Gov. Jerry Brown inaugurated for fourth term

Gov. Jerry Brown was sworn into a historic fourth term on Monday morning, and then delivered an address combining the normally separate inaugural and state of the state speeches.

Below L.A. Times reporters and editors offer commentary and perspective.

Four terms may not be enough

Brown on criminal sentencing laws

Brown repeatedly has made it clear he believes the state’s criminal sentencing laws need attention. In 2013, as he vetoed a bill to make drug possession a potential misdemeanor, he said the state was about to “examine in detail California’s criminal justice system, including the current sentencing structure.” He has yet to follow up on calls to create a sentencing commission to standardize some 5,000 criminal penalties Brown blamed for current prison crowding problems.

--Paige St. John

Understanding Brown

When the storm comes

Jerry Brown inaugural reprises the “take-the-long-view” theme of his reelection campaign: California must build on rock, not sand, he says, so the house stands when the storm comes.

--Michael Finnegan

Reaction from Times journalists

On climate change

Transcript: Gov. Jerry Brown's inaugural address

"Members of the Legislature, the Judiciary, Constitutional Officers, the extended family of my pioneering ancestors and fellow Californians:

An inauguration is always a special occasion but today it is particularly special as I think about that day 40 years ago when my father and mother watched me take the oath as California’s 34th governor. It is also special because of how far we have come in the last four years. Then, the state was deep in debt – $26 billion – and our unemployment rate was 12.1 percent. Now, the state budget, after a decade of fiscal turbulence, is finally balanced – more precariously than I would like – but balanced. California has seen more than 1.3 million new jobs created in just four years and the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2 percent. Thanks goes to the Legislature for cutting spending, the economy for recovering and the people for voting for temporary taxes."

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Looking for bipartisan cooperation

Jerry Brown looking for more bipartisan cooperation along the lines of 2014 water and rainy-day-fund deals, calling for Republicans and Democrats to join forces on roads and highway upgrades.

--Michael Finnegan

A precariously balanced budget

There’s a mixed financial report card from Gov. Jerry Brown in his inaugural address. He touted the $2.8 billion he said will be deposited in a rainy-day fund by the end of the year, and the upcoming final payment on $15 billion in borrowing needed to balance the budget during the recession. But he said the budget is balanced “more precariously than I would like,” and warned of rising costs for public healthcare and retirement benefits for state employees.

--Chris Megerian

Brown remembers Dad


Hitting education hard

Reading from the script

From father to son

In early remarks

Brown officially sworn into office

Billionaire Tom Steyer at state of state

The image-reality chasm

Highlights from Brown's state of the state

Cell phones and long speeches

Word of the day

Dignitaries set to hear Brown speak

Lower turnout in 2014

Jerry Brown kicked off his first inaugural address in 1975 by bemoaning low voter turnout.

Turnout was even lower in 2014 (31% of eligible voters) than in 1974 (46.5%).

Here's the full text of his 1975 speech.

--Chris Megerian

In 2014, Brown on money

Jerry Brown cover of Newsweek

A lengthy career for Brown

Then and now: Brown's excellent adventure

Steve Brodner / For The Times

Illustrator Steve Brodner takes a comic look at Brown through the years.

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Wayback machine: Brown's 1975 inaugural address

Los Angeles Times

Jerry Brown brought a laid-back approach to his first inaugural address. Just 36 at the time of his swearing in, Brown told those gathered on Jan. 6, 1975 that he wasn't going to make a "formalistic address. I just want to tell you what's on my mind."

And he started by telling everyone "we ought to put this whole thing into perspective."

"We have all come through an election, and what have we learned? More than half the people who could have voted, refused, apparently believing that what we do here has so little impact on their lives that they need not pass judgment on it. In other words, the biggest vote of all in November was a vote of no confidence. So our first order of business is to regain the trust and confidence of the people we serve."

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History on Jerry Brown in office

Brown began his first term as governor in 1975

Gov. Jerry Brown to speak to lawmakers

Priorities for the governor

The governor has expressed interest in new pollution restrictions, expanding efforts to combat climate change and finding ways to continue stabilizing California's notoriously unpredictable finances.

Brown has also pushed forward with the $68-billion bullet train project, which was approved by voters before he returned to the governor's office in 2011, but has suffered declining popularity and uncertain funding.

--Chris Megerian

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The governor's busy week

After being sworn into office, Brown will deliver a speech to both houses of the Legislature, which will serve as his inaugural address and state of the state speech.

Brown will be in Fresno on Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony as construction begins in earnest on the first segment of the rail line, stretching 29 miles north to Madera.

On Friday, Brown is scheduled to unveil a new budget proposal. California's finances have rebounded with the help of an improving economy, but there are still major, unresolved problems left.

--Chris Megerian

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Beholding his legacy

Over the next four years, to the extent I have the ability, the physical and intellectual stamina and capacity, I'm going to do my utmost to live up to the promise of California that brought my great-grandfather, August Schuckman, here to Sacramento in 1852.
Gov. Brown, on election night

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