Brown flies solo to LA chamber speech
February 10, 2011
Gov. Jerry Brown flew from Sacramento to Los Angeles Thursday morning to deliver a major speech before the Chamber of Commerce. That, in and of itself, is not news. But people are talking because the new California governor made the trip solo, without aides or security, in business class, on Southwest Airlines Flight 896. [LA Times]
And he wouldn’t even pay the extra $18 for a seat upgrade.
Brown took his seat in the fourth row with a white briefing binder on his lap -– a binder that remained closed for most of the flight. The governor spent the bulk of hourlong trip talking to Tianne Rios, an employee of the state Department of Corrections who teaches special education classes to incarcerated youth.
Brown shook hands with a couple of well-wishers, some of whom snapped shots of the governor with their cellphone cameras.
In his 11-minute speech Thursday night, Brown warned the Los Angeles business community of the dire straits facing California because of the $25 billion budget deficit. He urged a special election in June to let voters decide whether to extend current taxes.
In an era of political celebrity, Brown’s throwback style is a welcome change for some. Mark Pinkus, a senior vice president for Rhino Records, was also on the flight, and called Brown’s presence “refreshing. I think it’s great that he’s so accessible,” Pinkus said.