The words "happy" and "Roman Empire" don't usually show up in close proximity, but leave it to Gov. Jerry Brown to go in that direction.
As Brown talked up his revised budget plan and his tax ballot proposal Thursday morning on public radio's "Marketplace Morning Report," the host tossed him a softball question.
"When you want to get away from all this stuff up there in Sacramento, where do you go?" Jeremy Hobson asked. "What's your happy place in California?"
"Well," Brown said, "I live in Oakland. I find that extremely happy, if you want to call it that. It's a great place. We've got great parks and trails. I can see out into the Pacific 50 miles on a clear day."
The Democratic governor didn't stop there.
"And I like to read about the decline of the Roman Empire," he said next, "and then I like to read about all the successes that people were able, in the face of challenge, to overcome against terrific odds. And I think that through facing things with clarity and courage, we can get the job done."
The Democratic governor, a voracious reader, has been talking about the Roman Empire for months. He and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, own a house in the Oakland hills.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of California state workers drawing their first pension checks in the first four months of this year is down nearly 8 percent from the same period a year ago, according to the latest data from CalPERS. That four-month retirement rate continues a trend set in 2011, when initial retirements for the calendar year fell 8 percent from 2010.
"This district is La La Land. It's divorced from the reality of what's happening in other parts of L.A."
PAUL ROBINSON, geography professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, talking to the L.A. Weekly about the liberal, wealthy 50th Assembly District, where Democrats Torie Osborn and first-term Assemblywoman Betsy Butler are trying to woo votes in the June 5 primary
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