Separation of powers be damned: fond farewells allow exceptions.
In a rare foray onto the Legislature’s turf, Gov. Jerry Brown appeared on the Assembly and Senate floors on Thursday to bid farewell to termed-out Assembly Speaker emeritus John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles and outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.
After proclaiming in the Assembly that “I don’t like roasts,” the governor emulated the spirit of a sendoff that combined good-natured ribbing with praise of Pérez’s legacy.
“Your mushroom theory of government has no equal anywhere in the world, and a lot of people want to be transparent, they want to know everything – well I’ll tell you, your way of keeping everyone in the dark was a real winner,” Brown said to applause and laughter.
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Quickly clarifying for the media’s sake that “we’re for transparency,” Brown quickly turned to honoring Pérez.
“You’ve made a hell of a contribution in California,” Brown said. “Wherever you go,” he added, “you know you’ve got me. As long as I can help you, I’ll be there for you.”
After crossing over to the Senate, Brown referenced Steinberg’s “incredible faith in this government to do almost anything.”
"You've got more damn vision than anyone else I've ever met, because those visions have to be paid for," Brown said.
Brown’s remarks were the most notable moment in a long procession of lawmakers offering up plaudits to the soon-to-be-departed Democratic leaders.
In the Assembly, they told stories of Pérez personally supporting them politically and personally, highlighted his tactical skills and lauded his role in steering California from the pit of a recession to a budget surplus.
Some snark surfaced. Before pivoting to praise, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, referenced Pérez’s recent concession in a razor-thin statewide race.
"There won't be any controller involved in my speech at all,” Gatto said. “Too soon?”