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PolitiCal Roundup: Voter backing for Jerry Brown, a plea for the idea of government

April 25, 2011 |  1:42 pm

--"I'm not a jerk," Gov. Jerry Brown tells Times columnist George Skelton, who zings Brown for not extracting as many concessions from unions as he said he would.

--Meanwhile, a poll gives Brown's efforts a boost. Sixty percent of respondents -- including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans -- back his proposal to hold an election on extending some taxes to plug budget holes.

--Another striking finding from the same poll: In this reliably blue state, a whopping majority would cap pensions -- not just for future public employees, but also for current ones.

A union official blames envy of perks most workers can no longer hope for. For example, many police officers can retire at 50 with a large chunk of their working pay.

--Brown uses his whistlestop tour to defend not just taxes, but also the very notion of having a government to collect them in the first place. It's really not such a bad thing, he argues: Government is "the mechanism by which ... all of us in California articulate and work together on a common purpose."

--And more budget-cut tales from the trenches: In San Diego, officials assess planned cuts in children's services. They claim the proposed cuts will result in more asthma patients in emergency rooms, and more skipped dental exams. Children's advocates plan to fight in court.