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Jerry Brown defends appointment of ousted former schools chief Bill Honig

January 5, 2011 |  2:17 pm

In between meetings with legislative leaders Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown defended his appointment of Bill Honig, the former state schools chief convicted 18 years ago on conflict-of-interest charges, to the State Board of Education.

"He has the knowledge and skill to be quite valuable, and it would be a shame to waste that," the governor said.

Brown said he expected some controversy: "You can't create an omelet without breaking the eggs."

He said he expected Californians to be forgiving. "I don't think people discriminate against people who perform well for the state and people who run into problems and make amends," Brown said. "That's the way it should be considered."

Honig served on the education board during Brown's first stint as governor. He is one of seven appointments Brown made to the schools panel Wednesday.

Honig was convicted by a Sacramento Superior Court jury for using state Department of Education funds to finance a project his wife had created to urge parents to get involved in the education of their children. He had served as schools chief from 1983 until the conviction forced his resignation. He was sentenced to four years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. The charges were later reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

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