Jerry Brown Sets No-Nonsense Tone For California In Inauguration Speech

Although nearly giddy with obvious delight, Jerry Brown was all business in his 16-minute inaugural speech today. Experts say he wants to set the tone – especially in his crucial first 100 days – that he intends to be a no-nonsense, practical governor who won’t squander political capital the way predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger did, missing early opportunities to take action before goodwill wanes.""The year ahead will demand courage and sacrifice,"" Governor Brown said after taking the oath from California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Brown noted the strain the recession has put on California and referred to polls that show most voters believe the state is on the wrong track. He urged lawmakers of both political parties to get out of what he called their ""comfort zones"" and to ""rise above ideology"" for the good of the state.

His main themes were drawn from his campaign stump speeches: no new taxes without a vote of the people, restoring as much local control of government as possible, and speaking the truth about the budget – no smoke or mirrors. He spoke of the sacrifices of his own ancestors, crossing the continent in a covered wagon, invoked the name of his own father, former Governor Pat Brown several times, and introduced his 99-year-old aunt as evidence that he’s not going anywhere.

Jerry Brown's California: Five big changes from 1975 to 2011 “It was very clear that here is a guy who is invested in California and is not some kind of political hustler or gimmick man,” says Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, political scientist at University of Southern California. “He has a long history in this state and understands it well.”

“It was a fine speech. This was not the firebrand Jerry Brown of 1975,” says Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento. “This was the older, wiser, more patient Jerry Brown.”