Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been quiet for months about the Occupy movement, said today that despite its focus on the distribution of wealth, the movement is unlikely to help his campaign to raise taxes.
He said the movement has made people "more sensitive" to inequality but in a "separate domain."
"I think the Occupy movement is focused on city halls and universities and maybe other institutions," Brown said. "It's an expression of disapproval and discontent, but it's not incorporated into the political process at this point, at least not the political process where you vote Yes or No on an initiative."
The Democratic governor plans to ask voters in November to raise an estimated $7 billion annually by temporarily increasing the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.
"Democracy requires a certain acceptance on the part of everybody in it that things are fair, and if the legitimacy declines enough, you get a lot of social turmoil, and you get political breakdown, and we're in some stage of that right now," Brown told reporters at the Capitol. "The occupy movement is a reaction, a scream as it were, against what's going on."
He was uncertain of its impact.
"They're more of an emotional pressure point that hopefully will make politics more responsive," Brown said. "But in and of itself, you know, camping out in front of city hall ... it means you've got to re-seed the lawn, and I don't think that's such a good idea."
Asked about embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's handling of the movement in her city - where Brown was previously mayor - the governor demurred.
"I don't think Jean Quan needs any more critics," he said.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown holds a press conference Tuesday to discuss his first year in office at the Capitol. The Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz