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It takes a special regard for history -- or for oneself -- for a politician to quote from his own old speeches.

But Gov. Jerry Brown, who was speaking in Sacramento this morning to members of the California State Association of Counties about shifting responsibility for certain services from the state to local government, found one he thought was on point.

"I was flipping through, going through a few of my old papers," the 73-year-old former governor said. "That's one of the things you do when you're my age, you go through old papers."

He came across a speech he gave to a group of county supervisors in San Jose in October 1975.

Brown said, "Were any of you there?" Then, for the benefit of everyone who wasn't -- everyone but Brown, judging by their silence -- he read from it.

"I'm going to quote, if I could, if you'll indulge me quoting myself," Brown said. "And the quote I said, 'And I'd like to devise ways in which authority and responsibility can be left with those who are closest to the problem. If I have learned anything in my 10 months, it is that the further you are from a situation or problem, the less you're able to understand it. Instead of dealing with people, you deal with paper.' "

"And that's pretty much the way it is today," he added, "only worse."


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