dsiders@sacbee.com / David Siders

Jaime Grabinsky, a mathematician, buys a snack in Mexico City on July 27, 2014

In Mexico, everyone knew Schwarzenegger; math professor knows Brown

Published: Sunday, Jul. 27, 2014 - 3:15 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 27, 2014 - 6:49 pm

MEXICO CITY – Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Everyone knows him, of course.

“Sí, sí sí,” said Sergio Perez, a waffle cook in the city’s exclusive Polanco District.

But few people here can place Jerry Brown, California’s current governor, who is arriving in the nation’s capital city Sunday for his first official visit since taking office.

Perez – in a scene repeated with a lawyer, a convenience store clerk, a policeman and any number of other people here – mulled over Brown’s name for a second.

“Jerry Brown?” he said. “No.”

Brown has neither starred in any movies nor won international body building acclaim. But in certain circles Brown, governor before from 1975 to 1983, does have cachet. Diplomats know him, as do many academics.

It helps of course, if they have been to California.

“I was in Berkeley when he was governor,” said Jaime Grabinsky, a mathematics professor.

The 66-year-old fondly recalled Brown talking about Zen Buddhism.

“He was not a typical politician,” he said.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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