Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
October 24, 2015

  • California governor sees inconsistency as virtue
  • He displayed it again on this year’s bills
  • Brown even contradicted himself

Over his half-century as a practitioner of California politics, Jerry Brown has proved himself to be consistently inconsistent.

Indeed, he has claimed that tendency as a virtue, once sneeringly dismissing “small minds that slavishly adhere to foolish consistency.”

It should not be surprising, therefore, that skimming through the hundreds of bills from the 2015 legislative session that Brown signed and vetoed reveals little consistency of principle or philosophy other than a willingness to contradict himself.

For example, although Brown first sought the governorship in 1974 as the sponsor of a ballot measure to reform politics, including more filings by politicians on their personal finances, he vetoed a bill (Assembly Bill 10) that would have made those disclosures more detailed.

“This bill,” he wrote, “adds yet more complexity to existing reporting requirements without commensurate benefits, and I am not convinced that this bill will provide more useful information to the public.”

It would have done exactly that for the public, but Brown, having amassed considerable personal wealth, apparently finds greater virtue now in having as much financial privacy as possible for himself and fellow politicians.

One of the odder combinations was his signature on a measure that would allow the terminally ill to end their lives and his veto of another measure that would allow those stricken with “life-threatening conditions” to try experimental drugs.

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