Sutter Brown playing cards are a hit in the Capitol

Two playing cards handed out by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration during his State of the State speech on Wednesday.
(Chris Megerian / Los Angeles Times)

When members of Gov. Jerry Brown’s office handed out copies of the State of the State speech on Wednesday, they tucked in a surprise -- a playing card with a picture of Sutter Brown, the governor’s popular corgi.

The cards were playful and portentous.

On the front of each card was a photo of the First Dog and a quote like “always keep a bone buried in the back yard” or “bark if you hate deficits!”

The back showed a chart depicting how California’s finances have seesawed between deficits and surpluses -- a warning to be careful with the state’s new influx of tax revenue. Below the chart was another quote, this one from philosopher George Santayana, saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


Brown flashed one of the cards during his speech, drawing laughs from the crowd.

One question quickly ricocheted around the Capitol -- how can you get a full deck of cards?

Alas, souvenir seekers might be out of luck. Christina Gutierrez, the owner of the Sacramento shop that printed the cards, was pleased to hear the cards were a hit but said complete sets weren’t available.

“I don’t plan on doing anything like that,” she said.

Gutierrez said her shop has done some work for the governor’s office in the past, and administration officials sent over the graphics for the cards on Monday. They wanted 300 cards.

“That was it,” Gutierrez said. “We had time, so we pushed it through.”

Evan Westrup, a Brown spokesman, said the cost of the cards will be covered by the governor and his wife, Anne Gust Brown.

Brown has cut back on taxpayer-funded, promotional souvenirs like key chains and coffee mugs that were given away by state agencies in the past.

From 2007 to 2010, more than $7.5 million was spent on such “freebies,” according to administration figures.



Gavin Newsom enjoys spotlight before yielding it to Brown

Republican, Democratic lawmakers divided over Brown speech

State of the State live: Jerry Brown talks California drought, budget surplus

Twitter: @chrismegerian