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Jerry Brown talks regulations, pensions, kale

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During a sometimes rambling conversation with philanthropist and former financier Michael Milken, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday pledged to conduct a thorough review of unnecessary state regulations and rein in state pensions.

Milken interviewed Brown as part of his Milken Institute's annual State of the State conference at the Beverly Hilton. California's governor bemoaned excessive regulation and pointed to his signature of a bill that protects a proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles from protracted litigation as a way to improve the economy.

"Call my office," Brown told business leaders, "if you can't get a permit."

Brown, 73, also vowed to fix the state's pricey public pension system, but said he wasn't ready to offer details. "I won't take my pension until I've solved the pension problem," he vowed. In a brief conversation with reporters afterward, Brown said he was kidding.

In his remarks to reporters, Brown also defended his signing of the California Dream Act last week, which allows illegal immigrants to get state-funded scholarships at public universities. He said the law will allow the state's brightest youths to flourish.

"Having the top kid become a scientist or a professor is better than sweeping the floors," Brown said.

Milken, a survivor of prostate cancer, and the governor also talked about the obesity epidemic and the need for Americans to eat better. Brown said he's 30 pounds lighter than at his peak weight. "What I recently got very excited about," he said, "is kale."

-Jean Merl

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Photo: Gov. Jerry brown signs the state budget in June. Credit: Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee.

 
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