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Gov. Brown discusses issues with SCV group

Posted: March 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.

SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown gave citizens of Santa Clarita a mini state of the union speech during a stop at a Sacramento restaurant Monday night where they were dining during a two-day lobbying trip.

Brown was one of several state officials the delegation of local government, business, nonprofit and education officials are meeting with during the Santa Clarita Valley's seventh annual trip to the capital to have it issues heard.

"It isn't as bad as you might think nor as good as you might want," Brown told the visitors at the Firehouse Restaurant near the Capitol building.

The governor, in a sometimes-rambling discussion, talked about not only the problems the state faces, but also the many good things the state still possesses.

Brown noted polls show that very few people believe Congress and the state government are doing what they want them to do and added, "as adults, we know that things aren't perfect."

He said state officials were trying to work through some tough issues and certain "filters" or "belief systems" Democrats, Republicans and others hold make that road more difficult. But he added the parties must work together to resolve the state's problems.

"If we're going to make the tough decisions, it can't be all one party," he said, adding, "we all need attitude adjustments."

Brown rattled off a list of issues, such as schools, state prison realignment, water and pension reform, that needed to be addressed and said there is a "path of common sense" that needed to be taken.

Brown said, however, there were still a lot of "good things" in California and that its citizens have a lot to be thankful for.

"Our state is one of the richest places in the world," he said.

Brown, a Democrat, complimented Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, for his service to the state and his willingness to try to resolve issues. He called Smyth "one of the most reasonable people of either party." Smyth introduced Brown to the group.

At the dinner, the delegation also heard from state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Earlier on Monday, the attendees had a spirited discussion about the elimination of redevelopment agencies with Pedro Reyes, chief deputy director of the state Department of Finance. Reyes said some redevelopment districts across the state that are building things, such as fire stations and libraries, weren't necessarily creating economic benefits for their cities. He added there is a question whether the state should be spending money on local economic development.

Santa Clarita Valley residents countered that vacant properties in any city don't provide economic benefit to anybody and local areas can't be assured that eliminating redevelopment districts and redirecting the money to education will mean local schools will get any extra money.

The delegation also met with Steve Nissen, vice president of legal and government affairs at NBC Universal, concerning state film tax credits.

Nissen and Smyth said it is crucial that the state's $100 million film tax credit program be extended when it expires next year.

"A big movie is like a big factory that employs 800 to 2,000 people each year," Nissen said.

The annual Sacramento trip is organized by KHTS-AM 1220.



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