Jerry Brown Discovers Southern California

In their zeal to anoint Gov. Jerry Brown a man of the people for catching a Southwest flight to Los Angeles—Joe Mathews eviscerates that conceit at Prop Zero—the media missed the bigger story: Why has it taken more than a month for the Governor to show his face in Southern California?

One of the biggest challenges in governing California is that state government is largely invisible to Southern Californians, who make up the majority of the state’s residents. Television rarely covers it. Newspapers have cut back their state bureaus, and newspaper circulation has plummeted.

It’s no accident that in the latest PPIC poll more than half of the respondents living in Southern California answered “Don’t Know” when asked to give their approval rating for Brown. How would they know? They probably haven’t heard anything about him.

To govern effectively as a statewide elected official, or to get your face and message on Southern California television screens, means to jump on a Southwest flight several times a week. If Brown is going to sell his budget plan to the state, he’s going to have to match Controller John Chang’s frequent flyer miles.