Op-ed: Governor Brown, meet Rick Perry at the airport

150 150 Ed Coghlan

Rick Perry and Jerry Brown traded shots over California’s business climate this week. (Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (left) &
Bob Tilden (right))

When I heard that Texas Governor Rick Perry is coming to California looking for jobs, I immediately thought of a golf course.

Recently I had the great privilege to play a round of golf at San Francisco Golf Club. In addition to being one of the great courses in the nation, it is also near the grounds of the last legal gun duel held in California (just off the 7th hole to be specific). For you California history buffs, the duel was between U.S. Senator David Broderick and California Supreme Chief Justice David Terry over the issue of slavery.

Gun duels are no longer legal, of course. They were abolished in California soon after the 1859 duel that wound up in Broderick’s death.

But last I heard, debates are still legal. And wouldn’t it be great if, when Perry lands in California, Jerry Brown is there to meet him, cameras rolling, with a verbal fusillade at the ready.

California is on the way back.

As Brown said in his recent State of the State address, “California lost 1.3 million jobs in the great Recession, but we are coming back at a faster pace than the nation. The new Office of Business and Economic Development–GoBiz–directly assisted more than 5,000 companies this past year.”

As you no doubt have heard, Perry has been making news recently talking about inviting California businesses to re-locate to Texas. Now he has, with great fanfare, announced he will visit the state–in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Orange–as part of a public-private partnership called TexasOne.

Perry took out an ad on a few California radio stations last week where he said, “Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible. This is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and I have a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas.”

OK, let’s check it out.

You may remember during the short and meteoric presidential campaign of Governor Perry that he and his state came under attack for having the largest percentage of jobs that pay the minimum wage or lower of any state in the union. Some of those statistics are being revisited, given Perry’s visit to California.

While things may be bigger in Texas, wages apparently aren’t among them.

Governor Brown, who is articulate in a way that Governor Perry is not, should engage Perry briskly, aggressively and often. We know it wouldn’t be a fair fight. Most likely it wouldn’t be much of a fight at all. But it’s time that California flexed its muscle.

That’s because the California economy is stirring…an economy that most countries would love to have even in an injured state.

The people who lead California, like Governor Brown and his economic team, have heard the people of this state when we say there is nothing more important to do than fixing the economy.

And remedies are underway. For one, the California Economic Summit has identified seven Signature Initiatives, including workforce training and infrastructure investment, which Californians in regions all over the state have been working on in the past year in order to improve job creation and the state’s economic climate.

Governor Perry’s timing may be a bit off here. A couple of years ago, when the California economic climate was really in the doldrums, he should have made his move on employers here.

But he was probably too busy and running for President. Who can forget this famous Perry blooper from the campaign?

Jerry Brown would make mincemeat of Governor Perry in a debate.

Maybe he ought to. Californians need to be reminded that this state is on the way back. 


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan