Jerry Brown’s Gas Problem…Among Newer, More Noxious Issues of Our Returning Governor

11 Jan

I am a kid waiting out a long line in my father’s prized maroon 280z when I first heard Governor Jerry Brown had a problem with gas.  I laugh when my father tells me this because I’m imagining it’s the airy kind that sounds funny coming out and makes everyone hold in their breath.  He’s given me no indication I’ve misunderstood.  He even makes a farting noise when we finally reach the pump.  It was always in my father’s nature to make a joke during hard times.  We’ve been in line for the past hour and a half waiting to fuel up at the local Chevron.  My father is among the lucky.  Since he’s self-employed, he gets a decal to buy gas whenever he wants.  If my mother or other neighbors on our cul-de-sac, who also work, want to gas up, they have to take their turns on odd or even days, according to certain numbers on their license plate.

And while remembering that moment with my father makes me smile now, there is nothing humorous about the cuts Brown has just proposed.  There is nothing humorous about the local newspaper, The Press Enterprise, touting these killer cuts on the front page as “trims”.  These so-called trims will gut CalWORKs, the state’s workforce development by 1.5 billion and both the University of California and California State University by 500 million respectively.  As a consequence of the university cuts, student fees will skyrocket across the boards while professors who are fortunate enough to keep their jobs will have their pay decreased by at least ten percent.  Classes will be closed and students will be forced out of their educations.  There already is in play plans to root out and basically kick out students who barely make that C grade.  Explain that to a brilliant psychology or English major who happens to suck at general education mathematics.

But hey, it’s alright, say the hearty supporters of Brown’s master plan – he’s not touching K-12.  What they’re not saying is that classroom sizes in public schools are already busting at the seams from having laid off hundreds of thousands of teachers.  How can a student crammed in a room with at least forty other students, many undisciplined, learn anything?  Apparently the state is well beyond answering that question. Leave those classrooms overcrowded.  Two of my closest friends, one a teacher of kindergarten, the other high school, continue to remain, as they have been for the past two years, out of work.

As a college professor, I’ve had to watch a bright ROTC student, with aspirations of serving our country for the long haul, drop out because he could no longer afford the tuition hikes.  Adjunct professors have to leech off the system in the summer and oftentimes now during the rest of the school year by taking unemployment benefits.  If you want to raise taxes, go ahead.  The money has to come from somewhere.  But without an ever increasing educated workforce, Governor Brown, you won’t know what broke is.


Leave a Reply


  1. Diego

    January 12, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the old/new Governor Jerry Brown. He didn’t know how to handle a crisis back then and he doesn’t now.

  2. Mary Ann

    January 12, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Great blog, Paula. I remember those gas line days. I had to get up with my parents early in the morning to wait in the lines with them. When Brown was in office in the ’70’s he started this government spending problem of which we are suffering for now. And here we are with him in office again! I agree, he attacks education and he won’t know what broke is.

  3. Lainey

    January 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Well put. What Governor Brown is proposing is flagrantly irresponsible towards our schools.

    • Renalda

      January 13, 2011 at 9:52 am

      I couldn’t agree more! Brown is bankrupting our children’s
      educational futures.

      • Aileen W.

        January 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm

        Brown should’ve stayed where he belonged, mayor of Oakland.

  4. Lupe G.

    January 15, 2011 at 11:42 am

    As an ESL teacher, I can tell you Brown is cutting in the wrong place when it comes to education. He must stop stealing from the future of our great state.

  5. Manuel F.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Governor Brown is misguided in his attempt to cut education. So many governors before him like Pete Wilson tried to limit the amount of students in a classroom. Yes, we’re in financial trouble, but it does no good to any of us Californians if more people are out of work like professors and teachers all while young people trying to earn an education get denied from doing so. That’s just a stupid quick fix with long term collateral damage.

    • Josephina

      January 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

      I couldn’t agree more about Gov. Brown. Thank you for putting this out there for others to read. I love your writing style. Even when taking on a serious subject, you use wit and tons of humor.

      • Miles

        January 20, 2011 at 11:05 am

        That moment with your father while waiting in line is so very humorous! The hard facts about your governor’s cutting spree is horrendous. It seems he should find a more equitable solution without putting more livelihoods at risk. I look forward to reading your next post.

        All best,


        • LAUSD Teacher

          January 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

          At what point will Governor Brown put the people of our state first? Thank you for writing this article, Ms. Priamos. I will send this link to my colleagues.

  6. Evan H.

    January 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Great articles. Love your political objectivity and insights.

  7. alisha

    January 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    All of your articles are so diverse and well written! As a Californian I feel the pain of the governor’s decisions too. Please keep them coming. Your memoir is a definite must buy next year when it comes out! Your father sounds like a complicated guy and worth reading about.

  8. Concerned Reader

    February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for this excellent post! The people need to be heard on Brown’s plans to drastically cut the budget and put more people potentially out of jobs. He’s helping to create the vicious cycle that’s killing our economy here in CA.