Jerry Brown is proud to be 'Governor Moonbeam'

The Sacramento BeeApril 13, 2011 

SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Jerry Brown, reflecting on his advanced age and decades-old nickname, said on the 100th day of his third term that he is still the "moonbeam" governor he was before.

"I didn't get that for nothing," Brown told business leaders in San Francisco, where he took his campaign for tax extensions Tuesday. "I worked very hard for it."

Brown, last governor from 1975 to 1983, said the title "implies something different, something unexpected."

The Democratic governor's unorthodox appointments and interest in a state space program years ago caused Chicago columnist Mike Royko to call him "Governor Moonbeam." The label stuck, and Royko later apologized. But in two speeches Tuesday, Brown reveled in it.

"You can't be afraid to be called a moonbeam, weird, deviant, interesting, unexpected," Brown said in Milpitas, where he signed a renewable energy bill.

Brown, 73, is quirky, if not weird.

"Any chance we can turn the lights up so I can see you?" he said when he took the podium to address the Bay Area Council in San Francisco. "It's always a little strange to be speaking to just shadowy figures."

Early in his third term, Brown has charmed lawmakers and observers alike with his accessibility, his lack of entourage and, yes, his pet corgi. The Democratic governor started budget negotiations far earlier than in previous years, and he enacted $11.2 billion in spending cuts.

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