Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - As one of the last people to actually live in California's historic Governor's Mansion, state Attorney General Jerry Brown is uniquely qualified to host a tour this weekend as Democrats gather in the state Capitol for their party's state convention.

Ironically, Brown didn't live in the mansion during his two terms as governor, from 1975 to 1983. He lived there during his father's two terms back in the 1950s and 60s.

After Ronald Reagan was elected governor, his wife Nancy balked at living in the mansion during the first month or so after moving in. The Reagans fled for the Sacramento suburbs, but mostly lived in their Los Angeles home, as does current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Brown opted for a one-room apartment rental during his term in office.

Brown sent a memo earlier this week, inviting convention delegates to join him at a "Recession Reception" in the governor's mansion Saturday evening.

"Besides a couple of kegs of beer, chips and salsa, I'll be there to show you around," Brown said.

Schwarzenegger is taking a decidedly different tack from Brown this weekend. The Republican governor and First Lady Maria Shriver are hosting a pair of political gatherings at the couple's Southern California mansion for the price of $100,000 a pop to benefit Schwarzenegger's political fund.

Rest assured, donors who pony up will get a bit more than chips and salsa. Guests will sip cocktails with the celebrity governor and his wife.

Political watchdog groups are displeased that the steep price could result in expensive favors.

"The sums may be a small price to pay in comparison with the potential benefit that they might derive," Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, told the Sacramento Bee on Monday.

Schwarzenegger's press team discounted the concern saying the events were designed for the governor to share his vision for the state at a time when he is campaigning for the passage of the state's budget revision amendments in the May 19 special election.

Donors who make six-figure contributions become members of Schwarzenegger's "executive committee," which, according to the Bee, allows them entrance to several events with the governor throughout the year.

The donations are largely used to fuel the governor's agenda on ballot measures. Political analysts have said the governor is banking his legacy as a budget reformer on the May 19 election, which to date, has trailed in the polls.

Reporters did not ask the watchdog groups about whether they were concerned about Brown's beer and chips reception, though no doubt, the attorney general will use the time to talk with delegates about his plans for the future of the state.

Brown has not formally announced his intentions for 2010, but has openly courted support for a bid to replace Schwarzenegger as governor. The governor can not seek re-election because of term limits, but ironically, Brown who has already served two terms as governor, can is grandfathered in a can seek re-election.

More News