At a time when economic, environmental, and demographic forces are changing California, Governor Jerry Brown’s chief aide, Nancy McFadden, was asked to describe three administration priorities requiring bold leadership.
The first priority is keeping the state on a fiscally stable road, she told PPIC president and CEO Mark Baldassare before a Sacramento audience last week. This requires tough choices, she said, as the governor demonstrated when he vetoed bills that were worthy ideas but had budget implications for the state General Fund.
“Sometimes bold leadership means saying no,” she said.
Second, the administration will continue to implement the far-reaching changes adopted in past years, such as corrections realignment and the Local Control Funding Formula for schools, which targets money to the state’s neediest students and shifts funding control to the local level.
McFadden said the third priority is the “whole panoply of climate change and environment issues facing not only our state but our world.” Extreme weather events—drought, wildfires, and flooding—pose immediate challenges that have to be managed.
McFadden’s conversation with Baldassare was followed by a panel discussion about leadership—what it takes and when elected officials have demonstrated it. The panelists were Jim Brulte, chair of the California Republican Party and former state senate Republican leader; state senators Loni Hancock and Carol Liu; and Darrell Steinberg, chair of the California Government Law and Policy Practice at Greenberg Traurig and former senate president pro tem. The moderator was John Myers, Sacramento bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times.