Millions misspent? Gov. Jerry Brown finds it ‘boring’


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Gov. Jerry Brown, a self-proclaimed penny pincher who takes pride in flying Southwest and crashing at the homes of friends instead of hotels while away on state business, was uncharacteristically blasé when asked about millions of dollars that appear to have been spent improperly by the state’s firefighting agency.

The funds have been reported about extensively, first in the Times and the Wall Street Journal, and followed by stories in other major media outlets.


Asked if he could talk about the issue during a news conference in West Sacramento, Brown said he couldn’t, as he hadn’t read any of the coverage. “I find it a relatively boring story, to tell you the truth,” he said. “But I’ll certainly look into it. If there’s a few million bucks lying around and someone didn’t put it in the right account, we’ll figure it out. We appreciate you bringing these things to my attention because nobody else did.”

The comments rankled GOP legislator and prompted Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) to issue a statement a couple of hours later.

“After the $40-million state parks fund scandal, the governor assured us there were no other hidden pots of money to be found in the depths of state government,” Huff said in the statement. “But just weeks later, we see there’s a completely different money-hiding scandal unfolding at CalFire. I can’t speak for the governor, but ‘boring’ is the last word I would use to describe these very disturbing revelations of hidden funds.”

Huff went on: “Thousands of people worked a lot of hours to produce those ‘few million bucks’ the governor so casually dismisses. As my father used to say, if you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.”


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-- Evan Halper in Sacramento