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.
"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."
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.
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."
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.
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.