/Open thread for night owls. Dayen: Californias recent success exposes Jerry Browns failure

Open thread for night owls. Dayen: Californias recent success exposes Jerry Browns failure

Jerry Brown, former four-term governor of California.

Former four-term California Gov. Jerry Brown

At The American Prospect, David Dayen writes—California’s Success Exposes Jerry Brown’s Failure

Earlier this fall, I joked that our staff writer Alex Sammon had become a California legislative correspondent, after reporting on bills to make Uber and Lyft drivers and other independent contractors into employees, and to prevent dialysis companies from steering patients into coverage that benefits their bottom line. Indeed, the Prospect has covered a flurry of progressive policy advances this year in the Golden State, like bills to unionize child care workers, cap rent increases, enable public banking, and allow college athletes to earn money on their name, image, and likeness. This is a very partial list.

Just in the past day, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed laws setting a cap on payday lending interest rates and ending forced arbitration in employment contracts. It’s the most productive session in Sacramento in recent memory. And what you have to conclude from it is that Jerry Brown was a bad governor.

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Most of these bills have been popular and supported by a majority of California voters and lawmakers for years. Newsom isn’t putting much on the line to sign them. Democrats held a two-thirds majority in the legislature, or close to it, for most of Brown’s tenure. The votes were there, but Brown vetoed several bills that Newsom ended up signing this year, including the child care worker bill. Others just weren’t worth the trouble of passing until Brown left office.

Older media figures were enthralled with Brown’s throwback rhetoric, his ability to conjure up money quotes, and his willingness to punch the left. Hagiographers wrongly position Brown as a savior of a state in fiscal trouble, when it was progressive ballot measures (which Brown initially resisted) that fixed the situation.

Brown saw himself as a traffic cop, reining in the legislature’s impulses. But in practice, that meant that California’s poor were unnecessarily trapped in cycles of high-priced debt. It meant that workers had wages effectively stolen, their ability to organize curtailed, and their right to sue employers over things like sexual harassment signed away. It meant that patients didn’t get the affordable care they needed. In other words, millions suffered due to one man’s vanity and stubbornness.

None of this is to lionize Newsom necessarily; his fate could be sealed by those rolling PG&E blackouts in the Bay Area. All Newsom did is pick low-hanging fruit that tangibly improves the lives of Californians. More than anything, this reveals the moral bankruptcy of Brown’s stewardship. He was always more man than myth, and not a very good man at that.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos near this date in 2004And Wisconsin:

It never ends.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, citing vote-fraud concerns, is publicly balking at a City of Milwaukee request for almost 260,000 additional ballots in anticipation of high turnout for the Nov. 2 presidential election.

Mayor Tom Barrett blasted Walker’s stance, and Common Council President Willie Hines Jr. immediately joined in, saying it was an attempt to suppress the central-city vote.

“I’m going to lay this at the footsteps of the county if there aren’t enough ballots in the city,” said Barrett.

Barrett said that the 679,000 ballots the county had agreed to print were less than the amount prepared for the presidential election in 2000 as well as for the the gubernatorial race in 2002. 

On
today’s Kagro in the Morning show: It’s
Friday catch-up time. Another loony Trump rally. Deutsche Bank somehow no longer has Trump’s taxes. But he’s getting crushed in court, elsewhere. Introducing some new names in the Ukraine scandal: DiGenova, Toensing, and… Dymtro Firtash.