Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, largely absent from public view since Election Day, next week will launch an unusual, highly public campaign to tell Californians how dire the state budget crisis really is.
The event – a forum to which Brown is inviting the state's lawmakers – is at least in part a political measure by Brown to remind voters that the budget crisis is inherited. It also is to prepare the Legislature and the public for a January budget proposal in which Brown, facing an estimated $25.4 billion deficit, is almost certain to make highly unpopular recommendations.
Brown, the 72-year-old former governor, won't take office until Jan. 3, and the forum in Sacramento on Wednesday will occur as lawmakers convene in a special budget session called by the incumbent governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Democrat Brown is likely the following week to host a forum with education leaders in the Los Angeles area and to discuss health and human services in the Bay Area, but those plans are tentative.
"Certainly this is out of the ordinary," said Renee Van Vechten, an assistant professor of government at the University of Redlands. "It's a bit of an orientation to Jerry Brown and his administration and his style of working with people. It's not just about the budget."
Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said Schwarzenegger was made aware of the meeting and did not object.
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