Gov. Jerry Brown knew the room was against him when he showed up for a farm show here Wednesday.
But Brown has a controversial water project to promote and is trying to make inroads in rural California. He put on a flannel shirt and opened with a joke.
"I checked out the voting history of Colusa County," Brown said.
Not only has the county opposed the Democratic governor every time he has been on a ballot, Brown said, but it overwhelmingly voted against a similar, unsuccessful, water plan Brown championed when he was governor before, in 1982.
* * *Later – after Brown had toured the farm show, sat on a tractor and announced that he will build a house on family land nearby – even his second cousin's reaction suggested how difficult it may be for Brown to find support among area farmers for his $14 billion plan. Brown is proposing to build two tunnels to divert water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the south.
* * *Appearing at a farm show in a rural, relatively tiny county is indicative of how significant the project is to the governor.
Wow, I guess a California governor has to be pretty desperate about something really important--like water for southern Californians--to spend time visiting a rural area, even paying lipservice to their interests and concerns.
The story concludes:
The story concludes:
Following Brown's address, he made small talk with farmers and exhibitors as he strode through the grounds. Brown ate a few prunes, asked about machinery and appeared all but ready, at one booth, to purchase a flagpole.
At the suggestion of first lady Anne Gust Brown, the governor put his dog, Sutter, on a tractor. His wife told him it would make good "publicity for the (farm) show."Colusa is the county seat of Colusa County, population 21,419, which is one California's six original counties.
In other rural news, it was revealed this week that the Brown administration has been using funds from the controversial rural fire protection fee to investigate and "chase" fire starters, a practice the Office of Legislative Counsel views as a violation of state law. Read more here. Some background on the fee is here. Now, Brown has posted a bill that would permit the state to use the fire fund "beyond where fee payers live." His bill would "additionally include fire projects in areas that immediately threaten state responsibility areas." Meanwhile, Republican legislators are proposing to eliminate the fee altogether. Read more here. Currently, about 825,000 rural home owners pay the $150 annual fee.