Capitol Alert

‘We’re doing everything we can,’ Jerry Brown says of dam emergency

California Gov. Jerry Brown, appealing to the Trump administration for direct federal assistance on the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway, said Monday that he remains encouraged that the state and federal government can work constructively.

“There will be different points of view,” Brown said, touching on President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about defunding the state while lauding the Republican’s calls for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. “But we’re all one America, and we all have challenges that we share in common. And as we defend America, we defend California, and vice versa.”

Brown said that he had spoken personally with a recently confirmed Cabinet member about federal assistance for the dam.

There will be several “things that get scrutiny” in the wake of the dam emergency, Brown said, adding that the crisis should spur more infrastructure analysis and investment.

“Every time you have one of these disasters, people perk up and start looking at analogous situations and things that you might not have paid as much attention to,” he said. “But we live in a world of risk – the earthquake shook the Bay Bridge, and then we the state and all the different governors had to put up a new bridge.”

He would not say when the evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people would be lifted, but suspected that sheriff’s officials in Butte County would have an update on Tuesday. “We’re doing everything we can to get this dam in shape that they can return and they can live safely without fear. It’s very difficult. It’s hard to understand how people have been able to evacuate so quickly and the disturbance to their lives.

“My heart goes out to all those who have to live ... with the fear. It is serious and our folks are doing the best that they can,” Brown added.

And he said he doesn’t expect to visit the site of the dam.

“Right now they are busy,” Brown said.

“I don’t think they need politicians fluttering around. ... That’s my point ... This is not law. It’s not politics. It’s not what I am used to. So I am going to leave this to the engineers and apply whatever appropriate management and monitoring and good skeptical eye that I can apply.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago