California Gov. Jerry Brown is 76 years old, and on Monday he was inaugurated for his fourth four-year term. He’s the only governor to ever win four terms. And, think of this, 28 years elapsed between his second and third terms.
So today I’m reminiscing about the two times I spoke personally with Gov. Jerry Brown. The first time was in the late 1970s. I was the news director for KPRL Radio in Paso Robles. One day the governor visited Camp Roberts, maybe to watch the National Guard training. So I went to Camp Roberts with my tape recorder.
Actually I can’t remember anything the governor said that day. But I’ll never forget that we bumped heads. Yes, the governor and I literally bumped heads out on one of Camp Roberts’ ranges.
I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe we were trying to get close to my microphone. Maybe we were trying to hear each other over the shooting. But we knocked noggins.
Neither of us was even slightly bruised, but I certainly was embarrassed to have butted the governor’s head. We both pretended it didn’t happen.
I have no record to help me remember what Gov. Brown said that day. At KPRL we used our recording tapes over and over. We might as well have written our news on the wind. But I do have a newspaper clipping, with photo, about my second meeting with Gov. Brown.
It was an outdoor news conference in September 1981 at Paso Robles Airport. I was working then for the Telegram-Tribune (now The Tribune), and the governor was planning to run for the U.S. Senate. The photo shows that he and I still had enough hair to blow in the wind. Mine was gray; his wasn‘t.
The big topic that day was anti-nuclear protesters blockading the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. They were trying to prevent it from starting.
At the airport news conference Gov. Brown said he was against breaking the law, but he was also against the nuclear power plant. He said he would fight in court to prevent the plant from starting, but any protesters who broke the law would be arrested. (About 2,000 were.)
Gov. Brown may be 76, but he isn’t slowing down. On Tuesday he went to Fresno to celebrate the start of the construction of a $68 billion, bullet train railroad between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I wish I were there. I have lots questions to ask him about that.
But he was confident that, despite the opposition, the California bullet train will happen. He may be right. The opposition doesn’t always win. After all, Diablo Canyon’s generators are still generating, Jerry Brown is still governor and I’m still writing for The Tribune.