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December 12, 2006
Governor Moonbeam Becomes AG Sunbeam?

When Californians returned former Governor Jerry Brown to statewide office, this time as Attorney General, pundits around the nation waited in anticipation for any hint of a return to his old ways, which earned him the nickname Governor Moonbeam. It apparently didn't take long, as everyone at the California Department of Justice discovered yesterday when they opened their e-mail. Brown wants the staff to clearly understand his priorities as chief law-enforcement officer in the Golden State. CQ's inside source sent over the full text of the e-mail (emphases mine):

To everyone within the Department of Justice:

I am very much looking forward to joining you on January 8, 2007, as your new Attorney General. These are busy weeks, as I wind up my work as Mayor of Oakland and get ready to assume office. Bill Lockyer and key members of his executive staff have been extraordinarily helpful in smoothing the way. I am deeply impressed with the breadth and complexity of your work and consider it a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead a group with such important responsibilities.

Two matters of immediate concern will be to strengthen and focus the Department's law enforcement capacity and to implement--in a practical and effective way--California's global warming legislation. Obviously, there will be many more issues to tackle and I look forward to working with key staff in setting the agenda for the coming year. I hope I can count on your candid observations and enthusiastic support.

I am reviewing a number of organizational issues. One important decision I have made is to appoint the current Chief of the Civil Division, Jim Humes, to the position of Chief Deputy Attorney General for Legal Affairs. This is the position currently held by Robert Anderson, who has told me he is retiring. Many of you have worked with Jim, and know that he is an able administrator and skilled attorney. I am confident that he will bring to this position both the necessary continuity and an openness to change and innovation.

I have not made a decision yet on the position currently held by Steve Coony. Over the next few weeks, I will decide how to staff this position or how we might otherwise structure these functions. Some of you may have noticed my wife Anne accompanying me as I have made the rounds of the various offices. I find her advice pretty invaluable and very practical. She had the stressful and rather harrowing job of running my statewide campaign. Prior to that, Anne worked in private practice before serving as General Counsel and then Chief Administrative Officer at the Gap.

I am excited about working with all of you and know that our success depends on real collaboration and mutual respect. Let's make this a great four years.

Jerry Brown
Attorney General-Elect

Note that of all the priorities for law-enforcement facing California, Brown selects global warming as the most pressing. I guess issues like gang warfare, insurance fraud, and other crimes that cost Californians their lives and millions of dollars each year come in a distant second to ecopolicy. Californians might have gained the false impression that they elected an Attorney General instead of an environmental lobbyist.

Actually, it looks like they elected two Attorneys General. It's not often that the new boss introduces himself in his first official communication to the staff by essentially informing him that his spouse will be checking on them. Brown certainly can choose his own staff, and Anne sounds qualified for the job -- but it's never a good idea to have the boss' wife in the chain of command, at least not for the working environment of the staff.

All in all, it looks like an auspicious start of Brown's tenure, at least for pundits, if not Californians. Instead of Governor Moonbeam, my native state elected Attorney General Sunbeam.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 12, 2006 5:19 AM

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» "Attorney General Sunbeam" from Ed
Ed Morrissey has some thoughts on California's Attorney General-elect: Jerry Brown, who's now on his third or fourth go-around on the California political merry-go-round:Note that of all the priorities for law-enforcement facing California, Brown selec... [Read More]

Tracked on December 12, 2006 5:46 PM


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