and funny Ben Stein (“Bueller…Bueller”). Mr. Stein, besides being a small time actor, is a big time lawyer and law professor, so his endorsement of Mr. Poochigian is a good powerful boost. Why didn’t Chuck and his campaign team go with these ads first?

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