Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
I see that Jerry Brown wants to live above a bar on J Street.  What’s with this guy?  Why doesn’t he live in a nice house or the governor’s mansion?
–Puzzled in Carmichael

Dear Puzzled,
I see from your question that you are too young to remember Jerry’s first eight years as governor, when he lived in a little apartment on N Street, slept on a mattress on the floor (I always wondered if Linda Ronstadt ever slept there) and drove that ugly little blue Plymouth.  

Even the Dems are gonna have to remember that Jerry may have had Jesuit training, but he has the instincts of a Franciscan friar.

The first year he was governor he had his finance director write a letter to the Legislature recommending that the budget writers cut his agency secretaries’ salaries from $43,000 to $40,000.  Couldn’t have these glorified bureaucrats makin’ a king’s ransom.  Wouldn’t look right.    

In Jerry’s bachelor days he was the kind of guy who only had a six-pack of Bud, a leftover salami sandwich and an expired carton of milk in his fridge.  And as for living above a bar, that’s his natural habitat.  

You may not know that during Governorship One, about nine or ten o’clock at night, he would leave the corner office surrounded by three or four of his minions that always included his administrative assistant Lucie Gikovich and go across the street to David’s Brass Rail, a salty little bar run by the now-deceased David Chou.  

“Gimme a Bud,” he’d  announce to David in a voice about three decibels too loud for the small bar. Then he’d turn to whatever reporter was at the bar and engage in banter about the reporter’s latest story on some poor appointee in his administration. The conversation then would usually disintegrate into a Jerry Brown soliloquy on the theory of a perpetual motion machine or something else that the reporter could not remember the next morning.

Not that I was at David’s to witness these events, of course, because at that hour I was generally at Eilish’s pub warbling country songs with my poor misguided Republican friend, Assemblyman Ross Johnson.  But I digress.

Why doesn’t he want to live in a nice house, you say?  That’s like asking an aesthetic monk if he’d like to live in the Trump mansion.  Of course then was then, and from where I am, I don’t know for sure how Anne Gust Brown might have changed his taste for luxury, but I’m guessing, to paraphrase an old saw, that you can take the boy out of bachelorhood, but you can’t take the bachelorhood out of the boy.

As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to bet that Jerry knew exactly where he wanted to live during his second stint as governor after he read the article that a local magazine ran awhile back that called his new digs “The Ultimate Bachelor Pad.”

So I’m thinking that at age 72 Jerry figured, “Why walk across the street for a beer at ten o’clock at night when I can rent an apartment and just walk downstairs.”

So in the next year or two if you happen to be downtown about 10 on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening and a bald guy with fuzzy eyebrows bellies up to the bar and sez in a voice that can be heard three stools away, “Gimme a Bud,” just saunter over and ask him what he’d say to ol’ Jess if he was here.  I’ll be hummin’ “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” in the background and listenin’ for his answer.

And as for Jerry livin’ in the old governor’s mansion at 16th and H, are you kidding me?  Jerry grew up in that drafty old relic, which was so decrepit that Nancy Reagan wouldn’t even live in it back in the ’60s.  

At age 72, Jerry doesn’t need anything near him that can be called an old relic.

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: