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Jerry Brown talks MLK, budget and alludes to Fox News in Sacramento speech

January 20, 2011 | 10:42 am

Gov. Jerry Brown invoked the words of Martin Luther King Jr., defended his divisive budget plan and took some swipes at Fox News in a morning speech in Sacramento Thursday.

Brown was the keynote speaker at a breakfast sponsored by the California Legislative Black Caucus to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Brown again defended his proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies, and move most of that money to schools in future years. “We’re paying for Peter to pay Paul. We take from redevelopment and we put $1 billion into schools. That’s a good thing,” Brown said.

In remarks after the speech, Brown said billions would be cut from public schools if voters do not approve his plan for billions in tax extensions. “I’m prioritizing schools because they’ve been cut more in the last few years ...” he said. “It is very difficult to cut many parts of the social service budget, same is true in public safety, so education often bear the disproportionate set of cuts. Just as if the tax extensions are defeated, the schools again will get major reductions."

Earlier this week, Brown promised to roll out more plans to reform the state’s pension system. But he hesitated Thursday when asked if pensions may become part of the current budget discussion in the Legislature. “I don’t want to put too much on the table. Then the whole thing collapses,” he said.

There was some vintage Brown at the speech. On his 28-year hiatus since he was last governor he said, “I feel like Rip Van Winkle,” and as usual, he spoke without notes. “If you just make it up as you go along, you’re always on point,” Brown said. But he did take time to decry the partisan political environment in Sacramento and Washington, and take some swipes at a conservative mainstay. He said “the attacks on President Obama go beyond what is usual” especially on “that channel, you know the one I’m talking about,” a clear allusion to Fox News. “Really strange stuff,” he said.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento