Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown, fracking, in sculpture at state fair

An artist who once cleaned Gov. Jerry Brown’s apartment is now portraying him in an unflattering sculpture on display at the California State Fair.

The sculpture, “Happy Fracking Day,” is the latest barb at the Democratic governor by critics of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial form of oil extraction. Brown, appearing with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Brown’s dog, Sutter, is shown with a knife in hand, standing over a California-shaped cake decorated with an oil derrick.

The artist, Laura Harling, once worked as a janitor for the state, and she said she filled in for a couple of months cleaning Brown’s apartment when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983. She has previously sculpted Brown sitting in the lotus position and dancing with Newsom.

“I really wasn’t planning on doing another one of Jerry, but the Fracking thing was just, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to do another sculpture,” Harling said.

Brown, a Democrat, frustrated environmentalists when he signed legislation last year establishing a permitting system for hydraulic fracturing, in which water and chemicals are injected underground to break up rock formations.

At the state fair, Harling’s sculpture received an award of merit.