Take Two for October 17, 2013

State of Affairs: A look at California Gov. Jerry Brown's third term

Mayor Garcetti And Gov. Brown Sign Bill Allowing Illegal Immigrants Driver's License Eligibility

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks before signing bill AB60 on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall October 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. California Assembly Bill 60 also known as the Safe and Responsible Driver Act allows illegal immigrants to receive a permit to legally drive in California.

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for State of Affairs, our look at politics and government throughout California. This week, we bring you a special edition, a look at the third term of Gov. Jerry Brown.

When Brown returned to the governor's office in 2011, California was said to be ungovernable: The state faced a $28 billion deficit; a federal court had ordered a reduction in its prison population; and public schools continued sinking in national rankings.

A lot has changed in three years.

RELATED: Check out KPCC's timeline of Gov. Brown's term in office

To help us assess the state of California in 2013 and Brown's performance, KPCC politics editor Oscar Garza, KPCC politics reporter Frank Stoltze and Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters spoke to Take Two.

In January 2011, Jerry Brown offered this assessment in his first State of State address:

"California faces a crisis that is real and unprecedented. Each of us will have to struggle with our conscience and our constituencies as we hammer out a sensible plan to put our state on a sound fiscal footing, honestly balance our budget, and position California to regain its historic momentum."

Three years ago, would anyone have said that the state could recover from the condition it was in? What moves did Brown make that helped things along?

Of course it helps that the legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic, but Brown has never been particularly cozy with lawmakers. In this past session he even vetoed a gun control bill that Democratic Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg had made a priority. How has Brown managed his relationship with the legislature?

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state's latest effort to delay a federal court order to reduce its prison population by the end of the year and the state has said it might be forced to release dangerous criminals. Is there a chance that might really happen?

California has far from recovered from its financial woes and one glaring example is the state's Geologic office that is way behind in mapping the state's earthquake faults, which came to light when a couple of major real estate developments in L.A. were found to be dangerously close to active faults. Is the state systematically rebuilding its own infrastructure or is Brown keeping a clamp on spending? What other major challenges does the state face?

At 76, there's no indication that he's slowing down and he's running again next year without any major Republican opposition. But what are the implications for other Democrats who have their eye on the governor's office and now have to wait until 2018?


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