Jerry Brown: I was praising mayors, not bashing them

Attorney General Jerry Brown is none-too-happy about news reports saying he frowned upon the role of mayors and questioned whether they are fit to be governors during a speech in The City on Wednesday.

Brown told The Examiner on Thursday that his speech was grossly misquoted and that what he had really told attendees at a Geary Boulevard merchants event was the exact opposite of what newspapers had reported.

Two separate reports Thursday had Brown saying that mayors spend most of their time “raising money, talking to the press and doing photo ops” and that the job is “not about people,” among other comments.

Brown said those quotes were describing his experiences as the state’s governor, not as Oakland’s mayor, and that “it doesn’t make sense” to think he meant it in any other way.

The news reports implied that Brown may have been attacking gubernatorial hopeful Mayor Gavin Newsom. The mayor responded Thursday by saying Brown had insulted all U.S. mayors and is “taking shots” at him on a daily basis.

Brown denies taking shots at Newsom during what he called a light-hearted speech that was meant to praise locality. He never mentioned Newsom in the speech.

Brown called the role of mayor “vital” Thursday afternoon.

“My whole point is you’re not in one place when you’re the governor, you’re in many different places,” Brown said Thursday. “You don’t spend most of your time raising money when you’re a mayor, when you’re a governor you do.”

When you’re mayor, you get the benefit of seeing the same people on the same streets and “knowing the people, knowing their face, their name, their family,” Brown said.

“That’s just a different experience than the more abstract role of dealing with [all of California],” he said.
 

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