Old dog learns new tricks: Brown reaches out on Facebook

Legal News Line Feb. 9, 2009, 2:13pm


OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - California Attorney General Jerry Brown may be 70 years old, but his continual political evolution shows no signs of slowing down.

To witness, Jerry Brown has gone techno, posting his own take on a popular Facebook communication, "25 Random Things About Me."

"I've seen lists of '25 Random Things About Me' that people are sending around Facebook," Brown posted on Thursday. "I thought I would share my own list with you."

The list includes personal tidbits like No. 1: "I got my first dog 13 years ago, a black Lab named Dharma," along with spiritual insights like No. 5: "I practiced Zen meditation under Yamada Roshi and Father Enomiya-Lassalle in Japan."

Brown lists a few dislikes, like shopping (No. 8) and both the Mediterranean Fruit Flies and Malathion, the spray used to eradicate the pesky insects. Brown was harshly criticized by the state's agricultural industry for trying to block the use of the spray. A few likes are mentioned as well, including No. 15, arugula and broccoli.

Of course, political accomplishments are sprinkled in: "I started 2 charter schools in Oakland..."

Brown's quick wit is also on display in No. 13: "I've been duck hunting with Chief Justice Warren, but not with Vice President Cheney."

The most colorful of Brown's comments hark back to his first two terms as California governor from 1975 to 1983, when as a young, rising star in the Democratic Party he often broke with convention, drawing criticism even from his father, Pat Brown, himself a former California governor.

Brown writes in No. 6, "My official portrait as Governor was quite controversial and the legislature refused to hang it. My Father said if I didn't get a new one, I could never run again. It is now hanging and I am still running."

And again in No. 10, Brown writes, "When Governor, I decided not to have an Inaugural ball and my inaugural speech was 7 ½ minutes. For the inaugural dinner, we went to Man Fook Lo, a Chinese restaurant in the produce district of Los Angeles. It was once a favorite of Mae West."

The point of this clever little insight into the state's top lawyer? Perhaps it has something to do with his desire to become the state's next governor in 2010. Perhaps, especially if one reads between the lines on No. 24, which says, "The first time I became Governor, I followed an Actor (Ronald Reagan)."

If Brown announces his candidacy for 2010 as expected, he would hope to repeat that feat, following Hollywood star-turned politician, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

If so, it clearly wasn't a bad idea. The first comment about the list from a fellow Facebooker, "OK, you're cool rating just went up 45 points!" Sean wrote.

If anything Brown has learned in his 11 elections to date, including three for President of the United States, is a successful politician has to evolve with the times. Few do it like Jerry Brown.

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