Capitol Alert

Video: While protests continue, Jerry Brown mum

Protestors chained together block the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street in front of the Oakland Police department on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. Demonstrators blocked streets around Oakland police headquarters and chained themselves to the front of the building Monday to protest recent grand jury decisions not to indict white officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York.
Protestors chained together block the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street in front of the Oakland Police department on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. Demonstrators blocked streets around Oakland police headquarters and chained themselves to the front of the building Monday to protest recent grand jury decisions not to indict white officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York. AP

OAKLAND – While protests flared just blocks away over grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, Gov. Jerry Brown declined on Monday to offer any reaction.

“I’m here to talk about climate change,” Brown said before speaking at an environmental forum just hours after protesters surrounded the Oakland Police Department headquarters. Brown has made no public statements about continued unrest in Oakland and Los Angeles.

On Monday, Brown joked that reporters questioning him in front of his chair were “kind of occupying my seat.”

Then, after speaking, the former mayor of Oakland slipped out a side entrance and down the back stairs.

Brown has a record of not reacting to controversial events, with delayed responses in recent years to matters involving gun control and immigration.

In his remarks at a climate forum Monday, the Democratic governor repeated a worry he has previously expressed about climate change – that it is difficult to draw attention to because the problem is developing only gradually.

“This is a profoundly important problem and challenge for California, for humanity,” he said. “But it is extremely difficult because it is diffuse. It is very slow and global in its buildup, so that it doesn’t become an event that’s perceivable by the ordinary eye.”

He contrasted climate change with the hostage situation in Australia, which he said “becomes a very powerful flash of news across the screens of the world.”

Global warming, Brown said, “is hard to grasp.”

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

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