Jerry Brown: all in on #cawater

I often don’t know what to make of California, despite it being the state of my birth and a source of endless study and fascination.

Jerry Brown was the governor when I was a teenager, and I respect him as one of the nation’s great politicians. I mean something specific and respectful by the term – not “politician” in the pejorative sense of the word so often used today, but “politician” in the sense of someone skilled in working within the inherent messiness and limitations of political processes to try to actually solve problems. His current term as governor, now that we are both much older men, is a reflection of that.

So what to make of his use of the precious resource of his political capital push for the Peripheral Tunnel as a way of untangling California’s seemingly untangleable Bay-Delta water mess? And specifically, his signaling by use of the precious time in his State of the State address Thursday to lay down a marker? What does that say about where the solution space for this problem lies?

And then, what to make of this (possibly?) telling detail from Julie Small’s account of Brown’s Thursday address:

In his State of the State address Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown reiterated his pitch to protect California’s water supply. But in a speech lawmakers repeatedly interrupted with applause, Brown’s plea to spend billions on water elicited silence.