Happy birthday, Jerry Brown.
The Democratic governor turns 79 today. Brown plans to celebrate his last year as a septuagenarian by gathering some of his oldest friends, including a number from his days in the Forest Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, to break bread.
They’ll finish with a banana cake, which First Lady Anne Gust Brown makes every year from his mother’s recipe.
For at least one past birthday, the Democratic governor dined at Tomaso’s in San Francisco’s North Beach, a venerated red-sauce-and-Chianti joint that for decades was known for its pizza, crusty and fired in a wood-burning oven.
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Spirits should be high this year, as Brown got a birthday present late Thursday when the Legislature sent him a $52 billion package, funded by fuel taxes and registration fees, to pay for road repairs.
Brown occasionally returns to the subject of his advancing age at political events, comparing his mature self with his youthful version, who famously slept on a mattress on the floor and rode around in a blue Plymouth rather than a state-issued limo.
Most of the recent references relating to his age involve the reminder that in less than two years he’ll be blissfully retired at his cabin in the country. During a chat with reporters earlier this month in Washington, Brown said he envisions his 2,500-acre family ranch west of Williams, in Colusa County, as a salon of sorts.
“It’s a great place to discuss serious matters,” he said.
But at an appearance for the tax hike last week in Concord, somebody in the audience, perhaps in jest, suggested he run for president again in 2020. Brown noted that he would be 82 by then.
“But, you know, don’t rule it out,” he quipped, generating a round of laughter and applause.
In his first 2010 gubernatorial debate with Republican Meg Whitman, Brown flashed his trademark irreverence when asked if he would run for the presidency, as he did during his first two gubernatorial terms, from 1975 to 1983.
“Hell, if I was younger, you know I’d be running again,” Brown shot back.
“But I’d say at 74, whatever it’s going to be in a couple of years, I’m ready. One more thing, I now have a wife. And I come home at night. I don’t try to close down the bars of Sacramento like I used to do when I was governor of California.”
Brown was just 36 when he was first elected governor, and many of his key aides were still in their twenties.
“I used to say, ‘Take the ins and throw them out, and take the outs and put them in,’” Brown, reflecting on his once-proud outsider status, told a joint session of the Legislature three years ago. “I don’t say that anymore. My message: There’s no substitute for experience.”
IMMIGRATION: Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, is encouraging undocumented people to go through immigration screenings and apply for citizenship. Correa is expected to speak at an event in Santa Ana today, emphasizing that there are 220,000 immigrants in Orange County eligible for naturalization.
The event, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is at Rancho Santiago Community College in Santa Ana. It begins at 4 p.m.
FOSTER CARE: The Assembly’s select committee on foster care meets at 10 a.m. in Room 125 of the Capitol for a legislative briefing to discuss foster parent recruitment and retention.
FEEDING THE ELDERLY: Federal funding for the Meals on Wheels program is the subject of a news conference scheduled in Fremont starting at 9:30 a.m. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Fremont and Assemblywoman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, will discuss potential cuts to the program that provides meals for more than 2.4 million seniors each year in 5,000 communities across the United States. There is an anticipated 17.9 percent budget cut proposed by President Donald Trump to the Department of Health and Human Services, which could shrink the Meals on Wheels program.
The news conference is in the parking lot behind 3300 Capitol Ave., Fremont. Other speakers include Fremont Mayor Lily Mei and Newark Mayor Alan Nagy.
CHILD POVERTY: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Karen Bass and John Lewis will join Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Marina Del Rey, this Sunday for a rally to draw attention to child poverty.
Burke has proposed Assembly Bill 1520 to identify programs, funding and services the state can use to reduce child poverty 50 percent by 2037. The rally in support of her bill is set for 12 p.m. Sunday at the St. John Well Child & Family Center in South Los Angeles. The proposed legislation encourages the advancement of early childhood education, child care, prenatal services and job training.
TOWN HALL PROTEST: The activist group “Indivisible” is planning a demonstration prior to Republican Congressman Tom McClintock’s town hall Saturday in Loomis. Those aligned with “Indivisible” plan to highlight what they call McClintock’s “ties to President Donald Trump and the regressive agenda of the Republican party.”
The town hall begins at 10 a.m. in the gym at Del Oro High School in Loomis.
THERE OUT TO BE A LAW: State Sen. Jeff Stone is visiting Shadow Hills High School in Indio to congratulate Robert Ortega, who this year won the contest “there ought to be a law” encouraging high school students to propose bills that could become state law. Ortega’s idea led to Senate Bill 583, which would require high school students to take a course on financial literacy.
WORTH REPEATING: “We have to make sure that we do everything we can to change people,” Brown, making a pitch for prison rehabilitation programs, at a rally for crime victims on Thursday.
CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to the following lawmakers who will celebrate their birthdays during the legislative recess: Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, turns 57 on Monday. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, turns 35 on Wednesday, April 12. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, turns 65 next Thursday and Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, turns 73. Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, turns 40 Friday. State Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, turns 67 on Easter Sunday.